Won 5 Cape Epics- 2016 for the third time
2015 Swiss Epic champion.
Few have said she has reached her prime.
Age: 36 years
Having won the Cape Epic for the 3rd time in a row in 2016, do you feel at all pressured to continue on your incredible winning streak, or do you feel more and more comfortable and confident going into it each year?
– The pressure is building, but its also how you deal with the pressure, and this depends on your own confidence, the more confident you are and the more strength you have in yourself the better, In comparison to last year I made progress on a personal level. I am naturally not the most confident person, but this is why I pick this type of challenge.
I started my sporting career in swimming- where all the pressure is on yourself and I couldn’t cope with the pressure
You’ve spent some time taking part in some World Cup XCO races. Are you looking at maybe doing more of these, and maybe looking at the 2020 Olympic games?
– I wouldn’t go that far. Olympics is not realistic for me.
Stellenbosch there is the world cup and in 2018 world champs in Switzerland- so I hope I can qualify for Worlds and then Stellenbosch is the next goal.
How do you go about trying to improve on your biking skills?
I invested a lot into my skills training. Just to improve my technical skills.
I have a skills coach- and she has worked weekly on these skills. I was terrified of jumping etc.
It gives you a stronger advantage. It makes you quicker in the race and something that I wanted to master.
Do you analyze and strategize after each race and come up with a game plan for the next goal?
– We look at the profile for the next day and look at the next day stage and sit together and see what improvements we can make from the day before and also simple things- do we stop at the water points, how many bottles do we need, looking at the weather and we have our tactics/ strengths and weaknesses and this doesn’t need to be discussed.
What is your favorite bike to ride and why?
– This race I wouldn’t chose any other biked besides the Specialized. It has great suspension and you don’t need to think, it adapts to the rain and there are no funny remotes to press. It’s a no brainer, and if you are so tired- the less you need to think about the better and you can spend your energy on other thoughts.
Which race you competed in stands out to you most and what about this race just makes it different from others you’ve done?
– You get races that may be more beautiful, and there is better terrain but in terms of where I am coming from and the history in the sport the
Cape Epic is very special to me. I came for a stage race and the 2nd time I came to SA it was all about The Epic. And since then it has always been marked on the calendar as the most important race and it made my career.
Take us through your training schedule heading into an event lie the Cape Epic. Are you dieting intensely and how often are you training?
– In general 25 hours a week, mixing it up with strength training. But for this race, it is about time in the saddle.
Diet- I am using USN supplements but generally making healthy decisions. I don’t starve myself, I eat a lot of veg and protein and I eat a good mix of dairy, and carbs- I don’t believe in Banting.
Do you have and pre race day rituals you feel you have to do before you feel completely ready to get on the bike?
– Not really, I have breakfast and then I go back to sleep at least 2.5 hours before the race and I warming up on rollers.
You’re currently part of Team Spur. How has it been working alongside such a recognizable restaurant franchise? Are there lots of perks and freebies?
– I really enjoy being part of it. Riding for Spur is fantastic as it’s a people’s brand. People cheer for Team spur. It’s an accessible brand, and I love that about it.
They have healthy options and they have great meat- and the people behind the brand are so cool. They allow us a lot of freedom.
How do you spend your time when you are not on a bike?
– Sleeping, eating!!
– Read and listen to music- apple music and get mixes ready, and Swiss radio and trawl social media.
– Not much movies and series- used to be into it, lately I like to listen to podcasts, radio interviews etc. Enjoying the listening vs. TV
What advice would you give a Cape Epic first timer?
– Just get the riding time in the saddle. The average working person needs to know what they are getting into. You have to inform people around you, and to support you- family; jobs- everyone needs to be on board.
– You need to manage your time, and make sacrifices
By Muscle and Fitness Editors and Jenna Barenblatt