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Stefania Baldi: will is power!

Stefania is one of the first girls that we have met at the fixed gear scene and it is certainly one of its greatest representatives worldwide.

Female, bold, passionate, fearless, tenacious and definitely in love with the world of cycling. We had a hard draw this interview because it is a time of many changes. We wanted to explore in depth one of the most influential people and, thanks to his efforts, it is getting change many things at a competitive level and is re-writing of the history of women’s cycling.

1. Stefania how would you introduce yourself to the readers of RAW?

I’m Stefania, born in Milan 39 years ago, where I live and work as a graphic designer and in communication.

Doing sport has always been important in my life, I can say that has shaped me. Athletics in particular that I have practiced for over 10 years as a teenager. Then, they were sufficient to transform the 15 km run in a smooth pedaling, I understood at the time that the bike was the perfect size for me… a crush!

2. You were one of the pioneering women in the world of fixed gear. How did your passion for cycling begin? Remember your beginnings?

Pure coincidence! A return of 15 km with 4 sizes bigger… and back bike was already thinking of doing the Giro d’Italia. My goals have always been very high, but I always get to enjoy the small pleasures and daily gains.

I started with the bike: amateur, two years of work and then I went on to start my own team of elite women. Meanwhile, I’ve gone from long distances to circuit races where I have begun to “fight” to men for making me fit into the top of the podium.

It was here one night tried a fixed gear bike. Another chance, another crush! Unable to resist the temptation to compete with a bike with no brakes! My “first time” was a week before the Red Hook Criterium in Milan in 2012, pure adrenaline, I managed to complete 20 laps of the 22. From that day my perspective on 2 wheels has radically changed.

I am still using the bike on street circuits, but when I get on a bike fixed gear when I’m at home. With a “fixed” everything changes, managing the bike, the sensations of your own body. Respect classic bikes, fixed gear legs are conducted with the adductors; can withstand the force of arms and move with the muscles of the back. If you do not have a full feeling with your bike can be dangerous. It is the closest to the symbiosis between athlete and a half I’ve been lucky enough to try anything.

3. How do you train during the year?

My past as an athlete (runner) left me a solid foundation in fitness, that I know the rules, I am able to follow charts, diets, I hear my heart beats. I usually combine-RPM and alternating repetitions. That said, I decide upon the type of training that I perform, I’m able to go out in jeans and also do a quality workout. I am convinced that the mental level of your workout and above all the most important is the ability to join the sport and have fun, this last thing that has even improved in my performance in competitions.

I am careful with my diet and grant me the right break. My experience in sports allows me to organize the preparation at different levels, I have a good base where muscular work. After Milan RHC 2013 I have had to operate the knee, but thanks to rapid rehabilitation, and am competing again!

4. Red Hook Criterium. Have a special feeling for this race?

The Red Hook is an extraordinary project in a few years has become the most representative race for people who compete in high-level fixed gear. It’s like a “world cup”. During these years the race has grown and evolved significantly in the 2013 rankings were introduced and the first race of 2014, in Brooklyn, has played the first RHC women. It is an event in that continues evolving. Surely the best way to reach such professionalize street races.

But really, RHC is something that sticks under your skin, it’s a race unlike any other feeling. The atmosphere that was experienced in the past RHC Brooklyn, is a clear example.

The phenomenon that conveys this competition is amazing, not subtracted from the rest of criteriums held locally, but everyone just noticing and using it as a reflection in competitions across Europe and the world. All have a special burden of adrenaline and emotions, and let’s not forget that what counts most is the fun. As you can see in races “homemade” made between friends at ten in the evening with a couple of beers as a reward. If I’m not mistaken I remember a birthday party organized by somebody named David Trimble some years ago (laughs)…

5. The womens Red Hook, something for which you fought hard for…

After the “timid” and attempts to create a positive female category in the 2013 edition of Rad Race in Berlin this year, the “storm” of New York, we have been able to achieve the first edition of the RHC “pink”.

