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Sarah, one of our volunteers, took on her first overseas cycling challenge on the Women V Cancer cycle India ride. She’s shared her experience with us and some tips on what you can do if you’re thinking about taking on a challenge but aren’t sure what to expect.
Since I was diagnosed with stage 1 cervical cancer in October 2012, I’ve been a keen supporter of Jo’s and am always on the lookout for ways I can get involved and raise awareness. So, when I saw the Women V Cancer India cycle ride, it seemed like such a great way to support a cause I’m passionate about while visiting a new country!
I remember when I first signed up I was quite nervous. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle the heat or be away from my children for that long. I hadn’t even ridden a bike since I was 12 so I wasn’t sure I’d actually be able to complete the challenge! I went along to the training weekend organised by Dream Challenges which was a godsend – I knew if I could get through that, then I could conquer the India challenge!
I needn’t have worried as I had the most incredible experience on this challenge. There were so many highlights from the trip I can’t list them all, but seeing the Taj Mahal was a definite highlight and I made so many amazing friends along the way. It was so amazing to be able to cycle alongside some incredible women, all of whom had a story about why they were there and collectively, they have raised £400k so far! Although I did struggle a bit at times as I hadn’t appreciated how tricky it would be to navigate potholes, cows, camels and lorries all at the same time along with the sweltering heat!
My top tip for someone thinking about signing up to take on a challenge is that make sure you prepare and plan as much as you can! I started by setting myself monthly targets, each one a little bit longer than the one before. Believe me, you’ll enjoy it so much more if you stick to the training regime. I’d also recommend that you pack light and separate each day’s cycling clothes. The early morning starts mean that you get very little time to prepare. Looking back, taking on this challenge has definitely made me more resilient and driven.
I’d definitely take on another challenge and already have my eye on the next Women V Cancer overseas cycle. The most important thing to remember if you’re thinking of taking on a challenge like this is: Expect the unexpected!
Women V Cancer raises vital funds for three charities: Breast Cancer Now, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action. Over the past 10 Years, over 20,000 women have taken part in Women V Cancer cycling challenges, raising £20 Million!