Interview with Sharon Heap - MTB Champion
"Mountain Biking is a heap of fun for Sharon" - interview by Peter Ford, CycleSportNews.com
Here's the Interview >>>>
For those who know Sharon Heap, she seems to have been around for years and years.
However, her good looks beguile the fact that she has only been on the scene for a short number of seasons, having started riding at the ripe old age of 35.
“I had just turned veteran” Sharon laughed. “It was a late start, but fun”.
“I started on mountain bikes. I’d just got off a motor-cross bike, so I had pretty good downhill and technical skills. Someone suggested I’d be pretty good on a mountain bike, so I gave it a go.
When asked why she chose pedals in stark contrast to motorbikes, Sharon replied, “Motorcross bikes are pretty hard on your body and if you have a crash it’s usually at high speed and it hurts, so mountain biking seemed a safer option”.
Over her time as a mountain biker, Sharon Heap has enjoyed considerable success.
She has picked up quite a few national titles, cross-country and downhill, and even tried her hand at riding with the expert girls along the way.
“Yea..I’ve done quite well at this level, but you have to train twice as hard to keep up with the young girls”
When queried about the mountain-bike mentality need to be good in this area, Sharon agreed that one just needs to have “a lot of guts, no fair and just hold it on!!!”
Fortunately Sharon has had a good run with injuries, and the most she has ever done is break a rib.In many respects, Sharon is a trail blazer when it comes to female entry into the sport of mountain biking.
“There aren’t that many females in the sport, but it’s fun. The girls who are in it just love it. I think more girls should have a go. I think they are just scared they are going to crash all the time, but it’s no worse than road riding.
Sharon Heap also gets out on the road herself, but considers herself to be “just an average rider”.
“ I basically do it for cross-training. I wanted to improve my flat speed, so it’s good for that, because when you go in the bush it’s just all uphill or downhill. There’s not much flat really.
Sharon’s husband, Les, is also into mountain biking in a big way.
Asked whether this caused any family conflict when it came to races, Sharon laughed and jokingly replied, “Yea..all the time. But he’s OBVIOUSLY going to beat me…. because he’s a MAN!!”
Last week Sharon competed in a 100km off-road race up in the mountains behind Gosford, New South Wales.
“It was awesome fun. I was out in front for 90 kilometres! I was feeling really good. I was surprised that I got away from most of the women. There was not quite forty in the solo race”
Unfortunately for Sharon, her luck ran out.
Within sight of the finish she got a flat.
“It was a pinched flat on the last downhill section..Still, I ended up third, so I was pretty happy with that”.
For the remainder of 2005, Sharon Heap has her eye on competing in a few of the Queensland Sunshine Series mountain bike races, then there’s another 100km race called “The Epic” towards the end of the year. I’m hoping to do better in that this year than last year, then there will be the National Mountain Bike Titles after that.
When asked to give her general advice to women thinking about getting into cycling, Sharon replied, “Get out there and give it a go..Have small aims to start with, and build on these. Have a goal through the year and aim towards this…and just keep going!!!”
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|Sharon Heap tries a bit of road racing action © Peter Ford (Cycle Sport News)|
|From motorbikes to mountain bikes- Sharon has what it takes © Peter Ford (Cycle Sport News)|
|Sharon Heap- "It's never too late to get into mountain biking" © Peter Ford (Cycle Sport News)|