1) Your Name?

Susan du Plessis

2) Your Nationality?

I was born in the USA and have dual Australian and German citizenship; I have been living in Bormio, Italy for nearly 6 years. Our family live a nomadic life.

3) What does cycling mean to you?

It’s a big part of my life.  It has always been a part of life for my husband and me, we’ve usually based our holidays around cycling events or cycling destinations.  This has changed in recent years as our children have both chosen different sports.  However last year we bought an apartment in Bormio which is a cycling mecca.

4) Do you remember your first bike?

It was green with a “banana” shaped seat.  I was about 7.  My first racing bike was an Australian brand, but I don’t remember much about it!  I was about 21 and my then boyfriend (now husband) encouraged me to buy one.

5) At what age did you realize that cycling was a real passion?

I loved cycling from the first rides on my road bike, in my early 20s.    I’ve done big community rides, triathlons, road races, time trials, mountain bike races and tours in Australia and Europe with my husband and with friends.

6) How many Granfondo Stelvio Santini editions did you take part to?

I took part in the first four editions of the race. Last year I missed it as I was in Genova, at the Italian Aerobics Gymnastics Championships, with my daughter.  The first year I did the Percorso Medio, as there was no Percorso Corto. The subsequent three years I did the corto.  It’s enough for me!

7) What emotions did you feel during your first Granfondo Stelvio Santini?

It was an amazing event.  I was so impressed by the organization and the number of volunteers involved (I was also a volunteer, after the race!).  It was also one of the hardest things I have ever done on a bike.  My legs were completely empty, at the BOTTOM of the Stelvio Pass, let alone the top! 

8) Do you have a funny story about something that happened during one of Granfondo Stelvio Santini editions you took part to?

Humor doesn’t usually enter into it…

9) Do you keep the racing bibs of all editions?

No. 

10) How are you training for this year’s challenge?

Same as always:  I keep fit in winter using an indoor trainer in the garage.  I don’t do anything in particular, I just cycle easy to moderate most of the winter, then about a month before the mountain passes open, I start to do some harder efforts.  When the roads open and the temperature rises above about 10 degrees, I start riding on the roads a couple of times a week.  I live in Bormio most of the year, and every ride includes a mountain climb.

11) Which is your strong point in cycling?

Climbing. I think I developed as a climber as I am always so far behind after a descent that I have to climb really hard to catch up!  Sadly, I descend at about the same speed as I climb.

12) Do you think there is discrimination in your sport as a woman?

I cannot comment on this, I’ve never NOT been able to do something I wanted to because of being female.

13) Would you like to add something more?

The GF Santini is the best cycling event I have participated in, ever!  And Bormio is cycling heaven in summer.  I have been on cycling holidays in many parts of Europe, and Bormio is truly the best place in Europe for a cyclist to live or visit.