Alexandra Martin-Wallace - On the Road to Success
With a trophy cabinet already containing 10 Australian Championship medals across Road and Track, an Australian Record earlier this year on the way to winning Gold in the Under 19 Women's Pursuit and recently confirmed to represent Australia in her first UCI World Championships the future is certainly bright for 17 year old Sunshine Coast cycling superstar Alexandra Martin-Wallace. We recently sat down with Alex to talk about her achievements and how the support from her family, friends, coaches and sponsors are helping harness her incredible talent and hit some impressive personal targets and goals.
Cathy Freeman, Suzie O'Neil, Lauren Jackson, Anna Mears and Alexandra Martin-Wallace. Right now the last name on the above list of talented and influential Australian Sports Woman may not be so well known, but fast forward a few years into the future and the name Alexandra Martin-Wallace may be as familiar to the everyday Australian as a bell signalling the last lap of an Olympic Gold Medal event. At 17 years of Age she has achieved more in the Sport of Cycling than most fellow competitors hope to achieve in a full career, yet this is only the beginning of what could very well be one of the most successful athletes of her generation.
FE Sports: Congratulations on some incredible results across multiple cycling events so far in your short career. When did your love for the bike begin and do you prefer any one particular cycling discipline over another?
Alex MW: I started cycling when I was fairly young and racing when I was 13 or 14 years old. It has not really been until the last couple of years that I have started to get some good results. I am in my first year in the junior under 19 category and the 2017 National Track Championships this year was my first really big result winning the Gold Medal in the 2000m Individual pursuit and breaking the Australian record. At the moment I enjoy both the Road and Track Endurance equally and love any bunch start races. My main focus for this year however is on the Track and the Individual Pursuit where I have been selected to represent Australia at the UCI Jr World Track Championships later this year in Italy.
FE Sports: You are now a Queensland Academy of Sport scholarship holder and when not riding in the QAS colours ride for local South East Queensland team Procella Sports. Obviously support from family and friends play a big part in allowing you to persue your passion and achieve results but do you think the support from sponsors and teams have also played a part in reaching your goals?
Alex MW: The support from teams and sponsors has been great and has definitely helped by giving me access to incredible equipment and opportunities that I otherwise would struggle to get on my own. Alongside the support from family and friends it allows me to train and perform at my best and takes away the barriers that may stop me from getting the results I am capable of.
FE Sports: You have recently become a Ridley Bikes Australasia Ambassador and are riding the new aerodynamic Ridley Jane. How have you found it?
Alex MW: The Jane has been incredible! It feels amazing to ride and is stiff and fast for sprinting but also super comfortable for longer races and training rides. Being a sprinting all-rounder it's great to have a bike that suits me so well and that I know is allowing me to maximise my performance and not loose any power or efficiency. And it helps that it looks great too!
FE Sports: You have also started to train using Power Data with your coach Dave Betts from the QAS and David Betts Cycle Coaching. Have you found it makes a difference when training with Power and what does it mean for you and your coach when planning and completing training sessions?
Alex MW: I had never trained with power before using a Stages Cycling Power Meter and it has been pretty eye opening to be able to discus and plan my training around very specific numbers and efforts with my coach. I have been able to improve my training and can accurately pace myself so that I know I am in the right zones for the right amount of time. I can then go back on the numbers and monitor my progress so that nothing is left to chance and I am at my peak on race day.
FE Sports: Finally, do you have any advice for young girls and women why may be just starting out or considering taking up cycling and racing?
Alex MW: My advice would be to get out and have fun! Make sure you do enjoyable rides and find some like minded riding buddies and bunches to ride with. Cycling may look like an individual sport from the outside but it is actually one of the most social and friendly activities you can participate in. If after you start out you want to race or challenge yourself then don't be afraid to give it a go, you never know where it may lead you!
We wish Alex the best of luck for her upcoming races and the lead up to the 2017 UCI Jr World Track Championships from August 23rd at the Montichiari Velodrome in Italy. If you would like to help Alex get to the World Championships and chase her first Rainbow Jersey please visit www.gofundme.com/world-track-champs .