Probably something a little more intelligent than ‘how do I stop my bum from hurting on the bike?’ Sadly, this was my opening question in front of a whole group of journalists/bloggers. In my defence, there was a very awkward opening when no-one volunteered any questions, so I broke the ice with my genuine, if embarrassing, query.
|P.S totally best friends in this photo- same height, hair and shirt style… totally OK with it.|
Incase you’re interested, her advice was to wear padded shorts, even for short bike rides, and to invest in a more comfortable saddle. Not everyone is designed to use the generic one that comes with your bike, go and try a few at the shop. Spending a little money upfront could be the difference between a sore bum or not!
Other people obviously asked far more intelligent, un-panicked questions (completely paraphrased as I am not professional enough to have a dictaphone, or notebook apparently, so all comments hastily typed onto my phone).
Victoria suggested that to get into cycling, women should build their confidence by practising in a safe environment, on a cycle path, park or cycle lane. The more comfortable and confident you feel, the more you will enjoy it. It’s a great, low impact, relatively risk free activity for any age group. A hybrid bike is a great place to start, giving extra stability, a comfortable handlebar position and thicker tyres. She’s an ambassador for Cycletta, Human Race’s women only cycling events taking place across the country over the next few months. These events provide a less intimidating environment for women just getting in to the sport, really prioritising the social element rather than so much of the competitive edge in a lot of other cycling events.
Rhalou asked whether she had any lucky charms or superstitions. Apparently not, Victoria, said that as an athlete she had to do everything very precisely, complete her training to the letter. She was very disciplined, feeling privileged to have cycling as her job. Knowing that other people were out there working harder, riding faster, trying to beat her ensured she stayed motivated. ‘I had to do it, and do it better, otherwise they would beat me. The end result was clear in my mind, that doesn’t come for free. If you want to look a certain way, or feel a certain way, you have to work for it, and it’s more rewarding when you do.’
My other, less embarrassing question was what cross training activities she recommended for cycling. Whilst training, Victoria said she did a lot of weights and pilates to improve core strength and stability, crucial for helping to reduce back and shoulder pain from hours on the bike.
Victoria and Mel C are taking each other on during the Human Race Women’s Only Triathlon this summer. They are each competing as part of a team, with Victoria taking on the run part. She’s training with her dogs and loving it. Whilst cycling she wasn’t allowed to run incase she got injured, so she’s loving running, and especially skiing. Victoria told us about how she’s got a long list of activities she wants to try, including getting golf and swimming lessons, playing field hockey again and taking on the track. Although cricket will not be on the list (too boring apparently!).
I’m going to be taking part in the Bedfordshire Cycletta at the end of June with my new bestie Victoria, and my real life friend Anna. Places are still open if you want to take part in that, or any of the other Cycletta events. Check out humanrace.co.uk for more information.
If you could ask Victoria one thing, what would it be? Which Olympian would you most like to interview?
I’d love to speak to Kelly Holmes, Mo Farah and Usain Bolt!