Boels-Dolmans: What I know now that I wish I knew then

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You know that tips section on the homepage just below the featured stories and newsletter sign up? Well, that section is populated by responses to the question: “What do you know now that you wish you knew then?” We ask that question nearly every time we do an interview with someone for the first time. We ask the professionals. We ask the industry leaders. We ask the women on our group rides and the women leading those group ride. We ask the beginner rider and the experienced racer. We’ve discovered everyone has something to offer.

We tell them we’re collecting advice for women that are new – to the sport, to riding in a group, to racing. What do you know that you can share with the women that are just starting out or trying something new?

We’ve gotten some great responses, and we typically add one of those responses into the tip section each week. Unassumingly. Without calling much attention to these tips – but these tips are hilarious and serious and thoughtful and helpful, and we thought you might be missing them if you’re not a regular visitor to our homepage.

So in the coming months, we’ll be featuring them in places beyond the little unassuming tips section. These tips come from Boels-Dolmans. Last month, we spent a morning with the six riders that would line up for Trofeo Binda the following day. We asked Megan Guarnier, Ellen van Dijk, Evie Stevens, Christine Majerus, Chantal Blaak and Lizzie Armitstead to share some words of wisdom. They do so. Here.

Megan Guarnier

Strade Bianche women 2015

You do not need to wear underwear with your chamois. It’s ok to wear just a chamois. Oh – and chamois cream is a good thing

Lizzie: Oh, really? I think that’s terrible advice.

To each her own I guess.

Lizzie: Maybe that’s the real advice. Do what works for you.

Evelyn Stevens

photoshoot team Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team in Valencia

There are saddles that are comfortable, and you have to be picky about your saddle. If the first saddle you get doesn’t make your taco happy, it’s ok. You want your taco to be happy not angry.

Personally, I have gone through a bunch of saddles. I’m currently riding the Specialized Power saddle, and I don’t even need to ride with chamois cream because it’s that good.

Evie’s teammates had a fantastic reaction to her “taco talk” – if you haven’t watched the Voxwomen video we shared a few weeks back, you can check it out here:

Chantal Blaak

Energiewacht Tour 2015 TTT stage - 2a

It’s easier to ride in the wheels than in the front of the peloton all the time. When I was a kid, I was riding all the time in the front. A couple people would pass me always on the finish line. I think that’s how I got the nickname tractor. I pulled all the others. You do not need to pull all the others. They can pull you sometimes, too.

Lizzie Armitstead


My advice? Cycling isn’t that important. I have a few regrets. I missed really important family occasions for races. I don’t remember the races but I remember missing the family events. I think when you’re starting – well, all the time – you shouldn’t take it so seriously. It’s not worth missing a wedding for a race unless it’s the Olympics or Worlds.

Ellen van Dijk

Ladies Tour of Qatar 2015 stage - 2

I think I always thought you should train as hard as possible and go as hard as you can but now I think –

(the whole table jumps in to interrupt her)

Lizzie: You USED to think that but you don’t think that anymore?!

Evie: Hmmm, I have a memory of about two hours ago where I’m pretty sure you were showing us you still think that.

Well, my lesson is gone.

Lizzie: Your recovery rides are as fast as most people’s standard training rides.

I just want to say that sometimes it’s good to take some rest but I don’t know if really anybody believes me. It’s good advice.

Evie: It is good advice. Maybe you should take it.

Christine Majerus

Ladies Tour of Qatar 2015 stage - 2

I think for someone who started late in cycling, the best thing I can tell you is that you can still become a really good cyclist. It doesn’t matter when you start. You don’t have to be impressed by the boys and girls that started at eight or nine or ten. Just keep going. Everyone can start at the beginning and go somewhere. Unless you’re at the very highest level, cycling only needs to be about having fun and feeling good and working on your own goals.

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