Lisa Wörner finished her Red Hook Criterium debut in London with a very decent 10th place. Lisa, 27 years-old and based in Amsterdam where she is finishing up Med School, is a former World Champion in rowing. She even attended the Olympics of Rio as a spare for the Dutch pair that went home with gold. However, as of 2017 Lisa is a cyclist competing in fixed gear crits, representing Fixedgearcrit.com, and with the ambition to compete in road races. We spoke with Lisa to find out how she came in touch with fixed gear crit racing, how a top athlete like her experiences our sport, and what her ambitions in cycling are.
Text: Brian Megens
Lisa was 15 when she started rowing “With gym class in school we went rowing once. Actually I hated it at first, but with some pressure from my mom I tried it again. Then I started loving the combination between power and technique.” Her best result was to win the World Championships in a World Record in the lightweight four. However, that is not her best memory “I have very good memories about a World Championships U23 in the double. We had a perfect preparation for the WC we grew as a team and won silver in the double at the world championships under 23. Racing on your limits with a team with which you have a lot of fun with and trust to the fullest. The feeling that you know that everyone will give 200% to win.”
Lisa did go to the Olympics of Rio’16 but not to compete as she was the spare for the Dutch pair. “It was hard to miss the Olympic boat because of a stress fracture of my rib during the season. From 2013 I was off and on in the double, the only Olympic boat class for lightweight women. So only two women from each country can be in that boat. It was hard to miss out the opportunity not to race in the boat at the Olympics in Rio. Fortunately, we were a very good team and as a spare for the boat I had a lot of positive influence in their successes. Seeing my two teammates winning Gold at the Olympics was unbelievable fantastic and very proud of them to be Olympic champion but hard at the same time.
It was amazing to be part of Dutch Olympic team in Rio, so special to be an athlete at the Olympics in Rio. The best thing about being a spare at the Olympics was that I actually could enjoy other sports and events as well. Not too bad after all.”
On the question why Lisa switched from rowing to bike racing she is clear “I switched this year to bike racing, because I feel like I needed a change after 12 years of rowing. Cycling gives me the freedom and adrenaline I missed in rowing the last years. Time to do something else which is very exciting!”
Through Olaf Wit, who is also a former rower, Lisa got into fixed gear crit racing. “I know Olaf Wit for a while. He introduced me to fixed gear riding. I really wanted to try it out, but I had obligations in rowing during racing season. Last year, I finally did a race. I was so excited to race that I went out a little too fast. I felt really comfortable in the corners, so I tried to push it a little more, but I forgot a little bit that I wasn’t the only one racing and crashed out that race with a broken collarbone. But I absolutely loved racing a fixed gear crit. When I watched the Milan Red Hook, I got very much attracted to the racing, with its adrenaline and rush. But also the good atmosphere at the races. Awesome people. Having fun and racing hard.”
Lisa’s made her RHC debut during Red Hook Criterium London No.3 “I expected it to be a hard and exciting race, with lots of fast women.” She went home with a 10th place confirming her potential to compete with the world top in the near future. “I really love racing and pushing myself to the limits, whether I’m stuck in a boat or on a bike. Let’s see how far I can push it and where it takes me. For now, I just want to have fun and race hard.
On how Lisa experiences rowing and fixed gear crit racing. “Both sports are very comparable I think. Its physically very challenging. You have to be mentality ready for a hard race. The community in rowing is also very small, so you know a lot of people. After racing we usually go out and have fun in the city where the World cup was held and that ends not always without trouble. I guess its also just athletes, who live in a strict regime, on the loose and having fun.”