#SUFSTORIES - Liz Johns
LIZ JOHNS: DISCOVERING THE INNER SUFFERLANDRIAN
Meet Dame Liz, the first woman to ever complete a Knighthood. Such an accomplishment may lead you to think she is one of those hard-core athletes, those pedal-stomping valkyries whose wheel you desperately try to hold in Hell Hath No Fury.
You might think that, but the Knights of Sufferlandria come in many glorious forms.
CHANGING WHAT'S POSSIBLE
Though she played sport at university, the realities of office life took their toll, and Liz found herself looking to regain a modicum of her former fitness.
Parts of her story are common: realise a life change is necessary; get a spin bike; try working out to music. Get bored. Search internet. Find some Suffer-thingy video. Think, "Well, this Revolver one is only 45 minutes. How hard can it be?" Suffer like a dog. Think you're going to die. Fear you won't die and the Suffering will never end. Survive. Kind of like it.
But parts of her story are not so common. She wasn't pursuing victory in a race like so many Sufferlandrian cyclists do. Rather, she was pursuing something even more difficult — victory over herself in order to bring a healthy lifestyle back into her life. Despite having little in the way of fitness — and no cycling experience — she not only stuck with it, but became an integral part of that still-fledgling community of diehards who began to refer to themselves as "Sufferlandrians". Through Suffering, she found within herself a steely resolve and determination she didn't realise she had.
How far could she push herself? Just what was she capable of?
FOREVER THE FIRST
Liz was going to find out. Less than two years after turning her first pedal over, she set out to do the impossible: the fabled Knighthood Quest. No woman had ever completed the feat of ten back-to-back Sufferfest videos before. And a woman who wasn't even a cyclist?! No chance!
But Liz wanted it. And she wasn't just doing it for herself. She used the ride to raise money for WaterAid, a charity whose aim is to provide clean, safe drinking water to some of the world's most impoverished people. With this as motivation, and in front of a crowd of supporters at a local community centre, Liz did what many have tried to do and failed.
The Knighthood has a way of transforming a person, and Liz is no exception. With that accomplishment behind her, she began to cycle and run outdoors, and has ridden the 9-day Tour of Sufferlandria multiple times. She's also become an inspiration to others as one of the most active and supportive members of a Sufferlandrian community that is now orders of magnitude larger than it was that fateful day when she first hit 'play' on Revolver. To boot, there are now nearly 100 women who have followed in Liz's footsteps, each proudly calling themselves a Dame. And if, as someone once said, that love is suffering, then sometimes suffering can bring love. Liz met her partner, Matt, through the community of Sufferlandrians and their mutual love of Suffering.