Bec Werner is part of a fleet of young female New Zealanders and Aussies who are forgoing Europe making California their “winter” home. Bec came over from a suburb of Adelaide, where she worked at a local bike shop, to ride with the young Webcor “Bridge” team. From the day she stepped off the plan she has been tearing up the local racing scene, as well as putting in some great performances at Redlands and San Dimas, before taking the lead in the NCNCA Premier Points series. After winning Copperopolis we caught up with her to get some background on how she ended up in NorCal…
Describe your first 24 hours in the US – I heard it was both death defying and life altering!
My trip here and first 24 hours were pretty crazy! The plane I was on had an engine fire before we even got off the tarmac in Australia, which lead to delays and missed connections the whole way, and arriving in San Fran 27 hours later. I had a few hours sleep the we drove to Merco at 4 the next morning. I had no idea how I’d be feeling, and thankfully with the legs feeling ok I, accidentally, quite literally – accidentally, rolled off the front on a short, slow climb and was forced to try and close the gap to Ina Teutenberg, or be left dangling in the middle. I knew who she was, so after catching up to her and swapping turns for the next lap, I was buzzing and pinching myself, and rode the rest of the race on adrenaline. I’m sure I was slowing her down, but she said she was glad to have some company, and was kind and patient. It was pretty surreal and a very cool intro to racing here.
What made you pack up and come over to NorCal?
I needed a change of scenery, and to step out and and try something different, have a bit of an adventure. I had been thinking of what I could do for a while, and Ange (McClure) who rode with the Webcor Bridge Team last year, and comes from Adelaide as well, helped get me in contact with the team over here. I really had no idea what I was getting into and what the racing and everything would be like, but I’m stoked to be over here and extremely grateful for everyones help.
How does NorCal (Menlo Park) compare to your home town?
Apart from the fact that every second car’s a Beamer?! Well they both are great places for riding, but we’ve got a bit more flat, which definitely comes in handy at times. The climate is a fair bit cooler here as well.
How did you get started?
As a kid I pretty much had a go at any sport I could, but mainly played netball, squash, and most recently soccer. I actually kind of got into cycling through soccer. I was in a junior squad at the sports institute and after doing some fitness testing for that was approached by the National Talent Identification and Development program to have a crack at cycling.
What is your favorite race over here so far?
I had an awesome time down south racing San Dimas and Redlands. They both had sweet courses, with a heaps good atmosphere and big quality fields. It was racing like I’ve never experienced before and I loved it. The vote for favourite race so far though has to go to Copperopolis. With a reputation as the Roubaix of California, some beautiful weather, an exciting and varied course, and maybe the fact that I somehow managed to sneak across the line first, it’s hard to pass up.
Copperopolis was a big win for you how did it go down?
It was tough tactically as well as physically, and I think I ‘played the game’ better than I ever have before. I managed to come out on top when I was put on the ropes by other teams that had numbers. On the last lap I was forced to lead the chase up the climb to catch a lone escapee. When we caught her there was only one rider with me, which happened to be her teammate, and I thought I was gonna get screwed for sure. Keeping the pace high we dropped one of them and the two of us rode the last 10k to the line together, where I came out on top in the uphill kick to the line. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty happy with that one.
Have you got any other US or European races you want to try out?
It’s not something I’ve really thought heaps about to be honest. I came here pretty green and unsure of how things would go, so wasn’t thinking too far ahead. I’m trying to get a ride at Nature Valley and a few more of the bigger races here, but as long as I’m racing somewhere I’m pretty happy. I reckon racing a Euro Classic would be pretty cool though. Have to put it on the bucket list!
Being from Austria it must be such ad advantage when you decide to hit those races in Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, and France….
This is actually my first time overseas… that is if you don’t count Tasmania!
Ooooohhhhhh right… Australia – thats different, i always get them confused. All right… now for the culturally sensitive part of the interview. If you were a cute Aussie animal which one would it be koala, platypus, crocodile eating shark?
Hmmm… well I know Jono’s already claimed the Koala. This is a tough one. I’ll go with the short and stumpy wombat! haha
Wombat is a good choice – i had to go look it up. Did you know wombats have large brains? It is also the acronym for Women’s Mountain Bike and Tea Society. You need to get a wombat tattoo or something.
haha. I didn’t know any of that… but I’ll go with it! I may have to look into joining the society I think.
Let me see if you know this one then. Was South Australia settled by criminals?
Surprisingly not! The only Aussie state not to be [settled by criminals] I’m pretty sure. Although apparently the Woodside cops don’t know that.
WRONG! FACT: All of Australia was settled by criminals! You know how i know it was all settled by criminals? Aussies all play their crazy looking version of rugby cleverly nammed “Aussie Rules Football!”
Being an Aussie Rules fan defintely runs in the blood, so you can imagine I copped a fair bit of flack when I first started soccer!! I follow the Adelaide Crows, who are definitely the best of the two teams based in Adelaide… and that’s a completely un-biased view!
Your so biased its ridiculous! That said… I’m sure we can turn NorCal into Crows fans. Try this one…Who has a funnier accent NZ, US, or Canadian?
Well there are some pretty funny American accents, and I can’t really tell the difference between you guys and the Canadians (please don’t hate me!), but this one has to go to the Kiwis for sure. I mean we’ve gotta let them win something…
WRONG! FACT: It’s Canadians, but since New Zealand is like your own version of Canada… I will let you have that one.
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