It’s not often that nuns get a mention in the world of pro cycling. Emma Pooley — who rides for Team Specialized and is a contender for the British Olympics cycling team — details her experience riding the Tour de l’Aude on Cycling Weekly’s blog. Here’s a snippet of her post:

Emma PooleyStage 1, Gruissan, 3.9 km prologue
Friday, May 16

It wasn’t an overly technical course but I cornered like a nun in a habit (actually that’s not fair; a nun would at least have had faith), and in a short little time trial like that you can lose a lot of time…

Sadly I could not comment on the post because no comments are allowed. So I will write my comment on my own blog. 

Dear Emma,

First and foremost, congratulations on being a top cyclist! Your diary about riding the Tour de L’Aude inspires me to keep pushing through my own difficult rides. And congrats on being in the top 10 at the Montreal World Cup. Way to go!

Now, regarding your comment about having “cornered like a nun in a habit,” permit me to offer a few comments.

As a Catholic nun and road biker, I find that most cycling nuns (and there are a number of us, for example, visit Sister Sandy at Nunsuch blog) do not wear a habit when riding. There are issues with chain grease getting all over our skirts, flying strings of rosary beads jamming our Campy drivetrain, heat rash from wearing the veil under our helmets, and other such inconveniences. Normally we wear the habit of a cyclist — a nice wicking jersey, classic spandex shorts, a sturdy yet lightweight helmet, and cushy gloves. Yes, we even have clipless cycling shoes and slick-looking sunglasses.

And when we do hit those technical corners, we rely not only on our faith but on our skill as cyclists. This skill far supercedes our choice of habit for the ride. Whether we are in nun habits or cycling habits, we know how take a corner. No flapping scapular is going to slow us down. So next time you write about a time when you really rocked it out and deftly handled technical corners, be sure to mention that indeed you rode “like a nun.”

Sister Julie