Ruby – awesome cyclist – what are you training for at the moment?
I have been training up for Oceania Road Race Championships. As there hasn’t been a lot of racing on for me at the moment it will be a bit unknown as to how I will go. But I’ll definitely be there to have fun and can’t wait to see the team all together again.
Do you have a goal or dream event you would like to do?
My biggest goal in life is to simply stay healthy and be happy. At the moment it’s figuring out what works for me and my body to live a happy life! My dream is to race in an environment where I’m comfortable, and having the most fun whether it’s here in NZ, Australia, Europe or the US which is what I’m currently working on. I’ve ticked the box in just about all of those places apart from the US which is where I’ll be dipping my toes into this year! This year will be a big decision maker on where I want to step foot in within cycling.
What motivates you to do what you do?
Quite often I’ve thought that if I were to stop what I’m doing, I would have a lot of unfinished business and I would have never quite shown to myself and others what I’m capable of. This lifestyle has also kept me extremely physically fit, I always keep an eye on my health and my riding depends on it. I also admire how difficult and complicated road cycling is, especially competition wise.
What do you do to balance all the training you do? Best recovery tips?
Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple by always stretching as it not only helps your muscles recover and strengthen but I feel it’s good for the mind and soul. Everyone can do it and it’s not a big effort, however unfortunately a lot of people don’t do enough, or any at all!
It’s also important to get the odd massage no matter how often you exercise or whether you’re a full time athlete or not. It’s a nice therapeutic gift to give to yourself and it can pick up little niggles you may have been battling for a while. My favourite recovery treat is as simple as a glass of full fat milk. It’s probably the most basic thing you could ever think of but surprisingly it has massive recovery benefits with high protein, plus it’s a lot cheaper than purchasing a protein powder!
For us non cyclists, who have only seen bike crashes in big events on TV – give us some insights. What goes through your head when you know a crash is inevitable? Any techniques how to avoid/how to land…?
The more you race the better your bike handling skills become, including avoiding a crash. I have definitely experienced many near crashes and the best way to avoid them is braking hard enough so you don’t hit the rider in front but not too hard where the person behind you cannot respond. Everything generally happens fast but from memory I usually just pick a gap in the bunch where I can escape the crash! Or sometimes stopping and unclipping fast to put your foot down is another way to avoid a tumble. The best way to land is to NOT put your hand out to take the impact as that’s how many collarbones have been broken. I can say it’s important to avoid landing on your head etc., but sometimes crashes happen so fast you don’t have much control! But putting the hand out is a big rookie no-no! The worst part about crashing is when you realize you’ve destroyed your bike, equipment, kit - and loss of skin is usually the last thing you worry about until you jump in the shower!
Where’s your favourite cycle track/road? Any tips for other cyclists?
My favourite is the “butter chicken loop” out west which starts in Swanson and ends up near the bottom of Scenic Drive which you can then descent down to Titirangi Village and stop for a nice coffee. After that it’s all downhill back home! I love the loop as out in West Auckland you can extend your ride easily with extra loops or easily take short cuts. It’s also nicely sheltered at the bottom skirts of the Waitaks with some quiet roads but still close to society if anything goes wrong. I’d recommend searching up the loop on Strava.com which is a website/app for cyclists and triathletes who can share their rides from their phone or GPS devices with their mates! It’s also a great website to find new routes.
The best tips I can give other cyclists are:
1. To remain confident and treat everyone like an idiot (kindly). By that I mean expect other road users to not see you or estimate your speed. As there are many different types of cyclists going different speeds it can be difficult for other road users to know when it’s safe to pull out.
2. Always leave at least a small amount of space on your left so that if passing vehicles don’t give you enough passing space, you are able to move over if need be. Vehicles always usually need to cross the centre line on the road in order to pass even if you’re jammed up on the left side of the road. So there’s no harm in just giving yourself half a meter so others can see you up the road and you can also move over to stay safe.
3. Always be conscious of where you are on the road, it can be easy to drift out into the centre of the lane without realizing.
4. Merge around parked cars smoothly. Don’t ride right up to the back of the parked car and swerve around it. Oncoming cars from behind are more likely to squeeze and rush past you if you do that. They will pass you in a safe manner if you merge nicely further out in the middle of the lane and stand your ground.
5. Never roll through a red light! Nobody likes a red light runner, not only is it high risk but it’s not a good look on other cyclists who obey the rules. As tempting it can be to run through it and save time, it’s important to remind yourself that you too are a road user and can also break the law.
Tell us something we don’t know about you?
My favourite food is Tacos and Sushi (obviously separately). I love cream cheese and could put it on just about everything. I am a pro homemade pizza cook! My guilty pleasure is watching Dance Moms on Bravo TV, the intensity and drama is highly riveting and entertaining!