Once again Girona, yes, the Catalan city is an almost inexhaustible source of professional cyclists, and we have the privilege of being able to speak, first hand, with a good number of them.
As you well know, at RAW we try to put our focus on what we think is interesting and we bet strongly on it. So following that interest, we present a new interview with a female professional cyclist.
With a big smile, we are greeted by Australian Brodie Chapman, the girl who went from using the bicycle professionally as a messenger bike to the highest professional level.
A classic question, we know, but to be in context… How was your beginning?
“In my last year of high school, I wanted to buy a BMX, so I decided to work in a bike shop to get it cheaper, and from there, I got into cycling and everything started.
I started in downhill mountain bike races in a small local club and from there I got a progress and basically I did everything in bikes,road criteriums, I work as bike messenger, I got into fixed gear, I use bike for everything, and step by step I got more races and more races and I become a professional cyclist. (it seems easy)”
Step into pro cycling
“I started to do more local races and I did some national world series, few races later I got an injury that keeps me out for a while, in 2017 I raced just 1 race, and then at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 I finally started to race (Team TIBCO – SVB) and everything happening very quickly. It’s my third year as a professional in the same team. (yep, we know that Brodie announce this month his new contract with FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) .
Two years ago the Australian national champion Shannon Malseed told me if I want to join her team, and I couldn’t believe, but it happened. I could not predict I would be riding as a professional cyclist, but here I am!
Sometimes I felt very new in the pro cycling world, in my first race outside Australia was Women’s World Tour race, and my previous experience was like races of 30 or 40 people in a bunch but WTR was about 150 riders, so you can imagine that it wasn’t easy, but I try to learn from the other riders, I watch a lot of the men’s races, I’m trying to learn fast and put myself in a comfortable situation, but I also see that the level is increasing a lot, teams are more organized, riders are faster every year so I feel like I got to really work hard to keep myself into this.”
Women’s and cycling
“On the other side sometimes I feel frustrated for what Women’s cycling is, you make the same sacrifices of the men, training every day, be away from your family for long times, it’s very hard to survive with such a little money. And the stress for the money it’s a stress that you got to live with, but something is happening, and it’s getting better so we should be happy about that.
I really think that the visibility of women’s races should be the same of the men’s races,it’s weird that during the Woman’s World Tour there are quite no cameras following the race, I think it’s a priority give to women’s cycling more visibility on tv and live streaming that would make grow the interest around our races and our world. That would help a lot to bring more sponsors and in the end more money.”
First road race
“How to stay in the peloton is the biggest thing to learn always. In training you can improve, you can train your fitness, your performance, your skills, but the peloton is a specific part of the training by itself
In my first races in Australia I didn’t need too much bunch skills but in the World tour it’s all about put your wheel in front of the person you got behind, it needs a lot of concentration, constantly fighting for the position, it takes a lot of energy and you need a strong willingness to put yourself and keep yourself in this uncomfortable position.
it’s something I worked very hard, when you look it on tv it looks that we’re relaxed, but when you’re there is completely the opposite, you got always to keep concentrated to your moves and to the moves of your opponents, because you got 150 wheels behind you, and a little mistake can cost you the whole race
it’s really important for me to learn how to manage this skill, because it’s also very important for the work I do for my teammates, especially in the spring races they need me to be there, and if I can’t be there means let my team down. So I put all that I got to be there.”
“That’s another thing I really like road cycling, that may be from outside is difficult to understand as a team sport, I really have a great team, we work and fight for each other. We know each other goals so we help ourselves 100%, sometimes you help a teammate and you know that she will help you in another race.
I always try to explain to people that cycling is a team sport, everybody has a position, like in football, if you’re a goalkeeper, you’re not running to score a goal, and with cycling, it’s exactly the same.
It’s really satisfying when you have a team result and you know you did your job even if you’re in the 100th position, with 1 km to go, you know your teammate is the front thanks to the teamwork, and that’s a great feeling. Probably the best feeling I had about that was for my teammate Candle Ryan at one stage on tour of California, I gave it all for her and when I hear in the radio she did it when I cross the line, I feel like “whoooaaaaah” so happy to make it possible…”
Behind the scene
“Actually it’s hard to explain all the work that’s behind a team, to stay in the peloton, make the moves, I think it’s very important for the broadcasting to put the commentary, it’s the key to understand constantly what happens in the peloton.”
“I do follow a training program with my coach, I started two years ago when I become a professional and there’s a lot of things to know and to learn about how to train. Basically I’m a person that follows my feelings on the bike, but I know the value of the followed training, especially if you have a long season. You need a balance between your feelings and your training program.”
Brodie’s day by day
“Usually, I got a sweetie in the morning, coffee of course! do some yoga, maybe go for a walk to the town
One of my favorite places here in Catalunya to ride for now is from Girona to Camprodon and Cadaques but I still have to ride a lot more!”
“Tour of California for sure is one of my favorite races and we earn good results in the past.
Another goal is the World Championship with the Australian team, that’s very unique, the Australian team is so organized, the professionalism and the strategy they put are unbelievable. Of course for the future I’m thinking about Tokio 2020 Olympics, the big climb of Mount Fuji fits very well with my style of riding and fits with the Australian team style, so. And actually be there and make properly my role as a teammate is the most important thing.
And a lot of things more, I wanna be a better rider, I wanna be a better climber, you know, there’s always a lot to learn and to improve and just enjoy my life, don’t care about the worries, the money and just enjoy the fact that I’m living a dream and it’s not gonna be forever.”
As we do with all our interviewed people, tell us an anecdote…
“Australian team to the Olympics, Brian proposed me for the Australian team, he took a big risk because I hadn’t great results, but he really believed in me. I was so worried about crashing or not being good enough, and he told me “if you’re not 100% committed to the rest, don’t pin your number” and that was all about, for me was like a click in my mind. You got to be 100% sure of what to do. That’s my little anecdote, but important for me.”
What can you advise to an aspirant to a professional cyclist?
“Make sure you make it because you really like it, you need to be ok with being uncomfortable because in the Peloton there are a lot of situations that test you constantly, it’s hard, you got to learn, you crash, you get dropped.
The training program is not the bible, remember why you are there, who you are as a cyclist and what makes you unique.”