#boomtimewithpeta – Nicole Whitburn

Peloton Cafe || Nicole Whitburn

Peloton Cafe || Nicole Whitburn (image copyright Con Chronis)

By Peta Stewart With the popular Melbourne criterium season just opening, I took some time catching up for a coffee and a chat with Melbourne’s number 1 criterium cyclist, Nicole Whitburn, as she gets ready to rock this Aussie summer on her bike. In between a few too many coffee’s, cake, laughs, sledging and banter…here is how it went down…(well they parts we can put to print anyway): Name, team and sponsors: Nic Whitburn, I ride for Liv/giant – Shimano sponsored by Liv & Shimano obviously. Weirdest thing you have ever seen whilst out riding: I saw a bride and groom riding down the Tourmalet last year after having their ceremony on the top! She had the full veil and white dress on over the lycra, he had a tux on over his lycra. They looked fabulous! Favourite riding/racing location: Oh this is a tough one, I have ridden in some amazing places. I would have to say The Pyrenees was the most beautiful riding I have done. As for racing I have a few favourites, the recent Amy’s Otway Classic was amazing but for crit racing I love the Sandown circuit. Clinchers or tubulars: Definitely clinchers for me, I have spent enough time trying to glue on tubulars and getting glue in places it shouldn’t be to not want to use them anymore. Low or high profile wheels: High profile for sure, they make your bike look so much faster. Well known for you crit racing – Favourite training location for sprints in Melbourne? You’re asking for the trade secrets here! I like to do some sprint training on Yarra street on the boulie, I don’t think that one is a well kept secret though. The rest of my training I just do on some quiet back streets nears home. Amp up music choice: I love a bit of Hot Chip or Hermitude, or if I really want to get amped then it’s the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Best wheel sucker in the peloton: Oh now that is a tough question! There are a few that come to mind, am I allowed to name and shame?! I tend to get a few wheel suckers in the lead up to the sprint. I guess it’s the best place to be if you want to win the sprint! Which team do you like to beat: All of them! How many days of racing do you do in a year: Actually quite a lot, in 2012 when I went to the USA, I did over 100. This year I think it will be around 50 – 60. Who is the MVP on your team: Well since my team is relatively small, I think I will have to say the other Nic, Nicole ‘Noffee’ Moerig. She gets the MVP because she can make the most amazing banoffee pie (hence the nickname), oh and she goes up a hill pretty well too! Any dirt you can dish on any of your teammates: I hate to admit it but the whole team has an addiction to cards……it’s all Nic Moerig’s fault. She brought the cards to the Adelaide Tour this year, we sat and drank wine and played cards after the first stage and it’s become a bit of an addiction (the cards not the wine!) Espresso, latte or cappuccino: Any of the above depending on the time of day. And maybe add an espresso martini as well for good measure. What are the best attributes of the women’s NRS: The women’s NRS has grown so much in the last few years, it’s great to see. There are more women racing then ever and the racing is aggressive yet still really fun. My favourite part of the racing is getting to know all the girls, you can make some great bonds when you are suffering together in a breakaway or chase group. What could be improved for the women’s NRS? The NRS is in an interesting place right now, it has grown in numbers but is little low in the quality side of the racing. There are a lot of girls who are just happy to be there and follow wheels in the bunch. In order for the NRS to keep growing the racing quality needs to improve, which means the newbies need to be daring and try new things in the races, attack, get into a break, throw caution to the wind and race with panache! With that said I also feel that riders need to be able to race at a local A Grade level and exhibit a certain level of bike handling and bunch riding skills before they are allowed to step up into the NRS. We recently saw Felicity Wardlaw taken down in a crash at the Murray Tour due to an inexperienced rider getting into a situation they couldn’t control. This was devastating for her as she was competing for Commonwealth Games selection. We don’t want a situation where the countries best riders avoid the NRS for fear of silly crashes. Do you prefer NRS or the summer season? Summer season has always been my focus. I plan my training around summer so I’m usually struggling for fitness at some of the NRS events. Plus I just love a good crit race, I think I get a bit of white line fever. What is the perfect sock height: Good question! I think you have to be careful to not go too high. The sock needs to finish about 2 fingers below your calf, otherwise you run the risk of looking like you have cankles!! You want to be able to show off your calf definition. But it can’t be too low or you risk looking like a triathlete. If you were paid a decent salary (on parity with the men) for riding/racing your bike, how far could you take your racing career: I started riding a bike later in life (around 27) and improved quite fast in my first year. I actually went from D grade local crit racing to the Geelong Women’s Tour which finished with the World Cup race. I was absolutely obsessed with the sport when I started but like all I had to make the hard decision to continue with my career in Mechanical Engineering or take the chance overseas. Back then there was even less knowledge of the European racing and it was a pretty daunting task. I got to know Jenny MacPherson when she returned from racing with the national team, she was fabulous to chat to and gave me a pretty honest opinion of what it’s like to race in Europe and how hard it is both physically and financially. Through chatting with her I decided that I would like to buy a house one day and that I would stay in Aus and just try to do the best I could here and enjoy all the local racing which is on offer. Social media….active user or stalker: I would say ‘user’, definitely not stalker. I still struggle a bit with social media, I’m too old school, I like to call people! Black Caviar – who started this nickname and how did it come about? It was actually the boss at Giant, Darren Rutherford that started it. Every time I saw him he would ask how my racing was going and the answer was usually ‘great I won’, he then commented that he should start calling me Black Caviar cause I never seemed to lose and it stuck. I’m definitely not complaining it’s a great nickname to have. Recently engaged, we all know hubby-to-be is your trainer partner, so who wins? Who has the bigger leg muscles? Sadly he usually wins, he is a bit of a ‘jack of all trades’ so it doesn’t matter where we ride he leaves me for dead! But I win in the leg muscles!! Ha ha, I think I would beat quite a few males in that area! When is the wedding planned and can we expect to see some bike references in the ceremony/reception? Good question…..we need to get organising, we spend too much time on the bikes! Pin up girl for fxyo with the well known shot in the cobbled back streets of Melbourne, are you surprised that pic is still kicking around years on? Yes, just recently it was doing the rounds on a Japanese site! It’s a classic pic, it was the last one that he took that day and I was just clowning around, I even told him not to use it. I was flying out to USA the next morning to do some racing and when I landed and turned my phone on it was the first thing that was there, it had already gone mad! It is such a great photo though, it really shows how talented Andy White is. Thanks Nic see you on the road soon 🙂 Follow these ladies on Twitter for great updates throughout the summer! @PetaS & @nic_whitburn LIVGiant

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