Last year me and other girls venture on a long trip from Europe and the United States, traveling and competing in criteriums to sustain our cause. There were many girls in the world with the level and the desire to compete in this race and what was missing was an impulse, be able to play the RHC test for women only. It has been a great success, it has changed the way of racing in a different racing format, to face the opponents and all this to show these benefits.

6. Tell us about the epic race lived in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn was not my first Red Hook, but it was one of the toughest. We faced some very heavy weather, very cold, heavy rain. Something really epic especially in the post race reflections in the hot shower (laughs).

Add rain to test the Red Hook Crit, in New York, and a specific category of girls has been like living a dream. Competing among high level competitive women was a great human and sporting experience. Many times the experiences are hard as asphalt York, I fell in the first lap by a technical error, and had to chase the lead group. I finished in 11th place, good result considering the fall. On the podium of Brooklyn for my deserved to be the 38 women who participated, a very high number that I’m sure will continue to grow! Now come Barcelona and Milan, I’m half overall, very eager to recover 100% of the fall and move up.

7. Tell us the first part of 2014. Has been a very strong start to the year for you, right?

For me, 2014 began as an unusual year. Sometimes the best years do not match your moments; but I have strength and determination to try to do the best I can.
I have participated in many criteriums internationally, especially in Europe, I found in Dijon Fleur Faure, young and talented French professional cyclist, with which I have had the experience of a decisive final race in the final sprint. No win gives me a lot of encouragement to get the maximum fitness in the Critérium Gijón, where we will meet again.

8. Desgëna Team

After a year without a team “lost dog”, I enter the Desgëna team, an Italian company based in Turin. Design, developed and implementation are the responsibility of builders historical frame, all carefully handcrafted and customized. Crossing paths with them has been very important to me and I hope they can say the same.

On the computer with me is Janine Jackson, English and versatile athlete who lives and works in Italy.

9. Your new bike.

Desgëna has produced a bike specifically to meet my characteristics, the feelings are fantastic, I am in perfect harmony with my #blackyellow (bike) from the first second.

10. How about now?

Upcoming important dates: without a doubt Critérium Gijón and RHC Barcelona, also in Los Angeles Civic Crit 2 Wolfpack Hustle on July 12 where I will compete with 30 other athletes, a good test bed. In fact I’m writing while I’m preparing my trip across the ocean.

11. You’re one of the most popular girls in the fixed gear, could you tell us a few words to all those girls who want to get closer to this “world”?

I don’t have made phrases, but many knowing glances and smiles for the girls I meet in racing, especially by young people starting out. I hope those smiles can help awaken in them the desire to do sports, cycling or any other, wanting to give it all I’ve got, explore your limits, try the bitter taste of defeat, fall and rise again, to learn the respect for opponents and all this fun.

12. Any bad experience on a bike?

Falls, scars, fractures, contusions, at my age, every day spend its harder. The secret is to ignore all that and prevent strike fear into your heart. Sure, you can fall, but also stand up and pedal faster than before!

13. A phrase that represents your passion for cycling and bike

Will is power! To me this phrase is a lifestyle. I started cycling at 34, I have done in 5 years what had not done in a lifetime. I have met an incredible number of people and learned poetry behind the simple act of rolling a bile. I’ve done ultra line, road racing, alleycats, CX, MTB, criteriums, I have traveled throughout Europe for racing a few hours. If they had told me before, I would not have believed me. I’ve changed, I’ve grown! why, yes! Will is power!

14. Thanks to…

The list is endless … give thanks for many things, a gesture, a word, a crown borrowed transmitted heat, for believing in my ability, for listening, for having followed in visionary dreams, for helping after hard falls, for helping me in this “pink” cause for women’s cycling. THANK YOU ALL! And I thank myself for not giving up in difficult times, have known where all quit fighting. Oh, and of course, thank you for this fabulous interview!

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