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May 23, 2020 9 min read

Sophie Radcliffe is an adventurer, endurance athlete, blogger and a motivational speaker who ison a mission to empower self-belief, motivation and a life without limits! 

We met Sophie in the Alps a few years back on a retreat for digital nomads and have been inspired by her ever since so we caught up with her to see what life is like in the world of ‘One Life… Live it!’ 

Tell us a little about yourself – Who is Sophie Radcliffe?

I am an adventure athlete, blogger, and motivational speaker and also the founder of TrialBlazers which is a project to build confidence and courage in teenage girls. I am super passionate about challenging yourself and the idea that if you challenge yourself you can change your mindset and you can, therefore, change your life. 


I think thatdeep down we all want to believe in ourselves, we all want to feel confident and have the courage to be ourselves and I think a lot of areas of our lives do not really give us the opportunity to do that and to feel that way. What I found through adventure and through adventure sports and challenging myself is that it has not only given me permission to be myself but it has shown me that I can achieve phenomenal things with my body and the power of my mind when I am being myself! 

I love being outside and feeling free and empowered. I just love riding my bike and going for hikes and climbing mountains and seeing sunrises and sunsets, I just think there are so many amazing things that we can all experience from the outdoors and from being in nature and sometimes that adversity that we get through challenges and adventures that test us and show us who we are.

So basically my story is that I used to have an office job in London running a sales team in a tech start-up and I felt very unfulfilled and bored and ‘this isn’t my life’ and I wanted to create a new story. I was looking at Instagram and dreaming of all these adventures and different ways I could live my life and seeing people doing such amazing things so one day I decided to go and pursue my dreams, to see if I could make my dream life come true. I was really driven by the desire to do something impactful with my life, to make a difference with my time, with my career for this planet, and to help people. By challenging myself and learning what I learned, I can then share this journey with other people and help them challenge themselves too, and together we can liberate ourselves from these anxieties and lack of belief. So yeah,  that created the foundations for Challenge Sophie, giving people the tools and support to go and live life a different way, to challenge yourself, to face your fears and get outside your comfort zone and find out all that life has to offer and find out how you can be the best version of yourself. 

Tell us about London to Paris? 


London to Paris was one of my very first challenges, I did it back in 2009 and it was a wild idea. My grandmother lives in Paris and I was very new in my journey to doing these adventures and challenges and I had only just got my bike and cycled a few miles and I just thought ‘oh i wonder if we could cycle London to Paris in 24 hours?’  For me it’s that thing where you find out something that is difficult and scary which gives you that heady mix of being absolutely terrified but also feeling incredibly excited, knowing that if you completed it it would be the most incredible thing ever! That's what I want to conjure up and create these opportunities for people! Yeah,  it is daunting, it is hard but if you do it it will change your life because you will just feel EPIC! You will feel so empowered in yourself. 

So having done that challenge quite a few times on my own and with various groups of friends, I decided to put this event together, the LTP 24 which is now in its 6th year and every year about 100 - 150 people from my community come from all over the world and we meet in London at 3 pm on Saturday and we head off and cycle to Paris. My team organizes all the logistics and the support and so it's like a family event, everyone is really well looked after. It is interesting because everyone arrives with the same inhibitions; that they might be the only one that will find it hard or feel that they don’t feel like a cyclist or look like a cyclist or whatever it is and then they get there and realize that everyone feels the same and they are all immediately part of this amazing community of people who want to do something incredible with their lives for various reasons and also want to support each other to do that! It really is such an amazing weekend. It's so inspiring to see what has made people come and join this event and then what they have gone on to do afterward!  

What I also find so incredible is that normally in our lives 24 hours goes by in a blink of an eye and I think to go and show yourself what you can achieve in 24 hours is why it is such a game-changer. As you look back on your way home and say to yourself‘hold on a sec, did I really just do that?’ and that changes you, you can back yourself, you have that confidence, you know you pushed through when it got really hard and you didn’t stop. 

So how did you first get into endurance sports? 


I have always loved sport but I was never ‘sporty’ at school. I went to school in central London which was really small and had zero sports facilities, so I was pretty bad at all of the sports and my family are not sporty or adventurous or anything, so it was a desire to challenge myself when I graduated from University. I think I have always had this ambition in me to do something amazing and for me, the idea of swimming the channel or climbing mount everest, you read all these books when you are growing up and that really ignited the fire inside me to want to go and do something myself! 

