10 Minutes with Ben Berden and Nicole Duke – Part 2 Nicole Duke

As a part of our commitment to our Social Media Partnership of the  SoCal Prestige Cyclocross Series, we posted part 1 of our interview with pro Cyclocross athlete Ben Berden. Here is the second part of our interview where we spoke with Nicole Duke on why she rides, what she’s looking forward to this season and what advice she would give to anyone looking to try Cyclocross.

We asked her 10 questions. This is what she had to say.

 

TL-What is the biggest change in Cyclocross that you’ve seen since you started participating?

ND-There are three major changes. The first is that there are more women starting to participate as well as Jr. Women. The second is that there has been a huge jump in your technology too; the introduction of the disc brake has been huge in the past year. Last year I was fortunate to ride the Sram disc brakes, and that piece of technology made a big difference in my performance and generally speaking the way everyone can ride. At some point the courses will evolve and change due to this piece of technology. And the third biggest change is the rise in membership across the board. Cyclocross used to be something mountain bikers and roadies did in the off season, but now it has become its own thing.

 

TL-What are you looking forward to the most this season?

ND-I’m really excited to see friends again and start that part of my life. Its six months out of the year that becomes that culture and that life. And at the end of that six months it kind of just ends and it feels like there is something missing. So now its like we are back to the beginning of the cycle again.

 

TL-What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a rider?

ND-To perservere and not give up. In this career there can be a lot of adversity and a lot of things that will make you want to give up. But you have to hang in there and be patient and give yourself a chance to be great.

 

TL-Where is your favorite place to ride?

ND-Hands down Crested Butte, Colorado. Its just so gorgeous and the wild flowers are amazing.

 

TL-What song plays in your head while you ride?

ND-“We are the Champions of the World,” by Queen.

 

TL-If you could have any superpower what what it be?

ND-To read other people’s minds

 

TL-When you were a child, what did you want to wear when you grow up?

ND-I didn’t have an exact job I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to wear a high power suit and live in the city.

 

TL-What is the one thing you want people to remember you for, what is your legacy?

ND-That I was a positive influence in the industry and that I was an inspiration to some people.

 

TL-What is your main focus right now with your career?  

ND-My goal for the next few years is to inspire others and to give back and to give them the tools and the platform to be able to realize their dreams. I hope by doing so I can share what I went through so they don’t have to go through some of the things that I did. That would be my wish.

 

TL-What piece of advice would you give to other riders?

ND-Have fun with it. If the fun is gone, what are you doing it for? That is what cycling is all about; enjoyment.

 

As the Official Social Media Partner of the SoCal Cyclocross Prestige series we are going to keep you dialed in to exclusive content from the series right here on our blog, on Facebook, Instagram and on our website, www.pricepoint.com.

Words from Real Rider – Sasha Perry

                                                     Photo Courtesy of Donovan Jenkins

 

If you are a newcomer to Cyclocross, you probably have a million and one questions on how to train, what kind of bike to buy, what to expect and is it really as easy as it looks?

As the Official Social Media Partner of the SoCal Cyclocross Prestige series, we want to create a community of riders who can learn and engage with each other about all things Cyclocross.

We went out to the Kick-Off Rally Cross event at LA Historic State park this weekend and we met Sasha Perry. Sasha became a regular at Cyclocross events after going to one race to film a web-series on Vegan athletes. Here is the story.

 

TL – What was is about Cyclocross that drew you to it?

SP – The first time I saw Cyclocross was at a UCI race in Griffith Park in LA. I was there to film for a web-series on vegan athletes, I didn’t know much about the sport at the time. I showed up with a camera and couldn’t get over how fun and ridiculous and hard it all looked. The next season I rented a bike from the SoCalCross organizer and did my first race. It was less fun and far more excruciating than it looked and I fell in love immediately. At one point I found myself riding through a sand pit  next to a child’s swing set while an 8 year old pointed and laughed at me. What’s not to love? I wasn’t a bike racer or even an athlete when I did that first race, and now it takes up more of my life than I care to admit or think about. There’s something about destroying myself at a race and the feeling it brings when you cross the finish line that I haven’t found in any other bike event and I’ve become addicted to it.

 

TL – What’s is your training routine?

SP – I’m on my bike anywhere between 15-25 hours a week depending on my race and work schedule. I’ve also recently started weight lifting and throw in some easy runs now and then to keep my legs happy. The riding varies from short rides with hard interval efforts to long tempo rides on the weekend when I can spend 4 or 5 hours on the saddle. I am incredibly fortunate to have an amazing coach and supporter Jeff Lawler  (Pioneer Coaching) who has put a lot of time into helping me get speed and skills; two things I never thought I could have.

 

TL – What is the best piece of training advice you have been given?

SP – I have a very hard time seeing progress, and it sometimes lends itself to thoughts of quitting.  I was told by my friend recently that being hard on yourself is good–it’s how you improve–but not too hard. The sweetest victories have nothing to do with overall results. Getting to the top of a hill a little faster than last time, finishing with a pack instead of getting dropped, doing something you thought physically impossible. All these things keep you coming back. I was crashed in my first Pro 1/2/3 race this year, got back up and finished the race in 13th. I was absolutely destroyed, and it absolutely felt like winning. There are no small victories.

 

TL – What is one piece of advice you would you give someone who is interested in CX?

SP – I think I’d give the same advice to anyone regardless of gender that wants to get into CX, and it’s nothing profound. Just remember that everyone was a beginner at some point. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy bikes that cost more than your car, don’t be afraid of wearing spandex in public, (no one looks good in it and we all just accept that). Just go out and try it. Pushing your body and mind to do something uncomfortable will change your life if you let it, and in the meantime your friends get to throw things at you and hand you dollar bills.