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Girl on an adventure

Good's wellness writer Rachel Grunwell is gearing up (literally) for her latest adventure - a 100km bike ride from Christchurch to Akaroa. Check out the first in her blog series about the challenge ahead. 

There’s a saying I love: Challenge yourself; Change yourself.

So in essence, by tackling scary adventures outside of your comfort zone, you can boost personal growth.

That’s my excuse for signing up for Le Race – an 100km bike ride from Christchurch to Akaroa on March 25, 2017. I was scared silly about the idea. So, of course I immediately signed myself up.I signed up a training buddy too, TV3 presenter Mike McRoberts. I figured if I trained with Mike then no one would notice how terrible I am at this sport. All eyes would be on him. Oh, and he’s also a great training buddy and top bloke, of course.

After signing up, he pointed out a small detail. “Er, neither of us have bikes Rach”. Small detail though, right?

Rachel’s gear: Top and padded bike shorts, shoes courtesy of Specialized and a helmet courtesy of Mt Eden Cycles shop. 

Thankfully Mt Eden Cycles shop owner, Mark Taylor, came to the rescue with some loan wheels for us two crazy journalists who love scaring ourselves stupid (over things we know nothing about). Mark “fitted” me to a bike recently, which made me laugh. Here was I thinking you only get fitted for things like wedding dresses.

It turns out road bikes come in nine sizes. I just told him to find me a midget-sized bike and I’d be right. But there was no getting away with that. He explains why it’s important to get the fit right. “Otherwise it could be a bit sketchy when you’re going fast down hills.” After that comment there was no further arguing from me. I prefer to keep the skin on my elbows and knees. So, he fit my midget frame to the bike frame, adjusted the seat and handlebars and then asked me to choose a colour preference in cycling helmet.

“Why bother,” I asked. “No one looks good with helmet hair anyway”. He agreed, but still asked me to please choose a colour.

"Challenge yourself; Change yourself"

I refrained from choosing the fluorescent pink helmet that caught my eye. I’m such a girlie girl, but I knew if I wore pink lycra too I’d likely resemble moving candy-floss. And remember, I want all eyes on Mike. Perhaps I could get him to choose the pink helmet…

Mark then kindly gave me some quick tips before unleashing me onto the street. He was probably worried about me crashing into someone’s parked Audi. I live in Mt Eden and so there’s a high chance of that. Perhaps I should move to another suburb?

He kindly taught me how to unclip my shoes so I can hopefully avoid “the zero mile an hour fall”. This is when riders usually stop at the lights, forget they are clipped in and then do a spectacular sideways crash – all in slow motion. So, he was kindly trying to save me from that hurt. To my body, but more importantly to the ego.

Wish me luck for my first ride. I hope you get to see a second column…

Rachel is Good’s wellness columnist and the director of the lifestyle website www.inspiredhealth.co.nz. Follow her on Inspired Health’s Facebook and Instagram pages.