For International Women's Day, we're celebrating the women who inspire us every day.
Peaks Finisher, Michele Armstrong, had her first Peaks Challenge experience in 2018 when she tackled The Legend solo.
She will be back for more in 2019, this time riding with a group of like-minded women from our Women's Community, and has shared her story below:
When I decided to enter Peaks Challenge, I was sure I could convince some of my cycling buddies to ride with me, but I had no luck there, so headed to Falls Creek on my own and very nervous.
At the start line I looked around and thought, I really shouldn't be here. But after a slow and steady descent, I found my rhythm on the first climb up Tawonga Gap, and started to relax into the task ahead.
I know the only way I could finish under the 13 hour cut off was to ride with a 'my peak my pace' attitude. For me, that meant riding at around 70% capacity, drinking before I was thirsty, eating before I was hungry and keep asking myself how I was feeling... if I could talk without feeling breathless.
Keeping focussed on hydration and nutrition at rest stops was also vital as I had no time to spare.
I rode alone most of the way, but other riders were so encouraging and supportive. I left plenty in the tank for the back of Falls, and noticed that most of the riders still on their bikes and not walking were women.
There was an eerie silence at that stretch of road, and it was important for morale to look straight ahead and not get distracted by those walking, stopping, cramping and groaning!
This year the main thing I will improve on is my speed at fixing a flat. I was only ever 20 minutes ahead of cut off and did not want to waste any of those precious minutes on the side of the road with a flat tyre.
It didn't happen last year, but I spent a lot of time worrying about it happening and I didn't want it to be anyone else's problem!
I can't wait to do it all again and have convinced a couple of girls to join me for a day out on the bike in the beautiful High Country!
Want to hear more about Michele's solo journey?
This year Michele will be talking at the women's only briefing, along with other female members and wave leaders from Team Bicycle Network. They’ll talking through the highs and lows of tackling the beast that is Peaks Challenge and answering any burning questions before the ride.
Saturday 9 March at 4:30pm
Ride with like-minded women
We’re inviting any women who want to join forces to meet at the start line and take on the challenge together. Just look for the purple Women’s Community flag in the event village at 6:00am on Sunday morning to join in.
This is part of Bicycle Network's commitment to providing an environment where all riders feel comfortable and safe to get involved.
Cycling event participation has been traditionally dominated by males, but there is a strong community of women who ride bikes who are bridging the gap at events and on the roads.
Our newest event, the Great Outback Escape, is our fisrt event to achieve 50/50 parody between male and female participants.
Bicycle Network is committed to 50/50
As a Change our Game champion, Bicycle Network is proud to be part of the team that’s taking a stand to increase the participation and leadership of women and girls in sport and recreation.
Together we can identify and overcome the systemic barriers that hold many women back as we move towards 50/50.
We are committed to making the leadership and participation of women and girls a strategic focus in our organisation and across bike riding.
We are constantly looking for ways to make it easier for more women to ride a bike, regardless of their age, ability or background.