We often enjoy setting ourselves goals to cycle towards. Challenges to keep us motivated and achievements to cherish forever in the form of fond memories.
For most of us, this may be a difficult sportive or a particularly hilly route to conquer, but for dhb ambassador Hannah Lord, her epic cycle challenge - this year - required cycling over 1,400 km in just over four days as she recently completed the great London - Edinburgh - London audax event.
As a former triathlete, Hannah's strongest fields were running and swimming with cycling being her weakest area of expertise. However, after moving to London last year, Hannah's "passion for cycling increased due to the amazing London cycling community" and riding with others is how Hannah learnt of the London - Edinburgh - London event. In addition to having an effective cycling coach, Hannah's biggest weakness turned into one of her favourite disciplines.
Along with six other friends, Hannah managed to bag herself an entry to the notoriously difficult audax event which took place earlier this month. To train for such a mammoth undertaking, Hannah and co. set out on long distance rides in an attempt to prepare for the event. However, as Hannah explained, regardless of the training, "nothing can really prepare you for it".
There were 1,500 riders who set off from London at the start of the event. All of whom battled the ferocious weather and brutal headwinds, especially around the Lincolnshire area.
While Hannah and friends hoped to ride together throughout, this quickly became impossible with fitness and stamina levels varying amongst the group. Hannah's strategy was to ride hard and consistently throughout the day and take as little time as possible at check points so that she could avoid night riding. Setting off at around 05:00 each morning, Hannah found herself in the saddle and covering around 190 miles per day until around 19:00, when she retired to one of the camps provided by the event organisers.
Many of us know how difficult the mental barriers can be which nag you when times get tough in the saddle, so how did Hannah manage to fight the voices and push on? Hannah admits that it got difficult, especially when her knees and shoulders began to scream with pain during the final 300 miles; "I wasn't sure I was going to finish it but on the final day I had to get my head down and go into my own world".
With thoughts of defeat and giving up circling her head, Hannah persevered and pedalled through every single mile to reach the finish line after 102 hours. From the 1,500 riders who set out, there was a DNF rate of 35% which was largely owing to the relentless weather and impassable winds.
When attempting to smash an epic cycling feat, you want to feel supported and as comfortable as possible. Fortunately for Hannah, being a brand ambassador for dhb clothing, she had just that. Wearing the latest collection of performance apparel from dhb, their Blok and Aeron autumn ranges not only kept Hannah comfortable in the saddle but kept her looking great too.
dhb has supported Hannah since her triathlon days with their versatile and multi-sport products. Hannah explains that she "loves the brand and its ethos" stating that "dhb very obviously treats male and female cyclists as equals, which is shown by their very diverse selection of women's kit - which I often think is even nicer than the men's!"
There's a genuine sincerity at dhb, one that is reflected throughout their collection; they exist to ensure you enjoy the sport you love. From designers to developers, the whole dhb team strives to create stylish and functional performance cycle wear so you can focus on the ride and look great as you go.
As Hannah recovers from her intense cycle ride last week and undertakes some physio on her knee, she's not quite at the point of forgetting the pain to enter another... just yet. Instead, Hannah hopes to get her pedal strokes into bike-packing and the crit racing scene.