I'm super excited this week to have Amanda Spratt as the Weekly Rider! Amanda is a professional rider with the Orica-AIS team and a two time Australian Champion, two time Olympian and is lining up for a summer of racing in Australia...
Just in case that was not enough, she's currently studying a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations)... and on top of all this she's been good enough to talk to us about why she loves to ride!
Lives Springwood, NSW
My Scott Foil - the bike I am lucky enough to get to ride on all year round. I am a very small rider so it has often been difficult for me to find a good bike in a decent size where I don't have to compromise on stem length.
The Scott Foil is perfect because they make them in super small sizes, where I have a good length stem which makes a big difference for handling. I also love the stiffness on the frame... and the fact I have a special green and gold edition frame to ride on this year.
What is your favourite local ride
When I am back home in Australia my favourite local ride is the Penrith Saturday bunch ride. I often miss the start because I might have efforts to do beforehand but I always love meeting up with the bunch halfway through, right before we start swapping off heading to the coffee shop - this can get pretty hard as everyone wants to be first back at the cafe to order their coffee first ;).
Afterwards a group of us usually ride up the Blue Mountains where we live which involves a race up the first big climb...then we often ride further up the mountains for some extra kms and altitude metres for the legs. These are the guys who keep me honest over the summer months and who I have known for years. My Dad also rides in this bunch, and my brother often does as well, so it's always a great family occasion as well.
What is your current cycling goal
At the moment I am training hard for the Summer of racing in Australia. I only got back from Europe in the second week of November so I don't do any open racing until January. Spending time with my family and friends as much as I can in November and December is really important to me and I prioritise that over all the travelling at this time of the year. There is enough of that for the other 10.5months of the year! I will race everything in January - Bay Crits, Nationals, TDU and Cadel's Race so there is plenty to look forward to. Probably my first big goal is to try and defend my green and gold jersey from this year... that would be a dream.
When I am on the bike I....am determined, focused, happy and at times probably a little too competitive ;)
How did your love of bikes come about?
My father and grandfather both used to race when they were younger so I was definitely born into a cycling family. When I was 9 years old and my brother 7 years old, my Dad took us along to the Blue Mountains BMX club to have a try - we both loved it and spent five years there before Dad introduced us to road cycling at the Penrith Panthers Cycling Club. I was pretty terrible in my first race - it was a junior handicap and I was on my mountain bike, but things improved from there and I have loved it ever since.
Share a cycling memory
Cycling has always been a family affair - when my brother Nick and I were both juniors we used to go out riding with my Dad during the week and on the weekends. Like I said before, sometimes I am too competitive, and it would be fair to say this also runs in the family (you should see how intense board games can get ;)).
Nick and I used to sit behind Dad and have tactical meetings about how to drop him up the next climb or around the next corner... short rides turned into a suffer fest as we attacked and counterattacked each other trying to get rid of each other and of Dad. It was definitely a fun and painful way to train, but I think even Dad enjoyed it, as he has gone onto win multiple National Titles on the road in the Masters category.
I love to ride because....
I love the feeling of being able to push yourself further than you thought you could. I love setting goals and training towards them. I love the fact that your bike can take you to so many places around the world. I love the social aspect of cycling and the people you meet along the way.
Amanda is a Professional rider of Orica-AIS and sponsored by Anytime Fitness Springwood and Shimano Australia