Carla is a Clinical Psychologist, queer vegan and a lover of all things outdoors; adventurer, runner, endurance cyclist and lapsed climber based near the Peak District in the UK. She is an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities taking up space in the outdoors and is a committee member with the awesome Peak Queer Adventures (PQA) based in Sheffield and member of the Women of Colour Cycling Collective (WCCC).
Carla’s love of the outdoors started from an early age, however gender roles and expectations sadly stopped her from fully embracing that love as a teenager. She reconnected with the outdoors and solo adventures after moving to North Wales to undertake her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in her mid-twenties, and hasn’t looked back.
She was awarded the Ultra Distance Scholarship in 2021, which is aimed at increasing representation of BAME cyclists in ultra distance cycling and getting them to the start line of an ultra distance race, a typically overwhelmingly white and male niche of cycling.
This amazing opportunity has been life-changing and she’s gone from not being confident at all in her cycling abilities, to cycling 500km off road from Edinburgh to Manchester, her longest, hardest ride to date. She’s met the most amazing people, grown in confidence and felt like she’s found her people.
She started an Instagram account after winning the Scholarship, to document her journey from (almost couch) to 2000km with the hope of inspiring queer people and people of colour, particularly black womxn, to get on their bikes and enjoy nature.
You can find her at @acurlyoutdoors; check out Peak Queer Adventures at @peakqueeradventures and the Women of Colour Cycling Collective at @wccc_uk.
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out.
Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges. Visit www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast and support. Thank you.
Listen to Carla Now!
Click here if you can't see the link below.
Who is Carla
What she loves
Being based in the Peak District, UK
Wanting to encourage others to take up space in the outdoors
Her early years and growing up with a passion for the outdoors
Getting to explore in the woods
Her love of nature and wanting to protect the environment
Not feeling comfortable in secondary school with her body and spending time in the outdoors
Training to be a Clinical Psychologist in North Wales
Going out early in the morning to avoid people
Spending time in the mountains
Feeling the fear and doing it anyway
The Devils Kitchen - located behind Llyn Idwal nestled within Cwm Idwal in the Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia National Park.
Gaining new skills and knowledge
Thinking about becoming a Mountain Leader (ML) but not seeing herself represented and not feeling comfortable
Recording good quality mountain days and keeping a track of what she was doing
Getting new gear
Looking for opportunities in the mountains
Getting into wild camping, trail running and climbing
Finding community and connecting with other people who are interested in the outdoors
Enjoying spending time on her own
Meditation through movement
Getting into cycling and connecting with the cycling community
The Ultra Distance Scholarship An initiative increasing diversity and representation within ultra distance cycling and racing
Being inspired by Vera Ngosi-Sambrook
The power of taking action
The reality of taking on an ultra cycling challenge
Focused training from November 2021 - August 2022
Dealing with injuries and saddle sores
Wanting to do long rides with other people
Using instagram to reach out and connect with people
Learning how to cycle off road
The Pennine Rally - 100 riders, 500 kilometres and five days of testing off-road riding from Edinburgh to Manchester down Britain’s backbone.
Fuelling as a vegan
Outdoor Provisions make Natural Energy Bars & Nut Butters - Use code TRYOP for 25% off Starter Packs
Accidental vegan food
Being on the start line and what the rally was like
Cycling approx 100k per day
The impact on her confidence after completing the rally
Dealing with the low points and self doubt
Mental resilience and the mental challenge of taking on a challenge
Drawing on her skills and knowledge from working as a Clinical Psychologist
Using the grounding technique
The power of music to change your mood
Dealing with her nerves
Being optimistic and calm
Giving herself permission to get off and push if she needed to
Taking the pressure off
Plans for 2023 and wanting to do an ultra cycling race
How to connect with Carla
Her beautiful bike - “Betty”
Final words of advice
The power of finding your people, your tribe and your community
Sharing your passion with other people
Getting into climbing via taster days
Feeling inspired week after week?
You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!
Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode
If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!
Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love.
Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!
Want to do more?
Please become a Patron and donate US$5 a month to help fund the runnings costs. Thank you.