Larisa Chinces: My Cycling Journey
My love for sport began since I was a child; I was a very energetic and my parents guided me to practice speed skating, which is not really a popular sport here in my country. I started to be really good at it and had remarkable results. In the training process, we used the bike to improve endurance and strength. The muscle groups used in cycling are similar to those used in speed skating, so it was not only beneficial, it was also fun because in this way the training was more diverse. I used the bike also for commuting in the city, going to places using the bike instead of car or bus. You may remember the Olympic gold medal winning skaters who also competed in cycling Clara Hughes and Eric Heiden.
Unfortunately though, I had to quit speed skating due to a foot surgery and cycling was all I could do until I was completely recovered. At that moment I knew that my career in sport is finished for me and I suffered because all my hard work and dedication for so many years were gone and there was nothing I could do about it. It was a tough time as you can imagine. I needed something to get me motivated again.
But, one day, a school mate who was passionate about cycling, invited me to participate to a local criterium race. I accepted the invitation because I liked challenges and sporty events, and to my surprise I won the first place at my age category! After the race, an amateur mtb racing team asked me if I want to take part in their team. They took very good care of me; they gave me a bike plus full equipment and taught me everything I need to know about cycling.
When I entered the cycling world, I began to feel better. I was so glad that I found a similar sport which makes me feel alive through it. I immediately fell in love with mountain biking. The scenery, the trails, the fun and the adrenaline, all of that made me love cycling more and more. I was inspired by all of my new friends which I made through cycling because I could learn something new from everyone. I’ve also been able to travel lots with cycling, meeting some amazing people and going to wonderful places.
Inside of me, I still had the racing in my blood, so I started racing at amateur level. In this time I’ve made a lot of great and valuable friends and connections. I’ve raced up the Transfagarasen, one of the toughest climbs in Europe, cycled the Tour de France roads in Yorkshire and ridden my mountain bike on trails used for the Cross Country World Cup 🙂
I’m now fully embedded within a global cycling culture. I have so many cycling friends around the world and have visited, explored and ridden in some wonderful places, on both road and mountain bike. I also get the opportunity to work within the cycling industry on occasions and I try to cycle as often as I can.
Cycling means a lot to me and I don’t know what I would do without it! It became part of who I am and nothing will change that.