Catching up with cyclist Amanda Spratt

Good to be back: Cyclist Amanda Spratt, pictured at home in Springwood, is enjoying being home and is preparing to defend two titles in January.
Good to be back: Cyclist Amanda Spratt, pictured at home in Springwood, is enjoying being home and is preparing to defend two titles in January.

While most of us were gorging ourselves on delicious festive season goodies on Christmas Day, no such luck for elite athletes like dual Olympian Amanda Spratt.

The Springwood cyclist was watching what she ate in preparation for a busy January racing season in Australia before she returns overseas in February.

And New Year’s Eve wasn’t going to be an all-night rager either.

“I’ll be tucked up in bed after watching the kids fireworks,” the 29-year-old said with a laugh.

Cyclist in the making: Amanda Spratt at age three.

Cyclist in the making: Amanda Spratt at age three.

Spratt will defend her title in the Road National Championships on January 8 and the elite women’s event in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 28.

In a big win for the promotion of women’s sport, the women’s Great Ocean Road Race will be broadcast live for the first time.

Amanda Spratt was the Cycling Australia elite women's 2016 Road National Champion.

Amanda Spratt was the Cycling Australia elite women's 2016 Road National Champion.

“It’s a big step forward in terms of exposure,” Spratt said.

She says women’s road racing, which is contested over a shorter distance, can be more exciting to watch than the men’s.

“There’s a lot more depth to the women’s peloton … there’s a big pool of riders who could win on any course,” she said.

Spratt says the quality of the Great Ocean Road Race field has increased this year with strong Australian teams and several international teams entering.

But she considers herself in good form.

“I’m a month ahead of where I was last year,” she said.

Since she returned to Springwood in November, she’s been getting the hilly kilometres under her belt and hitting the gym.

Riding 550km a week, Spratt’s been working on building strength and endurance – and avoiding the dreaded Linden magpie.

Sprint to the end: Amanda Spratt (right) and the three leaders on the stage three finishing straight of the Aviva Womens Tour in the UK in June 2016. Spratt finished fourth on that stage and fifth overall in the tour, increasing her prospects of Olympic selection. Photo: John Potter

Sprint to the end: Amanda Spratt (right) and the three leaders on the stage three finishing straight of the Aviva Womens Tour in the UK in June 2016. Spratt finished fourth on that stage and fifth overall in the tour, increasing her prospects of Olympic selection. Photo: John Potter

One of her favourite rides is climbing up to Katoomba, and then scooting back down the hill, but a rogue magpie has been a significant deterrent.

“It’s had me a few times. It’s really aggressive. I’ve considered catching a train from Faulconbridge to Linden to avoid it,” Spratt said.

Her training hasn’t all been hard work. For fun she rode with her dad and members of Penrith Cycling Club in the 157km  L’Étape Australia race in the Snowy Mountains on December 3, designed to provide an experience like the Tour de France. She still managed to come home with several prizes – the yellow jersey for the fastest woman, the green jersey for the fastest sprint (women) and the polka dot jersey for the king of the mountain climb (women).

That had followed just four weeks break where, even on holiday she couldn’t bear to part with a bike.

She went hiking in Switzerland and Italy, and a multi-day bike trip through the mountains in Switzerland, Austria and Italy.

“Even in my downtime I’m still very active,” Spratt said with a laugh.

“I don’t like to sit around and do nothing. It’s hard to sleep … I don’t feel any fatigue [when I’m not training].

But for the moment she’s glad to be home.

“It’s nice to be back and catching up with people when I can,” Spratt said.