Inside the mind (and fridge) of… Tiffany Cromwell
We talk ricotta pancakes, Russian rides and mental resilience with the charismatic cycling powerhouse, Tiffany Cromwell
A seasoned pro and a well-known face in the peloton, Tiffany Cromwell has bagged major wins in stage races like the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile and one-day classics like Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Beyond the bike, the energetic Aussie is a keen foodie with lots to say about banana bread and brunch. We salute you!
What’s been your most memorable moment on the bike?
There’s been a few, but it would probably have to be one of my Giro Victories - both for different reasons. The first one because it came at a time when I didn’t believe I was capable of a Stage win but the people around me did. The second because it was a complete surprise. Being given the opportunity to save for the sprint for my team was a surprise, then actually winning an out-and-out bunch sprint – which I’d never done before. I’d never been known as a ‘proper’ sprinter before then. They were both pretty special.
How does riding make you feel?
It makes me feel alive and free. When I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and nothing is going right, I go out for a long ride into the mountains to be by myself and everything becomes clearer again.
How do you like to celebrate a win or other personal achievement?
Hmmm, it depends what time of the season it is and how big the achievement is...
Usually it involves good friends, food and possibly a beverage or two.
What do you tell yourself when you’re having a tough day on the bike?
If it’s a tough day in a race, I acknowledge that it’s just a bike race and don’t beat myself up. If it’s not going to plan in training, I keep pushing on in the knowledge that things will turn around.
How do you smash through the barriers?
When things are tough, I get through it by being focused, determined and, most of all, believing in myself. Sometimes I need the people around me to give me that extra boost of belief, but generally I find I perform at my best when I’m happy and everything in my life is balanced.
What's your guilty pleasure - food, something on Netflix, other?
An unplanned big night out with good company, where you dance all night long. Or these amazing almond pain au chocolat from the bakery that’s far too close to my apartment in the South of France. Also, mascarpone cream with anything sweet.
We know you love food / cooking. Do you have a signature dish?
I have a couple. My most popular recipe would have to be my banana bread. My friends love it! Then there’s my lemon and ricotta buttermilk brunch pancakes, complete with fresh bananas and berries on top, a dollop of mascarpone and maple syrup. They’re pretty damn good and full of energy.
What takes up the majority of your brain space?
I would like to think that the majority of my brain space is taken up by ideas and plans to help keep me moving forward in life and achieve everything I’m striving for. That and ricotta pancakes.
What helps you do what you do?
My support network. Through my career as a professional cyclist, I’ve had to move abroad to the other side of the world and away from my family and friends, so it’s been really important to build a community of people around me that I can trust and know will be there for me if I ever find myself in trouble.
I also need people to push me and tell me to pick up my game when they can see I’m getting distracted and know that I have more to give.
Then there's my family. They’ve supported me from day one. They’ve always been there for the ups and the downs; they’ve always encouraged me and never pushed me.
What makes you different?
Many things. I certainly look at the world from a different angle. I seem to be full of energy, a bit of a free spirit, slightly crazy and I can’t seem to sit still. I live by the motto: 'live life to the fullest,’ so I’m always up for an adventure and will say ‘yes’ to trying most things.
What's your dream ride and who would you ride it with?
My dream is to ride the Trans-Siberia across Russia. I’ve always been fascinated by Russia, so I would love to see the country and some of its most remote places via bike. I’d love to do it with a group of my closest friends.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want to be known as a tough, smart and successful cyclist, who has helped push women’s cycling forward and been a good role model for younger riders striving to reach the top in the sport.