Q & A - Rebecca Heath

12 June 2014, by Cycling Australia

Q & A - Rebecca Heath Heath celebrates her stage win at the Battle on the Border with team DS Chris Savage / Copyright: Tim Bardsley-Smith

We know you’re from Britain, where were you born and and when did you move to Australia?

I was born in Hong Kong and moved to the UK when I was 6. I moved out to Australia in February 2013.

Why did you move to Aus?

I moved to Australia because Emergency medicine as a specialty is really fantastic out here and very different to the UK.

How have you found the transition from the UK to AUS?

I transitioned from the UK to Australia via Nepal where I was working in a Mountain Rescue post at 4500m in the Himalayas. So it was a luxurious transition to sea level, heat and good weather! It was nice to have electricity again as well as not need to collect yak dung for a fire or worry about the how bad weather would affect helicopter evacuations of sick patients! The weather here is bliss for riding and training, and the NRS, with all the multi day stages is great, well supported, and very different to the UK, which has a lot of one-day NRS races.

We read you are an emergency department doctor – can you tell us about your career outside of cycling?

Outside of Emergency Medicine I’m working on a Diploma in Mountain Medicine. I love the mountains and climbing, skiing and mountaineering are my main focus outside of work and riding my bike.

How do you go managing your training and working at the hospital?

Like everyone that has a job and races, I too struggle to train around my shifts and work hours. Working full time and constantly flipping on and off of night shifts with up to 70 hours in the department a week, not including overtime or commuting doesn’t leave as much time as I would like for riding my bike or recovery!

I have a really great bunch of friends here now though that I ride with - they help keep me motivated and get the most out of my rides around work. I owe them, and my coach (who is constantly swapping my training plan around to allow for work) a lot. I am also really lucky that everyone I work with in ED has been supportive and generous, constantly helping me swap out of all the weekend shifts that clash with races. 

How did you get into cycling? When?

I got into cycling through triathlon. Realizing that the swim only got me to the bike and the run only got me from the bike to the finish I decided in 2012 it would be more fun to just do only the best bit and tried road racing.

What do you like about the sport?

I love the social aspect of cycling – chatting on the bike is great! It is also a fabulous way to enjoy being outside. I also enjoy how, when you race, it really can be a great team sport. I have been very lucky and met some great people through riding my bike as well as seeing some beautiful places.

Congratulations on your stage victory at the Battle on the Border, was that a career highlight of yours?

Absolutely!!! Yes yes yes!

Bicycle Superstore have really stepped up in the NRS over the last year, what is it that makes all the women work so well together?

We are all team players. It is really special to be part of such a great team. We get on well and love riding together, and for each other. We are also really lucky to have such great backing from our sponsors, Chris Savage (our DS) and the guys that put in so much time and effort to support us doing all the work behind the scenes (thanks guys!).

What are some of your short term and long term cycling goals?

My short term goal would be to try and manage revising for my first set of Emergency Department exams, while moving to Alice Springs to work in the Emergency department there, and continue to try and train enough to race NRS. Long term my goal is to continue to love riding my bike.

Who do you take inspiration from?

Sarah Storey has always inspired me from when I first saw her racing in the UK. She is such a phenomenal athlete while being a great person.

What is your favourite memory on the bike?

My favourite memory on the bike would be helping set up Flick Wardlaw for her first stage win, and to take the lead on GC, at the first NRS race of this year in Adelaide.

What would you describe as your strengths and weaknesses?

My strengths on a bike are to be able to ride wholeheartedly for my team mates. My weakness is to not smash myself enough in a time trial.

What is your favourite pre-race meal?

My favorite pre race meal would be some of Britney Lindores or Clare Dallat’s Cacao balls!

When you’re treating yourself, what do you head straight for at the supermarket?

Avocado!

‘App’ you can’t live without?

Whatsap – free messages worldwide for messaging my friends and family back in the UK is a winner.

I can’t leave the house without …. ?

My glasses – everything would be very blurry!

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