Majorie De Goumoens’ shares her journey from triathlons to ultra-endrance cycling and discusses how there is still a lot more progress to be done for women in the sports world.
When did you start cycling and how did it become such an integral part of your life?
I got into cycling through taking part in triathlons, almost 8 years ago. I was a synchronized swimmer in my teens, and once I got into the adult world I realised it was time to look for a new sport. After having practiced fitness for a few years I turned to triathlons where I was looking for a sport with a more friendly atmosphere and one where I could evolve according to my needs and my availability, whilst training with other sportsmen and women. I initially found it difficult to find a sport that I could start for the first time as an adult...
I initially found it difficult to find a sport that I could start for the first time as an adult. Eventually, I started taking part in triathlons by chance after swimming at the same pool for several years with triathletes. When I first attempted a triathlon there were certainly a few surprises in store for me...
As a swimmer my body needed some time to adapt, and I initially found myself injured frequently. It was a difficult period, but I learned a lot about myself - how to train correctly, but also when and how to ease off. This allowed me to evolve into this sport and to blossom afterwards on longer and longer distances.
When Covid came along, I had to readjust my lifestyle, like everyone else, due to the cancellation of races, as well as changes in my professional life as a nurse and nursing teacher. It became difficult to keep up my attendance, especially as my sporting objectives remained uncertain. I then gradually started to gravitate towards the practice I liked the most as a triathlete and to concentrate on what worked best for me personally - the bike.
That’s when I started long-distance cycling. I was already cycling in various forms, exploring the roads on my racing bike or traveling with my husband on our gravel bikes, but I had never yet gone beyond 220km in one ride. In my triathlon practice I had already demonstrated my love for endurance, so I relentlessly pursued longer and longer races. In the summer of 2020, I set off on my first ultra-endurance cycling event with a 350km course and over 7000m of climbing. It was then that I knew I had finally found the discipline that suited me!
What type of cycling do you practice today?
Today I cycle in different ways. I commute on an old cilo that belonged to my mother-in-law that I converted to a fixed gear. I have a gravel bike that I use to get away from the asphalt roads and traffic, to travel or to enjoy a bit of coolness on hot days. I have a mountain bike for fun in the forest or in the mountains with my husband and a friend; and finally I have a road bike on which I pedal the majority of the time. I participate in different types of events, ranging from rather short gravel races, cyclosportives on the road or even gravel or road races over longer distances ranging from 300km to 1300km.
What moment(s) in your career so far are you particularly proud of?
I find it hard to name a specific one, as I try to find the positive in all the moments I have been lucky enough to experience, especially the more difficult ones. For me, pride in long-distance cycling is built on the journey, not just on the final result. Today, for example, I am very proud that I was able to overcome some of the difficulties I encountered during my last race. Indeed, the first Come out in greater numbers! Go for it.” However, I think that the movement should not only be initiated by women.
I can only speak from my point of view, and from those that have sometimes been shared with me, and it is true that we have a lot of effort to make for the feminisation of sport. And when I say “we” I am obviously talking about women AND men.
The difficulty is that this movement calls on all of us to accept that we need to deconstruct our representations. Without becoming an informed “feminist” day allowed me to discover all kinds of things and I had to draw very deeply on my resources to succeed in refocusing myself, and to take the road again the next day. At the time it was a really difficult phase to go through but, today I am very proud of it.
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