“My Love for Cycling & Running Changed My Life”
21 year old Chimi Dema is passionate about cycling and running, and she finds it surprising that there are rarely other girls in the many marathons and cycling tournaments she often participates in.
Written by Sonam Pelden Supported by the Women in Sports Committee, BOC
Chimi was 19 when her father suggested she try the DANTAK cycling race and she learned how to ride a bicycle for the first time in her life. She has not stopped since and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon either. She’s been running marathons for almost five years and cycling for two years.
Chimi starts her day early at 5:30am with a morning run from her University dorm, Royal Thimphu Collge to Babesa highway; getting back just in time for a quick breakfast. She then has her classes from ten am to four pm, after which she ends her day with another evening jog. Being a serious cyclist and runner means hours of trainings and very little time to let loose but that’s just the way Chimi likes it. Infact she says a lot of good things come as a bonus: a healthy toned body, glowing skin and all most important of all discipline. “Sports actually is a very simple way to keep healthy. I see a lot of women use expensive face products but if you keep yourself physically active and watch your diet you wouldn’t need much of those things.”
For her winning the first DANTAK cycling race had sparked a passion in her for cycling. With her father being her biggest supporter besides also being her coach, nutritionist and manager, Chimi had no problem pursuing her dreams. She’s been able to inspire and persuade few people in her life to run as well. Her own father being her biggest success in that, he recently ran a 22 km run. Chimi wishes girls were as easily motivated as the boys for physical activities. Of all the races that she’s been in, there has rarely been another girl other than herself competing. “I do feel a little intimidated but I feel more proud because being a girl I ride the same distance and overcome the same challenges as the boys.”
Chimi remembers her fond memories of receiving a carbon cycle as a gift from His Majesty for winning the two days Laya run of fifty three kms. Chimi plans to own a running club someday to encourage more girls to pursue sports, probably after she graduates.