Hi, I'm Valentina, 36 years old - Born and based in Italy
Can you tell us how and when did you start cycling?
I used to ride my little bike when I was a kid, with my parents and their friends. They often make some trips around Sicily, and I felt so enthusiastic about the fresh air your breath when you get into the cycling life. Then I stopped for years and years, and when I started running I started cycling as cross-training. It was 3 years ago when I first understood it could be something big to me and I could learn better how to feel strong accepting all my limits. You push hard cycling, and you go so hard on yourself you just feel good.
Do you have a training routine, or do you do it according to your current wishes? I’m currently training for my first Ironman (Sept. 2021), so I alternate running and cycling days for getting more confident with it again, overcoming all my fears and feeling myself and my body respecting both sides.
How have you progressed in cycling? Did you join a club, get a coach, make friends? Not yet, but I’m building a project around Ironman training. I wish to raise money for women who suffer from body shaming or just don’t feel good with themselves. So I hope I’ll be able to meet some strong girls in this road.
Cycling is a sport that requires resilience, what resources do you use when you are at the end of your strength? I’m a marathoner ad a yogi, and I learned how to get the maximum of my resilience with both of them. The more you let it go and focus on how beautiful it can be to keep it simple, the more you train and forgive yourself for underestimate the woman you are.
How do you define yourself today as a cyclist? Definitely beginner, and so much in love with it!
What does the woman, the cyclist Wilma, mean to you? It’s a beautiful honor to be part of a Gang made of so strong and beautiful women I can just learn from all of you. And I adore the idea to dress the same shirt. You belong to a sort of similar values in somehow.
Have you made any changes to your diet or lifestyle since you started cycling? I lost some kilos since I started running and after my son was born, I started again training regularly since nowadays that I feel back the woman I was before him, with some cuddles and responsibilities more in the way! I eat, a lot... I mean, I’m Italian, I can’t stay far from pizza for too long!
What advice would you give to a woman who wants to start cycling?
Give it a try. It must feel difficult and hard at the beginning, but try it. Give it a second chance and a third chance, and you will never ever have the same feeling of free fresh air in your body as you reborn each time you take a ride.
What is the most beautiful spot where you have ridden?
Watching the sea. I was born in Sicily and I’ve been living in Lebanon for so long that I cannot resist looking at the sea and calm all my fears just like this.
And the last question for the community when you go cycling in your area, do you have any nice refuel addresses to recommend to us?
Can you share with us the cycling memory that you enjoyed the most?
With my boyfriend a couple of years ago. It was the first time on my first road bike and was so happy to go hard and fast that I didn’t see him turning right and we had a small accident!
Genova is full of beautiful spots where to stop and refuel. Any place, mountain or seaside.
Can you tell us more about you, things you would like to share? I wake up every day at 3 am or 4 am in the morning. Working a bit, then training, then heading to work. And those Ironman training I’ve just started will go into a book. I want to believe there will something beautiful to write about at the end of it, no matter how it will end or if I’ll end it to the finish line.
You can follow Valentina on Instagram: @valepolini