This weekend is one I will not forget for a long, long time and I’m gonna cut straight to the chase with it because I am truly knackered myself.
Louise Laker is one of my best friends, she’s my neighbour, my business partner at Eat Sleep Cycle and she’s like a big sister to me at times…though she’s five years younger than me.
This week she organised the best women’s-only training camp that Girona has ever seen. She thought up the idea and she executed it pretty much by herself.
That meant recruiting riders, planning routes, organising bike rental, taking payments, co-ordinating social nights and about 100 other little jobs that only she knows about.
Why? Because she doesn’t make a fuss and believes in the mantra of asking a busy person to get something done. Thing is, Louise asks nobody because she will do it herself.
The women who came all had a complete blast. Proof of that is in the reviews.
Prior to this week Louise went to the London Bike Show where she stood for 12 hours for four days in a row at our Eat Sleep Cycle stand spreading our cycling gospel.
Her husband and our other business partner Lee was also there and again, they had a blast. But it wasn’t easy…anyone who has ever tried selling anything for 12 hours a day while on their feet will know this.
Not once did Louise say it was hard…though we all know it was.
She got on with it and didn’t complain.
She’s had plenty reason to complain this last few months, because for starters, her bike got stolen before Christmas and she never got it back. It was a gutting experience because she loved the bike but moreso the fact it fitted her perfectly.
It was a triple whammy because Lou suffered from cramps in races and training. The cramps would come early or they would come late but they would always come. Often, they meant Lou wouldn’t be able to get out of town on a training ride. That bike was good for her because it was a very rare one in that it fitted her little legs!
If she got cramps she would retreat to her apartment in the Barri Vell and look up ways online to alleviate her suffering, only confiding in Lee.
Not once did she complain outwardly but many times she sobbed alone, unwilling to let anyone else inherit her misery.
That is not Louise; always the bright side out. If she is Gretel, then Lee is Hansel and they do everything together.
They share in each other’s highs and lows – and there are plenty of both. However, a high is not a true high unless the other is there to share in it. For a low, the other is always there.
So this weekend we headed to our first race of the year. By we, I mean me and Lou.
Lee, sadly, hurt his back yesterday and was out of the race. I was gutted. He was distraught and of course Lou was even more so.
Lee needs to race. He simply has to. He loves it and he’s good at it…so to retire before the flag dropped was a real blow.
Lou carried on, rather reluctantly, and went to meet her new team, unsure of her form but seriously motivated to show she was worthy of a place in the team – and to give Lee a lift.
Bearing in mind her training was reduced to nought last weekend and was hampered by the training camp this week she was definitely apprehensive.
So to receive a message on our ‘work’ WhatsApp last night telling us her team had won the TTT by one second (and beat French girls!) was a truly magical moment.
Lou actually did most of the pulling and told me in the car on the way home last night…’I think I can win the road race tomorrow’.
Guess what? She did and writing this blog gives me chills. I was 15k away at my race suffering like a dog and when I finished I slumped against my car…
Then my phone beeped….Louise….’I managed a cheeky win’!
The feeling that washed over me was as good as all the drugs in the world. She won a crash-marred bunch sprint against boys and men and girls and women and she stood on the podium under blistering Spanish sun today.
The first words I said to her were ‘Is this living or what!!’
There was music and fanfare and beer and butifarras and when I arrived to see the pageantry I made a beeline for Louise whose smile was as magical as the Northern lights.
It was more than a win and the only regret we have is that Lee wasn’t there. It meant so, so, so much to all of us that Louise won.
Her teammates followed her around, her manager didn’t wanna let her go, all the boys were eyeing her up as she walked back to the car and devoured the remains of her butifarra. She wanted to get back to Lee.
She leads the standings of the Copa Catalana and we could not be more proud of her.
They’re made of tough stuff down in Kent.