Interview: Sinead Miller
Interview with new Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan signing and current U23 National Champion Sinead Miller. Next to living as a professional cyclist she is also pursuing a double major in Chemistry and Mathematics.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Sinead Miller and I am twenty years old. I race for Diadora-Pasta Zara and I am also a full time student at Marian University. I am in my junior year of college now, pursuing a double major in Chemistry and Mathematics.
Why did you choose cycling as your sport?
My father raced superbikes and motocross for most of his life, which really sparked my interest in sports with two wheels. I attended my first superbike race with my dad when I was only two weeks old and it is all history from there. I began racing BMX and motocross at the age of four. As I progressed in those sports, I began to cross train on a road bike to gain some extra fitness. Before I knew it, I was begging my parents to let me race road bikes. At age twelve I competed in my first road race and the sport eventually became my main focus when I turned seventeen.
You are a Marian University student in chemistry and mathematics. Did the move to Marian University and the fact you could combine your study with collegiate cycling help you to become the cyclist you are now?
Words cannot even begin to describe the amount that Marian University has helped develop me into the cyclist I am now, as well as the person. Throughout the past couple years, the cycling program at Marian has taught me how to take on the role as one of the leaders on the cycling team. Now, this allows me more opportunities to encourage and assist newer riders and help them reach their full God-given potential, which gives the greatest feeling of satisfaction.
At the team presentation of the 2010 World Cup Ronde van Drenthe.
Would you recommend to other young women to consider Collegiate cycling as a road to becoming a professional cyclist?
Absolutely! I love collegiate cycling. It is so much fun!! I fully believe that young women should use collegiate cycling as a stepping-stone to becoming a professional cyclist. Collegiate cycling helps develop athletes, while also setting them up for the future by giving them the chance to earn a college degree along the way. During the time I have raced with Marian I really have learned how important it is for a team to come together as a single-minded unit with one purpose. Now, I can carry these lessons over into my races outside of collegiate cycling and it helps tremendously.
Last year you raced a lot in Europe with the USA National Team gaining lots of valuable experience. Can you tell us something about these experiences? Did you have any interesting or funny cultural experiences during this trip?
Last year I was able to race over in Europe during the spring and also in July for the Giro. My first trip over to Europe for the spring classics was a real eye opener to say the least. I realized how brutal these races really are. I totally fell in love with the single day World Cups and I canít wait to get back to racing them soon!
I did have a funny cultural experience during the Giro, which I still remember. During stage nine there were fans lined all along the sides of the road up the dayís major mountain pass and one fan in particular still stands out. There was a man cheering for us wearing only a speedo swimsuit. He was standing along side the road with his wife and children, so I assumed this type of outdoor apparel was normal in the Italian culture. It was very funny to me though. It gave me a good laugh during the long haul up the climb.
You worked a lot last year with Kristin Armstrong and Manel Lacambra. You will continue to work with Manel on your new team. What was the impact of these two icons on your career?
Kristin Armstrong motivated me to improve my cycling as much as possible. I really look up to her as a role model. I would always examine myself to see if I was doing all I could to live up to the expectations of an athlete given the wonderful opportunity to race under the guidance of Kristin Armstrong. She really energized and encouraged me throughout the entire season, while also supporting my quest to earn a college degree, which means so much to me.
Manel has really taught me how to race in Europe. Even though I have only raced with him for a short time now, he has changed me into a completely different racer. When I first arrived in Europe, in the spring of 2010, I was only pack fill. Now, with Manelís direction and guidance, I am able to ride at the front of the group and help contribute to the team. He believed in my abilities from the very beginning, which gave me a lot of confidence. I am really looking forward to the season ahead with Diadora-Pasta Zara, knowing I have much more to learn and improve upon.
Climbing the VAM Berg at the World Cup Ronde van Drenthe. Photo ©
What does it mean to you being the current U23 national champion?
Winning the U23 national championship is very meaningful to me. I worked so hard over the past year to accomplish my goal of winning nationals and I am very pleased to see the results. I will do everything in my abilities to best represent the USA U23 national championship jersey throughout the entire 2011 season.
You moved from Peanut Butter to the UCI team Diadora-Safi Pasta Zara. What do you expect for the new season?
This season I am very excited to be racing with Diadora-Pasta Zara. I expect to gain more experience racing as a teammate and cyclist in Europe. I am ready to push myself to the limits and improve to new levels.
How is your preparation going for the new season? Is there anything special you did this year to prepare?
I suffered a crash during the Holland Ladies Tour during the end of last season, which put me out of training for a bit of time. My preparation for this season was derailed some due to this accident, but I know that I will soon be back on track and better than ever. Each day I am improving now and I am really looking forward to racing with my new teammates soon.
How is the ambiance in your new team?
The ambience of the team is great!! We are all very excited for this season to begin. I know we will all easily gel together and have a super year of racing as a team.
The team is going to ride in Europe and North America. What will your schedule look like more or less?
Earlier, I was planning on racing in Europe in the spring, but due to the time I have needed to recover from my accident I am going to have a bit of a later start. I will begin racing at Gila and take it from there. The races I am going to do in North America include Gila, Philly, Nationals, and Nature Valley. I will head over to Europe for more racing after Nature Valley and hopefully end the year with the World Championships.
In which races would you like to peak for this season?
This season I would like to peak for Collegiate Road Nationals, the Giro díItalia, and World Championships.
At the team presentation of the Profile Ladies Tour together with Amanda Miller, Carmen Small, Coryn Rivera and Shelley Olds. Photo ©
Who do you train with, and where is your favourite training area? In the USA, in Europe?
I usually train by myself, but if I am home in Pittsburgh then I will train with some local guys from the area. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is definitely my favourite place to train. There is just something about being in my hometown that I love.
Sinead do you feel any pressure to perform at this point in your career or does it just add to the edge of your competitive spirit?
I place pressure on myself to perform well, but it is never over bearing. I want to succeed in this sport and one day achieve my goal of becoming a champion, so the pressure just helps me in pursuit of my ambitions.
Next year the Olympic Games are in London. I imagine it is one of your goals to be part of the national team. What are you aiming for (road, track, both)?
I am really aiming to be a part of the national road team for the London Olympics. I know that many people think I am too young for 2012, but I believe that with the proper training and racing program I can make the team and help the USA bring home a medal.
After training, traveling and racing, what activities do you most enjoy most in your spare time? Do you have much spare time?
I donít have too much spare time with school and everything, but when I am home I try to spend as much time as I can with my family and boyfriend. My sister and I always try to hit up some ski resorts when I am home too. We love to go snowboarding in the winter.
Who do you most admire in life, in short who are your heroes in life and in cycling that you would like to emulate?
If I were to emulate someone from the cycling world it would definitely be Amber Neben. She leads with her faith, according to the Christian values, which I admire so much. The trust in the Lord that she has allows her to be optimistic in times when that isnít easy to maintain.
What advice would you give to a young girl who has found cycling and would like to follow your footsteps in building a pro career?
I would tell her to always set goals for herself and to surround herself with people who will help her meet those goals. No dream is out of reach. Do not let anything stop you from doing what you have the ability to accomplish.
What are your long term career goals as a person and cyclist?
As a cyclist, some of my long term goals consist of becoming a top contender in the World Championships, Olympics, and World Cup events. I dream of one day bringing an Olympic gold medal home to the USA. Also, I plan to earn a graduate degree in chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.
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