Recently inspired to begin blogging again, I have been thinking up new ideas for fun and entertaining posts. One of these ideas was to create a series of interviews with various people both about cycling and about life. While riding today, I thought it would be interesting to do a little Q&A with the ladies behind the scene, who often play a very important role supporting the pro cycling careers of their partners . These women endure a great deal with partners who are often on the road and away from home, and I wanted to hear straight from the source what they think of the whole spectacle. The three wonderful women participating in this interview are; Sara Mach, Kate Fox and Annika Johannesen.
Sara Mach: Sarah is the wife of my long time blog rival and Paskenta buddy, Paul Mach. I have known Sara and Paul since 2010, when Paul and I shared a year racing together on BISSELL Pro Cycling. A school teacher in California, she loves her dog Jens and enjoys spray-painting the streets of Nevada City. Next year Paul will be racing for Kenda-5Hour Energy, with Sara cheering and supporting him all the way.
Kate Fox: The smiling and lively girlfriend of America's next superstar Andrew Talansky, she enjoys spending her time competing in adventure races and half marathons. Kate is now living in historic Lucca, Italy where she and Andrew have embraced the cappuccino sipping, pizza eating, gelato licking Italian lifestyle. 2012 will be Andrews second ProTour year and he will be racing for Garmin-Cervelo.
Annika Johannesen: What should I say about Annika . . . ? Annika is my beautiful Swedish-American girlfriend of over half a year now. Often pushing my endurance on hikes, runs and in the gym, she loves to exercise. Annika enlightens me in so many ways and always brings a smile to my face when she rocks out on her Ibanez electric guitar. We are now both living in Chico, Ca for the winter while I prepare for the upcoming season with Trek-LIVESTRONG.
BozBlog 1.) How long have you and your partner been together? Where did you meet and did cycling have anything to do with your first encounter?
Sara Mach: Paul and I have been officially been together since Valentine's Day of 2004. He made me a breakfast burrito and asked me if I'd be his girlfriend. At the time, he was a runner, not a cyclist at all.
Kate Fox: Andrew and I have been together for 2.5 years. We met in Lake Tahoe at a local bike race called "Tour De Nez", I was living in Truckee at the time and had a friend who was racing in the same race. Andrew first caught my eye while receiving the 'Best Young Riders' jersey up on the podium. We were later introduced by mutual friends
Annika Johannesen: The author of this here blog and I have been together for about 6 months. And yes to the second question- we met on a small group ride last fall.
BB 2.) I know you partner is often away traveling and racing, how do you stay in touch with each other during the time apart?
SM: Paul and I use Google chat a lot. He makes sure to contact me after every race so that I know he's OK and alive. We talk on the phone too but he's usually pretty tired so texting and chatting is convenient.
KF: While Andrew is racing we usually use BBM or Skype to stay in touch. Skype (for obvious reasons) is the way to go, especially when he's gone for longer than a week!!!
AJ: We stay in touch primarily through e-mail and the occasional phone call when time-zones and circumstance allow.
BB 3.) Cycling is a hard sport to be successful at, what do you do to try and keep your traveling solider grounded and calm?
SM: Paul is pretty good at staying grounded and calm on his own, but I try to always look on the positive side if he's bothered by something. I also try to come up with jokes for his blog which makes him happy.
KF: I've learned that cycling is a very demanding sport...so to help keep Andrew grounded and calm during the year, I usually try to make sure everything at home is taken care of (ie: cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc.) so that all he needs to worry about is training/racing.
AJ: Encourage him when he needs it and point out how great of a lifestyle cycling allows for. I try to be supportive and positive in as many ways as I can.
BB 4.) Assuming your man is a true cyclist, he shaves his legs. Do you like shaved legs, and have you ever helped him do it?
SM: I like Paul's legs no matter what their hairy situation is. In the spring and summer they are shaved and in the fall and winter they aren't, so I get to experience both. No complaints here.
KF: I never thought in a million years that I would date a man who not only wore spandex, but who also shaved his legs... That was until I met Andrew Now I cringe at the sight of hairy legs! Do I help him? Haha, no he can handle that business on his own! It only gets weird when his legs happen to be softer than mine...that's not ok
AJ: I definitely don’t mind them; they feel nice I guess. I’ve never helped, but maybe he’s trying to give me some kind of hint with this question . . .
BB5.) Nutrition and a wholesome diet are very critical for an endurance athlete. Who does the cooking or do you spend all that big salary on eating out?
SM: We both cook about the same, although we aren't chefs. Spaghetti is a popular meal, along with scrambled eggs, and our own version of the burrito bowl. We're pretty good about going out to eat only once or twice a week.
KF: Nutrition is really important to Andrew and I, especially during the race season. Luckily, we both love cooking and enjoy spending most of our nights in making awesome meals together. I must say, we totally enjoy going out a couple nights a week to our favorite restaurants (this is also a great way to avoid doing dishes)
AJ: We spend a good amount of time preparing meals, cooking together, cooking for each other, eating together . . . its something we connect about and enjoy a lot. Eating out usually only happens on special occasions.
BB 6.) Traveling is a large part of a cyclists life, so when your partner returns home do ever do your own adventures or do you like to spend that cherished time at home?
SM: We're homebodies. We're all about staycations.
KF: I cherish every moment I get to spend with Andrew and generally spend most of my time with him when he is home, however I never hesitate to go on my own adventures when the opportunity presents itself...even if Andrew is home. Being a runner, I have many of my own races (during his off season) and am so grateful when Andrew can be there to support me.
AJ: A little bit of both. Its nice to be mellow and spend some time being a homebody, but little trips and adventures are great and usually lots of fun.
BB7.) What are some of the perks of being with a professional athlete?
SM: One perk of being with a professional cyclist is that his schedule is fairly flexible so we get to spend a lot of time together doing little things, like grocery shopping or walking the dog. He also keeps a pretty bangin' body so he's always looking good.
KF: One of the perks of being with a professional athlete for me is always having someone by your side who inspires you on a daily basis. Additionally, I get the opportunity to travel places I could have never dreamed of I should also mention, it's Great to have a man who's always in amazing physical shape haha.
AJ: I get to ride his motorscooter around town when he doesn’t need it for motorpacing, and he doesn’t need it for motorpacing very often . . .
BB 8.) Do you yourself ever ride with your partner, or is that mixing work with personal life?
SM: I ride with Paul during the off season when he just needs to do an easy coffee ride. Those are the only ones I'll go on with him, otherwise I'm too slow.
KF: N/A. (I know however, that she would sure beat him in a run).
AJ: We ride together frequently, and if Ian has some kind of workout to do or wants to ride faster than me I am fine with getting left behind- I just do my training like I would anyway.
BB 9.) Most cyclist get regular massage, do you ever rub legs? The real question is do they ever return the favor?
SM: I would massage Paul more if he wasn't so ticklish. And Paul sucks at giving massages.
KF: Andrew is a lucky man considering he met a woman who is a massage therapist so yes, I do massage his legs...as far as the favor being returned, let's just say he may not 'rub my legs', but he makes up for it in other ways!
AJ: I do, he does.
BB 10.) I was humiliated and beat by my girlfriend in an arm wrestling match. If there was a showdown who would win?
SM: Paul would win. His T-rex arms are surprisingly strong.
KF: There's no question when it comes to arm wrestling...of course I will take Andrew down!!! Haha, sorry babe.
AJ: There was no contest.
Thank you again ladies for your time and I wish both you and your partner a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous season ahead.
Hope you enjoyed,