Manuel Ferrara pictured centre
Manuel Ferrara is a rider from Monterrey, México. He normally trains with me and my sisters in the Velodrome of Monterrey, I wanted to do an interview with him to share his story with all of you who are passionate about cycling but are not competitive riders. Arni (as we call him) rides in the Master Category and he was a multi-medalist in the Master Pan Am Champs this year.
How did you get into riding a bike?
I actually started riding some years back due to knee injuries, the doctors gave me an option between swimming and biking as rehabing at Legacy rehab fort pierce and, since I swim about as good as a heavy rock I decided to bike. At first it was just for my health, and then I found a local cycling group, the Biscauch, that took me in after one of my friends invited me to join them, this was still recreational even though I had to actually train to even do the Sunday rides with them and not get dropped! After some time I got the hang of it but never really saw myself as a competitor in this sport, mostly because of my build. I am 5’6” and weigh 165 pounds, mostly due to weightlifting, a bit too heavy for all the uphill’s you know.
What made you take up cycling as a competitive sport and not only as a hobby?
Your dad and coach Rolando Arreola actually did. He saw me sprint against one of the elite track riders during a Sunday ride and started sending me videos of track sprints… Chris Hoy, Theo Bos, you name it, big names that at the time meant nothing to me. Heck, I’d never even seen a track at that point, and this was only two and a half years ago…! I think it was mostly the adrenaline that lured me… that and the fact that my oldest daughter Karla is a competitive swimmer and the young one Sara started cycling. She had stopped Diving due to heel problems and one day Armando (Mandy) Menendez, her coach, and your dad insisted she had good potential for the track; this after looking at her once in street clothes at the bike shop and her never having ridden a bike! I believed them and convinced her to try track cycling and when she did I decided to try it myself. What the heck I figured we would both be new at it…
Tell me the challenges that you had to face to start racing.
Well, first of all, it was not easy to organize my time around work; I had to incorporate the specific leg training into my lifting routine twice a week which meant doing heavy squats at 5:30 in the morning if I wanted to do them at all. From there it was straight off to the Track and then shower and eat to be in the office at 9:30am. Second, I had to fend off old knee injuries to strengthen my legs and get into shape for the events I was aiming for. And then there was the bit about learning to ride a track bike… no brakes? No free wheel? Bankings, really?!? These were all new to me and all things I was advised not to start trying at my age… ha! Finally, the awkwardness of being the only one not under the age of 23 trying this sport, at least here in Monterrey. There was no Masters Track Category to go race in!
Manuel Ferrara, Sofia Arreola & Rolando Arreola
What was it like to compete with the elite riders in Mexico?
Intimidating, scary and exciting!!! Where is the Masters Track League when you need one?!?
My first challenge was to not looking foolish in a sport they’d all mastered already. I did not want to be the old man that comes in way behind the young bunch but receives pity applause just for trying; I wanted to be like them, and even be one of them one day. These kids have no fear and still think they are made of steel or rubber, I don’t know, but nothing can faze them! So for me a decision had to be made, it was either put my fears and worries aside, think like they do and get on the track… or stay home! So I took to the track. Fortunately I seemed to resemble the image of a sprinter, so that helped a little at first… until the first race! A flop, but at least I did not come in last, which was comforting and gave me the motivation to go on with the project. Of course I would never have dared to do so without the support and guidance of you dad and you girls. I put my trust in him as a coach and fully believed he would not ask me to do anything I was not ready to, I left my pride aside and put up with being dropped by your sisters (Sofia & Chely) and you at training and just worked at hanging in there. Of course I’ve made my share of rookie mistakes along the way as the pressure of the events still gets to me, and my abilities have yet to be polished up, but I am slowly getting better; your dad has been very patient with me.
All in all it’s been a great experience… you have all taken me under your wings, your dad, the other coaches and the elites have taught me a lot about training and racing and I now feel like a part of the track community, all though it still feels funny to be called Tío (uncle) by every racer out on the bike.
