Watching her Dad come home exhausted from his first training rides had almost put Lauren Richardson off the idea of cycling, but now she is preparing to take on the bike legs of the Kathmandu Coast to Coast.
A systems innovator with Sport Southland’s Healthy Families Invercargill team, Lauren and colleagues Brendon McDermott and Tessa Hewlett are competing in the three-person, two-day teams event on February 8 and 9.
Sport Southland will line up alongside fellow regional sports trust Sport Canterbury in the Corporate Challenge, testing themselves against one of multisport’s most iconic events.
The Kathmandu Coast to Coast traverses the width of the South Island, starting on the West Coast’s Kumara Beach, crossing the main divide and finishing at the New Brighton Pier in Christchurch.
The cycling legs include distances of 55km (with a 2.2km run), 15km and 70km.
Lauren’s father Reece McDonald is the president of Cycling Southland and one of the organisers for the annual Westpac Chopper Appeal cycle ride.
“My Dad started (cycling) and, being a runner, I was like, I’ll never do cycling because he would come home exhausted in the early days and it seemed like a lot of effort to do one ride. He got me into the Westpac Chopper Ride from Invercargill to Queenstown…and I loved it, and here I go.”
Coming from a running and netball background, Lauren has enjoyed learning a whole new sport.
“Running is just, like, chuck on your shoes and go out for half an hour. Training for cycling, you have to be prepared – your bike has to be in tip top shape, you have to take your food, there’s so much more thought that goes into training,” she said.
“I just love the feeling of being on the bike – a lot of freedom, and I feel like I’ve got the legs for it. I really like just going for it, I can’t really explain it but I really enjoy it.”
An enjoyable experience next month could see Lauren line up as an individual in the future.
“I did the Goldrush event back in high school and I really enjoyed that. I really noticed the vibe – at multisport events everyone is so encouraging.
“I want to give this a crack and see if it is something that I might want to do (as an individual) later on.”