Now you can read Loes Gunnewijk’s advice on winning Drenthe, & more!

Podcast interview logoYesterday I put up my podcast interview with Classics star and cycling tactical genius Loes Gunnewijk, and I know I’m biased, but you should really head over and listen to that, because I love the way Loes talks about winning Classics, her London Olympic experience, and the sheer enjoyment in her voice when she talks about racing on tough cobbles in cold, windy, nasty weather!

But because I know you’re not all podcast people, I’ve adapted parts of it below for you to read, including her tips for racing the Classics, the problems for the Dutch at the Olympics, her descriptions of the Spring World Tour races, retiring from cycling and more.

It doesn’t have everything, so you’ll have to listen for Loes’ experiences on the UCI Directeur Sportif course, and tons more.  And with the second Women’s World Tour race, the Ronde van Drenthe taking place tomorrow, we’ll start with her talking about racing – and winning – at Drenthe.

Spring Classics

ProWomensCycling:  We’re in one of the most exciting times of the year, right at the beginning of the season. I always thought of you as a Classics rider, but I look at your palmares and you were good at all kinds of races.  Which did you like best?

LG:  Spring Classics! I love them, especially when you have spring weather – and my spring weather is different from what a lot of people would call nice spring weather!  My ideal spring racing weather is 6-8º, windy, maybe a little bit of rain.  Especially for the races with cobbled sections, that’s wonderful.  It has to be cold and windy – not sunny, calm and 15º, that’s for summer style.

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A collection of posts about women and sports

I’ve had this post in draft for the last month, and every time I’ve been about to post it, I’ve seen something new.  But I should just press “publish” now – it’s a collection of things I’ve seen in the last month about women and sports, with an emphasis on cycling, of course!

There was a lot of talk about women and sports and equality recently, and my favourite was this piece by Hadley Freeman in the Guardian:  Female athletes stealing from men?  I call it equal pay.  It’s a pithy, witty, and righteously angry response to some really stupid commentary that we can’t give parity to women as it would hurt men somehow.  Click through, you won’t regret it.

Here’s a great tweet about the issue in cyclocross

And some really interesting information about the Basque campaign for equality for women’s cycling.

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While equal pay is a huge issue in women’s sports in most of the world, it’s important to me to remember that just riding a bike is a right not all women share.  So I’m always heartened by articles about the Afghan women’s cycling team, like this one in the Guardian, on how they’re aiming for the Olympics.  And there’s a great audio interview with Yara Sallam, a young Egyptian feminist and lawyer, on how women are reclaiming public spaces by riding bikes, scooters and motorbikes.  It’s by the Association for Women’s rights in Development, and it’s really inspiring.

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The Alex Green interview transcript

Last month I podcast-interviewed Alexandra Green, the young Australian Para-cyclist who won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and who has never come home from a Track World Cup without a medal.  We talked about what that was like, the mental gear-switch she had to make to go from being “able bodied with a limp” to being a disabled athlete, her work as the youngest board member of the Cerebal Palsy Alliance, being part of the Aussie Para-cycling team and much more.  You can listen to the interview over here, but I’ve transcribed it too, for people who prefer to read their interviews.

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You’re in middle of the Paralympic cycle, getting ready to aim for Rio.  How does that feel?

Alex: Yeah, two years to go, so it’s all ramping up from now.  Time has gone very quickly from London – it’s been a blur, there’s been no downtime really, and suddenly it’s two years and I’ll blink and it’ll be one year, and I’ll blink again and we’ll be there – hopefully! Hopefully I’ll be there! It’s going and it’s gone and it’s a whirlwind and there’s barely time to breathe.

Like most of the Paracyclists, you’re riding on the road and on the track – and you’ve only been riding since 2010, so when you won your bronze medal in the London Games, that was after two years of racing. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into cycling?

It’s a weird kind of thing. I grew up being told I don’t have a disability, just get on with it, so I spent my teenage years just being an able-bodied person with a limp, and then one day in 2007, I was watching a documentary about this girl trying to make the Para-equestrian team for Beijing, and it got me thinking, is my Cerebal Palsy enough to qualify me to go to a Paralympics?  And I googled the Australian Paralympic Committee, they had a talent search day, I went, I was eligible, and I got into rowing, because I lived by the water and I loved the water, and I’d always wanted to learn to row.

