How did you hear about Virtual Racing UK?
I found out about Virtual Racing on Facebook.
A friend had mentioned that she’s seen you on FB so I went looking. Your medals looked fun, lots of great reviews and inspiring videos. I had been searching for a medal to represent my target of 600 miles and come across Virtual Racing’s 500-mile medal, so signed up.
What inspired you to start Virtual Racing?
I turned 50 in November 2018 and was fed up with being fat and unfit. I’d had several operations over the past 2 years and felt ready to try and do something about my fitness.
In November I set myself the target of cycling 600 miles by November 2019. I was lent an indoor turbo trainer for my bike and so my journey started. A friend made me a colour by numbers chart to record each of the 600 miles on as an incentive.
I signed up initially with Race at Your Pace and aimed to do 50 miles a month. The turbo trainer was quite old and very difficult to use. Doing 3 miles a day was agony and took every ounce of effort to achieve.
Having done my first 50 miles, I signed up for month 2 of my journey. This month was equally hard but managed to reach my target of 50 miles before Christmas.
So, I looked on the internet to find a shorter distance I could do to keep me ticking over before January.
This is when I found Virtual Racing. There are plenty of other site that offer medals, but I liked the sound of ‘Chrimbo Limbo’, the website was very professional, the videos I saw were very welcoming, caring and seemed to offer the support and encouragement I was looking for.
I was then hooked!
In January my husband bought me a new turbo trainer which I have linked to an app on my phone, which in turn is link to my TV and where I can watch me as I virtually ride around places like New York’s Central Park, London or Innsbruck. I still did 50 miles with RAYP and added Flamincorn.
With my new trainer, cycling was so much easier, and it meant that the cycling was more realistic meaning I have to change gear to go up hills. This made the experience so much more enjoyable.
So, from February I decided to make an additional target of doing 2 Virtual Races a month on top of the 50 miles. I did the Year of the Pig and Gladiator.
This then inspired me to increase my monthly miles to 100 and the 2 Virtual Racing events. I have the bug!
I do all Virtual Racing rides in 1 session to push myself and feel that I have really earnt the medal.
As soon as I have completed a ride (and cooled off!) I immediately download my evidence and send off for my medal. I am always ridiculously excited to come home to an envelope with my medal!
I also like the ‘bibs’ that you email out for each medal. I print these out, laminate them, put them up in front of my bike to motivate me.
I looked to find a medal holder, but they were too expensive, so I made my own! It will hold 24 medals for 2019, however I think I will earn more than this in 2019 so I may have to make another one!
How many races have you taken part in?
Year of the Pig
International Women’s Day
St George’s Day
Marathon in a Month
To Be Happy
Huff & Puff
Paris to London
Which has been your favourite and why?
So far, it is probably Chrimbo Limbo.
This was my first medal with Virtual Racing and completely got me inspired to do more.
However, I’m really looking forward to Huff & Puff for several reasons, I love Harry Potter, I am a collector of pin badges (I have well over 1000!) and this will take pride of place in my collection. I hadn’t seen you did occasional pin badges so this is very exciting for me! Shame I’d missed out on the Slytherun and Chrimbo Limbo ones.
What benefits have you noticed as a result?
When I get home from work my first thought is not to sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit but to get changed and get on my bike! I am much fitter than I was, even after only 5 months cycling. Having had a knee operation in 2017, I have noticed how much stronger my legs have become and therefore helped my knee. Most importantly I am happier in myself. I suffer from depression which has haunted me for 20 years. I now am much more positive as I am proving to myself that I can achieve things I never thought I’d be able to achieve again. Although my weight loss is slow, it is happening, and I am feeling healthier.
Would you recommend Virtual Racing to a friend
Absolutely! My daughter has taken up biking as a result of my cycling.
She signed up to do her first event (International Women’s Day) in March and has signed up for 1 event from now until June!
Anything else we should know?
I work at a primary school as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA). I have been using my cycling journey as a way for teach the children about perseverance and resilience.
Once a week I show them pictures of me after riding, (all hot a sweaty) show them screen shots of my virtual rides, I bring in my medals to show them and talk about why I am doing it.
The children love hearing about what I have been up to each week, my achievements and laughing at my photo’s! They have been inspired to either bike more themselves, or what is more important to me, is to not give up so easily when things get tough.
Thank you to Virtual racing for helping me on this journey, one which I am thoroughly enjoying. Your support is invaluable.
Thanks so much for sharing your story Kate, we love it!
So insirping and wowsers - you are doing AMAZING!
Sam, Vicky and your team mates at TeamVR
Homemade medal hanger - wicked
Kate in the zone
Home set up