Laura's Story

My name is Laura, I'm 19 and studying Astrophysics at Leicester University. I love cycling and I feel that I'm at the stage in my life where I can take it further. Thanks to Healthcare RM I am able to pursue my cycling dreams.

My father is very keen on bikes so I believe his passion must have been passed on to me. He taught me to ride at 3 years of age. He would always give up his time to take me out and we would ride together. Cannock chase forest is very close to home so I have always ridden a mountain bike to take advantage of such a beautiful forest and brilliant mountain bike trails which give you such a huge adrenaline rush. Whenever I had a spare moment I'd get on my bike and go for a ride. It is such an amazing sport. I always get off a bike with a beaming grin on my face.

Now that I am at University however I'm too far away from forests or woodland. I am riding out on the roads much more as I know that I'm going to have to say goodbye to the childhood charm of the forest and see Britain by road instead. I rode my first road bike recently and loved it. It was a 30mile sportive which I did in 2hours 15. Since that experience I have so much determination to develop technique and become a road racer. I also rode 60 mile to watch stage 4 of the tour of Britain in Stoke. The atmosphere when I arrived was absolutely amazing. I know that cycling is what I was born to do. At the moment I have a Giant road bike on order which I can't wait to ride. My determination to be successful grows each day and I can't wait to start learning the roads.

Although cycling is a male dominated sport but that doesn't mean that women cannot achieve. My physics degree is full of males too but it hasn't intimidated me, it has encouraged me to push myself that bit further. Stereotypically women should look pretty, never get dirty and have little interest in sport. I absolutely resent this image that females have. It is time to break this reputation and show the world what we are capable of. Have the confidence to be different and chase your dreams don't just follow them.

We headed out into the countryside and were then met with better weather.  The roads were good quality but unexpectedly the first day involved over 4000ft of climbing.  Although we then had a couple of slightly easier days, the heat of over 100 degrees was exhausting and we were grateful to hit the Diet Coke at the end of the day.  We even had the luxury of a swimming pool which, although unheated, was a pleasant way to lower our body temperature.

The final day (day 4) of the first leg to Geneva started with a 3 mile hill that varied between 11, 12 and 13% so it was a tough start. Many more long climbs later we came to a 7 mile hill which seemed to go on and on to reach the Jura Mountains plateau. Lunch was waiting after which we then did our final ascent and descent over the Col de Faucille.  However having been held at the top of the Col for others to arrive we then left and headed towards Geneva.  Again we were met with an horrendous storm which in addition to heavy rain, thunder, lightning and heavy winds, we were bombarded with hailstones the size of gold balls!!!

All plans for a glorious finish at the Lake were abandoned as we fought through deep flooding, grid locked traffic, fallen trees, branches and blocked roads to the hotel. We finally arrived and welcomed the very warm shower and later celebrated our success of climbing 6800ft that day and around 18,000 ft over the 4 days.