How do you handle cycling and working?
It’s tough at times; I have made an effort to organize work around training and training around the meetings, and so forth… to do this I have to start the day early and get it all in before I go to the office, so I am leaving the track when the Elites are only starting their morning practice. I make it into the gym by 5:30am so I can fit it all in, they lift in the afternoons. I have no time to rest, let alone sleep after heavy work outs or even eat at the right times, but I try and do my best and live with what I can manage. Fortunately I have had a lot of help and understanding at the company and they have tolerated and even supported my efforts with rescheduling meetings and things when necessary which has been a life saver for me since there is a lot of training that needs to be done and the track is not exactly around the corner.
Team BICIS AH
What does your family think about you competing at the track?
Well, they worry for me since they have seen their share of bike crashes, they have seen me come back from the hospital after one of them and they know that it is all part of the sport and a risk that will not go away. But they understand of course since they are all athletes themselves; my wife was a European Champion in swimming, my oldest daughter will soon be going to Boston University on a Swimming scholarship and is a National Champion in her discipline and, my youngest daughter has made her mark in cycling by winning at Track Nationals in her age group as well. So it follows that they understand my need to be competitive and, even give me a hard time for being the only one in the family without a gold medal. Something I hope I can change in the upcoming seasons.
What are your plans for next season?
I will work to get stronger and faster, continue with the ongoing schedule we have laid out and either go to the Masters Pan Am Games in the fall or aim straight for the Masters World Championships in Manchester. It all depends on the number of team mates we manage to round up and the dates of the events. I will probably participate in some Elite Track cups during the spring and summer as well where I will try to better my times and the 8th and 10th places I have managed so far. A top 5 at the Elite Nationals would be sweet although it seems ambitious; hey, one has to have goals and dreams!
Do you have a favorite quote that you read or think about before racing?
I actually have many, I have always liked quotes as they provide good motivation, but my all-time favorite is still:
“Because talent alone won’t take you to the top and luck won’t last forever… perseverance is what winners are made of.”
Of course a new found one due to my present age and the contrast to those around me is this one:
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw
Can you give any tips to other people interested in cycling who don’t know how to combine it with their work?
I have found it to be true that in cycling the time you spend on the bike is directly proportional to the level you can acquire; so go out there and bike, have fun, figure out where you are at and what you want out of this sport and then do what it takes to get there. Whether it’s recreational, to get into shape and maintain health or to be competitive, the main thing is that you enjoy it, then, it will not be such a sacrifice to find the odd hours you need to fit your rides in, train and still make it to work on time.
Thank you very much for your time and for sharing part of your story with us, we will keep following your progress in cycling and wish you all the best!
We are in the sprinting line on our way to the Olympic Games of London. Sofia has to participate in the four World Cups, Pan American Championship and the World Championship in order to make enough points to qualify.
The qualification system its complicated, it’s a ranking for Continents. The American continent has 5 places for the women’s omnium and we have Sarah Hammer (USA), Tara Whitten (Canada) and Marlies Mejias (Cuba) that have secured their places for the Olympics in the last season. The big dispute is between Angy Gonzalez (Venezuela), the Colombian Maria Luisa Calle and Sofia Arreola (Mexico).
Sofi hopes to finish in the top 10 of the World Cups and World Championship in order to finish within the first five in the Pan American Ranking.
Training base in
Mallorca is a perfect place for training; it has high mountains as well as flat and safe roads to do nice and long rides to improve the endurance. Mallorca has 2 different tracks where you can train and improve different things.
Sofia is currently training under the direction of Andy Sparks in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Supported by the Mexican Cycling Federation and the National Sports Commission.
The training objectives are to improve power and endurance for individual events of the omnium. Training with Sarah Hammer and riders from Turkey and Ireland has made significant changes in Sofia as she has improved both her power and her endurance on the track. In the last Pan American Games in Guadalajara 2011, Sofi showed the progress when she won the silver medal.
