Meet student cyclist extraordinaire and TORQStar of the Month: Apolline
If you’ve been at TORQ recently you may have met Apolline Guillemin, a professional cyclist from France who is currently studying in Hong Kong! Apolline has been training at TORQ and joins us for many of our CYCLE and SWITCH classes when she’s not studying hard or going for a run. We love her inspiring determination and asked her to share her story with the TORQ community:
Please give us a brief background about yourself
I’m Apolline from France and I’m 22. I’m currently studying business in Hong Kong and I love exploring & traveling.
I enrolled myself in many sports from a very young age and I love participating in competitions.
At what age did you encounter cycling?
I was introduced to riding fixed gear bike at the age of 17 by my boyfriend. In the beginning, it was mostly for fun & the adrenaline rush. I started taking it seriously when I was asked to be part of a team. By the age of 20, I started trying my hand on road bikes. By 21, The Mavic brand proposed me to be their road bike ambassador which was a huge turning point. With Mavic, I got to participate in prestigious races and events which was a dream come true.
Why did you fall in love with riding?
Earlier, I disliked riding bikes, but I fell in love with Fixed gear bikes. Fixed gear bikes are quite original and challenging (you don’t have brakes and it is only one speed). When I finished fourth in my first race without any experience, I realised that due to my involvement in sports from a young age, I am naturally quite athletic which works as an advantage for me. Every race, whether big or small gave me the desire to surpass my limits and beat my last record.
Tell us about your upcoming race in June.
I participate in five to eight fixed gear races every year all around Europe. This year I will be organizing as well as participating in a new race called the Fixed Nations Cup created by a friend. Many of my friends and family will be there to support me, so I will give nothing but my best.
Regarding road bike, I will take part in L’Etape du Tour, which is a 140km race with a lot of climb (4600 D+).
I am attending the Le Roc d’Azur, a famous big mountain bike festival. I plan to take part in two races at the festival, a gravel race and a mountain bike race.
What brings you to Hong Kong?
I came to Hong Kong mainly due to my studies and my interest in discovering the Asian side of the world. I wanted a taste of life in a big city which is close to nature and multiple other cultures. I get to discover nearby countries whenever I get a few days break from university.
How is TORQ helping you prepare for the race?
TORQ is the perfect place for me to train for my races. We have indoor cycling, core & high intensity training classes that I can choose from. It is hard to ride bikes in Hong Kong due to traffic & pollution, hence TORQ’s indoor cycling is a great option for me and I do it thrice a week. The instructors here are great mentors who motivate me to push myself.
How are you making full use of your university experience in Hong Kong?
I usually wake up by 8:30am because I do not like to waste my mornings in bed. I have classes everyday and if I don’t then I make sure I study couple of hours, because that is the reason why I am here. I incorporate sports in my daily routine and if I am not at TORQ, you will find me running at the park next to my place. I recently visited Taiwan and Thailand with other students and you learn a lot while traveling together.
Do you feel left out or pressured by peers to enjoy the university life?
Hong Kong has a great night life and many of my friends and classmates go out multiple times in a week. I join them but it’s not really my cup of tea as it does not support my lifestyle. Luckily I have met cyclists who I join to ride around Hong Kong on weekends. I also met some women at TORQ with whom I train. I have my own list of objectives and I prefer spending my time effectively.
How supportive are your parents towards your goals?
My parents are very supportive regarding my studies and my future goals. They always motivate me in my races and encourage me to give my best, but they also remind me that university and education is very important.
What advice would you like to give students who want to start a sport but might be confused or distracted by peers or others opinions?
Never take into account others opinions! Live your own life and make your own choices. We need to understand what we want to do but should not act impulsively, provide yourself with the means to achieve your goals. You can go out and party with your friends, but take into account that a disciplined lifestyle will give you real results.
Lastly what are the goals you want to achieve?
To have a professional career in cycling, you need to start the sport from your childhood, but I got into it quite late.
I shall continue to take part in competitions and develop myself further. But regarding my career, I know I will work in the sports industry. I want to enjoy being close to my family but at the same time keep competing and traveling. Maybe in a few years you will see me managing my own fixed gear team, but regardless, I hope to make a success of my life.
Thank you for riding with us at TORQ, Apolline! Follow Apolline’s cycling journey at @apogllmn.