Can you tell us how and when did you start cycling? I really came late to the cycling sport. Since my childhood, I was a dancer. After university and starting with my professional career in Human Resources, I went very lazy – did nearly no sport anymore. Later I came to Indoor Cycling and was an Indoor Cycling Instructor for ICG, Tomahawk for more than 15 years. My boyfriend – since 2006 my husband ☺️ – was a passionate mountain biker and tried to motivate me to do mtb-cycling. To be honest, I did not really felt comfortable in the woods. By chance, I tried a sport-bike and in the first year, I directly rode 4500 kilometers. I had only one wish: my honeymoon should take part in Andalucia, Spain, participating in a road bike-training camp. There I was sitting for the first time (2007) on a road bike (2008) I bought my first road bike. There I was already 36 years old…. My husband also switched from Mtb to road bike and I´m really grateful to share with him also this passion. Today I ride my road bikes and do also a bit cyclocross. Looking forward to trying bikepacking – will be a quite new experience.
Do you have a training routine, or do you do it according to your current wishes? I stopped participating in competitions and races in 2014. But I do have a regular training plan, especially in winter – working on my development areas. My husband is very good at training diagnostic and makes a plan for me. The plan includes HIIT and Vo2Max two times a week and fundamental training on two further days per week. In winter I train on a turbo trainer, watt rate based. I also do regular Yoga and have a regular leg day.
How have you progressed in cycling? Did you join a club, get a coach, make friends? In the first years, I rode and trained with my husband only. I missed cycling with other women, so that I founded a local group "velosistas“ on Facebook with the objective to motivate more women to come to this sport. After 2 years, there were more than 80 women in this local group. Every Wednesday between the end of March and the end of October we met for an evening training ride. Later the group name changed to "VELOsistas and friends" because we loved also to ride together with (our) men, boyfriends, friends. After 4 years I got the feeling, that we did a good job of motivating women for this sport and I closed officially this Group. But there are still a lot of Connections between the members, friendship and one baby was born. I never joined a club or an official team. The woman of my first cycling-dealer was in her youth member of a professional Bundesliga women-cycling-team – she was very supportive and I learned a lot from her. Today half of my friends do road bike-cycling – the other half shares things with me like good food, etc.
Cycling is a sport that requires resilience, what resources do you use when you are at the end of your strength? As I´m in my professional working life a mental trainer, I know a lot about mental strength, resilience, etc. I do have a morning routine, I practice Yoga. My self-love teaches me, that I´m allowed also to master challenges not – but I want to have always the feeling that at least I gave it a try. There is no failure – you win or you learn. Since I do not participate anymore in races, competitions, etc. I´m even more relaxed. I do this sport to stay healthy and to challenge me nicely to come regularly out of my comfort zone, but I have not to "produce" myself. I love myself – with everything that is part of me.
How do you define yourself today as a cyclist? Ambitious and passionate. Since my honeymoon in 2007, I did no single vacation without my road bike. I define my own yearly challenges, f.e. as special routes or mountains I want to climb and of course, I do set me a yearly kilometer-target (2020 10.000 km), but I do not put negative pressure on me. I´m an entrepreneur, so this also costs time.
What does the woman, the cyclist Wilma, mean to you? Every one of us should have at least a little bit of Wilma in herself: belief in yourself, trust in your strength – doesn´t matter which gender, age, or color you are. When I read the first time an article on Wilma.cc I was inspired by the "work" this page, this initiative is doing: of course, in the end, there is a cycling brand for women. But you connect this with an initiative, with a mindset how to stay in this world as a woman, as a female cyclist.
Have you made any changes to your diet or lifestyle since you started cycling? Not due to cycling, but during my diagnostics for cycling, I was diagnosed with gluten and milk protein intolerances. So I had to change some habits and live comfortably with them.
What advice would you give to a woman who wants to start cycling? Listen to your body and be open for positive surprises what you, what your body is possible to reach. Be confident and trust in yourself. And yes: even if it will cost some euros do a bike-fitting. It´s really important for this Sport, that there is a perfect match between your body and the road bike.
What is the most beautiful spot where you have ridden? The ride from El Bosque to the Grazalema village via El Bojar, down to Zahara de la Sierra and up words via Las Palomas – 92 km, 2500 m of elevation in Sierra Grazalema, Andalucia. I love this combination of mountains, water, and pure nature.
Can you share with us the cycling memory that you enjoyed the most? It's still my honeymoon in Andalusia in this training-camp. First time on a road bike and smiling from one ear to the other.
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? I love "Eddy would attack" an urban cycling coffee shop in Nuremberg. Bavaria is rich on so-called "Biergarten" – public gardens where you can eat and drink – especially a non-alcoholic beer after the rideCan you tell us more about you, things you would like to share? If you´re in doubt, pedal it out – this is a very wise quote which I practice a lot also for professional challenges and it works. And please: Women, don´t let tell you, that there is anything you will not be able to, because you are female, or because you didn´t make it so far, or or or... You can. Fullstop. Success starts in your brain.
You can follow Anja on Instagram: @velosista