Q: On a lighter note, aside from pizza, what’s your next favourite recovery meal?
A: I’m a sushi fan. Awesome healing powers. Burritos are great, too. Seeing as those are largely not accessible options at the immediate end of a race, especially in European competitions, I’ll go with chocolate milk and bananas.
Q: Towards the end of As Good As Gold, you had a race schedule of 13 events in 3 weeks. That’s a LOT of cycling, not to mention the travel between countries. In your training and racing, how do you prevent burnout and stay injury free?
A: It’s all about the Big Picture. Travel is hard and time zones are not always our friends, but when I’m drifting in and out of REM state on an airport floor in somewhere in the middle of rural Colombia, I try to remember how lucky I am to live this life of athleticism and exploration. It all comes down to perspective. As for burnout and injury free living, I firmly believe in taking two months off in Nov and Dec. I still move my body, but I don’t train. At 37, this helps more than hinders.
Q: Looking all of the setbacks your quest for the Beijing 2008 games – the exhaustion, the rejection, being pushed out of the running for qualifying points – there were several times when it appeared you weren’t going to get to the Olympics at all. I’m sure a lot of people would have given up. You however, are one of the most persistent people I know! What sort of mental strategies do you use to block the negativity out and keep yourself moving forward?
A: Again, the Big Picture. I was given a chance to see if I could get to the Olympics, with all finances covered. To give up would have been a slap in the face to every athlete out there struggling their way to greatness. And there’s a lot of them! I know because I was one. And then I got a huge gift that merged my two passions, sport and writing. Giving up never entered the picture.
Q: From the beginning of the book, you make it very clear that earning a living as an athlete is not as glamorous as most people think. Aside from this, is there anything else you wish the general population knew about what it’s like to be a professional cyclist chasing Olympic dreams?
A: There are a lot of stories to tell in that regard. I could go on and on about the struggles female cyclists face in terms of salaries and equality and politics, so I’ll cover it with one blanket statement: getting to the Olympics isn’t all about talent. There are a lot of hoops to jump through, and the current system for qualification in cycling needs an overhaul. I’m okay with the fact I didn’t make the Games, but I’m bothered how hard it is for some nations to break into cycling at the Olympic level. The current system under the UCI and IOC does not make it viable for smaller nations or poorer countries to get their deserving athletes to the Games. I have ideas on how to change that, but as always, the hard part will be finding people who will listen to me yammer on.
Q: In your downtime, (that is, if you have any), how do you relax?
A: Still searching for that answer. Love reading and watching indie films, but when they’re really good, it just gets me all fired up again.
Q: What’s up next on your race calendar?
A: World Championships are in Limburg, Holland. I race Sept 18 and 22nd in the time trial and road race. After that, my husband and I are going to cycle–recreationally!–in Italy to take in the sights. And then I’ll shut ‘er down for the season.
Q: Do you have any words of wisdom to offer other women that dream of rising to the top of their sports?
In the words of Nike (likely the ad department and not the goddess): Just do it. I really believe all we’re supposed to do in life is try. Start the journey and don’t worry if you make it or not. Don’t be afraid of failing, it doesn’t really exist. Trying always trumps failure.
Photo Credit: Shelley Welander. Click for source.
And now, for the giveaway!
Today I’m ‘paving it forward’ and giving you the chance to win As Good As Gold. Since the intention is to see how far around the world we can get the book to go, I’m opening this giveaway up to EVERYBODY. No matter where you live, I will send it your way! In true ‘pave it forward’ fashion, the winner should be willing to keep the book moving after they finish it. Of course, if you absolutely can’t wait and need to have it now (trust me, you’ll love it), you can head over to either Amazon.com or iTunes .
In order to enter, please comment below and answer the following question:In her first attempt at qualifying for the summer Olympics, Kathryn attempts the modern pentathlon: cross country running, swimming, fencing, horseback riding, and pistol shooting. If you could create and compete in your own pentathlon, which events would be included?
This giveaway is open until this Thursday, September 13th at midnight EST, and the winner will be announced in Friday morning’s post.
Alright, ready? Steady? GO!