Avantidrome Athlete Profile: Pip Sutton

25 January 2016

It’s not often you stroll through a corridor or around a corner of the Avantidrome without bumping into an athlete or two. Interested in learning more about these athletes? We had the chance to sit down and chat to Pip Sutton, a rider in the New Zealand Women’sTeam Pursuit. Take a read to find out what Pip is all about.

Did you have to relocate to Cambridge for your sport?

Well my situation was a little tricky as I am originally from the Waikato Area although I lived 45 minutes from the velodrome and Cambridge. I began commuting from my home to the velodrome for trainings and meetings but it took up a lot of time and it made it quite stressful. After a crash I had on the road I was not able to ride my bike for a few months. I became a live in Nanny in Cambridge which I loved and continued to do this when I was able to ride again.

Do you study? 

I finished my full time study at the end of last year with a degree in Sport and Leisure Studies combined with Biological Science. I am however going to further my knowledge and looking at studying Aromatherapy part time this year.

What is your sporting history? What sports did you do growing up and how did you settle on cycling?

I have always been into sport whether it was bull-rush at lunchtime or softball and soccer in my primary school days. Towards the end of primary school I was really enjoying my soccer and was still finding the position that I was best suited too. College was next on my cards and when it came to choosing my summer sport softball was not on the list. So this was when I decided to not over commit myself and settle into high school and just play soccer. It didn’t continue like that at all I ended up playing soccer all year round and going on tournaments and having a blast. Until one of my best friends gave cycling a go (The training loop rode through the local boys’ high school so I think this was the real draw card for her!). She talked me into trying it out also as ‘cross-training’ for soccer and it was fun. We rode through boys high and stopped at the hostel saw the boys and continued on our 1 hour ride twice a week. One day our school decided we needed a coach which threw the hostel trip out and we actually did proper rides.  I was hooked. I don’t know what it was but I loved cycling. For a year I juggled cycling races and soccer tournaments. Half way through year 12 I had to make the decision. I couldn’t tell you what fully triggered my decision but I chose to continue cycling and I have not turned back since. It was a shock to the system as I had played soccer for so many years and it was part of my routine. I just really enjoy the simple pleasures of riding a bicycle.

I have been through a lot with cycling always taking the back burner through my leadership responsibilities in year 13 and then deciding to undertake full-time university study before this year turning to and focusing on my cycling dreams.

I have come from a road cycling base but the development of the new Avantidrome in 2014 inspired me to give track cycling a go. There was going to be this amazing facility right on my door step so why not make the most of it?! Of course I had to give it a go and here I am today striving to fulfill my dreams on the track.

Biggest achievement to date:

In 2011 I won the Elite Women Criterium Nationals and Senior Women Rabobank Club Nationals in my first year in the elite ranks.

Since starting track cycling two years ago I have competed at two Elite Nationals with two wins for the Team Pursuit event representing Waikato Bay of Plenty. At the beginning of this year I was chosen to compete in Cali at the third World Cup in the Team Pursuit where we placed eighth and was selected again to compete in Cali for the first World Cup this year. I have recently competed in Hong Kong for the third world Cup of this season, representing New Zealand in the Team Pursuit.

I have also been awarded Coach of the year in 2014 at Waikato Diocesan School for Girls cycling and have the privilege of being awarded the Waikato District Sportsperson for 2015.

What goals are you working towards?

My ultimate aim is to represent New Zealand at Olympics and World Championships as an endurance track rider and become a vital member of the NZ Women’s Team Pursuit. I also strive to become respected and inspirational athlete to those around me.

Do you have any sponsors you’d like to mention?

This year I have been privileged to be a part of the up and coming Black Magic Women’s Cycling Team. It is a young team that really has potential to show the rest of the world what New Zealand riders are capable of.

I would also like to mention Pure Nutrition who supports me in my training and races with the right fuel. My local bike shop, CycleTime, have been with me from the beginning and Dave has been a crucial part of my cycling career so far.

Cycling is a sport that cannot be done alone. The support networks around us with the greatest being our friends and family are essential to success.

How do you use the Avantidrome? What facilities and how often?

Well at the first nationals that the Avantidrome held I was actually the first person to ever race on it. The individual pursuit qualifying and I was up first and riding against myself. However since being selected into the NZ Squad I use the Avantidrome regularly, at least once a day whether it be for training on the track, training in the gym, physiotherapist, massage, seeing a mechanic or organising the club racing evening.

It is a fantastic facility that is able to bring together like minded people, enables riders who are striving for the top to be centralized as well as engage in the community. My favourite part of the Avantidrome would have to be the Gallagher Bike Skills Park. It is awesome to come out the doors and see numerous kids having fun on bikes in a safe environment.

What’s your favorite food?

I have a real sweet tooth so I would have to say banoffee pie and chocolate.

What’s your favorite activity to do in the Waikato?

Mmmhmm… this is a tough one but I am quite the fan of rock climbing at Extreme Edge or walking along the pretty river path.