When I was 22 in my first job out of uni, living and working in London I was looking for something to plug my energy into, something where I could grow or learn. The first thing I went to go and do was an adventure race in the Jungle in Borneo and I loved it and I felt this real passion for pushing myself physically and mentally and also I had this incredible time at the same time, learning the most amazing things about yourself whilst also going to beautiful places and meeting new people. 

What projects or adventures are you currently working on?

I recently renovated my beautiful van, I am sitting in it right now it is called the One Life Van, it’s got its own little Instagram account! Last year I bought this van and completely custom-built it with a team, it's very mountain themed and I love it so much! My plan was to go traveling around Europe this Summer but that's not going to happen now so I am going to go on some adventures in the UK, take it up to Scotland and along the coast and learn to surf and ride my bike and just have fun adventures in the van! 
 

Which brands do you currently work with?

I am currently working with Special K and that is all about empowering women, and ‘Powering You.’  Through the campaign I am doing with them I mentor people and go and train them to run marathons and we do a lot of mindset work and it is all about creating communities to support each other so that has been really cool! 

Who are your heroines?

Chrissie Wellington is a huge inspiration of mine! Bethany Hamilton and her recent documentary on Netflix,  Unstoppable is just incredible, that desire to just keep going no matter what comes in your way is just unbelievable. I absolutely love Sky Brown the skateboarder right now too, what she is doing is just amazing! It is just wonderful to see so many women coming up and pushing the boundaries of women’s sport especially when they do things a little differently. 

What has been your most challenging challenge to date?


Back in 2015 I did the Alpine Coast to Coast which was a challenge that I came up with. The plan was to climb the highest mountains in Europe and cycle between them. I was living in Chamonix and I love the Alps and I had recently done the three peaks cycle challenge a year before and for me between cycling and climbing mountains I found I could get so much more out of my body. I was cycling, getting to the limit of what I could do but then getting off and hiking a mountain and finding I could do more. So I thought what else could I do and I was feeling really ready to do something bigger than I had ever done before. I had just quit my job, I had moved to Chamonix and was in that phase of my life where I tore up the rule book and went for it! 


I started in Slovenia in August, then into Austria, Germany, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Monaco. There were a couple of 4000m peaks in there and I had an accident on Mont Blanc where I had to go back down and then go back up again. We had a snowstorm on the summit it was -15 which was really challenging. I had a couple of rest days in the whole month but I was either cycling 150km’s a day on my bike through the Alps or climbing up one of the highest mountains in Europe. It absolutely blew my mind, I have never felt so alive! You are so out there in the elements which is different to a one-day bike ride or a two-day hike when you are constantly out there on your mission- and my mission was to find out what I could achieve for myself with the power of my mind - I thought it was remarkable and it changed my entire life! The downpours, the rainbows, the sunsets, and sunrises are just the most magnificent things the world has to offer and I just really love it, it really lights me up! 


Now I can always look back on myself and back myself up, I will always be that girl that climbed those mountains and cycled across those countries and think,‘if she can do that then I can get through this.’For me, being strong in myself is the most important thing, that is what is going to get me through life. 

How did you go about training for that? 

I really just went for it, I did a couple of training rides in the Alps, but I had spent a few years just building up mental endurance through bike rides, climbing Mont Blanc. So I just went for it, got on my bike, and started riding so being able to do that was quite phenomenal! 

What are the top 3 bits of kit you wouldn’t go on an adventure without?

I love this question! I love a down jacket, it is really important to me because even if you are out there doing gnarly or extreme adventures, for me to have that sense of comfiness or coziness is super important. I love taking my Go Pro so I can take action shots. And finally a great backpack that fits really comfy! I am a big fan of colours so I always love to have a bright backpack with all the pockets to access everything! 

Have you got any advice for women trying to build confidence to try a new sport, adventure or new sporting goal?


For me confidence is a fluid line, it is not something that we arrive at and we have and stick with, it is being able to back yourself and being able to have confidence in your ability to problem-solve. For example, if you want to feel more confident and you want to try a new sport and you are thinking of all the reasons and ‘what if’s’… what if I can’t do it? What if I don’t have the right kit? What if I don't look the part? What if people laugh at me? Sometimes these are very valid things because we might have had experiences in our pasts where people have been mean or not encouraging so it’s about focusing on all the ‘imagine if’s’… imagine you discovered an amazing gift you had? imagine if you discovered something you really loved? Imagine if you met a new friend, and you felt so alive and free and empowered and that changes the way you feel about your life and your relationship with yourself. It’s about looking at all those magical things that can come from challenging yourself. 


Sophie really is so full of life and one of the most inspirational and motivating women we have had the pleasure to interview! To follow Sophie’s journey check her out on Instagram and her website.

 

 


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