Cycling is an endurance sport. It is a physical activity that involves covering distances, riding together with friends, exploring new avenues, and getting fit mentally as well.
There are people who cycle with passion and always want others also to get involved in the sport both for exercise and social activity.
To highlight the benefits of cycling and to encourage others, an individual often tries to do something different and accomplish something unusual.
Ana Catarina Trindade is a young Portuguese expatriate, physical trainer and fitness coach.
Since her arrival in Qatar six years ago, she has been training and coaching young school kids and university students on how to stay fit.
She motivates particularly women to stay active and fit.
Ana recently completed a cycling tour around Qatar – ‘Personal Challenge’. She cycled around the country in just four weekends.
She covered the distance in four phases - by cycling every Saturday during the holy month of Ramadan.
The first leg of the challenge was from Zekreet to Abu Samra. She covered a distance of 100km.
The second phase of the challenge was from Abu Samra to Nakheel, covering a distance of 68km. On the third Saturday of her journey, Ana cycled from Mesaieed to Doha.
On the final leg, the challenger ended her journey at Al Ruwais covering a distance of 109km from Doha. She had a stopover at Al Khor after cycling nearly 50km.
“It was bit crazy to have my first ride on the first day of Ramadan. I left my home in Al Khor at 3.30am to reach the start point in Zekreet with my support team. I started cycling at 5am sharp. It took me five hours to reach Abu Samra. It was not easy as it got hot after sunrise, especially after 7am. I had three small stops during the ride.
“I maintained a speed of 20-23km per hour,” said the cyclist.
The fitness and performance coach started the next leg of the challenge from Abu Samra.“I reached at Nakheel in three hours and 20 minutes.
“The third phase was from Mesaieed to Doha and the fourth one was from Doha to Al Ruwais.
“I carried oxygen boosters during the journey and had good support from a group of friends named Viiip.
“I also trained myself well before the challenge. It was necessary for me to have good night sleep and keep hydrating during the ride.”
Ana, who is trained in taekwondo, said she had completed the challenge partly as a family goal. “My father wanted me to be a professional cyclist in Portugal. I come from a sporting family. My grandfather was into football and cycling. My father was a professional footballer and taekwondo player. I used to cycle and follow my grandfather.
“Since I came to Qatar, I had a dream of taking part in some kind of challenge. My next dream is to cycle around the GCC countries.”
The fitness coach’s other reason for taking up the challenge was to underline the importance of physical activity and exercise.
“I am pushing people to do physical activities. It can be running, walking, cycling, and swimming. I just want to say that nothing is impossible. I want to inspire women in Qatar to exercise and cycle.
“I think sports must be available for everyone, anywhere. I specifically want to motivate the community, particularly women and children.”
Asked how one can prepare oneself for long distance cycling, Ana said: “For high performance, cycling enthusiasts need high nutrition with carbs. They must follow advice from a nutritionist. During the long rides, one can have stopovers to reinvigorate.
“There must be months of training before starting long-distance cycling.”
The exercise coach considers cycling a very good physical and sporting activity.“It is a very good cardiovascular exercise. If a beginner cycles 30 minutes a day, he or she will see results after a week. It helps in losing weight.
It is good social activity. You can enjoy the open air and beautiful outdoor while exercising.”
Speaking about the cycling facilities available in Qatar, Ana said: “There is a trend of people going outdoor more and more. It is good to have cycling-specific tracks and facilities for public here.”
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