BEGINNER CYCLIST TO MONT VENTOUX CONQUEROR AND UCI WORLD CHAMP AGE GROUP QUALIFIER!

ACHIEVEMENT HIGHLIGHTS

MONT VENTOUX

Conquered Mont Ventoux twice in 24 hours - Covering 73km with 3110m of climbing.

NJINGA ACADEMY

Graduated from Njinga's Level 2 outdoor 8 week programme with superior bike handling skills.

TOUR OF CAMBRIDGE

Improved time by 2 hours in 2 years and qualified for Gran Fondo World Champs in age group.

GIRO DE SARDEGNA

Completed Giro de Sardegna - A whopping 300km 6 day stage race. with 4400m of climbing.

A REMARKABLE AND INSPIRING STORY THAT PROVES AGE IS JUST A NUMBER AND ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO IS POSSIBLE

BEFORE NJINGA

My path to Njinga began when a friend asked me to join them on a charity ride from London to Paris in memory of a dear friend we’d lost.

I was already somewhat of an athletic-minded person –  I'd done a number of Outward-Bound courses, climbed major mountains in the US and Europe, sea kayaked in Alaska, run the London Marathon, and gone on multiple cycling holidays to Italy – so I felt confident I could do it and immediately said yes.

In preparation, I bought my first road bike, along with a new pair of cycling shoes, pedals and cleats. But with these purchases, my confidence began to fade. And fast. I was not at all comfortable on a road bike and the cleats were proving to be an obstacle I hadn’t envisioned.

"I SURPASSED ALL EXPECTATIONS AND CONQUERED MONT VENTOUX NOT ONCE BUT TWICE."

ENTER NJINGA

I panic-Googled ‘cycling coaches’ in London, and to my extraordinary good fortune, Njinga Cycling popped up and promised everything I was looking for (little did I know how much this would turn out to be). I left a message, received a call back within 10 minutes, and two days later, found myself in Richmond Park riding in cleats with Njinga’s Head Coach and co-founder, Togo Keynes, running beside me. I was a seven-year-old learning to ride my first bike all over again.

Through a series of private outdoor coaching sessions, Togo coached me through the basics of efficient road cycling: riding in cleats, pedal technique, shifting gears, ascending, descending, the joys of butterfly hills and even nutrition. 

Though still a novice, Togo quickly taught me to ride with joy and confidence, which is exactly how I rode the London to Paris charity event.

FROM PRIVATE OUTDOOR COACHING SESSIONS TO THE NJINGA CYCLING ACADEMY AND INDOOR TRAINING SESSIONS

After the charity event, I began to attend indoor Wattbike sessions at the Njinga Lab on a regular basis. I also signed up to a couple of Njinga group indoor 8 week training programmes where I completed my first FTP test. In fact, I signed up to and attended as many multi-week programmes as my schedule would allow:

They provide great metrics, an incredible amount of knowledge, the chance to reflect and make adjustments accordingly and, above all else, share your progress and successes with a great group of riders of varying fitness levels with whom you build great camaraderie. 

And with an FTP test at the beginning and end of each programme, you’re able to see tangible evidence of your progress from session-to-session and week-to-week.

FROM THE NJINGA CYCLING ACADEMY TO SPORTIVES
 
From the Njinga Academy, my interest in sportives piqued. I began signing up for so many I couldn’t stop: the Tour of Cambridgeshire (2016 and 2018), Ride London (2016), Surrey Legs of Steel (2016), and Giro De Sardegna (2018).

To help me prepare, I signed up for my first Njinga trip to Mallorca (and later on attended some Njinga training camps in Mallorca and Wales, too) and the Njinga Collective, Njinga’s not-for-profit outdoor cycling club. Out of the Collective’s 4  speed groups, I joined Mbidzi (average pace 12-13mph) to increase my confidence on the road and cycling in a group. 

And increase my confidence it did: the support I received from both the Ride Captains and other Collective members was instrumental in this. 

As for the training camps, they helped me build up a strong fitness base and put my climbing legs through their paces.

The second time I rode the Tour of Cambridgeshire, I completed the 127km sportive two-hours quicker than my first time around and I also qualified in my age group for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships. 

CLIMBING MONT VENTOUX

And finally, last but not least, the highlight of my 2018 year: Njinga’s Challenge Ride No. 2 in their series to Ventoux.

Before I arrived, my aim was to complete one ascent of the iconic climb. But when it came to the actual day, I surpassed all expectations and conquered the climb not once but twice. 73km with 3110m of climbing.

From pushing out my best numbers ever in the Njinga Lab and achieving a PB for my FTP test, 2018 was an unforgettable year. I was even crowned the 2018 Njinga Rider of the Year.

All at the young age of 65.

"THE PROGRAMMES PROVIDE GREAT METRICS, AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE, THE CHANCE TO REFLECT AND MAKE ADJUSTMENTS ACCORDINGLY AND BUILD GREAT CAMARADERIE."

A NOTE FROM THE COACH

Never judge a book by its cover. If you give a rider the right kind of coaching and support and surround them within an encouraging environment and community of like mind cyclists, they begin to thrive and grow in confidence. Monie is just that person.
 
Age is just a number and Monie’s desire to constantly challenge herself is nothing short of inspirational. Each year she finds a newcycling goal to train for and puts her heart and soul into it. She has had her fair share of adversity and injuries along the way but she has always come back stronger and more determined despite the temporary setback.
 
Her accomplishments and achievements are nothing short of inspirational the last few years and more recently she did the Rapha 500 on between Christmas and new year on her own and during Covid-19, she took on an epic Njinga climbing challenge and climbed 13,996m and cycled an incredible 1250kms in just 8 weeks.
 
Monie defies the norm as age is just a number in her books! Its proves that cycling does make you younger and more youthful.

- Togo Keynes, Head Performance Coach at Njinga Cycling Academy

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