First World: Astana
In Astana, as in all World Cups, you need to do a points race of 40 laps in order to qualify to the finals in the omnium, they have 2 heats and the best 12 of each heat get to ride the finals. Sofia was 4th in her qualifying heat, showing again her progress in her endurance.
The omnium started with 24 riders, all the best girls of the world were there only two big names were missing: Tara Whitten and Sarah Hammer they both decided to start their season in the 2nd World Cup in Cali.
Sofia was looking strong but performed poorly in the elimination race and finished 13th overall at the end.
2nd World Cup: Cali, Colombia
For this World Cup Andy and Sofi planned to do the scratch race in addition to the omnium. The scratch race is an official event in the World Championships but not in the Olympics, this is one of Sofia’s favorites events and she can perform really good in it as well.
You also need to do a qualification ride before riding the finals, 2 heats where only the first 10 of each heat can go to the finals. Sofia was second in her heat and was ready to give everything in the next race.
The final had 20 riders, the best riders in the world for sure. She was trying to control the race from start to finish and maybe worked too much, 4 riders went into the break away and she managed to win the bunch sprint to finish 5th place, this complies in part with the goal set by Andy for this World Cup.
The next day begins with the qualifying for the omnium. Sofia had to ride the heat with the best two riders of the specialty (World Champ Tara Whitten and multiple World Cup Champ Sarah Hammer) She managed to qualify and had a very regular start in the first event (250m flying lap). In the second event (points race) she finished in 5th place, Sofi improved her chances in the general classification and she was getting closer to the top 10 she wanted.
In the next event (elimination race), a race that is usually very complicated as every rider starts the race full gas because every 2 laps the last rider gets eliminated. The excitement of the riders as well as their desire to win caused several crashes, Sofi was involved in one of them. She hit the wall of the track injuring her back, right arm and finger and so had to end her participation in this World Cup.
Sofi is currently in 3rd place in the world ranking of the scratch race and she is looking forward to top that at the World Championships in Australia but her main focus is to make more points for the Olympics, she still wants to secure top 10 in the next two World Cups in Beijing and the Olympic test of London.
There are now four more races where she can collect Olympic points: the next two World Cups, the PanAm Champs and the World Champs it will be a hard and close fight between the riders because everyone is working harder than ever before to get there but we are sure that Sofia can achieve her goal and make her Olympic dream a reality in London.
Cali Track World Cup 2011
Update From Cali World Cup
The highlights of yesterday are quite interesting; in the men’s team sprint qualifying the German trio of Rene Enders, Maximilian Levy and Stefan Nimke set a new World Record in an impressive ride (42.914), the women’s team sprint was won also by Germany with Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte.
2 Team Erdgas
Women’s Team Sprint:
The women’s scratch race was full of attacks, Sofi Arreola (Mex) was very active in the race but at the end there was a break away with 4 and she couldn’t make it but she won the bunch sprint to finish in 5th place.
1 Kelly Druyts (Bel)
2 Katarzyna Pawlowska (Pol)
3 Ahreum Na (Kor)
4 Leire Olaberria Dorronsoro (Spa)
5 Sofia Arreola (Mex)
In the women’s Team Pursuit GBR were fighting the NZL girls for gold and it was a very close battle till one of the girls of New Zealand got dropped off the wheel of her teammate and that gave the British team a gold medal while the American team finished 3rd.
The men’s team pursuit was a different story, the Australians were fighting for gold against New Zealand but unfortunately for the World Champions one of their teammates had a crash in the first kilometre of the race and they were not allowed to start again. NZL finished 1st, AUS 2nd and DEN 3rd.
The craziest race of the day was the 3rd event of the omnium: Elimination race. As usual, it started super fast, everyone fighting to be in a good position in the peloton, short after the race started there was a crash with 4 riders including Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) one of the race favorites! He and the rest of the guys were allowed to come back on the race but the crash caused a bad effect on them so they were all eliminated soon.
