Sophie Barton-Hawkins - Athlete Ambassador
Have you always been into sport?
I have always been sporty, I played football to quite a high standard as a teenager, played badminton and was a sprinter for the school. I would always be out and about on my bike, I can remember every bike I have ever owned and used them as transport as well as for fun as I got older.
How did you first get into cycling?
I first got into endurance cycling through an idea I had one drunken weekend in 2014. I paid £99 out to an event organiser on the Friday and promptly forgot about it until the Monday when I saw it had cleared into their account. I scratched my head and couldn't remember what I had signed up for so phoned them up and they told me "you are registered to cycle from London to Paris in May next year." It was currently September 2014 so I had less than 8 months to go from pootling along the seafront eating ice cream to riding 350 miles over 4 days!!! I was riding a Marin mountain bike-so I swapped the chunky off road tyres for something more energy efficient and got to work building up my mileage until I was comfortably riding 45 miles on the road on it. My friend then loaned me her Giant hybrid bike so I would be riding on a more energy conserving bike but these bikes are not made for multi day rides but I had to make do with what I had. I completed the ride in May 2015 on a hybrid bike wearing trainers not cleats and felt incredible! I raised money on this ride for The MS Trust in memory of my Mum who passed away when I was 18.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite ride has got to be riding from Vietnam to Cambodia in 2018. It was incredible to be immersed in a whole other culture, riding through tropical forests seeing kids jumping into streams and seeing adults working the land and living a simple life, stopping for lunch in Buddhist monasteries and cycling with all the school kids riding to and from school down dusty tracks. The oddest thing on that ride for me was riding through a banana plantation in the middle of nowhere and hearing Karaoke being belted out, rural huts have petrol generators that they use to power the machine to practise their karaoke on as it is a big thing over there!
What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement has been helping women go from riding 2 miles on a shopper bike to taking part in the London to Brighton ride on a hybrid. I am a Breeze Champion and take great pride in watching the women who come on my rides go from being frightened of riding of their bikes to being comfortable riding solo.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
The time when I got lost riding to Dover for a timed ferry crossing on London to Paris as some local people had moved the arrows I was following around. I got a puncture and in my haste didn't check the tyre properly so then got several more punctures over the next mile, ran out of tubes and limped into Dover to get the ferry in the nick of time.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Remember they aren't permanent and keep persevering. Keep the end goal in sight but break it into manageable chunks and if I have a bad training day or a slow ride then remember that tomorrow I will be better.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
Ride at your own pace, don't be intimidated by the fast men in lycra, they were a beginner once too. Only compare yourself to your own performance not to other people's.
What are your goals?
To ride the coast of Britain in 2022 cycling 4000 miles unsupported over 50 days and hope to raise £18,000 for the MS Trust, £1k for every year my Mum has been gone.
Who inspires you?
Anyone who is getting up off the sofa and getting out there, be that running, walking, swimming or cycling.
Why work with Sundried?
I like to be able to champion and support business that have a good ethos in regards to their products. Sundried make good quality sportswear from recycled materials including plastic bottles, this fits well with my core values.
To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.