The Alameda Health Consortium (Community Health Center Network’s sister organization) has many extraordinary employees helping to make their company run smoothly. One employee in particular, Beth Newell, is in the spotlight for her aspirations towards an Olympic medal. Beth is the Project Analyst for AHC. She utilizes her skills of reading and interpreting data to assist AHC with their advocacy work. One of her most recent accomplishments was helping to design and create the website www.ACHealthcare.org which is a great resource for Alameda County residents to find healthcare resources in their neighborhoods. I sat down with Beth to discuss her love for cycling and her Olympic dreams.
Joi Wilson: Most of us learned to ride bikes as children. When did you first learn how to ride?
Beth Newell: I grew up in Ohio on a state route, and I remember getting a bike and going to a parking lot once but I actually never really learned to ride it as a child. I started cycling in 2004 because my car died and I needed to get to work. I started as a bike commuter. I really had to learn how to balance; I was awful, I had to bike on the sidewalk because I couldn’t ride in a straight line.
JW: How long have you been cycling competitively?
BN: I did a triathlon in 2006 with a friend. In 2007 I started going to a local bike club, the Oakland Yellow Jackets. It was a real recreational club but I did a couple races in 2007 and 2008. In 2009 I started training more seriously.
JW: What is your most memorable race to date?
BN: My most memorable race has to be the National Championships in October 2011 when I won. It was really exciting. There were a lot of fans; there had to be over 1,000 people in the stands. I had some local supporters there yelling for me which was exciting.
JW: Now, I’ve seen you come limping into the office with some pretty bad road burn. Where do you find the resolve to get back onto a bike and continue competing?
BN: I have to remember that crashing is part of the sport. Just like getting a concussion in football. It’s not a fun part of the sport but you just learn to deal with the injuries and the pain and move on
JW: How rigorously do you train?
BN: I train 20+ hours a week for the most part but it really depends on the season. In addition to cycling there are all sorts of other things you have to do like stretching, weight lifting, and core work.
JW: Have you had to adjust your work schedule to accommodate your training schedule?
BN: AHC has been amazing, much better than I’ve ever imagined a work place would be. I’ve been so fortunate to be able to do a 20 hour work week and to take leave without pay when I need it for a race.
JW: What is your ultimate goal in cycling?
BN: I want to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team in Team Pursuit. That’s my main focus right now.
JW: Will you be paying special attention to the cycling portions to this year’s Olympics?
BN: Yes, I have some friends who are in the race. There’s definitely the love of the sport but also on a personal level it’s exciting.
JW: What is your advice for someone with an Olympic medal dream?
BN: You have to go for it because you have the passion and love of the sport; not because of any personal glory or money that will come your way. The training begins a long way out; stay disciplined and focused. Have a long-term goal but also set short-term goals for yourself. Know that every day of training is important and focus on the task at hand each day.