Pushing yourself and experiencing new things can be a scary thought, but also an opportunity to change your life and give you some new perspective.
Anna Friborg, a friend and inspiration to us at Sigr, is a perfect example of this.
Anna is a Doctor at Hallands hospital, she is a proud mother of three and a randonneur cyclist.
She has an incredible story about the emotional and physical challenges she faced and the resulting achievements.
Anna’s interest in cycling comes from rather tragic place. She did her first race in 2014 after one of her co-worker’s daughter fell ill with leukaemia. Anna was deeply moved by this and wanted to help.
I wanted to do something for her family, but at first I didn’t know what
Anna noticed an ad for “Team Rinkeby” which is a Swedish charity that collects money for Barncancerfonden (a child cancer charity) every year. The charity finishes every year with a week long cycling trip to Paris. Anna decided to sign up even though she had no background in cycling.
“This was my chance to show support for my co-worker friend, but also to help get myself back in shape after many years staying at home with my kids”.
Anna proved that it is possible to go from not training at all to being able to cycle to Paris in just 10 months.
Everything you want to do, you can do, so there :)
After making it to Paris, Anna started cycling with her local club back in Sweden. For Anna, cycling is much more than just training. It is a chance to meet new people, have a good time, eat good food and see a lot of new places.
In the summer of 2017, Anna signed up to do “Sverigeloppet” which is a classic 7-day, 1800 km ride between Haparanda and Ystad in Sweden.
“There will be at least one woman on the starting line” she thought. That woman was her.
“Sverigeloppet” and the cycling sport in general has been distinctly dominated by men. Something that Anna thinks will change over time.
Anna completed the 1800 km race with flying colours and soon after passing the finish line in Ystad she decided to try a so called “Serial race” which is a series of four separate races which consist of multiple distances of 200, 300, 400 and 600 km.
“I enjoy the combination of adventure, preparing for both the expected and the unexpected, reading maps and navigating and cycling by myself. Eat, drink, plan. This is why Randonneur cycling fits me so well”.
Randonnée races are a little bit different from traditional cycling events.
The races are completed without any support teams, so water and energy intake is the sole responsibility of every contestant. Your bike is also your own responsibility. If it breaks along the way you need to be able to fix it yourself since there are no planned service stations along the way.
Clothes for possible weather complications are also a necessity. This means that for the longer races, different types of pack bags on your bike are a good idea. Reflective clothing and lights are important. You cycle on your own, but are allowed to cycle with other contestants if you want.
Of the four race distances, Anna only has the 600 km left, which she will cycle on the 29th of June 2019. Completing the series of 200, 300, 400 and 600 km will make Anna a “Superrandonneur”, a coveted and well recognised title in the cycling world. Not only does this title garner major cred from other cyclists, it is also an important factor if one wants to sign up for the “Paris Brest Paris” race. One of Annas big goals, this race is 1200 km and only takes place every four years, 2019 is a race year. Anna had planned to sign up this year, but she was disappointed to find out that this year no “rookies” will be given the chance to take part in the race because this year, for the first time ever, the race was completely full after the pre-registration stage.
Life is about seeing and seizing opportunities!
“At first this really upset me, but I have decided to go for plan B instead and definitely finish my serial race as planned. In four years’ time, I can do the Paris Brest Paris race and in the meantime I will have so much more time to train and be able to deliver a much better result than I would have this year. Life is about seeing and seizing opportunities!”
Update August 18, 2919: Anna DID get a ticket to Paris-Brest-Paris after all !!!