With our global online community of women in endurance sport, there will always be someone to motivate and inspire you to train or even race with. As these four strangers discovered when they signed up to the Girls Run the World team taking on a virtual relay cycle ride over 25 hours
What is it? A virtual team relay cycle ride, with one rider of each team allowed to cycle at any one time. The goal was to accumulate as much distance as possible in 25 hours. The ride could be done on a turbo or outdoors. 784 teams took part from around the world.
The GRTW Team
- Emma 36 from Brighton
- Ros 59 from Brighton
- Marie 38 from Llangollen, Wales
- Kelly 42 from Bridgend, Wales
How long have you been cycling for and why did you start riding? made you take it up?
“I started cycling more seriously when I joined a triathlon club, Brighton Triathlon Club about three years ago.” – Emma
“I started cycling four years ago as part of my first venture into triathlon. I’d been running for nine years and I just fancied a change to mix things up. I have grown to love getting out on the bike.” – Ros
“I bought my first bike four years ago and off I went. I’m more of a triathlete really, but cycling is definitely my favourite discipline.” – Marie
“I started cycling three years ago and have now moved into triathlons from running. I love every minute of it.” – Kelly
What made you decide to take part?
“I’m always up for a challenge. With events being cancelled, I’d missed racing so it was nice to have an actual event and competitive focus.” – Emma
“I’d taken part in quite a few of the GRTW virtual challenges over which have been great and have motivated me to keep getting out there. This was just another great opportunity to train.” – Ros
“The opportunity to get to connect and race with some strong, motivational women was a chance too good to miss.” – Marie
“I jumped at the chance. I’d seen the event on Strava and Facebook and had always wanted to give it a whirl.” – Kelly
What was it like doing it as part of a team, having never met each other?
‘It was awesome and taking part in such an endurance event helped to create an incredibly strong team bond which made the event for me.’ – Emma
“It was amazing, as it was obvious from the first set of WhatsApp messages that it was going to work” – Ros
“We kept the chat going and came up with a game plan. We shared our excitement and worries. The support and camaraderie from the team throughout was brilliant” – Marie
“It worked really well because the GRTW online community is full of likeminded, motivated women who are up for a challenge. We hit it off immediately and have made friends for life.” – Kelly
What was the hardest part of the challenge?
“The long stints were the hardest (entrants could divide the relay up however they liked) – I don’t think I’d sat on my turbo for so long before and I know I’m better at the shorter stints, so getting through that mentally and to keep pushing was tough.” – Emma
“The second hour of my 4-6AM stint was the hardest as my legs were really beginning to feel it by then. I set myself up with a good Netflix series to keep me going.” – Ros
“Since I don’t own a smart trainer, I had to do all my rides outside. The dark rides were really tough for obvious reasons, especially as the weather was awful. My bike light fell off on my one hour ride and I ended up holding it in my hand the whole hour.” – Marie
“I’ve got a trapped nerve in my neck and physio had ruled out cycling, so that was hard! I thought let’s get the weekend out the way and I will take the advice.” – Kelly
How much did you eat and what?
“I ate oats and pasta, Haribo and lots of electrolytes.’” – Emma
“I ate lunch before I started, had a light dinner before my 10 pm shift and then had breakfast when I finished by 6 am stint so I was always pretty well fuelled.” – Ros
“Chicken & sweet potato curry, oats, toast and jam and a few big mugs of hot chocolate and a gel before each ride.” – Marie
“My nutrition wasn’t very well planned. I basically ate anything I could get my hands on. Quick simple food. Not the healthiest but it got me through.” – Kelly
How much sleep did you get?
“I got a couple of hours but I always had half an eye on the group chat… just in case!” – Emma
“A couple of hours between 1-3am. We always needed to be ready in case the rider before needed us – so we couldn’t zone out for too long!” – Ros
“Maybe 2-3 hours? I kept waking up to messages and I also wanted to support the other girls so I was never asleep for more than maybe 15-20 minutes at the time.” – Marie
“I probably had an hour sleep at most, because of my neck pain I knew if I tried to sleep it would take me too long to get back up and moving.” – Kelly
How did you feel the day after?
“I was expecting to feel broken but I felt so good, I slept sooooo well the night after the event though.” – Emma
“I was still on a high. Slightly sore quads but otherwise ok. The tiredness set in around Wednesday.” – Ros
“I decided to ice bath my legs between each of rides and this really helped me to recover well.” – Marie
“The day after I was still on such a high. I plastered my Instagram and Facebook with the whole event. I loved every minute of it and have definitely made some friends for life.” – Kelly