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Podcast Special Feature Episode 48 – Sarah interviews Alex Green

Alexandra Green is a young Australian Para-cyclist, who was the 2012 C4 Individual Pursuit World Champion, and 2012 Paralympic C4 IP bronze medallist – in fact she’s never ridden at the Para-Cycling Track World Champs without bringing back a medal.

I’ve loved her blogs and photos since 2012, so of course I wanted to talk to her – all about being in the mid-point of the Paralympic cycle, what it was like racing in London and preparing for Rio, knowing her family were watching her race live at the 2014 Para-Cycling Road World Championships, and her life off the bike, including being the youngest member of the Cerebal Palsy Alliance‘s Board of Directors, finishing her degree in Mechanical Engineering, and being part of the Aussie para-cycling family. (27:38 MIN / 26.55 MB)

To stream the most medal-laden interview of the series yet, click here.

You can subscribe for automated updates via the iTunes store here OR via our RSS feed here.

If you prefer to read your interviews, I’ve written up a transcript of this over here.

To find out more about her, head to her website, and follow her on twitter, facebook and instagram.  You can buy bikes from her at the Clarence Street Cyclery in Sydney.  Here’s the video of her getting her bronze medal at the London Paralympics, and here’s a video profile of her by Cycling Australia:

Presents for women’s cycling fans – part 2

Last week I wrote about my Christmas list present ideas for fans of women’s cycling – but I only scratched the surface, so as promised, here’s part 2, with ideas that include more books, clothes, art, jewellery and more.

The Women’s Cycling 2013 Calendar

Womenscycling calendar 2013

Womenscycling.net has always been the best place to get race reports and photos from the professional women’s road racing scene, and I am really happy to see that there’ll be a 2013 calendar of the excellent photos by CJ Farquharson.  It comes in two different sizes, is full of superb images of the best racing, teams and riders of 2012, and the ordering page couldn’t be simpler, with prices in US, American, NZ and Australian dollars, as well as Euros and pounds.  And postage is included!  I love this calendar, the photos are fantastic and I especially love being able to support CJ, and to say thankyou to her for her dedication and devotion to the sport, and for all the work she has done to help us enjoy the racing over the years.  If you only buy one thing from this post, buy this!  And follow @womenscycling on twitter and youtube – you won’t regret it!

https://i2.wp.com/www.womenscycling.net/2012/2013_CalendarSale/Images/04_AprA_360.jpg

Read on for more great gifts – and check back on Tuesday, for a whole heap of recommendations from real-life women who love to ride their bikes, and for gift ideas from companies that support women’s racing.

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The Paralympics – and why I don’t understand some cycling fans

I loved the Olympics, and was walking around in a daze of happiness, with a huge grin all over my face, and I always knew I’d love the Paralympics too, but I didn’t realise HOW much I would.  To me, it’s been even better, even more accessible, even more inspirational.  Part of that is down to Channel 4’s really excellent coverage of the Games, which emphasises the stories and personalities of the athletes, and (to me) gets the tone exactly right, balancing explaining the disabilities and the sports with celebrating the achievements with making sure we all know how damn hard these people have had to work to get here.  So I’m very happy – but I’m also genuinely confused about what it seems to be showing about some British cycling fans.

I stress British, because I know some countries – notably the USA – aren’t showing the Paralympics at all, and that’s just shitty for fans and disrespectful to their amazing athletes.  If you’re in a country that’s not showing these excellent Games, check out Channel 4’s youtube.  It’s Brit-centric, understandably, but it’s full of highlights videos.  As a start, here’s Sarah Storey winning the C5 Individual Pursuit on day 1.

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Celebrating Social Media – part 7 – More Paralympians

Last week I wrote about some of the Paralympic cyclists I follow, on twitter, their blogs and tumblr – and I asked on twitter if anyone has any recommendations for more.  And I’ve got some really great replies!  Thankyou!  I always love new things to read, and wow, these are some riders who know how to tell their stories.  If anyone has any more recommendations for me, please let me know, here, or on twitter

Karen Darke – Great Britain

I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t remember who recommended handcyclist Karen Darke’s website to me, but it’s a really great one.  Check out this video that tells her story, on her website biography page, and you’ll find out all about her – and don’t stop with the video, that page is full of her words and photos – really inspirational stuff.


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