Joanna Sharpe and Bronwyn MacGregor are preparing to represent New Zealand at the Amateur Cycling World Championships (UCI Gran Fondo World Championships) in France later this year.
Joanna has lived in Clarks Beach for 13 years, and the upcoming Championships in France will be her second opportunity to race for the coveted rainbow jersey.
Her friend and training partner, Bronwyn, will also be competing for the first time. “We’re competing in different age groups, but we hope to push each other to be the best we can be,” Joanna says.
The Amateur Cycling World Championships is the pinnacle for cycling for non-professionals, taking place this year in Albi, southern France.
Cycling has been part of these women’s lives for some time, and it is their goal to motivate others to be the best they can be in whatever they set out to strive for.
Joanna was diagnosed with Osteoporosis in her 30s but this has only spurred her on. “I used to be a runner—but you can’t run with Osteo. Turns out I’m better on a bike than my own two feet,” she says.
She is particularly inspired to encourage people to set high goals. “You don’t have to let something limit you—that’s been my driver.”
The women train each morning at 4am for two to two and a half hours, after work, they do another training session.
“It is this dedication to managing our full-time training schedules and competing whilst thriving in our full time corporate roles that has got us to the position where we can wear the silver fern with pride,” Joanna says.
Joanna is excited to represent her country and her region again. “Wearing the Silver Fern is the most amazing feeling. You don’t really understand it until you wear it,” she says.
The women will be representing New Zealand in the Individual Time Trial and the Road Race. They hope this championship will follow their previous successes which has seen them achieve first and second placings in several national and regional cycling competitions.
Joanna and Bronwyn are now looking for sponsors to secure their journey. Already Evolution Cycles are sponsored Joanna’s bike, but as other costs are self-funded they are looking for further support.
“With success comes responsibility and we see ourselves as being role models in the sporting world and in general. Today, there are so many pressures and influences on young people. We’ve been given these great opportunities and we want to make sure we make the most of it, and encourage others,” Joanna says.