In a time where "a woman's place was in the home", this woman chose to step outside the boundaries and chase her dream, and I find her incredibly inspiring.
As a female athlete, and a mother to two children, I can tell you that my plate stays FULL. I love being a mom and I also love being an athlete and believe that you can have the best of both worlds. I've seen a few articles recently about why some women choose not to have children and to each their own, but I don't believe that having children hinders your life in any way. It creates greatness. The love a parent has for a child is like no other love in this world and I believe that what we do in our lives and how we follow dreams inspires our children to dream and grow as well. What better way to set examples for your children by being active and promoting active lifestyles. Like Eileen, even back then. I think being bold and brave is beautiful and to me, Eileen Sheridan is one pretty cool lady. Some women really CAN do it all....
Check out this link for a video about Eileen
Who is she? Eileen Sheridan, a professional British cyclist who specialized in time trialing. She was only 4 feet 11 inches tall and described as a dainty lady. During the late 1940s and 1950s she broke all the records of the Women's Road Records Association. Her times are more impressive for her longer distance rides. She said that it took her at least 25 miles to get warmed up.
In 1939, at the age of 15, Eileen Sheridan joined the Coventry Cycling Club. As a club member she went touring and rode club rides. She didn't have any interest in racing at this time. She said: "It is on club runs that the club spirit is found, if they have a spirit at all, and retained for all time. Coventry club runs number among the happiest moments in my life."
A 25 mile time trial, run by the Birmingham Time Trial Association, in 1945 was Eileen's first race. She rode the 25 miles in 1 hour 7 minutes and 35 seconds. This time was good enough to win the event and break her club's record. Next she won the national time trial championship of a distance of 25 miles.
She won the women's British Best All-Rounder time trial competition in 1949 and 1950. Her ride in the Yorkshire Cycling Federation 12-hour race in September 1949 set a national record of 237.32 miles. In 1950 She won the national championships at 50 and 100 miles. Some of the records she broke were:
30 miles in 1948 at 1 hour 19 minutes and 28 seconds
50 miles in 1950 at 2 hours 14 minutes and 16 seconds
100 miles in 1950 at 4 hours 37 minutes and 53 seconds
Eileen Sheridan broke the record for Land's End to John O' Groats in 1954 with a time of 2 days, 11 hours and 7 minutes.Land's End to John o' Groats is the traversal of the whole length of the island of Great Britain between two extremities; in the southwest and northeast. The traditional distance by road is 874 miles (1,407 km) and takes most cyclists ten to fourteen days.
The cycling historian Bernard Thompson wrote:
- The 100-mile championship was introduced in 1950 and won by Eileen Sheridan, Coventry CC, with 4h 37m 53s. The reign of Eileen Sheridan had begun some five years earlier when in 1945 she won the 25-mile title with 1h 8m 38s, and although there had been many highly talented women time-triallists throughout the early years of the sport, it was Eileen Sheridan who set about pushing out the frontiers of women's records to the point of almost complete domination. [She] was a dainty lady and belied her strength and stamina. It was written in 1950 after Eileen Sheridan's second successive Best All-Rounder championship that "It may well be that Eileen Sheridan will go down in cycling history as the greatest of all women riders."
Wow! Pretty cool for a stay at home mom, huh? And yep, there's a book. I'm currently trying to get my hands on this one! I'll let you know how it is once I do.
Happy training to all you mommies out there~