Hi, I am Dovile, a 29-year-old Lithuanian currently living in Switzerland.
Can you tell us how and when did you start cycling? My relationship with cycling is quite recent as I learned how to ride a bike at 22. Although I got around to it as a kid (I had a pink bike with extra training wheels on sides) but I was too scared to even try to learn how to ride on two wheels. To make things more complicated, with time I began to feel ashamed and embarrassed about not knowing how to ride a bike. Although cycling has always fascinated me I had a feeling it just wasn't for me (excuses, excuses...). Fortunately, I haven't lost my interest in it and as I grew up, I realized two essential things thanks to which I finally DID IT: there's nothing to be embarrassed about not knowing how to ride a bike, and I MUST EXPERIENCE THE SENSATION OF THE RIDE.
Do you have a training routine, or do you do it according to your current wishes? I have always been a planner but when it comes to cycling I usually decide on what I'm going to ride only a day before. In this way, I approach cycling as a form of self-reward and fun game of skill, not yet another TO-DO task.
How have you progressed in cycling? Did you join a club, get a coach, make friends? Learning to ride a bike being an adult means there is plenty of room for progress in "basic skills" starting with how to drink while riding, ending with how to clip into cleats. My first road bike ride gave me a panic attack because WHY IT (i.e. my first road bike) GOES SO FAST and how it’s legal to be clipped to the pedals?!?!! Then I got a coach Vaidas who taught me the skills I needed to feel more confident.
Cycling is a sport that requires resilience, what resources do you use when you are at the end of your strength?
I know that if I give up simply because of my lack of willpower I'll feel disappointed with myself for weeks. That really sucks so if the end of my strength is not an injury or health issue I keep just keep riding.
How do you define yourself today as a cyclist? Road bike newbie with a long wishlist. There are countless things that I want to learn, cols that I want to climb, and places I want to explore on a bike.
What does the woman, the cyclist Wilma, mean to you? An inspiring role model with exceptional strength and devotion. When you get caught by the "I cannot do it" feeling story of her and other sports heroes helps to endure suffering from a much more positive attitude. Greatest heroes have mastered suffering so it's nice to imagine that you can at least partially feel a little bit of what these people felt constantly throughout their careers.
Have you made any changes to your diet or lifestyle since you started cycling? I plan my meals according to my cycling routine. If I go for a long ride, I opt for carbonara but if it’s a rest day I prefer something lighter. Also, I’m a big believer in coffee before/during/post ride depending on your ride time.
What advice would you give to a woman who wants to start cycling? First, shame or embarrassment about not knowing something (for e.g. how to ride a bike) is a decision, you can change your mind. Second, people who cycle are usually good and willing to share their knowledge, go talk to them. And finally, the sensation of the ride does not depend on how far, high, or fast you ride so you shouldn't compare yourself to others (it’s too easy to find someone who rides longer, higher, or faster than you) so just go and win this competition with yourself, it's such a good feeling!
What is the most beautiful spot where you have ridden? I fell in love with my first col this year - Col de la Colombière. I definitely recommend to ride it! You can see more here
Can you share with us the cycling memory that you enjoyed the most? When I did my first col - Col du Lautaret - and part of Col du Galibier last year. For long-term serious cyclists, it's a walk in the park and a warm-up before Galibier climb, for me - it was a feast! 🤩
And last question for the community when you go cycling in your area, do you have any nice refuel addresses to recommend to us? Although I’m a newcomer to Switzerland I’m already familiar with Zopf (Tresse in French or Treccia in Italian) which can be found in any bakery or supermarket. Zopf with scrambled eggs before a ride is a great fuel. To refuel, I never pass by and recommend to visit Monocle in Zurich. Their cheesecake and flat white are fantastic.Can you tell us more about you, things you would like to share? Context makes cycling even more interesting than one could think. Follow @wilma.cc, look for cycling-related books, movies, or podcasts and I bet you'll get hooked that I wish for anyone who is not into cycling yet.