There was more chaos during the race because riders didn’t want to leave the track after they were eliminated; I guess there was a lot of confusion there. Very close to the finish there was another crash with more race favorites like Zach Bell (Can) and Shane Archbold (NZl), they were also back in the race but both with bad luck, Zach was eliminated right after the crash and Shane was disqualified of the event after not leaving the track when he was eliminated.
The race was about to get more confusing and at the same time more interesting when the race commissaries said Juan Esteban Arango (Col) was eliminated but the Colombian rider was refusing to leave the track! The commissaries let the race continue and they eliminated Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa), this rider was seriously upset and had a fight with the judges after leaving the track so he also got disqualified of the event.
The commissaries told Arango he must leave the track and said the race was over while Bryan Coquard (Fra), Michael Freiberg (Aus) and Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) were still on the track! The riders were confused and complaining to the UCI commissaries while the DS from Colombia was also fighting to get his rider back on the track, he said that the red monitor that lets the riders know that they are eliminated was never flashing in his Arango’s bike so he wasn’t really eliminated…. Anyways the commissaries let him come back to the race, the other riders were not happy but they kept on racing.
Arango was the first eliminated, followed by the Belgian rider and Bryan Coquard beat Michael Freiberg (reigning World Champion) in the final sprint.
The current omnuim standinga are here:
1 Bryan Coquard (Fra) France 10 pts
2 Recep Ünalan (Tur) Turkey 14 pts
3 Juan Esteban Arango (Col) Colombia 16pts
4 Zach Bell (Can) Canada 20 pts
5 Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Denmark 28 pts
6 Martyn Irvine (Irl) Ireland 30 pts
7 Michael Freiberg (Aus) Australia 31 pts
8 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Belgium 32 pts
Full results of every event from Tissot Timing click here.
Live streaming of the Cali Track World Cup is available at Mundo Ciclistico by clicking here.
Pan-American Games - Guadalajara - Mexico
Last week was very crazy and very intense! It was time for the PanAm Games in Mexico!!!
This track is brand new and its SUPER fast, believe me when I say it could be one of the fastest tracks in the whole world, the track is in a place with great altitude (Guadalajara, Mexico) and it’s a nice indoor track. I think it’s perfect for someone who’s planning to break a World Record.
The races were so much fun to watch, the first day Colombia broke the PanAm Record in the Team Pursuit (4.59) and they won the gold medal against the Chilean team, while the women from Venezuela won the Team Sprint against Colombia, Mexico came 3rd with a team led by the veteran Nancy Contreras.
It was good to see Njisane Phillip (Trinidad & Tobago) break the PanAm Record in the 200 metres (9.91) in the morning of the second day of competition, he’s very friendly and knows how to get the crowd going crazy. He calls himself “the black Mexican” and all the people in Mexico love him. Unfortunately, he lost in the semifinals against Hersony Gadiel Canelon from Venezuela and had to race from the bronze medal. The final podium: 1st Hersony Gadiel Canelon (VEN), 2nd Fabian Puerta (COL), 3rd Njisane Phillip (TRI)
Another great race to watch was the men’s omnium with Juan Esteban Arango from Colombia dominating the field from start to finish, he was never lower than top 5 in all six events of this tough race and won 3 events to finish with 13 points, Luis Mancilla (CHI) was 2nd with 20 points and Walter Perez (ARG) 3rd with 28pts.
In the women’s Team Pursuit Canada was the one who took the highest place in the podium posting a time of 3:21.448 with Laura Brown, Stephanie Roorda and Jasmin Glaesser (who is German and got her Canadian citizenship just weeks before the event). 2nd and 3rd places went to Cuba and Colombia.
Sofia Arreola Omnium - PanAms 2011 - Image Copyright Nancy Arreola
Of course my favorite event to watch was the women’s ommnium as my sister Sofia was riding for Mexico, if the crowd was going crazy with Njisane Phillip I don’t know how to describe it when Sofi was riding. The track was completely full and you could hear all the audience screaming “Sofia, Sofia, Sofia” and “si se puede, si se puede!” (its Spanish for “you can do it”). It was fantastic to be there, and it was a great experience for Sofi to be able to race this big event in her home country.
