We cried with her on the podium as she clutched her gold medal at the Olympics – we were almost reaching for the tissues again after her first appearance on Strictly Come Dancing. Victoria Pendleton has come a long way this summer – not only retiring from her first and lifetime love of cycling and swapping her helmet for heels, but slipping effortlessly further into the public eye than she’s ever been.
It can’t be easy – and, despite throwing herself into training for more than 30 hours per week – she’s bravely admitted that, er, it really isn’t. But will those pesky spot-turns get in her way? Will they heck. ‘I was so annoyed with myself,’ Victoria admitted when Grazia caught up with her at Cycletta, the UK's leading series of women only bike rides, last week - pick up this week's issue for more of our exclusive chat. ‘But I’m not embarrassed about coming across as emotional or vulnerable at times. I’m proud that I can make people feel like I’m real.’
But has she had moments when she wishes she was still in the velodrome, not the ballroom? ‘Retiring is daunting,’ she says. ‘I have had moments of doubt thinking have I done the right thing? It’s crazy because I know that physically I know I could continue for another four years but it would be hard to manage my injuries. Also, I’ve been doing the same thing all my life, and I want to do something different.’
And since making that decision, things have been incredibly different for Victoria. Her autobiography, detailing harrowing details of her battle with self-harm, was released and instead of a rigorous training regime, she’s been thrown into Strictly and doing the charity work with Cycletta that she loves – and, let’s not forget, she’s got a wedding to focus on.
‘I’ve already picked out my wedding dress designer,’ she says, excitedly. ‘I’m going to go with Suzanne Neville, who has got a shop in Wilmslow which I’ve cycled past so many times and I’ve always thought, “Wow!”. I look at the dresses in the window and they’re just so beautiful; I’ve spoken to her directly. I barely tried on any dresses before I decided on what I wanted, and I’ve gone for something that is quite vintage and understated.’
Vintage and understated? Sounds right up our street, Victoria. We can’t wait to see the snaps!
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