As we have already anticipated in previous articles, this year a girl will be running for our Team with a Taurus clone bike. We have two candidates to beat the record of 121.81 km/h of Barbara Buatois: Serena Corona and Vittoria Spada. In the last few months, with the first road tests, they started trying to ride on a recumbent bike. They have given excellent results, both in terms of technical performance and commitment they are putting into it. This is why the choice of the cyclist who will perform at Battle Mountain is getting more and more difficult.
Serena, twenty-four, has been a member of the Team for several years. She knows all the secrets of our prototypes: thanks to her passion for mechanics and her preparation as a student of the last year of master’s degree in automotive engineering, Sere has contributed to the design and construction of Taurus.
Vittoria, 23 years old, is studying Economics at the University of Turin. She lives on sports: she is constantly moving, not only when she trains, but also when she studies, she walks around the house with books in hand!
To let you know them a little bit better, we asked them for an interview.
● How and when was the passion for the bike born?
SERE: I started mountain biking at the age of 11 because my brother was running. I tried and I loved it. I ran at a competitive level until the last year of high school.
VICKY: I don’t think there was an exact moment or, at least, I don’t remember. The bike has always been a part of my life since I was a child, with mountain bike courses in the mountains, with games under the house (obviously all by bike), with the challenges of “I don’t think you can skip that wall”. Then I started competing, and since my friends had my same passion, I had a thousand good reasons to ride.
● How have you decided to put yourself out at this competition?
SERE: I always liked being a member of the team, I love the teamwork and commitment to a common goal: the whpsc. Last year I went to the competition. It gives strong emotions and it’s hard to understand if you haven’t been there. I am very competitive and the idea of such a big challenge attracts me a lot.
VICKY: I started competing when I was 6 and haven’t stopped yet. I am a very competitive person especially about what I like. The more I like it, the more competitive I get and I love riding any kind of bike.
When I found out they were looking for an athlete I thought “nice”, I looked at the features and I said “that’s me”. I sent my CV and I passed the first selection. It was followed by other tests, meetings and interviews. The longer it went on, the more I learned about the project and the people who are working for it, the more I liked it.
I immediately got along with the team members, a little bit less with the bike. I’ve never tried a recumbent bike, I just heard about it. It’s completely different from a “normal” bike, the position changes all the balances and the way of seeing “beyond the handlebar”. I have to admit it took a few tries but I think something good is coming out of it.
Now, beyond the handlebars, I see through a screen, closed into a two-wheeled little egg-bullet it looks like a parallel world, I feel like I’m the protagonist of a video game (on the screen there are also the objectives to reach and how long until the race/test is over). But in this video game if you lose all those people who work on the project lose too. It’s a challenge … we’ll see how it ends!
●Engineering and cycling: two mainly man’s worlds. What do you think about it?
SERE: I honestly don’t think they are purely man’s worlds. When I competed there were many girls and in the last few years I think they have increased. Even at the engineering level we are not few and we have the same potential of men. Obviously males are in the majority but we stick up for ourselves.
VICKY: The number of men who practice cycling is certainly greater than that of women and we can discuss it in terms of a cultural or physical issue.
We could say that when people started cycling,
the social role of women was not the same of today and sport in general was more practiced by men.
To make a purely physical speech, cycling is a sport based on strength and power, characteristics more developed in man. The “feminine sports” in which elegance, elasticity and above all feminine characteristics are still counted on the fingers of one hand.
But luckily our society is changing and today more women than in the past are starting cycling and the competition is more and more fierce.
● Is the fact of being a woman an added value for such an extreme, competitive and also very technical and technological sport?
SERE: I don’t know, men and women are always on the same level for me. Man has more power in this case. Perhaps women are more rational but in this case I don’t know whether to consider it an advantage.
● I don’t think it’s easy to reconcile Politecnico and Bike, what’s your trick?
SERE: No, in fact, the alarm rings very early.
● How do you feel about being the (possible) future Policumbent cyclist?
SERE: It would be an honor for me, I know what it means to design a bike like this one and all the responsibilities on both sides.
VICKY: I’m happy, happy, happy, yuhuuuuu !!! yeahh !!!!
● Do your thoughts also spin at leg speed when you ride?
VICKY: I can say that it’s the exact opposite. The faster I go, the more blood goes to my legs and heart, removing it from my head and thoughts. When I pedal I don’t think of anything except to some “stupid” little songs like children’s cartoon theme songs, so I don’t think about the fatigue and the 200 things per second that could happen.
● We know well that it is not a normal bike. Are you worried about the idea of speed + claustrophobia?
SERE: I like speed and the bike is not as claustrophobic as it seems. I like speed in general, and the idea of being able to reach that kind of speed without an engine excites me.
VICKY: I’ve always liked speed, being closed inside a hull not so much. Then I realized that I can make faces to those who are outside without being seen and if I fall, even if I fall at speeds much higher than those of a normal bike, it hurt less (at least this is what they tell me, I hope not to try it) .