Race across the roof of Europe.

The Trans Alp Bike Race claims to be the toughest amateur Mountain Bike stage race in Europe. Six hundred teams, each made up of two riders, set out from Imst in Austria on a seven-day epic that ended this year in Arco, Italy. Of the six hundred teams 16 were women’s teams.

The race is an ultimate test of mountain bike endurance and skill. My teammate, Michelle and I, spent seven days doing battle up mountain passes, riding along valley floors, passing through tunnels and dropping down breath-taking descents as we crossed from Austria to Italy. We passed through 3 countries and climbed over 17,000mts – that’s the equivalence of climbing Mount Everest twice over – and rode 521km. As a team, we burnt around 70,000 calories, went through 4 sets of brake pads, ate a lot of watermelon at the rest stops, consumed 36 energy gels from High5 and SIS, 12 bananas, drank around 4.5L a day and spent 44 hours in the saddle!

Read my full race report here.

Submitted by Hannah Attenburrow – visit her website or follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Don’t let having a baby stop you adventuring.

I recently spent 4 weeks trekking with my 3-month-old baby on the GR11 route across the Pyrenees. It was (mostly) an incredible experience seeing the mountains through new eyes and also allowing us to travel even more slowly and mindfully. Getting outside with a baby is fantastic!

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Facing 50 with joy and power

I celebrated my year of turning 50 with a year of training for two massive goals – a 32-mile marathon swim and a 10K swim with a 4-hour time limit. I did both in August 2017.

For my marathon swim, I needed to train for months – I swam 100 miles in July alone. I also needed a support crew, and was able to gather 7 members of Team 32 to guide and support me during what turned into 28 hours and 6 minutes of continuous swimming. I had two boat pilots and five kayakers in a rotation. Nobody had been part of a marathon swim like this before. I’m the oldest woman to swim Lake George – and I plan to use what I learned to do it again.

Since my swim, I have met other fabulous women in open water and marathon swimming. We mainly communicate online, but it is so incredible to be part of the group. Someday, we will inspire everyone to wear diaper cream on special occasions!

Submitted by Bridget – visit her website or follow her on Facebook.

One girl and her kayak

I am an advantaged girl from a working-class background attempting to sea kayak around Ireland! I would love you to read about the challenges I faced and the people I met. It has taught me so much about myself and life.

Submitted by Caoimhe – visit her website or follow her on Instagram.

Mountains

Climbed a route in the Alps with a friend, got lots of looks at the bottom looking like we couldn’t do it. But we smashed it, despite a few episodes of tears.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

The Joy of Tiny Adventures

As a busy working Mum, flying solo with my two sons and also wanting to support my Dad, life can be demanding to say the least. Like many women in their 40s and 50s, throw in the impact of the menopause and I can easily feel like I’m running on empty, physically, emotionally and mentally.

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to refill is to make time for tiny, joyful adventures. Running through the hills on a chilly winter morning, bodyboarding in the North Sea watching the sunrise or paddleboarding on a summer’s afternoon refill my soul and self-confidence.

Running or snorkelling make me slow down my breathing which in turn quietens the To Do list whirling through my head. Watching the waves and judging when to launch onto my bodyboard so that I fly to the shore means nothing else can distract me. I am fully living in the present, not worrying what I coulda, shoulda, mighta done at work or at home.

Falling off my paddleboard, spotting a seal as it pops up to say hello or simply splashing through the waves give me a huge, spontaneous smile. Laughing at my mistakes and not worrying what anyone thinks bring a glorious sense of freedom and play.

These adventures may last less than an hour – believe me, an hour in the North Sea in November is a long time! – but can feel like a world away from the pressures of the everyday. I return renewed, refreshed, revived. I’m often exhausted and exhilarated in equal measure. Calmer and yet more alive. My body is tingling, my heart full and my mind soothed. I sleep deeply. Oh so deeply!

They may be the tiniest of adventures, yet they gift the greatest of joys, which sustain me over the days and challenges ahead.

In our 50s we go into the world, working so hard to be the best mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and colleagues we can be. Tiny adventures allow us that rare and joyful opportunity to simply be ourselves. They gently bring us home again.

Submitted by Jo Moseley – visit her website or follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

From hating running, to a desert ultramarathon!

Photo credit to Ben Tuffnell / Wadi Rum Ultramarathon – www.wadirumultra.com

A few years ago I didn’t run. I may have even gone so far as to say I hated it and wondered why people ran for fun.

Then I was going through a tough time in my relationship, felt unfit and wanted to do something to get out the house – and running was quick, easy, free and on my doorstep. I don’t know what happened that was different, but running just stuck, it provided a safe haven and some headspace in the following year through a separation and divorce.

I realised I had become one of those people I secretly admired and wanted to be – someone healthy and active. The more I did, the more I wanted to do more, and the better I felt, and I found I wasn’t half bad at it! I kept challenging myself, and this year I completed the Wadi Rum Ultramarathon, a 260km 5-day run through the Jordan desert – something I never thought I would be able to do in a million years. But with hard work, training and perseverance, I did. And boy, did it feel good!

Submitted by Tara – visit her website or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

Women with paddle power!

When I was training for a marathon swim, several people paddled for me so I could stretch out into the open water of the lake, practice passing food back and forth, and let us get to know each other.

Marsha LaPoint was the first paddler to set off on a multi-mile swim with me, later admitting she had never been out in the middle of the lake. She was amazing. She quickly adapted to staying in line with me so I could see her easily while I swam, she handed me food and water periodically and guided me to a sheltered area when a storm blew by. We were out for over 4 hours and covered about 7 miles. Marsha was calm, cool, and collected, even when the waves picked up her kayak and boosted her ahead of me a few times. I knew I wanted her to paddle while I swam again.

Marsha was part of my kayak rotation on my 32-mile marathon swim, joining the adventure early in the morning (I had started at 9 pm the previous night) and stayed with the team until I finished at 1 am. Wow. Marsha is action packed! A retired art teacher, Marsha always has style on the water. I can’t wait for spring, and hope she will come on more adventures!

Submitted by Bridget Simpson – you can visit her website here.