Sigr was lucky enough to talk to the very inspiring Anna Beck about her hopes for the 2020 paracycling season. We'll let her tell the story.
My name is Anna Beck. I am 40 years old and come from the city of Kil, in Värmland, Sweden. I am also a member of the Swedish national paracycling team. I spent my whole childhood in Värmland and still live there to this day, together with my husband and our children.
I used to love horses, and a big part of my childhood and teenage years was spent on the back of a horse or in the stable. I loved being active.
At the age of 25, I was diagnosed with CMT, a neuromuscular disease which affects your muscles, balance, reflexes and the senses in the feet, lower legs, hands and underarms. The disease is progressive and there are no treatments or cure for it.
Cycling has always been a part of my life, ever since I was a young girl. My father has always cycled and my family spent a lot of our summers in Motala where my father would compete in the Swedish cycling competition “Vätternrundan” every year.
It wasn’t until a few years after my diagnosis that I started cycling regularly, and in 2009 I completed my first “Vätternrundan”. My interest in cycling has grown rapidly since then. In some ways, getting my diagnosis has been positive for me. I have always had the disease and it has always affected my performance in a negative way, but since I didn’t used to know that it was there, the disease just made me think that I was a bad cyclist.
Constantly coming last despite all of the hard work and doing my very best, made me feel like a failure. I loved the competition but became discouraged by the constant losses that I faced.
When I started cycling with others, my disease didn’t feel as obvious as it had done before, which gave me considerable joy and confidence.
2016 brought with it the first competition in which I would compete abroad, and since 2017 I have been on the national team. Together we have won three World Championship gold medals, one silver, and one bronze, and I have stood on the podium in every single world cup I have competed in.
2020 is a very important year for me. In August, I will be attending the Paralympics where I will compete in three different races. A road race, a time trial and a 3000 m individual pursuit-race. My goal for the Paralympics is to win a medal in at least one of the races.
To be correctly dressed when exercising is crucial. You need clothes that are suitable for the sport that you are doing. You need clothes that keep you warm, but are still breathable, and that have space for you to put you necessities. For me personally, what has worked is wearing layers. A layer of merino first, and a pair of real winter shoes is a good start. For women, I would suggest wearing your sports-bra on top of your merino, to avoid getting cold.
During the summer I like to wear clothes that I look good. Leaving the house for a workout, should feel a bit like going to a party. The most important thing is to find a pair of cycling shorts that don’t chafe. When you have found some that you like, another tip is to purchase a few of the same pair, so that there’s always a clean pair in your wardrobe when you need them.
I wish you all an amazing cycling season, make sure to make loads of beautiful memories along the country road and the deep forests, enjoy all of the colours and smells of nature and enjoy life!
Hopes dashed but staying positive
Yep, this season turned out to be a bit of a roller-coaster for everyone… For now I am still training as usual, and it’s going better than I thought. My motivation has stuck with me despite the plan change and the fact that the Paralympics have been postponed. Apart from that, we also know that the World Championships will be cancelled for 2020 and that there is only a smaller World Cup that might be held later this year, depending on what happens next.
It would have been amazing to start the season off now and show everyone what I have been working on all winter. I really can't wait to put my number on and feel the butterflies in my stomach the morning before a big race, and I will do everything to be as prepared as I can for whenever that day comes.
I have used my Sigr jacket a lot and I’m very pleased with it! It feels so light which I don’t usually experience with cycling jackets. Usually they’re bulky in different places regardless of which size i try, but this one...looks good and is light and fast. Looking forward to using the short-sleeved version during spring and summer-season!
We will get through this crisis together, so keep your hopes up and remember; everywhere is biking distance!
We at Sigr wish Anna every success in the future and will be keeping an eye out for her when the Paralympics eventually happen. Good luck Anna!
Photos courtesy of Anna Beck. Instagram: @annabeck1