Interview with Sophie, Dulwich Paragon

How did you get into cycling and what do you like about it?
A colleague organised a ride from London to Paris. I hadn’t been on a bike since I was 10 years old – not to mention a road bike ! I invested in an entry level bike, cleats, panniers, and off I was ! In 1 month I got as ready as I could and did it ! I absolutely loved it and since then haven’t stopped cycling !
What I love about cycling is the sentiment of freedom, that you can go anywhere at anytime with only the power of your legs. You get to access places that no one does. You get a great sense of achievement whenever you finally reach the top of the hill / the end of the ride. I like that it requires patience and dedication (which are probably not my first qualities), but that effort and training pay off and you can see the results of your efforts. I like the fact that my bike is the only place where I completely relax and my thoughts stop going wild. and I like going very fast downhill -it’s thrilling ! I like technique and competition.

How would you rate your current level of fitness?
I’d say i am not far from the best i think i can personally achieve. doesn’t mean that i am very good compared to others, but compared to my max, i am probably not far of. I’d say an 8/10.

Are you training for anything at the moment and if so what are your goals for the season?
I have 3 main goals, which i might need to adjust as i am not sure they are really compatible :

  • Give a go at racing and try to go up a category (from 4th to 3rd)
  • Try and get a good enough result in the ToC to qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships
  • Finish the Etape du Tour

How did you find cycling in the French Alps in terms of difficulty?
This is probably the hardest I’ve ever cycled in terms of levels because the climbs are relentless and go on for kms and kms but they  are not as steep as some other cycling that I’ve done (Morocco).

What was it like staying with 45 Degrees North?
It was like being in paradise. the food was amazing, the staff friendly. they were really accommodating with the level of the group and the weather.  The Chalet was really pretty and in a very good place, both years. I also really liked the coaching i got – not too intrusive but very useful – this has given me very good technique which now makes me better than riders of similar experience who haven’t received any personalized coaching.

How likely would you be to recommend 45 Degrees North to others and why?
I am very likely to recommend it to others, because i think that it is good value for money. overall you get a fantastic experience with great accommodation, great food , great people ?