I have had bloggers block for a year now and have been waiting for inspiration to get me going again – well I got it last week in Mallorca on my bike…

In April 2010 I found myself standing in the rain holding my new pink Kent Velo Girls (KVG) cycling shirt looking at these tough English ladies heading out for their Friday ride and I wondered how I would cope with my thin fair weather blood – little did I know then about the impact and collective power of determined women as I joined forces and became one of the ‘pink ladies’.

Being strong has nothing to do with the thickness

of your blood ~ it is about the strength of your self-belief.

In May 2014 I found myself on a plane heading to the sunny island of Mallorca with 4 other pink ladies, having never done more then 2 days consecutive cycling and a maximum one off distance of 100miles (after three years of encouragement from the KVG). I was happy with regular social weekly rides of 50km’s chatting and never thinking I could do more. I was blissfully unaware of what lay ahead and was planning a relaxing blend of sun, sea and social cycling.

It was on the first night that it started to dawn on me as to what the next 5 days were going to look like. I felt that sense of panic rising that I wasn’t able to do such things – I wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t fit enough, wasn’t tough enough – how could I compete with these women who had done so many events and achieved such distances. I realised then that the Universe was communicating with me in another way. I hadn’t seen its messages when it had been telling me to stop playing small and so now it was going about it via another avenue – my physical ability.

At the age of 42, same age as my mother was when she got cancer and only ended up having 5 years left, I was shown that I have years ahead and have only just had a sneak preview of what I am capable of.

So 5 days, 5 women, average age of 52, over 500km of cycling and over 7000m of climbing with 22 hours in the saddle was my flashing billboard that life is only just really starting.

For anyone who thinks your 40’s is the start of being middle aged, this is a message to all of you reading this that life really only does begin at 40….

This blog is dedicated to all the amazing women in the Kent Velo Girls club who have achieved and are still achieving their impressiveness and potential. You are all tough and strong and a total inspiration. Thank you Bee Gregorie for having a dream to get women out there pedalling and it is not just the pedals we turn when we get on our bikes – it is our minds and self belief too.



12 Responses to “The Mallorca 5 – What being a ‘middle aged’ woman means today”

  1. Wonderful to see you back Hilbré – and literally in the saddle at that! Well done for completing what sounds like a pretty gruelling cycling tour as I’m sure it was pretty hot too!
    This is an inspirational blog and proof again that limits are something we set ourselves, but with the right mix of motivation and challenge-setting we can achieve more than we imagined.
    40 is such a big number in terms of age for women, not least as when we consider our mothers they were (on the whole, but not always) very much in what we consider middle age, whilst today we look around and see so many wonderful, intelligent and beautiful (in every sense of the word) women living life to the full. Yes, we can credit many physical factors such as more disposable income, a better understanding of diet and exercise, etc, etc, but I really think that our attitudes towards what it means to be a woman of a certain age has changed, mostly for the positive. Even if our innate physiology doesn’t always agree – I refer, regrettably, to the odd ache, pain or twinge (let’s not mention the shiny strands of hair that escape the tender attentions of the colourist) – I really do agree with you that age really can be an attitude, not just a number. Now let’s get the word out!

    • Lynda – I totally agree with you re women’s attitude towards what it means to be a certain age. It was only a few weeks ago that I watched Oprah chatting to Sharon Stone and Cameron Diaz about this exact thing. I believe women today are just not letting age define them anymore – they are choosing to be the age they want to be (and yes as you say there will be physiological ageing and the aches and pains) but it is still freedom of mind that I don’t think we have seen in previous generations. Thanks for sharing.

  2. So glad to see you in blogging mode again….well done and keep inspiring us.

    • Thanks Lyane – it feels good to be writing again. I really appreciate your words of encouragement.

  3. I have experienced and seen the twisting, climbing roads of Mallorca, but that was from the comfort of a car. I recall a tourist bus having to reverse several times in order to negotiate the tight bends. So well done to you 5 girls for your achievements! What about adding on an additional ‘5’ to your statistics and plan another adventure for 2015 🙂
    You have a gift for writing Hilbre, keep it going.

    • Thanks Di for your encouragement with my writing as it does feel so lovely to be creative again. Funnily enough after your response one of the Mallorca 5 sent an email suggesting we do the same in Italy or France next year so watch this space for what ‘middle aged’ women might be doing a year on…

  4. Speaking as a KVG girl, it’s so good to witness your transformation from a ‘fair weather only’ rider to a ‘tough and strong’ pink lady. I have goosebumps on my arms from reading your blog and looking forward to riding out with you again soon.
    I’m glad you have got over your bloggers block and wait for your next one soon ….

    • Thanks so much Viv for your support and encouragement both with my cycling and blogging. You have been a key pink lady in my progress so look forward to sharing many more magic times together on the bike.

  5. Brilliant writing Hilbre you have a talent for summing up your thoughts and those thoughts of others, well done. Women empowered through exercise. We just need to count our blessings for the bodies we have been given and treat them with respect, but above all enjoy using them.

    • Rachel – I love the idea of women empowering through exercise and definitely think we need to use exercise more to highlight our strengths and to draw confidence from our physical capabilities. Thanks for your lovely comment.

  6. I so love what you say about exploring [and doing] what ladies can do…regardless of age. With the right tools and ATTITUDE we can do so much more than we think. I have learnt so much from ladies like Hilbre and with my association with KVG [especially the inspirational Bee Gregorie] to just try, and believe that I can do what I want with help from my friends who encourage me to believe in myself. BELIEVE and enjoy…

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