Exclusive Interview with Sophie Radcliffe, adventurer and outdoor champion
New Year is a time when everyone reflects on the past 12 months and plans new challenges, adventurer Sophie Radcliffe is no different.
As the first person to complete the Alpine Coast to Coast Challenge (among other great things), we thought it would be great to catch up with Sophie to discuss the amazing year she had in 2014, plans for 2015 and the secret to her motivation and success.
How did you get started?
It started with a desire to get out there and see what I was really capable of. The first challenge I ever undertook was the Borneo race challenge. And when I got back I was just like ‘Wow’. I had never been so motivated before. It made me realize that you have to take big leaps and it is actually the change that we learn from. I mean this as in you have to build a bridge from today to the future but it is actually the unknown section between that you learn most from.
Our lives are dependent on only ourselves and this is something that drives me. When I first got back from Borneo I had met new people, been to a new country and achieved so much. It was amazing fun to do and it got me the drive to work. I asked myself “What do I want to do with my life” and I knew not to accept things just as they are. The next challenge was London to Paris in 24 hours. This was just so much fun. Last year I started to head up tours of the London to Paris cycle, in September I took 75 Google entrepreneurs and in 2015 I am planning a mass participation event for anyone to try cycling London to Paris in May 2015.
If you want to turn what you love doing into a career, it takes time and you have to start by migrating a bit at a time. I started my blog simply to gain writing experience but this created an audience for my challenges and a platform to discuss them. This didn’t happen overnight though.
What has been the best challenge so far?
I think the Alpine Coast to Coast challenge. I was the first person to complete this and it was something so unique with both climbing and cycling. The great thing about this was that the mountains are 300 km apart so I would cycle for 2 – 3 days, then climb the mountain and then cycle again. It took about 1 month all together.
It was amazing to do as I had completed challenges being on the go for 3 days in a row, but on this one I had to do it for a month. The most worrying thing was that the mountains got bigger and were in the region of 4000m. Before the challenge I had only done one of this size before, it was mad but it proves that you can do so much more than you think.
It was an insane year and this time last year we had a completely different plan,we were living in London and I was working for Epic TV then we completely changed everything. On the 25 May, which was actually our one year wedding anniversary, my husband Charley and I packed up the van and moved to Chamonix.
It was something that we had dreamt about and we decided that we were going to stop dreaming about it and just make it happen and it was amazing. I needed to be in that area to train for the coast-to-coast challenge and it completely changed our way of life.
Do you have any big plans for 2015?
One of our goals for this year is to run up Mont Blanc in single push. It normally takes 2-3 days to climb and we’re going to try and climb it in under 24 hours. We will train for this throughout the spring and go for it in the summer.
Find something that inspires you and give it a go. Find a training partner to help you keep motivated and focus on the baby steps. You might find something you really love!
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?
Not really, I have planned more goals though. Looking back my biggest fears have become my biggest achievements. This has definitely taught me that big leaps are needed for big results.
It is important to have space to relax and do something different so that you can come back refreshed.
You are extremely fit to do the challenges; do you have a special diet?
I generally just try to eat clean, whole foods. I avoid processed foods so no pasta and bread. I also try to eat low carb so I eat steamed cauliflower instead of rice and make spaghetti from courgettes. I love it, they taste amazing.
Looking after your diet and staying focused towards your goals will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, but everyone needs days when they eat pizza and chocolate so give yourself a break every now and again. I do a big shop and prepare meals for the week on Sunday. I also prepare my meals for the following day each evening. It saves money and means I’m much more likely to stick to the nutrition that fuels my body and training. Ultimately, my best advice is to find out what works for you. There are no hard and fast rules as we are all different and have different needs!
How do you like to relax on days off?
I love days off! It’s so important to find space and time when I don’t have to stick to a schedule, I can just go with the flow and enjoy being in the moment. I write blogs and work on my photography. I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes and also planning and dreaming about the future and all the things I’d love to do. In the evenings, I’ll spend time on social media engaging with people and talking to them about their adventures, goals and challenges in life. I feel so lucky for this to be part of my job and honoured when people ask for my help or advice so I always make time to respond.
A massive thank you to Sophie for her time and sharing her thoughts with us.
Do you have a big challenge in 2015? How are you staying motivated?