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heyhello 01-15-13 11:04 AM

Aspiring female cyclist...

erig007 01-15-13 11:26 AM


Originally Posted by heyhello (Post 15159501)
Hi everyone, I'm new on here and just wanted to ask a few questions and I thought this would be a good place to ask, but first, a bit about me...

I'm a 16 year old girl and from the UK, I've never been interested in cycling or even considered a career in any sport, I watched sport for fun but that was as far as it stretched. I have never been a sporty person.

However, back in august I was watching the Olympics, I've never watched any cycling before and didn't know any of the competitors but I somehow ended up 'channel flicking' and came across the track cycling. Like I said, I didn't have a clue what was going on or who these people were, but it looked amazing. Just watching through a TV, I could feel the fear, the speed, the adrenaline, and the pride...I just though 'I want to do that.' It sounds cheesy but I really can't explain what it felt like! Other than, the next morning I dragged my dads old bike out of the shed and took it for a ride!

I struggled on for 5 miles, that was my absolute limit! I was unfit, slow and walked up a few hills, but it still felt good.
I woke up the next day aching like crazy, but I dragged myself up and rode the bike again, I carried this on for a couple of weeks, just wanting to experience what it was like.

I finally saved enough money to buy a road bike, it was budget, but it was my bike, and I love my bike :)

So, I took the road bike on some rides, still struggling, especially with hills but I did my best.

I attempted a hill climb TT around a month after I started in September, with very little training I was totally out of my depth and surrounded by the 'professionals' and many others my age who had being doing this almost their entire lives. It was tough, it hurt, but all I aimed for was to finish, to get to the top of that hill without getting off. I did it, and the pain was worth it, I felt brilliant when I reached the top!

After, I decided to join a club, who ran weekly training sessions. At first, I was out of my depth, even the slowest riders were way too fast and I struggled a lot, being the only girl I did feel slightly disheartened also.

I also joined a 'youth training club', training with others my age, the first months were horrible, I was constantly dropped and beaten by kids, some even younger than me! I felt embarrased and wanted to quit.


I'll skip to where I am now.
I didn't quit, I kept going because I realised that this was my dream and what I felt at the Olympics is why I kept going, that feeling. And the enjoyment I feel when I'm out on my bike outweighs the struggle and embarrasment I sometimes face.

Right now I train 6 days a week. I kept on with the youth sessions, I'm now able to keep up with most of the group and aiming towards the faster riders. I don't get dropped anymore, and I know how to fight on and get back in the main group. i know how to corner, sprint, and I have improved an awful lot!

I kept on with the club sessions, I can now easily keep up with the slower riders and have moved up to the fastest group, which is a struggle, but worth it.

I've had a go at the velodrome and progressed from being totally scared of the track to dropping from the bankings, gaining speed an learning how to ride wheels etc.

I have gone from struggling at 5 miles to being able to ride 30+ miles at a decent pace, with ease. I can't even begin to explain how much progress I have made...not to mention, I'm still absolutely loving it and can't think of a better way to spend my time!

I race my first real road race/circuit on 26th January which I look forward to the experience. This year I aim to grab every opportunity of competition so I gain that experience.

.................................................................................................... ......................

The thing is,
That feeling back at the Olympics, that was why I started, that was what I wanted to do, the dream is still there, very much so, and I will do anything I can to fulfill it.

My overall aim is 'To become a professional cyclist', road is my main passion, to compete, to travel, to push myself and to win! I just have one question...If I work hard enough, and just keep moving forward, could I achieve this? Or is it too big of a dream?

You should do a check up of your heart in order to see if everything is fine.

Here are a few questions that you should ask yourself:
What does your family says about it as it is usually a team work?
If you didn't succeed in it what would you do in terms of work? To achieve this what study do you need to do? Can you combine both or are you ready to put that aside temporarily? What are your priorities?
How do you plan to become a professional cyclist? What are your steps?

There is a professional subforum you can find useful info there

Keith99 01-15-13 03:01 PM


Originally Posted by heyhello (Post 15159501)
.................................................................................................... ......................

The thing is,
That feeling back at the Olympics, that was why I started, that was what I wanted to do, the dream is still there, very much so, and I will do anything I can to fulfill it.

My overall aim is 'To become a professional cyclist', road is my main passion, to compete, to travel, to push myself and to win! I just have one question...If I work hard enough, and just keep moving forward, could I achieve this? Or is it too big of a dream?

