tiffany cromwell makes her mark with specialized-lululemon
posted: May 13, 2014
Tiffany Cromwell is a ‘pure climber,’ which means when the road goes uphill, she pedals her bike even harder and faster
You’ve been sitting on the thin, hard racing saddle for hours, and yet you’re willing your legs to rotate at about 70 revolutions per minute as you gun it up another hill. Most would cave to the pain, but not you. You revel in the slow burn; you love it. Up ahead, a fellow rider’s sluggish rotations indicate that she is beginning to tire. Now is the time to strike. Like a cheetah chasing a hyena, your legs start racing as you pick off your competitor. There isn’t the same amount of blood and carnage, but the victory tastes just as sweet. You don’t look back. The next rider is up ahead. Let’s do this.
Professional cyclist Tiffany Cromwell lives some version of this scenario daily. She’s touted as a ‘pure climber,’ meaning she gets a kick out of the uphills. Masochistic? Maybe, but the 25-year-old Australian doesn’t shy away from the hard miles, a trait that has served her well throughout her young career. That’s exactly why women’s pro cycling team Specialized-lululemon chased Tiffany, finally winning her over late last year when she inked a contract with the UCI team.
Team Specialized-lululemon 2014 captured training in California in January
“This team has a very aggressive racing style, which suits me, and I think it is helping me continue to grow as a rider and increase my confidence,” said Tiffany—or Tiff, as she’s known to her teammates. “Every woman on our team is given opportunities to step up and perform, and I think that is really important to maintaining a winning mentality.”
For Tiff, that winning mentality means maintaining proper nutrition, an intense training regimen, relaxing off the bike and staying away from the temptations of performance enhancing drugs.
She isn’t shy about addressing cycling’s elephant in the room; doping. It’s rampant in the sport—or it was, or it could still be… no one really seems certain. The issue came to a head in men’s cycling last year when Lance Armstrong finally admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. His admission was followed by a slew of riders who unloaded their affinity for needles and little white pills.
“To be honest, I’m sick of having to defend my sport. When you get a comment like, ‘Oh all cyclists are cheats,’ it’s not very nice. I have spent many years of my life dedicated to this sport, living on the other side of the world away from friends and family, missing many important life events to pursue my dream, and I want people to respect that and be inspired by it. I don’t want to be left defending my sport from what has happened in the past,” says Tiff.
It takes this gear and one hell of a lot of dedication to cross the finish line first
Female cycling, she continues, has plenty of other hurdles to overcome. Not the least is that the sport receives limited media coverage, which discourages sponsors from investing in it.
“It’s frustrating when we lose sponsors due to the problems in the men’s peloton,” she says. “I think we are slowly coming around and out of the shadows of the dark years of the sport from the past but it’s still going to take a long time to regain cycling’s public image.”
Women’s cycling chalked up a big ‘win’ this season though, as Tour de France organizers will be including a women-only cycling component for the first time ever. It’s called La Course and it will be broadcast a few hours before the men’s peloton arrives in Paris. The race will feature the world’s elite women cyclists charging through the historic heart of Paris before fighting out a final sprint at the finish line on the Champs-Elysées. Tiff and the Specialized-lululemon team will be among the sprinters battling it out for top spot.
The Specialized-lululemon kit comes to stores this summer…stay tuned!
UK media also stepped up women’s cycling exposure this season having agreed to produce live broadcast coverage of the inaugural Women’s Tour of Britain race last weekend. Tiff placed 20th overall at the end of the five stage race, achieving her goal of riding aggressively and producing a strong showing.
Off the saddle, Tiff quickly transitions from Lycra to lace. Although a tomboy growing up, she has since found her girly girl side and the aspiring fashion designer has a keen admiration for Coco Chanel.
“Life on the bike is really intense, which I love, but it’s important to take time to relax and recharge when I’m off it. Design, friends and family offer that breath of fresh air for me, my Zen.”
Want more Specialized-lululemon 2014? The team’s upcoming races include Women’s Giro d’Italia, the US and European Nationals and the Tour de France, or just click here.
Laura Gallant is a word-wizard, sashimi loving runner who admits she’s not a huge fan of Vancouver’s famous Grouse Grind. She can often be found on snowy mountaintops or on her road bike, “hacking up a lung,” she says, as she tries to keep up with her much fitter friends. Follow her on Twitter.