As Mother’s Day approaches and florists prepare for an absolute hammering, we thought we’d catch up with a mum who’s pretty handy on the bike. We find out why she caught the riding bug, how she juggles some pretty crazy hours in the saddle with everything else, and whether or not her kids think she’s nuts.
Happy Mums Day to all mothers out there…
In Sarah (Wolfy) de Wolf’s words, she’s been known to get up at stupid o’clock (read - out the door by 4:45am), get her long ride in and return in time to take the kids to their various sporting commitments. Saskia is now 16 and studying year 11 whilst also playing hockey and doing athletics, Harry is 14 and into soccer, cricket and athletics, and Sebastian is 12 later this year and keen on soccer, basketball, cricket and riding to school.
This is one active family.
As Wolfy says, certain sports such as swimming have been mandated in the de Wolf household (at least for as long as Wolfy can get away with it), whilst others have been taken up because the kids just naturally love them. They get the bug from their parents; their Dad Andy is a social cyclist and Wolfy has been hooked on Ironman for years.
She first got a taste for tris whilst still in the UK. She’d spent the whole time training indoors for her first ever tri event, before giving the race a crack (outdoors, of course). She’d just become pregnant with Harry at the time and following that race, she didn’t do another one for some ten years or so. During that time the family relocated to Australia and Wolfy started toying with the idea of a half Ironman. She’d just entered her 40s.
It didn’t take long for a half to become a full and before she knew it, Wolfy was training 20 hours a week, running the household (Andy commutes between Sydney and Melbourne for work during the week) and being mum to three super active kids. Wolfy jokes that her biggest sponsor is Andy and judging by her Specialized Tarmac roady and S-Works Shiv, she’s on a pretty neat sponsorship package.
The kids however, are not all that fussed by their mum’s wicked sporting equipment nor her sporting pursuits. They’ve seen her race Ironman Melbourne and although they’re proud of their mum, her full plate is pretty much a life normality. As Wolfy says, unless you run around naked in the house whilst their friends are there, they’re not really going to notice what you’re doing.
Wolfy is really keen to encourage the kids’ natural passion for sport, but she’s equally determined to instil in them some smarts around long-term healthy living, nutrition and fitness. She’s the first to get them to have some protein after their training, or to eat a banana until dinner’s ready so that they learn to understand how to fuel and replenish around their sporting pursuits. Although she’ll allow them time on the much-loved PS3, there’s a finite limit to that sort of recreation.
2014 is it for Wolfy and tris. She’s squeezing in what she can now before Saskia enters year 12 and Wolfy dedicates her time to her daughter. In Wolfy’s words, 2015 will be all about making sure the house is stocked with plenty of food, being there to read over essays, talk through subject topics and challenges, and make sure bedrooms don’t become junk rooms.
But we’re pretty sure it won’t be long before the Shiva beckons for a cheeky weekend ride now and again…