Who inspires you?

I’ve never had many aspirations in life other than to be clever. We all measure our lives, abilities and achievements differently and me saying I’d like to be clever may sound a little silly to some BUT perhaps I measure my cleverness or lack of it against my father’s cleverness. He was an incredible man and I regret not knowing him better, I digress already.

Definition of Aspirations: a hope or ambition of achieving something

Why have I never had any or many ‘aspirations’ …… fear of failure? Probably
…… fear of looking a fool if I don’t ‘achieve’? Probably
……fear of being embarrassed at not being able to ‘succeed’? Probably

Is there a trigger for change
As the years roll by on my ever fruitless life I have gradually listened to myself telling me ‘it doesn’t matter what other people think you should or shouldn’t do, what you should and shouldn’t say or how you should or shouldn’t be and look’.

I’ve lived a haphazard life for many years thinking I must be all things to all people, running around making everyone else happy whilst wallowing in silent self pity (to be honest NOT always silent!). That changed towards the middle of last year 2015 BUT I think perhaps the seed was planted back in 2013.

In 2013 all my faults, failures and ‘achievements’ were publicly displayed on national and international television for all to see (BUT that’s another story) BUT I think that may well have been the catalyst to my changing outlook.

Whilst filming, a comment was made about me (they thought they were being discrete and it wasn’t said in a malicious way). I can’t quiet remember it word for word but it was something like …..
‘I can’t cope with her, one minute she’s as broad as anything the next….’ (didn’t hear any more). They were referring to my accent. Apparently, I am a people chameleon (not my label) My manner of speech differs depending on the people I am with and wanting to ‘fit in’ with the ‘posh’ folk that were all around me I ‘poshed up’ my voice. BUT if it ain’t you it ain’t you and you won’t be able to keep it up for long and that was plainly evident by the comment.

I wasn’t ticked off by the comment, it was fair, I was ticked off and embarrassed with myself for trying to be someone I wasn’t. I thought I was trying to fit in BUT instead I just made a ti* of myself. (yes I swear a lot BUT that’s me!)

Finding myself
I always found this statement ‘I’m going off to find myself’ a little .. well… pathetic really, BUT as I’ve got older and started to reflect on what I have done with my life I feel I understand ‘finding myself’ more.

I can’t be me because I don’t know who me is. I lost me somewhere whist I was trying to fit in and to be someone other people wanted me to be and what I thought people would like (me not being a person I even liked).

Which after a page of babbling brings me back to cycling! Bet you wondered where the bike had gone to!!

One day I downed tools, left the piles of work, ignored the phone and people wanting and got on my bike because …

….it was something ‘I’ wanted to do ….

It didn’t make me any money, it didn’t make me popular, it didn’t make me fit in BUT it did make me bloody knackered, breathless, cough, snot, give me screaming lungs and ask myself what the hell I thought I was doing!

Cycle challenge Jo Amess
10 mile cycle first of 2016 Jo Amess
Cycle challenge 2016 Jo Amess
It’s not going to be pretty Jo Amess

Blinking nora, I got back from my 10 mile cycle ride thinking I was going to die BUT feeling fulfilled and prouder of myself than I had been in a very long time.

I could have looked at it in a negative way, ONLY 10 miles, which deep down that negative side of me was trying to surface BUT I supressed that negativity and gave myself a pat on the back, telling me ‘that is the first 10 miles of many’!

Cycling one mile is one more than none … achievement, success, ambition: Aspiration

Kajsa Tylen
I have taken a lot of inspiration from our GB Olympians this year, they are a wonder to behold but there are two people, women, who have inspired me the most.

Kajsa Tylen, though not an Olympian surely has the Olympic spirit and determination running through her veins. On 1st January 2016 Kajsa began her epic challenge of gaining the World Guinness record for riding the most miles in a year by a woman, attempting to beat the long standing record of Billie Flemings 29,603 miles.

Riding your bike EVERY day for a whole YEAR! How do you even begin to quantify such a feat?

The elements, wind, rain, snow, sun, you still have to get on your bike and ride.
Illness, no matter how ill you feel, how physically sick you are you still have to get on your bike.
Women’s things, whether you have your period or not you still have to get on your bike.
The list goes on …

If you need inspiring just take a look at Kajsa Tylen – A year in the Saddle

The woman is a machine, focused, determined, strong minded and one of the funniest people I have ever met.

Through posting my blog I met Cath Rodkoff a friend of Kajsa who invited me to join a 25 mile cycle ride with Kajsa from Leisure Lakes Bikes in Nottingham in April. I tripped off down there with a couple of friends and had a blast.

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The moment you meet Kajsa you are draw by her unassuming manner. A slight, gently spoken woman with a soft smiling face. Spend a few minutes in her presence and you will be howling with laughter, the woman is hilarious! Quick as a flash her dry wit will have you in stitches.

