This month we meet Vic Alker, a mountain biker, a planner of adventures and a competitor who’s in it for the good times – well shouldn’t we all be.
It can be hard fitting mountain biking into a busy life, and I have to say I don’t always succeed. I have two active dogs whose exercise needs take priority over mine, and I often find myself at a spinning or CrossFit class in order to get my fitness fix. Mountain biking gives me more than fitness though; it gets me out in the countryside and takes me to places I wouldn’t otherwise see. It helps me to reconnect with friends who are equally busy with their lives. It challenges me and exhilarates me. It can make me feel strong and powerful, or weak and useless, often on the same ride! It never fails to make me smile though.
I come from a hill walking background, with some (very slow) running thrown in. I’ve tried most outdoors activities and first bought a mountain bike aged 25 to do the coast to coast on, although it didn’t get that much use until I met my husband Mark over 10 years later. I now ride mostly with Mark or my friend Sarah, usually in our local South Pennines area, but sometimes further afield. Through shared friends and social media I’ve met several more fabulous ladies who ride mountain bikes, and a ride is a great excuse to catch up and have a natter.
I first saw a FINDRA jersey reviewed in Singletrack Magazine and I nagged Mark to buy me one which he did. I didn’t dare wear it on the bike at first as it was better looking and better quality than most of my normal clothes. I’m quite a cold person so can wear my favourite Caddon jersey on anything but the warmest days of summer, it’s great for layering and not at all bulky. I don’t just wear FINDRA for biking, the jerseys and neck warmers are great for walking and snowboarding too.
I’m not fast, fit or competitive but it doesn’t stop me from entering MTB events from time to time. I love the Glentress 7, and the Ard Rock enduro last year pushed me way out of my comfort zone but was great fun. This year Sarah and I are riding the Relentless 24-hour race as a pair, which will be a first for me, and way out of both my comfort and fitness zones.
I have a mental list of places I’d like to go mountain biking and Sarah and I are often to be found daydreaming and plotting bike-based adventures. They don’t all happen of course but it’s good to dream. And if anyone offers me a new mountain biking challenge or experience, I will find it hard to say no!