My name is Katelyn, I’m 28. I’m a nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. I first got into riding a couple of years ago and never get to ride as much as I would like, but try to fit a couple of rides in a week. I own three bikes, my road bike, a recent mountain bike purchase and my trusty ‘girly’ bike to whizz around the streets of Melbourne.

I began to ride as an excuse to go out for coffee with my uncle and brother…until our rides turned into less about the stop and more about the kms. I ride for fitness, I ride to see new places and experience new challenges.

Completing my first peak was the first time that I proved to myself I was able to achieve something that I never thought I would be able to…I spend most of the winter driving up these rides to ski, let alone ride my bike up to the top and turn around and descend at speeds seemingly ridiculous.

My biggest challenge being a woman and cycling is riding with the men. But accepting that physiologically they are (normally) stronger and faster but also just different. However you become stronger by riding, mentally and physically. Riding with women is completely different, I have never had so many giggles, encouragement and support than riding with Tracey from Tribal Cycling and Amy from Trichicks.

My uncle Wayne introduced me to cycling, as well as the 7 Peaks. He is my domestique, the keeper of the Velominati rules and the one who maintains my bike and replaces my components when I stack (thanks!). The first climb I completed was Lake Mountain. The first five km was the worst I’ve ever ridden. It was hard. I could barely ride 200m before stopping, I started getting cranky with myself and considered turning around and riding back to the car. But after that it began to undulate and after the tollbooth turn off I got into a rhythm and shocked myself by smiling and thinking “I like climbing”. I remember sipping on my drink bottle containing pineapple flavoured electrolytes, freezing cold from the mountain air and looking through the bare trees across the Yarra Valley. One more turn and I saw the end point to the climb and almost burst into tears and got out the saddle and powered up. I remember my uncle saying he imagined thinking I was going to be looking exhausted but I was smiling riding to the end. My favourite peak is Falls Creek, it’s where I spend most of winter skiing and it’s a beautiful climb. The smells of the alpine forest, the views across the valley and the sense of achievement before an amazing decent makes it a beautiful ride.

The best thing to do after a 7 Peaks climb is to visit one of the breweries on the High Country Brewery Trail. Sweetwater Brewery in Mount Beauty is a particular favourite (not only because my other uncle Peter is the owner) but mainly because the Summer Ale and Weissbeir is so refreshing after a day in the mountains.