Competitor Spotlight: Veronica Volok
Veronica Volok received her first set of Dog Tags at the Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race this year in Los Angeles as 1st Ladies’ Fixed. Born in Russia and raised in the Bay area, Veronica slangs coffee at the quaint coffee shop, Cento, and runs the Coffee Bar at CHROME Industries in San Francisco. She rides for DESTROY BIKES and with her ladies in FWOD (Fixed Without Dix), an all girl bike club based out of Oakland.
“FWOD is an all ladies and trans only bike club that hosts a ride every Wednesday night in Oakland (Rain or shine). New riders are always welcomed and encouraged to come out every week! Despite FWOD standing for fixed-with-out-dix, all bike types can come and ride. The most important part is having a lady/trans bike community since many bike rides and bike clubs are male dominated. We throw events like alleycats, fundraisers and co-ed rides with a theme. It’s easy to spot us because most of us are wearing brown vests with our FWOD patches on the back. People associate and confuse us as being a “bike gang”, which has a negative connotation with it. We are a social bike club that organizes social bike rides and events.”
In October 2011, Veronica competed in her first race ever at the WOB’s Judgment Day Time Trials placing 2nd in the women’s fixed category. In 2012, she competed in teams of three on a 68 mile route from Pittsburg to Sacramento in MASH’s fixed gear only Time Trial Race to the HAHB’s. Her team, Team Beaver, only a few miles from the finish line suffered a loss when Veronica flew off her bike into a pole, which resulted in a broken collarbone and a hefty surgery bill.
“I was off my bike for three months, which feels like forever when you’re told you can’t ride a bike for that long. But once I recovered, I got back on my bike and went to the Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose!”
Entering into this year’s Mission Bay Crit hosted by Crihs Tian, she describes it as “one of the hardest and most intimidating races I have ever experienced,” Veronica placed first. “There were these moments I wanted to give up, but I clenched my teeth and kept pushing and pulling and spinning until I knew it was over. Can’t stop. Never Stop.”
One on one with Veronica Volok:
What influenced you to pursue racing? Why?
It sounds cheesy, but my boyfriend is my biggest influence in racing. He is the one who first suggested that I should try racing, and even though I was hesitant, I took his suggestion and was surprised with the results. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am.
What have been your results this year in “sanctioned” and “unsanctioned” races?
I haven’t done any sanctioned races this year…yet.
I’ve only done two unsanctioned races this year; The Mission Bay Crit, which I placed in women’s 1st; and the Crash Marathon Race, which I placed in women’s 1st fixed.
What do you think about when you train for races?
When I train for races I think about what I did in the previous race and how I can improve. There’s always room for improvement.
What interests do you have outside of cycling?
Dogs! I’m a total nerd for dogs and love taking my dog out on adventures, especially on bike rides. I also really enjoy running. Its a good way for me to let out the stress and anxiety that builds ups.
What is your all-time favorite racing moment to this day?
Winning first placed fixed in the Crash Marathon Race this year. Hands down. Even though it wasn’t made official, I was overwhelmed with so many emotions. I remember walking over to Steve, the president of Chrome Industries, and saying, “I did it…I won…” and he gave me the fattest hug as tears exploded from my eyes. Next thing I knew the Chrome family was shaking bottles of champagne and spraying me down. It was surreal. I was crying, laughing, and shaking at the same time. It felt so good to make so many people proud.
What are you looking forward to this year whether in “sanctioned” races or the “Wolfpack Unified Title Race Series”?
I’m really looking forward to participate at the Hellyer Velodrome races in San Jose this year, but my biggest excitement will be the Wolfpack Unified Title Race Series. It will be my first time racing in those events so we’ll see how it goes! I just want to have fun and see what happens.