Camilla, a sparkling young woman with a passion for sports and a healthy lifestyle, introduces us to her cycling career and her desire to climb the ladder. 💪🏼
What is your job, why did you choose this job?
I work as an export compliance officer in a company in the space sector; I love it because it is a very interesting branch, an international environment and a dynamic working position.
Can you tell us how and when did you start cycling?
My cycling journey began when I was very little. My parents taught me and my brother how to ride a bike from a very young age, we went to school pedalling and also when we were meeting our friends, we used the bike (and in Italy this is not ordinary). Riding has always been something I could do and part of my life, since all our summer vacations consisted in bike trips in Europe, riding all around Holland, Denmark, through Austria or France, or simply taking daily trips in Germany while we were visiting my grandparents.
Do you have a training routine, or do you do it according to your current wishes?
Currently, since I’m practicing lots of different sports, I don’t have a training routine. I improvise daily, my choice being based on the weather and mostly on my personal preference that day or on my physical conditions. Nonetheless, I always put priority to cycling and jogging, so I’ll have at least 2/3 bike rides a week (one long-distance during the weekends, 4+ hours).
How have you progressed in cycling? Did you join a club, get a coach, make friends?
I am an amateur, and still learning a lot about bikes, bike training, routes, resistance, energy etc... But since I bought my gravel bike and put clip pedals on, started pedalling at least 2/3 days a week creating a routine, I feel like I am progressing and my body is learning each time how to merge faster with the bike and how to store and use energy at its best and when mostly needed. I love the fact that with cycling, you really get to understand how your body is a machine and is able to change and adapt according to the energy required - this because by pedalling long distances, your body has to face something it is not used to, keeping high performance, pushing constantly, fuelling you. Personally, I think it’s just fascinating...
I have friends and family to pedal with, mostly men, so I’d be enthusiastic to find some girls to join me and create a women-only cycling gang. 😊
Cycling is a sport that requires resilience, what resources do you use when you are at the end of your strength?
I have two bottle cages on my bike. One bottle is filled with water, the other with water + multivitamin supplement. Especially during summer it is imperative to reintroduce all the minerals we sweat. Also, every time I find a drinking fountain, I fill up my bottles with fresh water.
Besides that, I always put a banana in my shirt pocket and have 2/3 energy bars with me (one is always for my mates in case they are in need). I can bring less or more food, according to the distance of the ride and hours spent pedalling. Of course, to prevent hunger attacks and energy loss, I suggest to have a nice breakfast in order to start the day at the best of our capabilities. Fortunately, by using these tricks and progressively extending the km, I’ve never found myself at the end of my strength. Heavy legs, that’s a total different story... 😉
How do you define yourself today as a cyclist?
As I wrote above, I’m still in the learning phase of how to pedal “for real”; I’m optimistic I’ll get better and better. I just know for sure how much I am enjoying it!!
Have you made any changes to your diet or lifestyle since you started cycling?
Yes, I did. Carbs, carbs, carbs!!! I tried lots of diets during my life where carbs were limited or cut out completely, and intermittent fasting as well... and that is the worst mistake you can do when facing a discipline based on resistance like cycling is. I’ve always eaten very clean, organic food, lots of veggies, meat, fish, Etc.. but now that I have reintroduced breakfast and carbs I feel like my body has so much energy to use and recovers much quicker. It’s real fuel. It took me a while to adapt to this new routine, but it was worth it 100%. We should really stop being afraid of carbs.
What does Wilma mean to you?
I was impressed by Wilma for many reasons: the first one, for being a brand from women to women - and we all know we need more of that. Secondly, the aesthetics you are basing your apparel on; I love the 90s and can’t even start on pastel colours... Third: I immediately felt a sense of community rather that just a brand with a website focused on selling. Also this very initiative to create a space for women, writing portraits, letting us be seen and read is an amazing feature you are offering, creating a real community for women who already cycle and increasing interest in women who want to approach this discipline but maybe don’t know how to.
Last but not least, the importance Wilma is putting on being sustainable, eco friendly and offering high quality, leaving behind the fast fashion world. I believe it is once again a statement of your seriousness, and also a great example for everyone to respect the planet we live on.
What advice would you give to a woman who wants to start cycling?
Buy a good bike, ask for Professional advice before doing it, set it according to your body measurements and features: comfort while riding is essential (this also applies to clothing!). Once you have your bike, start slowly, never underestimate distances or overestimate your resistance, even if you are fit. I think a slow and consistent approach is the best to gain comprehension of this discipline, confidence in yourself and to really enjoy it (which for me is the most important thing). Lastly, please stay safe and always wear a helmet.
What is the most beautiful spot where you have ridden?
Holland’s tulip fields are hands down the most amazing view I’ve had while riding, topped with some windmills every now and then. Absolutely magical.
Can you share with us the cycling memory that you enjoyed the most?
I believe it was the trip I made with my family throughout Austria, all the way to Slovenia. Riding there is so fun, all ups and downs, never boring, my brother and me would compete every day on who was faster. I’ll surely do that trip again someday and highly recommend it: It’s called “Drau cycle path”.
When you go cycling in your area, do you have any nice refuel addresses to recommend to us?
I love two places that are on the same cycling pathway; both are situated in the natural park of the Ticino river (Lombardy/Piemonte regions), one is a medieval beergarden and is called Tornavento, the other is at the end of the path and you can also take a swim in the river (there’s a grass entry in the river - I always pack a swimsuit when I know I’ll arrive there) and eat well in the little kiosk - this is called “canottieri 6”. On the same cycle path, but in the opposite direction, there is a big park called “parco di Monza”; it’s very nice and also full of little kiosks where you can relax under the shadow of the trees, surrounded by nature.
Can you tell us more about you, things you would like to share? Do you have another passion?
I have always had a passion for sports, I’ve been playing tennis since I was little, taking adventure trips, staying active. I’d go crazy without the dynamic lifestyle I’m used to. But I also enjoy life, the best example being the cold beer I enjoy after a hard cycle... 😊
If you want to follow her on instagram : @magicamilla_