“It happens to the best of us...” at least that’s what they say, but does it really??!
Last week was my first week on the job as the Cycle Guide with real customers and everything!! The last few weeks have been totally stressful with so much work to do and the fears creeping in! Anxiety levels have been at an all time high as I prepare for the season ahead. Having a shed full of bikes is a dream come true and I am in such a beautiful location but the reality of course is that it wont run smoothly without some hard graft! So I have been prepping routes, hunting for new ones, cleaning the shack, preparing the weekly program and so much more.
Finally the day came and I was taking out my first customer! I’d been worrying so much that I’d worked myself into a bit of a state thinking ‘will I be fast enough?’, ‘will he like the route?’ ‘What will he think of me if I struggle on the hills?’ and I think these fears were probably quite rational, given the time I’ve had off the bike with my injury and only a week of training myself in the challenging terrain. But as my friends kept reminding me- these guys are on holiday and are just thrilled to be on their bike in a beautiful country and besides I am always so hard on myself (comes with competing with three older brothers I think!).
So I felt my first ride out of the season went well, we chatted and enjoyed the views and although we suffered up the hills, the descents and the incredible scenery was well worth it!! We got some good photos of the views and the mandatory bike over the head shot in the sea and we even did the double descents down to Port Vromi – a beautiful port which has two incredible roads leading down to it, but they never meet and so we decided to go for the double descent! 🙂
I was totally buzzing after my first guided ride and looking forward to the rest of the week, although still quite nervous, as these guys seem like serious riders.
Every one seemed super friendly though and my next spin took us over to the Shipwreck and then down to Port Vromi where I could tell the story of the two paths that lead down to the port but never meet, but just a single descent this time!
Friday I led the ‘Around the island’ ride with a guest, who seem thoroughly chuffed with such amazing views and ever changing landscapes and Saturday, had a nice chilled out ride to Alikanas for a cup of coffee.
Such beautiful sweeping roads, with hairpin bends, coastal views and sheer drops that make you hold on for dear life – this place is truly amazing for cycling and I cant quite figure out why (although I am glad for my own selfish reasons!) it is not popular as a cycling destination.
The climbs here are pure heart attack material and you will struggle to find a stretch of road that is flat, but once you get your head around the endless ascents and the searing heat the breath taking descents leave you on a complete high…until you have to climb back up again!!
This week has been a big stepping-stone in regaining some confidence, conquering my internal fears and being finally able to start enjoying the job I came for. I am super excited for the season ahead and I can’t wait to keep you updated with my latest findings.
So…. it happens to the best of us? I’ve been debating whether to publicly admit this, but it just goes to show, no matter how experienced you are, there is ALWAYS room for error and so yes, the rumours are true, I did have a rather embarrassing lie down on the bike in the car park and am currently carrying around the reminders! Despite this though, it’s been a great week and I hope the start of many cycling adventures!
Cheers to Michael, Jaron and Kevin who got me through my first official week as cycle guide!