Christina Perchtold bounced back from injury to create special memories in 2017
Christina Perchtold has just completed her first season racing at the highest level of professional cycling. In the interview below, she discusses the hardships of overcoming injury early in the season and how she bounced back to create special memories throughout the year.
How do you feel your first year with the team has gone?
It was a bit mixed at the beginning of the season. I started racing in March then I crashed in training after my first few races. It took some time to get back. Physically and mentally it was quite hard to deal with in your first year with the team. After that in Gracia Orlova I got some good results then I started gaining some confidence again but overall it was very inspiring working with everyone. I have learnt so much this year.
So how do you deal with a set back like that so early on in your career with the team?
It’s hard because you are just starting with the team and you’re really hungry to race and everyone is racing and the weather is good but suddenly you have this crash and you’re on the sidelines. Mentally it was really hard. I was on crutches and focussed on my recovery but two days before I was meant to still be off I couldn’t wait anymore, I just had to get back on my bike. I was so slow for the first two or three days. Then the form came back very quickly. I thought it would take me a lot longer.
Your first race after that was Gracia Orlova and you finished fifth overall and top 10 on nearly every stage.
I went there with no expectations or no idea what would happen. For three weeks in training before the race, I couldn’t get out of the saddle. I was too scared to put too much pressure on the leg. I got out of the saddle in the race for the first time and that really helped me mentally to know that I have fully recovered. I loved it because I just wanted to race again.
What are some of your highlights from the season?
It’s just been great being with all the girls in the team. I’ve made really good friends, not just on the bike. We are friends off the bike and it’s motivating because it’s more than racing. Because we are such good friends and because you care about each other so much you are more motivated to help each other in the race. You give more than 100% for them.
Does that mean when you get a good result together as a team, it’s more meaningful?
Yeah of course. When Ashleigh won in Plumelec and Morbihan you looked at everyone’s faces and we were all so happy. In Bira when Ashleigh won the last stage, my job was to do a lead-out into the final climb. After I did my job and dropped off, I was listening to her time gap on the radio. Will she make it won’t she make it? It was like sitting in front of the TV or listening to a soccer match on the radio with your favourite team. I was riding to the finish and listening very carefully to the radio hoping for the victory. It was so special when we won.
Have you given 2018 some thought yet?
I’m motivated for next year. A big goal for me is making the team for the world championships because it will take place in Austria so it’s a home world championships. That’s something special and that’s my biggest goal.
Do you feel the team environment gives you support to achieve goals like that?
Of course. The professionalism of the team is just at another level. I also learnt to listen and not always to talk. I got so much advice from everyone, the management, the girls…not just about racing but about training.