Too big a dream? No.

It is the same dream that the vast majority of those who make it start with.

IF this was your dream for a better life (as many have with Football, either soccer or gridiron) then I'd say it is a foolish dream. But it sounds like yuo are enjoying what you are doing. I'd also bet you will stay involved enough and work hard enough that you get to meet top level cyclists as a cyclist rather than a fan. That can be rewarding in and of itself.

From What I can see I'd say dream your dream. Give it your best shot. I hope it comes true. But be ready for it to fall at least a bit short, and be aware that at some point there will be a time to hang it up when it comes to competing, and that holds even if you are a 3 time Olympic gold medalist. Follow the dream, but don't let it become an obsession unless it is working.

hybridbkrdr 01-15-13 03:46 PM

This may not apply to you as much because I was a runner. Everything went well when I ran 29 miles a week when I was 15. When I rammed my mileage up to 53 miles a week at 16 and raced a lot, things started going downhill. I quit but later read the Bob Kennedy had only run up to 35 miles a week under the age of 18. He increased that to 50 miles a week in college.

But, long story short, I later heard stories on former competitors I found a little sad. In my opinion, a dream seems like a cool thing until you hear about people who nearly lived for their sport only to neglect getting a professional career, getting divorced, injured etc.

As far as running is concerned, I can understand someone being recreationaly competitive at 25 to 35 miles a week between the ages of 15 to 25 or whatever. But those who do 50 to 80 miles a week to be competitive in my opinion are missing out on life. And another thing, going to the Olympics is one thing. Going for 3 Olympics to me is an obsession.

RobertL 01-15-13 04:20 PM

HeyHello, Aim high and have fun!

Set some goals/milestones to document your progress, you'll soon know if you are one of the .00001% of cyclists that might be able to ride as a professional or Olympian. If it's not to be, you are still having fun in a great and healthy activity.

ericzamora 01-15-13 05:44 PM

16? Sounds like a great dream for this time of your life. Proceed!!! But just be open to dreams changing over time. And welcome the changes.

fresno, ca.

Ess curvy 01-15-13 06:24 PM

I'm a youth soccer (football) coach, and I'll say it over and over, "Do it for the love of it!" Implicit therein is the sad reality that there are so many more people who want to do exactly what you're considering, pro sports, than there are pro sport jobs to be had, that most aspiring pro athletes never make it. Many of them don't have a back up plan, as the previous reply pointed out, and when that cut comes, they have no where to fall and that hurts more than just the pride.

Another hidden concept is that whatever you do in life, do it for the love of it, because if you go pro, it WILL be your JOB, and you'll have to be comfy doing it 6 days per week, whether you want to or not, week after week after week, even when it's raining and pissing sleet, and you've just fallen and gotten really banged up. So many other aspiring cyclists will be eagerly waiting on the sidelines for you to fail so they can jump in and fill your spot that the ONLY way to keep your job will be by being 120% committed AND by being a 1 in a million athlete. There's a saying that goes something like, "Follow your heart, and the money will follow." That in your heart of hearts love is what it takes to persevere through the difficulties that pro sports holds.

If you make it as a pro, at some point, you'll probably come to a crossroads where you're not sure if you're doing it for the money or the love of cycling, and that is the place where your avocation has become your vocation and the riding part of cycling really ain't going to be the same kind of fun it is right now. It will be hugely important for you to figure out if you want to go pro for the pure joy of riding, the science and methodology of cycling, the competition, the recognition, the goal setting, the lifestyle, or the money, because in that short list are a couple of things that can only be fulfilled by going pro, and a bunch of others that can be just as easily, and probably more so, fulfilled by any other "normal" profession and/or non-professional riding.

To get there, you will have to become very good at managing and mastering your performance statistics, and at properly comparing them to those of your competition. Once you've got that all important data, you will have to be very honest with yourself as to what those stats truly mean: Are you good enough to cut it or not? Or maybe you're so good that you should aim to skip a Cat rating or apply for a spot in a more major event. The Greeks were on to the right stuff when they espoused "Sound body, sound mind."

If you can't tell, in our soccer club, we try to build life long soccer players.

Good luck, ride, ride, ride for the sheer fun and thrill of it (nothing else is quite the same), and keep that rubber side down!

ka0use 01-15-13 08:33 PM

you go, girl!

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