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At the recent Sydney bike show I was lucky enough to meet Emily Miazga who is the effervescent woman behind Em’s Power Cookies & Bars. Canadian-born Emily runs her own business from the south island of New Zealand and agreed to answer a few questions to help unravel the secrets of her success.
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When did you first start making your power bars and cookies?
Back when I was a teenager, I used to make yummy cookies for myself as well as to give to friends, etc. I found people loved yummy cookies and it was fun giving them away, including to my high school teachers! Over the years everyone used to say I should sell my cookies. I ended up studying to be a registered dietician, so followed the foodie-career route. My recipe also evolved. When I started travelling and ended up in NZ, I needed work. So it was a perfect time to launch my power cookies! That was Feb/March 2004.
I was lucky enough to catch up with the amazing Anna Meares via email for an interview. I find Anna very inspiring and have been lucky enough to see her race a couple of times at the velodrome in Sydney.
Q: My Sydney Cycling Club, Lidcombe Auburn Cycle Club (LACC) has a girls’ development squad called the Pixies. They ride and race both track and road and range in age from about six to 13. What words of wisdom could you offer them?
A: I have heard of the Pixies (very cute little group and cute name). My advice would be to have fun, enjoy the sport, enjoy the company of old friends and new friends because these will be memories that last you a lifetime.
Q: At what age did you switch from ‘having fun’ racing and riding your bike to ‘serious’ training? How old were you when you found your first coach?
A: I was 13 when I found my first coach in Ken Tucker in Rockhampton. I probably went from having fun to serious when I was 16 years old.
Eight year old, Ava Giramondo is a member of the youth development squad of my cycling club Lidcombe-Auburn Cycle Club (LACC) and she recently presented to her Year 2 class at PLC Sydney, her reasons for selecting cycling as the best sport. When I read it, it seemed to me that Ava’s reasons were not dissimilar to many female cyclists. I particuarly like the bit about how she and her friends don’t have to hang out with the boys! Enjoy….
Here’s Ava’s presentation:
Good morning/afternoon 2c.
In my opinion cycling is the best sport. The type of cycling I’m going to talk to you about is bike racing. It can be enjoyed by both young and old. There are two types of racing you can participate in; road racing and track racing at a velodrome.
Here are three reasons why in my view cycling is the best sport.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like spending part of the year living in Europe. My fantasies have centred more around hanging out in Tuscany for six months and learning to speak Italian but I’m also interested in what it would be like to live the life of a female pro cyclist (not that I have the talent).
You may remember I interviewed Aussie cyclist Jo Hogan in January before she headed for the cycling season in Spain. Jo is now part the way through a great season in Europe and she reflects on her own website The Healthy Cyclist what it’s like to spend part of her year there.
Q: I understand that 2012 was your first year living overseas and competing on a World Cup level. Tell me about this. Did you have a second language or did you have to learn Spanish?
A: Yes, 2012 was my first full season of racing on the women’s professional European circuit and competing at a World Cup level. Racing at this level was like nothing I had experienced before. The large number of women in the field, the courses, weather conditions and being part of a team where I was the only English speaking team member. Being out of my comfort zone certainly kept me focused!
A couple of months ago I wrote about the amazing Kacie & Dani who were in heavy training to complete the 3,000 mile Race Across America. I’m pleased to say that the pair made it, and I was lucky enough to catch up with them again post race.
Q: Were you both nervous in the days leading up to big race? And did you feel like you’d trained enough?
Dani: I wasn’t nervous. I tend to not get overly anxious before big races or nervous. I did feel overwhelmed in the days before we left Atlanta, I felt like I had a tremendous amount of things to do to get ready and packed and not enough time to do them in. I felt incredibly confident in my training and my physical state!
Kacie: I was nervous for sure! My husband, our crew chief, and I had to drive all of the gear across the country. It was almost 35 hours of driving, which is exhausting. It started to get intimidating thinking about the fact that we were riding our bikes back! I was not nervous about the training. I knew that I had worked as hard as I could possibly work and prepare as much I could have prepared. I was nervous about the unexpected–accidents, car trouble, and the unknowns.
One of the things I said I would do when I started this blog nearly two years ago was to provide regular updates about women’s professional cycling, and while I’ve done a few cyclist profiles, I haven’t done nearly enough to inform my readers about women’s pro cycling. So here’s an attempt at least to get you all on board with an update about one of the biggest women’s pro races of the year – the Giro Rosa, which was formerly known as the Giro Donne.
Firstly, I have to say that I can’t fathom why the Giro Rosa and its predecessor the Giro Donne is run at the same time as the very, very high profile men’s race that I know you’ve all heard of – Le Tour de France. But that aside, let’s focus on some positives.
The Giro Donne was a women’s Italian stage race that began in 1988, and has in the past been known for tackling some of Italy’s most difficult terrain, not unlike the Giro D’Italia raced by the men in May every year. After last year’s edition, its future was in doubt until a new organiser stepped in, renamed the race the Giro Rosa (meaning Pink Tour) and committed to run it until the 2016 edition.
The first time I remembering hearing the name Kimberley Wells was when I was watching the Bay Crits on television earlier this year. She won against many of her highly fancied rivals. The second time was when I saw her live, racing in the Women’s Cup at Unley in Adelaide during the Tour Down Under where she also won. So I wasn’t at all surprised when Kimberley made contact with me from her new base in the US. Here’s the story in her own words.
Why did you start cycling?
I am 27 years old now and fell into cycling throughout University in Far North Queensland. I came back from a year in the UK/Europe working and travelling and bought a road bike a week before I started Uni, aged 18 years. Initially I used it to get around town, but over a few years became more involved in bunch riding, the Townsville Cycling Club then some local racing, progressing to having a coach. I knew I wanted to go further with the cycling, but there were significant challenges doing this as a medical student in the far reaches of North Queensland without a road map to success. After graduating University in 2009 and following my boyfriend to Canberra I started ramping up the riding/racing, working towards becoming a full-time athlete in 2012.
A month or so ago I was contacted by two inspiring American women who are training for an ‘ultra’ cycling event called Race Across America. It’s a 3,000 mile or 4,828 km ride that has to be completed in nine days.
I always thought that undertaking a long ride like Melbourne’s Around the Bay which is 210 km was a pretty impressive feat. That was until I heard from Kacie & Dani.
I asked them a few questions about their quest.
As well as being a keen cyclist, I am also a lover of social history and when I get to combine two things of interest I’m pretty content.
I have a great book called Wheels of Change by Sue Macy in my home library and thought I would share a story I enjoyed.
If you think that female cyclists in the past 20 or so years have been real trailblazers then think again, because the true trailblazers where the women that were racer bicycles way back in the late 1800s.
An early American racer Elsa von Blumen of Rochester New York saw herself as a role model for good health, particularly for women. She was quoted as saying in an article for The Bicycling World in 1881:
“In presenting myself to the public in my bicycle exercises, I feel I am not only offering the most novel and fascinating entertainment now before the people, but am demonstrating the great need of American young ladies, especially, of physical culture and bodily exercise.
I’m particularly happy this week to tell you about a new women’s race team and development squad being launched by my own cycling club – Lidcombe-Auburn Cycle Club (LACC). The new squad is under the leadership of cycling coach and LACC member Donna Meehan and I’m lucky enough to be the Team Manager.
Donna who has taken on the role of Directeur Sportif (or team director) describes it as a milestone event for the cycling club.
To officially launch the team, an event was held at The Quad Café at Sydney Olympic Park last Friday night.
Donna said of the new team and development squad, “LACC has been around for more than 90 years and this is the first time there’s been a women’s race team formed.