What is the best length for socks? Are tubeless tyres really the way of the future? And how do we encourage more women to get into cycling?
We go deep with cyclists from all around the globe to get the real answers to some of the sport’s biggest questions right from the very source.
SPANISH BUSINESS Intelligence Specialist Ana Dillana wakes up every morning at 6am, makes herself a tea, then gets on her bike. Having lived in Barcelona for the last nine years, she knows the best routes well. Converting from triathlon to big mountain cycling, Ana has dedicated a lot to the sport.
The 35-year-old trains hard around a full time job so she can conquer feats like the Titan Desert (a six-day mountain bike race thought the Sahara Desert) and the Haute Route. Based at the centre of a thriving cycling community in Barcelona, Ana knows what makes bikers tick. So we caught up with her to ask her some big questions.
Shimano or SRAM
“Well, I’m a SRAM ambassador, so that one is clear for me! I have all the latest components from SRAM and I really like it. I came from a normal bike and now I have disc brakes and electronic shift. For me, the security of the disc brakes is really important. I feel more safe with that, especially because I don’t have a lot of skill descending. I am really happy with how it all works. Both of these things is a big change. It’s more comfortable and it’s faster.
I have tried Shimano, so I’ve tried both, but it’s totally different from what I had before. I feel comfortable how it changes differently in SRAM. I also like the batteries. For example, when I went to the Haute Route for five days, I can take an extra battery in case one is not working. You don’t have to connect to the bike, you can just swap the battery and this one point is really nice.”
Sock length. Discuss.
« Long, short, is there only one right answer? »
"My friends will love this [laughs]. I am the one with the least style. All of them are really well dressed. And I am just wearing, whatever, I don’t care about the colour, or any of it. Just, whatever. I guess I’m usually wearing the medium length socks, like the Haute Route ones. And I don’t really care about colours, usually black, but honestly I don’t care so much."
Are tubeless tyres better?
“Well, on the mountain bike, I always use tubeless because I think it’s the best. Also for gravel, I use tubeless. But for the road bike, I tried it in the past and I didn’t have such a good experience. I think because the tyre has so much pressure, when you have a puncture, the liquid just goes straight out. It’s a disaster. Then you have to change it and everything is dirty. This is just my experience and maybe there’s other models that could work better. I tried with two and I really haven’t had a good experience on the road bike. Some people like it, but I don’t know. I’m not converted yet.”
Rolling hills or monster climbs?
“I really prefer the monster climbs. I don’t know why [laughs]. I just really like difficult hills. I don’t care if it’s longer or shorter. I like when suddenly it is 20 percent. Here we have lots of places to ride, so if I have to choose a route, I always choose a hilly one. The flats are boring. I just prefer going up more than going really, really fast on the flats. I have felt like that from the beginning. It is the same when I run. I don’t know why, my mind is quite strange [laughs]. I am not really thin, so its not like my body is made for this but I just like the feeling.”
How can we support more women in cycling?
"Every time I ride my bike I don’t think, ‘I’m a woman’. I just feel I’m a cyclist. To be honest, I think if I can do a Fondo, an Haute Route or other event, everyone can. Physically I’m a normal woman working eight hours a day, but when you do something just for love and passion, the result is a consequence of all of that together. I’d encourage women to not feel embarrassed or ashamed to ride with other cyclists, and to never feel like you are slowing them down. Everyone starts somewhere. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll find an awesome group to push you in training and racing. Try to find someone who inspires you and connect.”