Meet Babette from women’s cycling team, Lifeplus-Wahoo
Physical activity, work-life balance, happiness, and community all play a key part in helping others unlock their wellness within and lead happier and healthier lives. There are many contributing factors to your overall wellness, as well as different approaches, and various levels. And when two powerful forces in the world of wellness align, the support extends even further beyond.
We had the opportunity to interview Dutch professional cyclist, Babette van der Wolf, from our sponsored international cycling team, Lifeplus-Wahoo. Babette shared how she got into the sport, her proudest achievement, and how she keeps her mental health in check.
So, Babette – what inspired you to get into cycling?
Well, my dad was a professional cyclist, and he really inspired me to get on the bike. Then my sister got a nice pink bike, and I was really jealous! Then I started – I think when I was five – and by seven or eight I was doing races myself, which is really early. My sister still cycles now; for Parkhotel Valkenburg which is a Dutch team.
What do you love about cycling?
I think it’s the atmosphere – the people go crazy at the races! And the feeling you get when racing with the team, who you push yourself with every day. Some days, it’s really difficult, but I love cycling because of the feeling it gives me. I have learnt a lot from the older girls, and that makes me feel lucky. I think we all stand out in our own way, make each other stronger, and push each other to another level.
Out of all your achievements, what are you most proud of?
One quote I live by is ‘never quit’. At the Euros, I crashed four times, and I still became the European champ – that was one of my biggest achievements. I rode in the mixed relay and then there was a really steep descent. I crashed: stitches in my knee and in my elbow, and a bruised rib. Then the next day, I had another road race where I crashed in the beginning of the race. Then I was bringing my teammates to the front again. I was just chasing all the time and it was so hot. It was I think 45 degrees. So, all those challenges made a win even better.
Is there anything you’d change about cycling as a sport?
You have to shield yourself. Sometimes, you’ll have ‘no’s’ and sometimes you’ll have ‘yeses’. You have to take the good with the bad. Sure, there are bad days, but everybody has bad days. Just do your thing and keep believing.
How do you look after your mental health?
I talk a lot with my sister, she’s older than me at 21 and she looks after me. And also my teammates. They always give me advice about how they look at things. I learn a lot from them. I like to read books about mental health and listen to podcasts. I’m studying nutrition at school, which also covers mental health nowadays, and that really supports me too. I really wanted to study something that would also help me learn about myself. Also, just walking around and being outside in the sun is lovely and helps me feel good.
What’s your approach to diet and nutrition?
During training, you need to eat a lot of carbs and sleep well for all the energy you need. But it’s also important to eat things you like – there has to be a balance there. When I’m being strict with my diet, I miss French fries. That’s my guilty pleasure – only in Belgium, though!
Do you find it difficult to manage professional cycling alongside a social life?
Yes, especially when I was younger. I had to stop going to parties, but I didn’t really mind because I loved cycling so much. I just do my own thing, and the majority of my friends are in the team. Of course, I have a few outside of cycling, but they really understand my life. Sometimes, if you’ve got a goal and you want to achieve it, you have to make sacrifices.
Inspiring us with their teamwork, tenacity, and approach to women’s empowerment, we couldn’t be prouder to sponsor Lifeplus-Wahoo as they strive for greatness in the cycling world. Follow our social media channels to keep up to date with their activity and join us in cheering them on!