She started with the 250 flying lap and finished 4th behind Cuba, Venezuela and Canada but in the points race she was super aggressive all day and managed to get away with 10 laps to go and lapped the field at the very last moment, it was such an epic moment and the audience went wild!
After that it was time for the elimination race, Sofia was now in 2nd place in the overall standings and again gave us a great performance, she pulled at the front the whole race and at the end Angie Gonzalez from Venezuela beat her in the sprint. It was good, 3 events done and 3 to go and she was sitting in 2nd place with a good advantage.
The first event of the second day was the individual pursuit, she didn’t post a good time and finished 4th again, so the overall standings were close and Stephanie Roorda from Canada had a chance to move her from her second place so in the scratch race it was all or nothing because Sofi is not good in the 500mts so if she wanted to keep her silver medal she had to win the scratch.
The race started with many attacks but nothing that would last, the average speed was very high because everyone wanted to finish in a good position. With 6 laps to go Sofi took control of the bunch again, pulling on the front all the way to the finish and setting a very high speed. It was impressive, no one could pass her and she won the scratch as Venezuela, Cuba and Colombia finished far behind.
That put Sofia only one point away from the gold medal with only the 500mts to go and now with huge advantage on the 3rd and 4th place. Marlies Mejia from Cuba posted a very fast time in the 500mts (35.1) finishing first and that result put her in the top 3 in the final classification.
Sofia Arreola with her Silver medal PanAms 2011 - Image ©Copyright Nancy Arreola
Women’s omnium results: 1st Angie Gonzales (VEN), 2nd Sofia Arreola (MEX), 3rd Marlies Mejia (CUB)
This is just the start of the track season, the World Cups start next month in Astana!! It’s going to be super fun to see which riders qualify for the London Olympics because nothing is written in stone yet!
Nancy Back in Mexico for the Nationals
My sister had a little break from her training camp in Mallorca to do the Mexican Track Nationals. I was so excited because the last time I saw her was back in March at the Track Worlds in the Netherlands. Our schedules are so different I hardly get to see her.
We had some catch up time, we went to all our favorite restaurants (Mexican food of course!) and had a really good time before going to Aguascalientes for the track Nationals. We did a road trip two days before the competition, it was only six hours drive so it wasn’t that bad and it was a good opportunity to talk and get updates on what we’d both been doing in our lives.
When we arrived and did our first training session at the track we knew it was the moment of truth, we were going for all or nothing. All the training and the hard work was going to be tested and we had to compete one more time for that gorgeous Mexican jersey.
Unfortunately my competition was soon over due to a back injury that has been holding me back since the start of this year. On the other hand my sister did an awesome job, she won the individual pursuit on the first day and showed a superior level of skill at the rest of the competition, I guess training with the World Champion [Sarah Hammer] helps a bit!
Sofi in her "AH" Team Colours
Her coach Andy [Sparks] was very happy with her results, “Great first day of racing at the Champs of Mexico for Sofia, getting the fiesta started with a win in the individual pursuit”.
We started the omnium the second day. Sofi and my younger sister Chely raced with our local team “AH” and I raced with my team Horizon Fitness-Prendas Ciclismo RT, so we were rivals for the first time! It was weird, we always race together but this time it was completely different it added more fun to the competition.
Sofia won the flying lap and then I lapped the bunch 3 times to win the points race, the classification was very close and Sofia was beating me in the overall classification by one point. Then it was time for the elimination race, my back was in so much pain. Sofia won again and I finished in 4thplace, at the end of the day Sofia was leading the overall classification and I was still in
Sofi Arreola going for the win
contention for medals but my coach and I decided that it was better if I quit the competition because I didn’t want to have more damage done to my back.
Very disappointing news as I won two gold medals at the Nationals last year and was hoping to at least defend my titles but my health comes first.
