Cherise won her fourth Cape Town Cycle Tour title after sprinting to victory in the women’s race at the Green Point stadium recently. Her enthusiasm for the future of women’s racing is contagious.
What sparked your interest in cycling?
I started cycling at the age of 9 with my whole family and it was a fun way for us to spend time together. I quickly developed a competitive spirit and loved racing. I’ve never looked back.
How do you manage to balance your training and family needs?
I took a break from competitive racing in 2016 when my first son was born and only started a proper training routine in December 2018. It’s tough to manage it and I do take it day by day. I try and do my intervals on the indoor trainer when my baby is sleeping. I also try and incorporate my kids into my training so we sometimes take Thomas with on a baby seat or I will meet my family halfway through my ride for a coffee.
Have you seen the sport of cycling grow and change in South Africa over the last 10 years?
Definitely! Women’s cycling went through a bit of a dip 2/3 years ago but seeing the amount of women in the racing bunch at the moment is so impressive and inspiring. There are a lot of youngsters coming up with so much potential and they definitely aren’t scared of making the racing fast and aggressive. There has also been an increase of sponsorship in the women’s field which is the biggest motivation for more women to start racing.
Do you think the awareness around road safety for cyclists has improved?
I think that we still have a long way to go. I do also know that it comes from both sides and cyclists also need to obey the road rules but I feel like motorists see cyclists as objects and not people.
What would you be doing if you weren’t operating in the professional cycling realm?
I would love to be a wedding co-ordinator. I love everything about weddings.
What would you describe as the ultimate experience of your cycling career?
Winning the Cape Town Cycle Tour is definitely up there with one of my biggest victories.
How do you enjoy spending your time when you’re not on your bike?
Running around after my eldest son. He is such a lively, energetic spirit and loves the outdoors. I love seeing his imagination run wild. My family are the most important people in my life so spending time with them is my favourite thing
How do you manage to stay in peak physical and mental condition?
I set short term goals for myself and celebrate them if I achieve a goal. I also visualise a situation in my head and the outcome that I want to achieve.
Being a Mum yourself, would you encourage cycling from a young age?
I would definitely, it’s such an incredible way for families to spend time together in nature.
What’s next on your list for 2019?
We are going over to Europe for 3 months and then returning to SA in August where I will focus on the Summer classics and hopefully find a sponsor that will help me achieve my dreams and goals for the future.