There were a lot of people there all wanting to speak with Kajsa and ride with her and she gave time to all of us and always gave thanks for the support she was being given. Not only has she got on her bike every day and ridden on average over 100 miles a day, she has given time to others and promoted cycling and women in cycling.

The Breeze Network , This Girl Can and British Cycling have featured heavily in Kajsa’s Year in the Saddle.

Take a look at Kajsa’s video blogs. Even when she is having a bad day, a really bad day, there is still a lot of humour in her words and her facial expressions are priceless.

I was lucky enough to join Kajsa, Cath and a group of cyclist last Sunday 11th December to celebrate Kajsa gaining the World Guinness record and surpassing the 50,000km mark and she still has until 31st December in which to clock up even more miles!

At the end of the ride we did a circuit of the cycle track at Harvey Hadden Sports Centre and I rode with Kajsa for some of it. As she spoke with us, almost a year on from the start of her epic challenge, she STILL had that wicked sense of humour and motivation as she cheered everyone else on to the finish line.

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I can’t put into words how much Kajsa has inspired me, not just in cycling but in my whole out look. I’ve read a few interviews Kajsa has given and she has a way of being so unassuming in them but the positive impact her words have on me give me another boost to carry on improving myself.

I’m rubbish at explaining things, as you can see from all this blurb so just go and see and listen to Kajsa for yourself and I am sure you will come away more positive then you were before.

….. give it a go, give anything a go, it doesn’t matter if you succeed your own expectations or not as long as you try ….

Second inspirational person tomorrow ..

Thank you for taking the time to read my blurb, now go and do something productive!!!

Cycle safe and where your helmet!
Jo x


8 thoughts on “Who inspires you?

  1. Great blog post Jo. I saw it earlier but didn’t have time to read it till now. I love the way you are so heartfelt and really identify with what you say. I find the older I get the less I am inclined to hang onto negative stuff and I’ve realised that you only really fail if you refuse to get back up when you’re knocked down. Kajsa is living proof of what anyone can achieve and like you I take real inspiration from her. Because of all the bloody injuries I’ve had I’m not going to fulfil my sweat pledge in 2016 but I’m carrying it over and one day I will be able to call her and say I’ve done it, I’ve ridden 100 miles in a day. In 2017 I’d like to come and ride up your way and cheer on your progress. Don’t forget that you’re inspiring people too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good morning Cath,
    What a lovely message to wake up to, thank you. Thank you for your lovely words and support. It is so frustrating when you are trying to get fit and keep getting injuries. I think we are like minded as I haven’t been able to complete my sweat but will be carrying it over until the day it is complete., i hope that will be sooner rather than later!
    It will be great to have you up my neck of the woods and take you out on my routes. Thanks to YOU too for being such a great networker, I find all sorts out thanks to you! Look forward to cycling with you in 2017 !!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think anyone can do as well without the element of failure and fear of failure. Without the chance of failure, you’re not achieving anything. I’m convinced that being afraid is an important part of succeeding. It’s not logical. What do you lose if you fail at a 100 mile ride, or whatever? I find it best to ignore those who have tried to put me down for failure. They were never in my favour in the first place and will have only gone looking for something else. They’re usualy the ones who get jealous when you succeed.
    When you look at inspirational people, you generally only see the success. Their wins, victories and records. The failures get buried and it’s easy to believe the lie that successful people succeed all the time at everything. They don’t. I know that I have failed at things in the past that I would consider to be very easy now. Whenever I feel scared of an upcoming challenge, I always know that I will give it a very good try.
    Everyone tries to fit in by changing their language etc as well. Ever been abroad and spoken a few words of another language? I think that we’re a naturally social species and hardwired to get along with each other. But people will always judge. I try not to, but most of all try not to judge myself. There are lots of reasons why we behave the way we do. Our thoughts and behaviour is very much a product of how our brains are wired, life experience and our environment. I think it much better to become self aware and strive to be the person you want to be.
    Now put the two together. Look at what you’ve achieved and forget your failures. Think of how many people you have reached out to and touched by adapting to accommodate them. I think you’ll find someone who is more successful and inspirational than they ever thought. And when you see that person, I think you’ll be starting to discover your true self.
    So keep going and have fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Steve,
      Thank you very much for such a morral boosting message. I was going to announce my challenge tomorrow but I am just having another think about what i ‘was’ going to do and may well add to it because of your words.I’ve read your mesage 3 times and built myself up to try harder, thank you.
      I look forward to following your progress next year on your epic challenge and wish you every look and tail wind for 2017.
      It was great to ride and chat with you on Kajsa’s ride. Hope to see you again on another adventure. Best wishes Jo.


      1. Thanks Jo xx. It’ll be interesting to see what you come up with. Be nice to see you again too. I hope to set up an Audax SR series from Milton Keynes in 2018, so that could be something for you in the future?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I keep trying to remember that failure is not trying and that trying and not succeeding is learning. Some days it’s easy, others not so much.
    Stumbled across your blog following Kajsa on fb. Keep up the good work being yourself and inspiring others.

    Liked by 2 people

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