For the Women on Wheels with ELITE by BKOOL competition, we have organised a series of interviews with successful women from the the world of sport so that they can tell us about their careers and we can get to know them a little better. Women on Wheels with ELITE by BKOOL is an event in collaboration with Selle Italia, Kask, Koo, the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) and Gobik.
Amelia Rose Watkinson is a professional triathlete from New Zealand currently living in Australia. Amelia is a 15-time Ironman champion and has competed in the 2020 PTO World Championships. With a background in cycling and running, she has won several U19 national titles in individual TT, road race, hill climb and team TT, which has prepared her for a career as a professional triathlete.
From the official BKOOL Instagram account many of you Bkoolers had the opportunity to see Amelia Rose Watkinson live while she was participating in a Group Ride with BKOOL and ask her your own questions. The interview is saved on BKOOL’s Instagram and can be watched anytime.
Amelia, would you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
ARW: Since I was a child I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment that encouraged a lot sport. I played a lot of team sports like football, basketball, tennis… And I loved it, so when I got older I wanted to choose more demanding sports. I started doing long-distance running, I always enjoyed competing, and that led me to cycling and finally to triathlon. From there I was able to get my professional licence, so it’s a very rewarding progression.
What is your advice for newcomers to this sport?
ARW: When starting out, one of the best things you can do is to join a club that practices this sport. One of the best things about this discipline is meeting people with the same interests, which allows you to motivate each other and build friendships. A coach is also always useful if you want to aim for something bigger. It depends on what you want to achieve, if you want to train and have fun, training with a team will give you more flexibility to combine training with your work and family life. A coach will help you to achieve specific objectives and reach your goals at higher levels.
As you say it all depends on the goals we set ourselves, could you tell us something about your current goals? Because you have already accomplished the greatest achievements in this sport.
ARW: My goals have been evolving throughout my career. Right now I’m striving to be one of the best in the world. I’ve been in the top ten in a couple of world championship events, so my next goal is to get on the podium. Winning is everyone’s goal, but I think most athletes feel very proud and satisfied if they are giving their best.
When it comes to achieving your goals, who is your source of motivation?
ARW: My inspiration has come from so many different places. When I was younger I always looked up to those who worked hard and succeeded. I was frustrating to see people who made it without really working for it. The people who inspire me at the moment are my training partners, we work so hard together.
What is the hardest thing for you when preparing for a competition?
ARW: When you are a professional trying to do your best it’s funny how the hardest thing for you is the same as it is for beginners. You put your body under a lot of stress to get to the top, understanding what your limit is and how much rest you need is tricky.
Have you ever had an injury while preparing for a competition? Because it is very common among athletes.
ARW: When you get injured it’s very hard but you have to focus on doing what you can realistically do. I’ve had quite a few injuries, mostly from running, but injuries can also come from your diet, stress, not getting enough sleep… Women are even affected by hormones! When you are injured you have to focus on recovering. For me, what really works is swimming, which also helps me to get better at it and improve my performance in the future.
Do you think it is more difficult for women to do sports or do we all have the same possibilities?
ARW: It is true that it is now becoming standardised to accept that we are somehow different. Many current scientific studies, especially in nutrition and sports science, use male subjects for their studies and don’t realise that they can’t generalise to both genders. I personally am very lucky to be in triathlon where there are equal numbers, but not all sports are like that. I think it’s very important to get women into sport, it’s empowering. Here in Australia equality is almost achieved, but I know it’s not the same all over the world.
A related question, do you think that FTP tests have been developed based on male research? Can they be applied to everyone?
ARW: These tests are basically just getting on your bike and going all out for a whole hour. It is very common in training as a guideline when doing intervals to see how you are progressing in both men and women. This way you can be sure that you are not training too light or too hard, if you want to improve you have to mix up the intervals and not always ride at an average level.
Do you think it is difficult for women to get sponsorship?
ARW: In my experience we have already come a long way, I for example have many amazing brands as sponsors. From my point of view, right now we have a lot of support in general, we are on the right track, a few years ago things were very different.
Do you think tools like BKOOL are useful for triathletes?
ARW: One hundred percent, usually with technical courses such as world championships or official tours. If you haven’t had the opportunity to ride the route before, you can try it on BKOOL and even memorise it. I used to travel with my team and practice all over the world, but now with these tools I can train whenever I want from home, it has a lot of potential.
What do you have in mind for this season? Do you think you’re going to rock it?
ARW: I had a little break from training so I am still training to be ready in September for the world championships. I’m training hard in pre-season so I hope to be in good shape when the time comes.