From Triathlon to Tour de France: Amber Pate's Inspiring Journey
Published: 22 May 2020
As we stand on the cusp of Amber Pate's debut at the prestigious Tour de France, we can't help but look back at her journey with a sense of awe and admiration. Once a triathlete, Amber's switch to track and road cycling was no easy feat. However, her grit, dedication, and unwavering commitment brought her to this pivotal moment in her career. As we cheer Amber on, we invite you to revisit our early conversation with her. Witness the determination that propelled her to the starting line in Paris, and through the rigorous 956-kilometre tour, culminating with a mountaintop finish on the iconic Tourmalet in the Pyrenees.
You transitioned from being a successful triathlete to a track and road cyclist. What inspired this shift?
I love the grind of training, I am very self-disciplined and have loads of high energy, so triathlon really appealed and suited me. But I do love riding the bike. I’ve also raced crits, cyclocross and just love getting out on my bike when I can, and I think it’s a real strength of mine. When asked if I was interested in a training opportunity with the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) track cycling squad, I thought about it for a few months, I could wait maybe another year and see where I am as a triathlete, or jump sooner – I decided it was time.
How has your experience with training and participating in track events been?
Having trained at SASI for the last 8+ months (before the shutdown) I was training for the 3km individual and 4km team pursuit events. Having no track experience, I was on a sharp learning curve in the velodrome, especially with my bike skills and the concentration required being centimetres from other cyclists. I had to learn to ride in an aero position, doing lap turns, there is just so much more to think about and learn! All the other athletes have been racing since juniors, so I had to pick things up quickly. It’s still a work in progress, my goal now is to make the SASI training squad and down the track I’d love to make an Olympic team, but that’s a long way off.
How has training at SASI altered your athletic journey?
The coaching is amazing plus the structure of training. Having great facilities and weights program, training on the velodrome 2-3 times a week, the heat chamber and sauna – wow I love it all! I’ve seen an improvement athletically and particularly with my power numbers.
Reflecting on your debut at the Australian Road Racing Championships, how did you find the experience?
The Elite Women’s road race was a tough race of attrition; I think only 27 riders finished approximately 2/3rds of the field did not finish. I was happy with my first hit out at this level, I felt like I had the legs to hang in there late in the race. It was a physically and mentally taxing course and conditions. I feel PREPD really helps me in those type of situations where you are really digging deep.
With your commendable road race debut, are you considering road racing alongside track racing?
Maybe in a few more years I might consider competing in road cycling more seriously. I was going to race the NRS (National Road Series) this season but that’s not happening now. I enjoy road racing and will fit it in where I can, but staying focused on track for now is a priority for me.
With the uncertainty of current times impacting training and racing, how are you managing it all?
One of the things I have developed is mental strength. I am good at doing things off my own back and am always very motivated. Not having the same access to coaches and SASI training facilities and the like, just means I find other ways to train effectively.
This time has allowed me to focus on my studies (sports science degree). The study has been really beneficial, helping me understand the why of training and training concepts. I really enjoy all that stuff. I am also doing heaps of km’s on the bike and getting off road on the mountain bike to vary my training – lots of base fitness building. Although, I just can’t wait for training and racing to start up again.
As a longtime PREPD ambassador, how has it contributed to your training and performance?
PREPD has been a key for me with my training, I know that I get real and tangible benefits from using PREPD. I’ve used it in all types racing and training situations, shorter very intense training as well as longer endurance efforts. I am extremely diligent with training, preparation, nutrition and hydration. I really notice the hydration and performance boost in all circumstances, and I am big advocate of PREPD, it’s been a pillar in my training routine. And a big thanks to the team at PREPD, I really appreciate your support.