Assistant Guide (Road Cycling Holidays)
What would you like to be when you grow up? A question often pondered as the younger years passed me by … and despite all the more sensible options, all I really wanted to do was ride my bike and live in the mountains.
Of course, to make this dream a reality, a plan had to be hatched: The bike bit was easy – I found my mum’s Raleigh Shopper in the garage and set about ‘tweaking’ with a bag of spanners. With the handlebars lowered and the sprung saddle set for optimal leg power output, I was well on my way. I started mountain bike racing as a teenager and after winning a few races, found myself in humble possession of the Junior National Champion’s jersey – what a moment. I’m not sure I ever did officially thank the Shopper creator for their contribution. The next five years were spent working in a local bike shop by day to fund the semi-professional cycling career by evening. I was the proverbial ‘kid in a sweetshop’ and loved every moment.
As the years passed after my ‘racing retirement’, inevitably a new challenge was required, which is when I found Marmot Tours. The Raid Pyrenean was an absolutely amazing experience and one of many challenges I intended to complete before I hang up those cycling shoes.
So that was one part of the childhood dream realised … but growing up on the south coast of England posed a slight problem – an area not known for its mountainous landscape, there was only one thing that could be done to feed the hunger for the great outdoors: a visit with my tent, sleeping bag and the kitchen sink to my spiritual home in the Lake District. The first trip didn’t start well. As my dad lifted my over-sized comedy rucksack on my back, I promptly fell backwards, lying on the lounge floor like an upturned turtle! Hmmm, something had to be done – not the image of the mountaineer I had envisaged for myself.
Fast forward a few years (well maybe twenty or so) and I am pleased to report that the upturned turtle managed to overcome the ‘packing issue’ and summit some of Europe’s highest mountains, trek in the Nepalese foothills of Annapurna and continue the quest to bag those evasive ‘Wainwrights’.
Inspired by tunes of yesteryear on the portable cassette player, a rock band once sung to me that ‘life’s a journey, not a destination’, so I continue to ride my bike in the mountains and sometimes find it hard to harness my enthusiasm when sharing this passion with others. Maybe one day I’ll decide what I really want to do when I grow up, but in the meantime, I hope I can join you, on your journey, along the way.
What our cyclists say about Sharon…
Huge support through the toughest times in the harsh weather we encountered. Thank you! R Reynolds Raid Pyrenean coast-to-coast cycling challenge 2018
Great that Sharon had done the Raid and could share her experiences and empathise with our grumbles !! Both guides were in the right place at the right time, really excellent support just when needed. I Gillott Raid Pyrenean 2018
Sharon really lit up the trip with her enthusiasm and sunny disposition. She has such a genuine smile that really lifts everyone around her. Sharon couldn’t have done more for us. M Firth Raid Pyrenean 100hr cycling challenge 2018
Unrelentingly high levels of support and encouragement. D Green Classic Cols of the Pyrenees 2018
Sharon was a great guide with a genuine passion for the role. Sharon worked tirelessly from first light right through the day. The hire bikes were looked after meticulously after several wet days on the road. She was also a really calm presence and she and Tim made a first-class team. G Borton. Raid Massif Central – cycling challenge in France 2019
Sharon was great. Helpful, approachable and always doing her very best to fix problems as they arose. An asset to Marmot. P Clark. Raid du Massif Central 2019
Super knowledgeable, fun, friendly and professional. Incredibly hard-working, a credit to the Marmot team. J Hallett. Cycling holiday in the Dolomites and Stelvio regions of Italy 2019