Hi and welcome to our regular Spotlight On series, where we focus on understanding a little bit more about our athletes and coaches.
Today we are very happy to have you as our focus!
This year has been a very big year for you and our SWAS Royal Bikes cycling squad, can you give us a bit of a run down on what your involvement is and what big events you have been involved in this year?
It has been a crazy six months, but I feel like the year is just kicking off for junior racing. There are lots of big state level races on between now and September for the junior road riders; track, MTB and Tri season will follow on after that.
My particular involvement in the squad is to support each athlete in their own personal goals. That consists of writing their individual training programs, and making sure they are familiar with their race tactics, on-and-off the bike nutrition, recovery strategies, etc., so that they are at the top of their game for their goal races.
How many cyclist do you support and how long has the program been running?
I’m not sure how long the program has been running for; I have been helping to coach the SWAS juniors since September last year. The program selects six south west junior cyclists that are looking to improve their performance at a state level. This year we are lucky enough to have juniors from MTB, road, track, and Triathlon; it’s a wonderful mix.
What is it that you love about cycling?
So much. I love the bikes, the kits, the science, the community, the struggle, the elation. It’s a hard sport physically and mentally; but that’s the beauty of it.
If you couldn’t be involved in cycling any more do you have any other sporting passions?
I grew up playing tennis, it’s a fantastic game; it’d like to get back into it one day.
Do you have any sporting heroes, or any particularly special memories?
Personally I’ve never really had any sporting heroes, they are all just everyday people that chose to work harder than everyone else. I love to watch it when the “underdog” goes the extra mile in all of their training so that they beat the “gifted.”
Have you ever met any cycling celebrities?
It was pretty cool to have dinner with Peta Mullens earlier this year, she’s an inspiration and exceptional cyclist in both MTB and road. I’m pretty sure she would call herself a “celebrity”!
What lead you to become involved in cycling, have you always loved it?
I’ve always ridden, but mostly just casually. One of my fondest memories as a kid was racing my brother on our tricycles around the kitchen table; crit racing at its best. Dad often used to take me out before school for fitness, and then I used my bike to commute while I was in Melbourne studying. It’s only been in the last few years that I discovered racing, and while I’m off the bike my passion is to help others reach their goals.
In your career, if you could talk to your younger self, is there any advice you would give yourself?
Don’t be scared of failing, instead embrace it and see your set-backs as opportunities to learn.
Any major achievements that you are particularly proud of?
I do have various academic and sporting achievements, but what I’m most proud of is that I can be content with or without these awards. I now get my enjoyment and satisfaction from seeing others achieve their goals.
What is your favourite part about being a coach?
That I get to do life with other people, to see them through the highs and lows, and just be there for them in whatever way they need; it’s a privilege. I also love the detail and numbers behind the sport, the strategy, the analytics, the programming, the experimenting, I love finding all those areas where you can get 1% gains.
Is cycling an expensive sport to be involved in? For someone starting out, what would they need to have to be able to become a part of it?
It can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it. You can get fit on any backyard beat-up, but if you want to be competitive then at some point you do need to fork out for a nice rig and set of race wheels. I think we all wished we had a money tree.
How is Warrnambool in relation to other areas? What is particularly supportive OR good for local cyclists and cycling in general?
Warrnambool is a great place to live and train, it’s very easy to access country roads for training rides, and your training partners often live just around the corner. There are many groups that leave in the morning that people can join in with. Unfortunately our MTB trails are limited, and there is no velodrome in Warrnambool, and this does make it hard for some disciplines of cycling. But if there’s a will there’s a way.
Is your training and events local, or does it involve a lot of travel to become successful?
Training is predominantly local, although it can be very beneficial to make the odd trip to the Grampians to get some hill training in as it is very flat around here. Many events, especially the larger state level events do involve a lot of travelling. Aspiring road, track, and MTBers commonly have to travel to Melbourne, Geelong and Bendigo; it’s great when the juniors can car pool.
If you were trying to convince someone of the benefits of the SWAS program, what would you say that SWAS is good at providing for our younger cyclists?
It provides so much! I think it’s invaluable to be able to train and journey with like-minded people. To rock up to the start line with your training partner who you know has your back is gold. SWAS provides detailed individualised cycling programs and cycling specific strength training, as well as sports nutrition, sports psychology, race strategy, and practical workshops. It’s for juniors looking to take cycling to the next level.
And lastly is there anyone you would like to thank?
Of course, firstly Nic Kaiser for providing me with the opportunity to coach the juniors and supporting me as a coach. My husband, Shaun King, for always encouraging me and believing in me. Lastly, the cycling community in the region; you genuinely care for and support the local up-and-coming juniors. Thank you!
Thank you for being a part of our program, we wish you continued success!