The second day of the omnium started, Sofia was leading with a comfortable advantage and she did her best to keep the lead. She won the individual pursuit of the omnium and then it was time for the scratch race, I have to say that it was a very chaotic race!
There were several attacks as the 2nd, 3rd and 4thplace were very close in the GC [General Classification], then Chely made an attack and got away, in the final lap Sofi was way ahead in the sprint and everyone crashed behind her. One of the riders touched Sofia’s wheel by accident and that caused the crash. Some of the riders were in a very bad way and had to go to hospital, even one of the race’s commissaries was injured!
Accident At the Mexican Nationals
There were broken bones, blood and many, many scars! Only my two sisters were fine… it was devastating, so the judges decided to end the race right there and they didn’t do the omnium’s final event (500 metres).
So that meant that Sofia won another National Jersey to add to her big collection, she showed again she was the strongest in the competition but still she was very sad because her rivals crashed, “I can’t even think about the victory, I just hope the rest of the girls are ok…”.
Sofi Arreola racing at the Nationals
One of the biggest surprises of the championships was the comeback of Belem Guerrero (former Olympic silver medalist) and Nancy Contreras (former Jr World Champ of 500 metres). Belem retired after a bad season before the Beijing Olympics’ and Nancy just had a baby four months ago!
They were both in good form, Nancy was looking super fit even after having a baby! It seems like she’s worked really hard to get her fitness back to win two national titles. Belem was also looking very good, she was winning the points race after lapping the bunch once and just when she was getting ready to make another attack she crashed! It was again a bad crash… she broke three ribs and couldn’t keep on racing, such a shame! She is such a talented rider and an icon of Mexican Cycling.
This Championships had a lot of surprises, crashes and emotional moments. It was really nice to be there and have the whole experience (even if I had to end my race sooner than expected…).
With this results Sofia has secured her place in the PanAm Games [Pan-American Games] this October, this event is very important for Mexico because it’s a big competition, a huge test before the Olympic Games in 2012 and also because it will be held in Mexico this time! What a better feeling that racing for the National Team in your own country!
Sofia is now in an altitude camp in Colorado and will return to Mexico to ride the team pursuit and the omnium in the PanAm Games and after that she will be more than ready to start the World Cup season!
Let’s get this party started!
All images ©Copyright Nancy Arreola
Sofi & Nancy
My Sister Sofi
by Nancy Arreola
Sofi and her papa Rolando in Apeldoorn for the World Championships
Sofi Arreola is a young successful rider from Mexico (she also happens to be my sister) and she’s aiming for a place to ride for her country at the London Olympic Games in 2012.
Sofi has won 6 gold medals in the Jr. PanAm champs, 4th place in the Junior Worlds in Moscow 2009 and she’s finished within the top 10 in almost every Track World Cup she’s competed in. She was invited to the World Cycling Center in Switzerland for the 2009-2010 track season and that changed her life. Her results as a Jr. were really good but it wasn’t until she met her new coach Andy Sparks that she started to look at cycling in a different way.
Not everything has been easy for her, she’s had to fight for everything… including her own life. Sofi was a premature baby and she almost didn’t survive. The doctors told dad that he should be prepared for the worst because it was very possible that she wouldn’t survive the night, but she fought and she won that battle. She was getting 15% less oxygen than other babies for one and a half months and she was so tiny.
We had to take lots of care with her because she was always getting sick (I have to admit… I was SUPER jealous because she was getting all the attention from my parents). She used to be allergic to everything so she had to go to the hospital once a month to get 30 injections in her tiny little arms. I could see in her face she was in so much pain but she never cried or complained about it; 3 years old and she was so tough! She wasn’t 100% healthy but my little sister was never weak. She has been giving me life lessons since the minute she was born.
Sofi & Nancy
Life goes on…
Our younger sister Chely and I are really hyper so my parents introduced us to sports at a very young age. Chely is 2 years younger than Sofia but she was just as big as her and beating her in every sport they tried! I bet she can’t say that anymore though… haha!
