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Rebecca Wheadon, Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory Site Entity Leader, on cycling and being a Masters Champion track cyclist

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STEAM Powered has a conversation with Rebecca Wheadon, Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory Site Entity Leader, about being inspired by Anna Meares, her love of track cycling and cycling at a competitive level.
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really cool and a lot of people have gotten into cycling. How did you get into village room? I specifically remember watching Anna Meares at In Athens, so that must have made it 2004 and I wasn't a cyclist at all at that stage, I wasn't even didn't even have a road bike or anything, but I was absolutely besotted with how exciting it was to actually watch that sport. It was just completely captured me and I didn't even know how to start and to be honest back then I was actually too embarrassed to find out as well. So uh my partner at the time I made him go into a bike store and ask um how do you do that? How do you get started now? At that time they were not particularly kind about it because they, I said, well she doesn't even have a road bike, so you know, I can't help you, which is a shame because in actual fact track cycling's for everyone and yeah, you can, you can go to a come and try day and hire a bike and have a go, you know, that that information was not um given to me, but my, I did pick up road cycling at that time and my best friend knew she was also rode cycles, that I really wanted to try this thing and I've got to build for it as well, you know, a lot of the track cyclists there, nuggets, you know, the strong sprinters were bigger frame, got a lot of muscle and that's that's um my building, I was annoying her. That I want to go with her. She got lover, they come across her, there was a coming friday and she said, oh, we should definitely go and um and so we did, and as soon as I had a guy, I was completely hooked and she never went again. So she did that, she did that for me, which was really, really sweet of her just to make sure that I actually went. So yeah, so that's a good start from there, She's a good friend. So how did you, what, what made you get interested in the competitive aspect? Because it's one thing doing something as a hobby, but to do something at A level where you're committing training and competing and you know, there's a lot involved with that. God, why did I want you to do that? All right. Um, so down certainly they are velodrome down in Midvale. They used to have friday night racing if most Fridays and I was kind of um, I didn't know at the time, um, I think they were lining me up, I didn't know I didn't just because I loved it so much. And so it started out just in the local racing on friday night and they'll do these handicapped races. So being velodrome being one great big oval, they start me all the way at the back and then there'll be people so far in front of me, they were behind me, you know, and then it was my job that was my job to to hunt them down and that's what I did, you know? So I literally went from doing friday night friday night raising locally to going to a national championships. I hadn't raised states or anything, I just went straight to national, had no idea what I was doing, absolutely no idea, but I think that's part of, again, in hindsight, I can't even believe I did that, I didn't even know how to, you know, it was crazy. I just, I'm definitely going to go, but I don't know, I'm happy to do sometimes. I just do things which are completely off the wall, that was one of them. Yeah, it was it was a great experience and I think now some of the anxiety that my anxiety, you know, you get nervous before you race now and at that time, because I knew nothing, I wasn't even nervous, you know, it's one of those things, it's absolutely, it summed up nicely, thank you. So it's just carried on from there. That's crazy. And so how do you juggle the amount of training required for cycling at a competitive level with what you do, especially with having to go out on site from time to time. Um So at it, out of the M. R. O. It's pretty cool actually, so there's at the moment it's a Donna based setup and there's there's a Donna that's actually a gym. Um So I can still do predominantly a lot a lot of sprint work is actually attached to doing a lot of gym work. Uh So that's fine and I can still lift weights out there. Um But also um they bought a bunch of mountain bikes um and they're pretty good quality ones as well. So uh when you go out and you stay there uh you'll catch me doing um burning out up and down the runway, the airstrip just go I'll get up first thing in the morning when the sun comes up before it gets too hot and you just go out there and just do bog that's up and down so you can still get the training in. You just have to adapt. You know, I think that that's the difference with being a an adult athlete. You just got to find a way like if you have a desire to stay at that level, you just, you just have to find a way. Um So I'm I'm pretty lucky I, you know, you've got um obviously we've locked down and had a lot of time at home and I've got the ability to train here at home. Um I ride my bike to work and incorporates and training into that or a lot of nighttime training. You just, you just got to figure it out. You know, we all got the same 24 hours a day. So yes it is firing, you've got a dedication for it and clearly, you know, you've got the accolades work too. So it's definitely worth it. Thank you. Yeah, it's um sometimes when I talk about it in this context, I wonder why I do what I do. So to be fair with Lockdown, the velodrome was closed for months and I was relegated to riding on the road, which is, which is still nice. It's lovely to be outside. Um but when I, when I first went back, it was really nice to have it reaffirmed that actually do really enjoy the sport. So when you have that enforced break, it's nice to be able to go back and so yeah, it's actually pretty cool. It actually is fun and that's that's fine. So the day that the funds not there in the enjoyment is not there, I'm not going to do it anymore. It's really that simple. So now that you've you've got your world champion and your record holding, where do you go from there dang. I don't know, it's yeah, it's it's a it's a wonderful um achievement and it's yeah, I had that pop up actually, my facebook memories came up just recently because it was october that that that happened and uh you get to relive that um that sense of achievement all over again. We're too from here, there's there's literally there, there isn't anything more that you can do. You know, you spend an entire year, You know, slogging your guts out for up to 16 hours a week to go and ride for You know, 20 seconds. That's what, you know, So that's yes. So to actually come away with with that as an achievement is um it's pretty special. Um you can't stop it. Is this the reality of it? You know? I guess so, I guess to a point where it's actually now no longer about the outcome. I've had many competitions now where I've um not come away with a medal around my neck and I'm actually but yet still managed to be really proud of myself because the performance I put in was was what I had hoped to achieve. So, and the thing is you can never guarantee or be sure of who else is going to turn up. You just don't know who is going to be there on the day. Um and a lot has to go your way for it to be that as an outcome. So to go in with um, you know, winning as a desire or a required outcome, you're just going to come away disappointed, You know? So yeah, I don't know the competition is as much about personal achievement as it is about being up on the blocks at the end. So the fact that you're able to get to compete at that level whether or not that's still amazing are still an incredible achievement each time. Thank you. Take it's taken years to to not robert, But yes, thank you. That's kind your achievements deserve to be celebrated. Thanks. Shell brushes awkwardly here. Thank you.