Is there life after pro-cycling?

 

Born and brought up in Yorkshire, Emma Silversides first real taste of cycling was when she trained for and competed in triathlons during her degree studies at the University of Bath.  She participated at the 2001 World Age Group triathlon Championships in Edmonton, Canada, before switching to road racing, where she really excelled.  She enjoyed a professional cycling career riding for several UCI teams including Lotto-Belisol, Redsun and Sengers Metaal. Emma retired from professional cycling in 2012, but still enjoys riding and touring, even competes occasionally at an amateur level. Throughout her cycling career Emma established a small art based business, freelanced as a journalist and also as TV commentator, she has built and maintained her own website emmasilversides.com.  Here are Emma's thoughts on her life after cycling:

 

 


 

 

It’s over two years  now since I hung up the race wheels and turned to what I have always maintained is ‘real life’! I felt that I was in danger of falling into a category considered by the vast majority of modern society as ‘normal’. With my PGCE year completed I embarked upon a job, got myself on the property ladder and fell into a pattern of work, work, and work! Not so healthy, even for the most avid work junky!

 

Emma Silversides in Europe

 

My biggest weakness right now is my constant striving for perfectionism; I am slowly burying myself in my job and am therefore grateful to have time off over Christmas and New Year; time to reflect how far I have come since quitting life on the pro scene. The bottom line is I have turned to a life style that permits me to earn more than a few hundred Euros a month, allows me to challenge my brain more than my body, and is making me appreciate the few precious moments I have to ride my bike more than ever before.

 

The most frequently asked question by friends, acquaintances, work colleagues and indeed those less known to me is; ‘do you miss it?’ My answer? ‘I don’t have time to think about missing it’! This is one of the few advantages of a stressful, all consuming job; there is simply no time to reminisce, regret, or doubt decisions. In fact, my advice to anyone walking away from one way of life to pursue another, would be to ensure that you have a challenge in the new life; one that is all consuming and engaging. Whatever you do, don’t stop and think about the past for too long!

 

However, I still feel I lack balance; some days I just crave a free hour to ride my bike and then I question if I have, in fact, chosen the right career. I was even told by a colleague that I work too hard, that I ‘need to learn to cut corners’ if I want to survive in the profession. Quite simply, I don’t do ‘cutting corners’.  However, my reflection has led me to the conclusion that any ex-professional athlete has probably faced this agonising adjustment to being in a society where people do cut corners and get away with doing the bare minimum. Do I even need to point out that this approach just didn’t see any honest professional athlete succeed in their career?

 

Emma Silversides with a sample of her artwork

 

Despite being too busy to think about the lifestyle that I might be missing, I still have to swallow the most horrendous pill of all each and every weekend; not being able to ride with the power and pace that I have in the past. An inevitability I hear you cry; but the competitive girl inside me still expects (and wants) to maintain my previous standard which, in reality, is impossible with just two rides a week!

 

I have convinced myself that new physical goals may be an appropriate distraction. If I embark on a different sporting discipline there can be no comparing my form to that achieved in past years. I can have a whole new set of goals and work at making steady and positive progression towards achieving them.

 

Of course I could never completely hang the bike; I have committed to riding a sportif event in summer and am already dreaming up another touring adventure for August; so watch this space!

 

We wish Emma well in her quest for contentment and you can follow her here www.emmasilversides.com

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