Loren Rowney – enjoying the European life and racing her bike

Loren RowneyI caught up with Aussie pro cyclist Loren Rowney a couple of weeks ago via email. Loren is a member of the Velocio-SRAM women’s team. Some of you may know it by its former name Specialized-lululemon. Over to Loren.

Q: How did you get started in cycling?
When I was 13, I went to watch my brother race a local club race on the Easter weekend. I spotted a girl from my neighborhood, whom I was competitive with, racing the men. And thought to myself, “hey, if she can race a bunch of men, so can I”. I wanted to beat her. The funny thing is I am still best friends with that girl today.

Q: You’re probably sick of being asking about your famous crash so I won’t dwell on the details, but can you tell me how you recovered both physically and mentally from such a high profile incident? How hard was it to get back on the bike?
The first two weeks were really painful and frustrating because I didn’t have any answers as to why or who even, caused this crash. I’m a hyperactive person, so being confined to a small apartment wasn’t fun. It was the spring too, and I had big ambitions for all the races I was now going to miss. I’ll admit, I got depressed and it was very challenging mentally to come back. I’m still struggling a bit now.

Q: Your team Velocio-SRAM had a big sponsor change this season, did that have a major impact on you?
The team is very different this year. It’s definitely more Euro, and less American. I was really sad to lose Evie Stevens and Ally Stacher as teammates. They are big personalities and had a great deal to do with my development as a professional cyclist. In general, the structure is the same and we have fantastic new sponsors on board. The only sad part is losing the connection with the people from previous sponsors.
Q: Are you studying while you undertake your pro cycling career? What are your plans post-racing?
I’m doing a science degree majoring in Ecology and Conservation biology. I’m one semester off finishing, however, have had this on hold since turning pro. My final subjects are lab and field based and i don’t want to miss the opportunity to get my hands dirty, so I’ll wait to finish my degree post cycling.
Q: Do you enjoy living and racing in Europe? What are some of the pros and cons?
I love it. My roots are European, with Dutch, Greek and British grand parents. I think it’s in my blood the passion to travel and explore the world. And what better way than as a professional athlete. Cons are definitely the fact I don’t get to see my family and close friends for about 9 months of the year. It’s tough, but Girona (my base) is home now.
Q: What’s your favourite race of the year?
Strada Bianche. It was epic. Everything about it. The course, the crowds, the Italian countryside, the race itself was hard, fast and aggressive. And then the Women’s Tour of Britain was just incredible in every aspect.
Q: How can we get more women to take up cycling (at all levels)?
I think it’s happening organically. More women are picking up the bike on their own accord. There are so many women’s only events thanks to companies like Specialized, giant, rapha, sram, lululemon etc. The question is how do more women get involved in the racing aspect of the sport. Because for me, that is one way in which women’s professional cycling will grow. It through participation in racing. We need to grow a larger following from women. The majority of our fans are middle aged men.