When I started cycling both my sisters were doing speed skating and they were really having fun with the sport but after one year they took part in a local bike race and they instantly fell in love with cycling, just as I did.
Sofi did the State Championships two weeks after that but she didn’t qualify for the Nationals so she made it her personal goal to win it the following year, she worked harder than anyone else, never missed a single practice and she was really serious about eating well and taking her recovery to a whole new level. It was impressive to see a 13 year old girl behave like that.
Sofi at Apeldoorn - Image ©Copyright Anton Vos
The next year she won everything in the State Championships and got 2 silver medals in the Nationals, since then she’s won almost every competition she’s entered in Mexico. The first time my sister ever rode on the track she won the Scratch Race in the elite category when she was only 14 beating Nancy Contreras (former 500m World Champ) and yeees… she beat me as well but let’s forget about that part!
Sofi & Rolando (Papa) in Puerto Rico
Arreola Family LtoR: Rolando (Dad), Sofi, Chely, Nancy (Mum) and Nancy
She’s had many good results in her short career but also had her ups and downs. In her first Jr. World Champs she crashed in her opening event and was forced to use a wheelchair because she couldn’t walk, but even that didn’t stop her from doing the road race and TT.
She also crashed in the Central American Games last year in Puerto Rico. She was knocked out but the first thing Sofi said when she gained consciousness was “where’s my bike?!” she finished the race concussed and went straight to the hospital not knowing where she was. All her efforts that day gained her a bronze medal for Mexico, a bronze with a good taste of gold.
I’ve seen her do an Omnium going from the ambulance to the track and then back to the ambulance again because she was really sick and even then winning 4 out of 6 events (it was an important race because it would decide who was going to the track world cups to represent Mexico). The Olympic dream has been in her head since she was a little kid and it’s that determination and desire that leads her to keep fighting.
Even with those chaotic races she’s had good results on her way to London, she finished 2nd in the elite PanAms [Pan-American’s] last year and 4th in the Scratch Race at Manchester’s World Cup, putting her in 2nd place in the world rankings but eventually she finished 4th at the end of the track season.
Of course Sofi and I have the support of our whole family. My dad Rolando goes to almost every World Cup with her and when we’re in Mexico he follows us both to every single ride providing all the support while training; my mum Nancy is the one who makes sure that Sofi has everything she needs. Mum calls the FMC [Federación Mexicana de Ciclismo] almost every day, books her tickets to World Cups and she also makes sure that she has all the right equipment to train and race. Chely and myself are her biggest supporters!
Sofi with her coach Andy Sparks
But I think the main thing that has made the biggest impact on her career is training with Andy Sparks, she was training with him when she was in Switzerland and now she’s followed him to Mallorca where they are now both based.
Andy is an amazing coach and they get along really well. She has a lot of respect for him and follows everything he says 100%. Since she’s been training with him we’ve seen her gain more confidence in her skills and has a better attitude while racing. Andy gives her the right motivation and the perfect training to be at her best in every competition.
Sofi knows that nothing is impossible if you work hard for it and you give your best at all times. The fact that she gets to train with Sarah Hammer is also a major boost for her, Sarah is her role model and inspires Sofi to become better every day. Sarah and Andy have been an amazing support for her when she’s away from home, even when she’s missing family, home and friends she’s surrounded by great people in an amazing environment and we know she’s happy even though we all miss her.
She had a complicated season last year but has pulled herself together and focused on doing things right and hopefully she’ll qualify for the London Olympics and achieve a good result. She’s taking it a step at a time, the next track season will be crucial for Sofi, as it will be for many other riders across the world, in order to qualify for London she needs to get good results in the 4 World Cups and the World Championships in Australia. It’s going to be a fun season; I am excited to see how it goes!
Sofi & Nancy - Sisterly rivalry while training - Mexico - March 2011
Thank you very much for reading and I’ll be giving you more updates about the World Cups and who has a chance of getting to ride in London 2012 via my articles here at Cycling Shorts!