South African professional road-racing cyclist Carla Oberholzer says she is using the 21-day lockdown period to prepare for the Olympic Games while continuing to focus on her other goals.
“For now we have placed all arrangements on hold and we will re-assess the situation once restrictive measures have been lifted and international racing resumes,” Oberholzer told In the Bunch.
Oberholzer, who joined the Spanish Bizkaia-Durango team for part of her 2020 season, says her main goal for 2020 was to be selected to compete in the Olympics in Tokyo in late June. The event was, however, postponed due to the coronavirus.
The International Olympic Committee announced early this week that, all going well, the Tokyo Games will now be held next year, probably in the early part of the northern summer.
“With the Games being postponed this is still my long-term goal and as soon as local and international racing resumes I will establish short-term goals,” said Oberholzer.
“I am working closely with my coach on training as effectively as possible indoors. We are working on key areas of weakness and I will complement cycling with off-the-bike work to break the monotony.”
The 33-year-old spent two weeks in Europe this year before having to return home due to the pandemic. However, she aims to remain positive and will focus on being well prepared for future events.
“It gives me more time to prepare even better for my major goals and I’m keeping that focus at all times.”
She got into cycling at the age of 17, after a gymnastics accident prevented her from competing in that sport again.
While Oberholzer grew up in a cycling-focused family, she was not immediately taken with the sport when she first started.
“My bum got sore, I got tired and I didn’t enjoy the monotony of the sport. It was a gradual process and it was only when I started winning races as a junior that I enjoyed it.
“I quit when I was 22 to focus on my studies and only started riding again at 26 when Stefan, my husband, and I started dating.”
She says cycling has taught her so much and has made her the person she is today.
“The nature of the sport dictates so much of your life and it shapes and forms you even when you aren’t aware of it.
“Cycling has taught me perseverance, on a personal and professional level, and that it does not matter what people say and think as long as you are surrounded by people who believe in you.
“It teaches you to work smarter and not always harder.”
She says she has experienced many ups and downs during her career, but is grateful for the growth the sport has given her.
“The best part for me has been to see continual improvement. I enjoy setting a goal and then working towards that.
“I’ve been lucky to have experienced few obstacles until last year when I had a fractured my pelvis and collarbone in the space of three months.
“I feel I’ve developed into a more all-round rider, physically and tactically.”