Some five years ago a slight in stature, well mannered lady with a smile that would light up the room joined the cycling scene. Little did we know that in 2009 Jackie would be competing on the world stage in one of the world’s toughest events and complete the event in good style and stoic perseverance.
We asked Jackie as an ambassador to reflect on the journey and memories of starting out in hope that sharing such a testimony would inspire more ladies to have a go at cycling and or triathlons.
Eddie: What are some of your early memories of hurdles and barriers for women? Do these still exist and how can they be overcome?
Jackie: My biggest memory is the bike seat!! Seriously it is hard to find a seat that is comfortable – but perseverance softens the seat and hardens the other barrier that we all have to persevere with! The other barrier, I think, is not feeling that you are good enough to ride in the bunch. Particularly in such a male dominated sport. However, I was wrong about this. There are bunches for all abilities and I have had many a male drag me back onto the back of the bunch – for the most part the men are not egotistical and are very supportive of female cyclists.
Bike fit can be a problem for women also, as many bikes are made for the male musculoskeletal system. However there are bikes out there for women and there are some very good bike fitting specialists to help in this area. Except for the bike seat I am hoping with a new 48″, 650 wheel bike that none of these barriers exist for me any longer.
I often ride with stronger men on the bike – I simply just hang on for as long as I can – it makes me stronger. The right clothing and shoes will help in many ways being sport specific.
Eddie: What encouragement can you give to inspire others to get into cycling?
For me cycling is about feeling the wind on your face and the energy in your body. To enjoy cycling you don’t need an expensive set-up and you do not need to be fast. Once started, cycling strength and speed is generated simply by being out there and turning over the pedals. Maybe a little effort here and there to get started but long hours and “killing yourself” on the bike is not necessary unless you want to compete.
My advice is don’t ride alone make it social. If you ride with others the time passes pleasantly and you are often challenged by their abilities making you a stronger rider and giving you a sense of achievement and well being.
Eddie: Are there any thoughts on time management to keep up the routines?
Jackie: For some people you have answered this in the question – have a routine. For me it simply prioritising on a weekly or daily basis.
Family needs come first. Training is not necessarily second it just gets worked around the first. I don’t stress over house work any more – it always waits for me. Involve quality time with family in the routine – my favourite is making pizzas together.
We all have different coping mechanisms and different priorities. I believe it is worth the time or money to either set out or have set out a good training program that takes into account all aspects of a person’s life. I can help people with this. I love ticking off the boxes and I always know what I am doing weeks in advance. In that way I don’t procrastinate about what training I will do on a certain day or let days go past without doing any!
Eddie: What have been the highlights or most memorable events?
Jackie: The most memorable would have to be Hawaii! Running down the finish chute on Allii Drive is definitely the highlight of my sporting efforts. Doing a training run with a few Australian Pro athletes and actor Dan MacPherson in Hawaii would have to come close though!
Eddie: How do you reward yourself?
Jackie: Mostly by having coffee with family and friends after a session and encouraging each other on progress being made. My favourite is including a small family holiday after an event.
Jackie is a wonderful ambassador for women in sport and showing age and family commitments are no barrier with the right mindset and support as Jackie’s husband, Russell, is also a keen competitor.
See you on the road soon God willing