Gold medalist
Michelle Vesterby

Talks about her life as a Triathlete

Backstage with Michelle Vesterby in Monte Carlo

My name is Michelle Vesterby and I am a professional triathlete and gold medalist.

Who are the women that have been influential in your life – on and off the bike?

My mother has definitely been the biggest influence in my life. My entire life my mom has always been active, a happy influence in my life, and has managed to take care of my handicapped brother and me. She was always taking care of him and supporting me at all of my activities – driving me to handball, swimming, football, gymnastics. I played almost every sport imaginable when I was growing up and still she had to take care of Mark (my brother) too. So she has always been the best motivation in my life. Now, she and my dad are still active and ride bikes all of the time. It’s amazing to have a family that’s so athletic and active outdoors. Whenever I am home now I ride bike with them. It is truly awesome to do something together like this with my parents.

How do you stay focused?

I have not always been focused on what I was doing, but I have always been dedicated when I started something. But if you asked my old swim coach today he would probably not understand how I could have become a professional triathlete. For our land training there was running in the program. I would end up walking. But today is not difficult for me to stay focused. I love what I do, and I do what I love.. So for me staying focused when I have a goal is not that difficult. I have to go to be the best. I want to win and that is motivates me to stay focused.

How do you balance your job as a professional triathlete with your personal life?

I am really lucky that my job is also my hobby. I do what I love to do, everyday, my training is my job, and my job is my training. I am really well balanced when I am done with my training, as I am also done with my job, so I can actually relax and do something else. When I am relaxing I hang out with my family and friends. I am travelling a lot, so when I have a long day of training, sometimes 6, 7, or even 8 hours, I just go home and lay down. I put my recovery boots on, I watch a good movie, and I do a little bit of Skype with the family back home. This is a normal day in my work and personal life. It’s a good balance. I love it! What does a typical training week look entail? During a normal week, I train between 40-45 hours. I usually follow up a workout with a massage, and anything else I need to do to help my body recover as much as possible for the next day. That is why training is a full time job.

In a largely male-dominated sport, how important is it for you to feel feminine?

For me it’s really important to feel feminine when I am racing, that is why I am the “pink lady” out there. I love to dress up for the races and I love to be seen as well. That is a big part of doing professional sports, we don’t have many curves. We get so fit, so it’s good to have some feminine details when out on the racecourse. That is also why I like painting my nails pink, I love the pink fi’zi:k shoes, and I also paint big pink flowers on my bike.

How important to you is it to use products that are designed specifically for women?

It is really important for me that the products I am using are of the highest quality and that they fit me as perfectly as possible. Because I train so much (40-45 hours per week) and compete for anywhere between 8-10 hours, I think that I am able to be as comfortable on my fi’zi:k products is that they are designed with women and my type of racing in mind.

What is your favorite fi’zi:k product you use?

My fi’zi:k K5 Donna shoes! I love them because they are really comfortable, they are slim (as I have a slightly narrow foot); they fit me perfectly. I can feel they are supporting me in the right places. I also love the color’s combination, everything together makes the shoes girly too. I also use the Tritone 5.5 noseless saddle. I can move quite far forward on my bike and it doesn’t create any pressure. I am sitting very still on the bike when I’m pedaling so I feel that I can put much more power in my pedals when I’m using the Tritone. My pedaling has become a lot more efficient because I can just concentrate on pedaling, pushing, pedaling, and pushing and not worry about my comfort. fi’zi:k also made a special one for me in pink so, that is also a big plus!

What advice would you give to young girls today with dreams of racing like you someday?

My best advice for young women who want to play sports, do triathlons, or cycling is just to follow your dreams. If someone tells you that you cannot do something they are wrong. If I would have listened to negative comments I would not be where I am today. I got into triathlons at the age of 25, so everyone can do it. You can do it! Just get out there, live the dream, love what you do and do what you love!

If you could employ one healthy nutrition tip, what would it be?

My best nutrition advice would not to be too controlled. Don’t be too focused or overly critical of what you’re eating. Also enjoy some chocolate, some candy, whatever you truly enjoy every once in a while. The best is to find the balance between eating healthy and also enjoying life. I also know that I need to prepare properly for a race, nutrition included. I have 6 to 8 weeks pre-competition where I am totally focused. I don’t eat cake, soda, or other things that are bad for you. But if I want that muffin one day, I also take a muffin one day, so it’s not like to punish myself if I eat badly. It’s important to eat a lot of different kinds of food – a lot of fruit, salads, and then you also allowed enjoy life…and a bit of candy!

Do you think women cyclists get the recognition they deserve, or are they still playing second base to male cyclists?

Of course cycling and triathlon are still male-dominated sports, but I definitively think that the girls are overtaking the world, they are gaining the power. You can see there’s more male professionals in this sport but I just think that you should look at the numbers instead and see how the number of women professional triathletes is growing and getting closer to the men. Someday soon I think we would be able to compete against the guys at the same level. So the boys better be careful and don’t get too comfortable out there at competitions, we are coming after you.

How would you best describe fi’zi:k?

When I say fi’zi:k I think design, cool and comfortable products. I love them and they keep me smiling.