Interview with Cadence Athlete Mariske Strauss

Interview with Cadence Athlete Mariske Strauss

Mariske Strauss Interview

by Chris Wolhuter of Cadence Nutrition
Hi Mariske, thanks for chatting to us today. We hope that you are managing life through the lock down, speaking of which, let the readers know where you currently are, who you are locked down with ?
Hi Guys ! Thanks for checking in. I am currently in lovely Durbanville(northern suburbs of Cape Town), SOUTH AFRICA,  locked down with my boyfriend ;). We are enjoying the quality time together.

The year got off to a great start for you, walk us through some of your highlights.

Well yes, besides signing for BBMTB ( aka CST PostNL Bafang) Team, racing started off really well. I came out of last season with a terrible crash but after some amazing needle work from excellent healthcare professionals, I was back at it fighting my way to the sharp end. The year kicked off with Tankwa Trek with Candice Lill. Our aim was to take the top step at Epic and the way we were riding, I believe we could have. After winning Tankwa with Candice my dad and myself headed off to Andalucía Bike Race held in Spain. A bit of bad luck struck me on the first full stage where I punctured and that left me 20km from the finish having to nurse a flat tire home. I managed to fight my way back to finish off with a stage win on the last day as well as securing an overall 3rd place. On the way back is where things got interesting though...

How did yourself and Candice feel regarding the Cape Epic this year, there were certainly a lot of UCI points on offer which would have obviously played a crucial role in qualifying two slots for the South African ladies for the Tokyo Olympics.

This was the main goal yes. By working together we are able to secure max points for our country. I am not sure what will happen going forward. The UCI announced a while back that the Qualification period will be taken on the 3rd of March 2020. As we all know by now Olympics moved out to 2021, this means an extra year of prep but at this stage we are not sure about the races. The new calendar should be released on the 15th of May. A lot has changed but the determination and excitement is still there, now just to get onto some trails. 
Champagne showers at Tankwa Trek. Image: Zoon Cronje
You then received the news that you had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, this must have been quite a shock to you and I’m sure emotionally challenging to deal with?

This was a shock. I have had my fair share of injuries and weird illnesses but this was scary. Especially seeing that so little is known about the mechanics of it all. I am however blessed with amazing people in my life so the support and medical advice was there from the start which helped a lot. The first step was to accept my new reality and after that was done it was quite simple, frustrating at times to chill and give my body the time it needed to recover, but to be honest I didn’t really have the energy to do much else anyway. 

You mentioned in your post on social media that you’re symptoms were relatively mild, how long did it take for you to recover to the point where you feel you could incorporate some light training again?
I started feeling a lot better around week 4 and attempted to get going again. This however punched me in the face and I felt terrible all over again. It left me a bit nervous to train after that roller coaster ride. 

What does your training look like at the moment? We see you have been doing some yoga in addition to indoor riding?
I have been doing yoga for many years, it is actually part of my morning routine, that and meditation. So needless to say I have been doing quite a bit of that. I have started training again and its going well, I am clawing my way back to gaining some kind of fitness and it is slowly but surely getting there.
On the charge at Andlaucia Bike Race.
Now that we are able to get outside, with restrictions of course, does this change much in terms of your training schedule and daily routines? (For those not familiar, in level 4 of the lock down, South African’s are able to exercise within a 5km radius of their homes between 6 – 9am each morning at the time of writing)

Well it just gives me a little time outside and a bit more freedom to move. As for the training it basically stays the same, it is quite dark outside from 6-7am so I normally only venture out from 7-9am. If it is a longer session this usually means I get home and hop on the indoor trainer again. It is different but it’s all we have now so I’m grabbing it with both hands and enjoying the outdoors. 

Without much news as to where the world is heading in terms of opening up again, how are you thinking about getting ready to race again and what might that involve and if there will even be any racing in 2020?

I have no idea where we are heading or what is happening, but for now I am taking it one week at a time and trying to get myself in shape again. I will be ready when the green light goes. There’s no point to be stressed about when we will race again that only frustrates me so acceptance is key after all. The Olympics are still my main goal and this is where my focus will be directed to.
Final stage win at Andalucia!
What does your support structure around you look like at the moment? We know that your family plays a big role in what you do.
My family is a major part of everything I do. They are extremely supportive and luckily with internet and video calls, it makes thing a bit easier. It is strange, I thought of it this morning I am a very affectionate person and now thinking about giving someone a hug seems wrong. 

What else are you keeping yourself busy with during the lock down? It looks like you have been baking up a storm?
Oh wow anything and everything. I have been painting again, drawing and baking! Baking literally everything :) 

Thanks for your time today Mariske, do you have any final parting words or a message you would like to share with some of your fans? 
Thanks for all the support throughout this time. This too will pass we can and will get through it. Together we can stop this. Together we are stronger. Until I can see everyone out on the trails again, stay safe and keep healthy!

Good luck for the remainder of 2020 and whatever that may hold for you.