Suvi Loponen, 4th Year Journalism
How Did You Get Involved With Strath Union?
I started a new society StrathSpeak, which is for people interested in making and listening podcasts. I am also currently an events coordinator in the Photo Club and taking part in the Strath Foodshare's duties.
What Has Been Your Greatest Achievement?
I'm going to only look for this past year, otherwise I cannot decide which one to choose (obviously I have achieved a lot).
So, I cycled my first century in June. It might've been the very effective caffeine gels and the flat surface that helped me to cycle almost four hours non-stop, but I've never felt more proud of myself than after these hundred kilometres. I've never been much of a sports person but since I discovered cycling, there is now seldom a day when I'm not taking my bike out for a spin.
What Steps Did You Take To Achieve This?
I trained - in a very unorganised manner. I was on exchange in Australia and a road bike was the first thing I bought. I rode it until the tyres were so worn out I had to get new. It also turned out to be the best way to commute everywhere, even at 5am to read the morning news in the local radio station. I became known in the student village for being always on my bike - and also later when it got stolen, crying after it.
That being said, I also did some research on how to ride a century. I never did a training ride longer than 60km and I found out that the internet was wrong in that with my type of preparation one should not ride a hundred kilometres in under 4 hours.
I also paid more of attention to my nutrition, i.e. I ate a lot of cake.
Not everyone wants to cycle a century; but it proved to be more than a sports achievement, for me. I decided I will do it and even when my bike got stolen a week before my set day for the ride I did not give up - I rented one and rode the 100k with it.
What Words Of Encouragement Would You Give If They Wanted To Cycle A Century?
So that's my words for you. Don't give up. There are ups and downs in everything you do in life but you always have the option to go for those ups. The only person on the way of achieving whatever you set your mind into is yourself. Cycling is a pretty male dominated sport and every time I am on a ride I still feel like it is 'me and the guys'. They are often faster, colour coordinated and with fancier bikes, but it doesn't make me enjoy what I am doing any less.
Each person is unique, and works towards their own personal goals. We should never downplay our achievements because some of them take a lot more for us to achieve than for guys.