FOTO: ZVG Vera Looser-Adrian
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Top cyclist talking about the Olympics, competition nutrition and homemade snacks
Luck is clearly on the side of cyclist Vera Looser-Adrian at present. Not only because the Namibian woman, who lives in Switzerland, married her long-time partner, Swiss cycling legend Konny Looser, in February 2020. But also because she has already secured qualification for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In the interview, the multiple Namibian champion (road racing and mountain biking) tells us details about her training and nutrition, and also reveals a fine recipe for a protein-enriched training snack.
Vera, you are a top athlete in cycling, live in Switzerland, but will be competing for Namibia at the Olympic Games? How come?
I was born in Namibia and went to school there for 18 years. Afterwards I studied in South Africa. I competed in my first race on a road bike when I was 9 years old. The racing bike as well as the mountain bike have accompanied me all my life. In my second year as a student I met my current husband, the mountain bike professional Konny Looser, at a competition. After four years together in Stellenbosch, we have now been living together in Zurich Oberland for two years. We recently got married.
You are familiar on the bike as well as on the racing bike. In which discipline will you start in Tokyo?
Since my former team, the Swiss RE/MAX Cycling Team, was disbanded due to lack of sponsors, I am now a single athlete and will present myself as a guest rider at big international tours. Although I like to ride my bike very much, I have the road race at the Olympic Games in focus. I have already reached the qualification and fortunately it is still valid until next year.
What is your preparation for Tokyo in broad outline?
Because of the covid-19 pandemic, everything has changed a bit. There are very few road races in Switzerland and internationally at the moment. That's why I'm looking for racing practice in mountain bike competitions. Currently, I plan to take part at the Engadin Bike Giro and the Swiss Epic. In addition, the World Road Cycling Championships in Valais/Switzerland are a big annual goal. I will discuss with my trainer exactly how to proceed after that.
How does your nutrition look like at important competitions?
That depends on the starting time. If a race starts before 10 a.m. I prefer to eat oatmeal cooked in almond milk. If you put another banana in it, the porridge gets nice and creamy and sweet. For some fat and protein I add a spoonful of almond paste. It also tastes delicious with some POWER PORRIDGE. On road tours the start is often at noon. Then I have an extensive breakfast, almost like brunch. But I take care to eat easily digestible food. Mostly bread with cheese or honey, muesli or oatmeal, a boiled egg. What should never be missing, no matter what time I have breakfast: coffee! The evening before a race I make sure I eat enough carbohydrates. Under no circumstances do I want to go to bed hungry. The stores must be filled the day before the race! During the race I take a LIQUID ENERGY gel every 30-45 minutes. If a race lasts more than four hours, I eat at least one bar. About 10-20 minutes before a time trial I always take an ACTIVATOR. It gives me the necessary kick and concentration.
Do you have a favourite product from SPONSER?
I love COMPETITION Cool Mint. Since I grew up in a very hot country and I also like to race in the warmth, COMPETITION Cool Mint is tailor-made for me. It is refreshing but not sweet and the perfect training and competition companion in the heat. I am also a big fan of the POWER GUMS in cola flavour. I have to pull myself together to make sure that I don't nibble on it in my spare time.
Apart from training and competition: What do you like to eat and drink most?
I love to eat homemade cakes and I like to have a glass of wine.
Do you have a fine recipe that you'd like to share with us here?
I make my own date balls for all my workouts. Since they are made with protein, they are a perfect snack for in between. Here's the recipe:
½ cup of oatmeal
1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond paste
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 scoops of WHEY PROTEIN (I like the flavours chocolate or vanilla best)
Mix all ingredients in the mixer. If the mixture sticks too much, add a little coconut oil. Coconut flakes or cocoa powder are suitable for refining.