Episode 17 - Peta Stewart

  

  

In this episode, we talk to Peta Stewart, a property conveyancing mentor who sought out experts for eliminating risk and reducing stress for those looking to navigate the next step in the property journey.

She is also a passionate cyclist and has been crowned in 2010 twice national age group champion and national record holder in track cycling. Peta retired from competitive cycling in 2010 after winning many state and regional championships.

In this episode we cover: 

  • Her journey towards cycling and how she moved from mountain to track cycling
  • Where she trained for track cycling
  • Peta’s coaches and how they guided and helped her get improvement and results
  • Why you need a good coach if you want to do cycling professionally
  • How does cycling fit into her life now that she is retired from competing
  • Sponsoring an NRS team, mentoring and networking with women cyclists
  • What Peta loves about cycling now
  • Experience on emceeing work

Links

Transcript:

FELICITY:

Welcome to the All Torque podcast, where each episode we interview an inspiring person to share their story with you. I'm your host, Felicity Dales, managing director of Body Torque.

I have here today, Peta Stewart, a property conveyancing mentor from Albury, who are sought after experts for eliminating risk and reducing stress for those looking to navigate the next step in the property journey. Peta was first a qualified licensed conveyancer at the age of 25. Peta opened her business in Albury and her business style and ambition to modernise conveyancing has seen her widely recognized in a field of E-conveyancing, been graduating with PEXA Property Exchange Australia in 2017. This year, Peta was honoured to be one of only 150 national property professionals to take part in the Inaugural Property X Convention, an exciting event exploring how Australia's largest asset class is being digitally transformed.

Apart from Peta's passion in her vocation, she is also a passionate cyclist and has been crowned in 2010 twice national age group champion and national record holder in track cycling. Peta retired from competitive cycling in 2010 after winning many state and regional championships in road, mountain bike and track cycling. Welcome, Peta.

PETA:

Thank you, and thanks for inviting me to come on board.

FELICITY:

My pleasure. Tell us about your story, Peta. How did cycling come about for you and at what age?

PETA:

I was actually a very late bloomer in cycling, which is quite unusual, but in my mid-20s, my partner at the time was disappearing for hours on end on a mountain bike. It got to a stage where I wanted to stop being lonely at home and find out what all the fuss was about. He bought me a mountain bike for Christmas. It's quite funny because I was horrified because he spent $500. I was so mad. I said, "Why on earth would you spend so much money on a bike?"

FELICITY:

Okay.

PETA:

It's $500. As you know, now, that is just absolutely ridiculous to even think that about $500. I spent the whole first time just about crying, having him push my bike uphill saying, "This is horrible," but that's where it started. Obviously, I stuck with it and I just was riding my mountain bike all the time with a bunch of guys and my partner and did a few races. I was picked up in a talent squad. It was called, Dirt Roads to London, at the time, which was to get some women into the Olympics team.

FELICITY:

Okay.

PETA:

I was in a long team for that. It was very soon discovered that my physical attributes did not help mountain biking at all and that I was much better suited to track cycling, more sprint cycling. I basically swapped over from mountain biking and focused more on track cycling. I actually fell in love with that. I still got all the thrills from mountain biking, but none of the endurance and all the gym stuff and hard work at the track, the real grunt work, really, suited my personality.

FELICITY:

Where did you train for track? Because if you're based in Albury, where did you train?

PETA:

I use to spend a lot of time at DISC in Melbourne. I would do a lot of weekend trips when we weren’t racing, but also, I'm a real country racing girl. Every Wednesday night, I would go to Wagga for the night, they've got a huge club up there and I would race the Wagga circuit. Friday night, I’d race in Wangaratta. We have an outdoor velodrome here in Lavington as well, which I train on and a lot of time down in DISC in Melbourne, it was like a second home down there.

FELICITY:

That's quite a contrast from mountain biking to DISC. Sorry to track, that's actually a huge-

PETA:

Well I think I just had a really good general level of fitness at the time and I honestly think the reason I got picked for the squad is I just would do gnarly stuff. All the testing that we did, the stuff that I was really good at, was pretty much downhill, jumping off things that other girls wouldn't do. I think that had lot to do with it. The mountain biker that I still am today is that I really enjoy the really technical aspect of it. I think it had more to do with that than physical ability, because I'm definitely not an endurance athlete or I wasn't back then.

FELICITY:

Did you break any bones? When you're doing technical stuff with mountain bike, it's usually a bone breaker, isn't it?

PETA:

It is, but I have actually never broken a bone in my entire life. I don't know if that is just luck or if I have strong bones, but I have done some ridiculous things in my life and never broken a bone, even on the mountain bike.

FELICITY:

That’s fantastic.

PETA:

I had a few scares on the mountain bike where I ended up in hospital, but nothing broken. It's interesting.

FELICITY:

To survive all that and not break a bone, that's fantastic.

PETA:

Yeah, it's a little bit of Dutch courage there as well.

FELICITY:

I'm sure. And did you have any coaches in that time, for either discipline?

PETA:

Yes, when I was in the mountain bike, just before it picked up, I was just doing my own thing. I really was just an amateur that's just riding bikes on the weekend and got an e-mail about trying out. Before then, I was just doing my own thing and had no aspirations. And then when I was picked up in the ARIS long squad, it was Darren Buckland, who is now based in Bright, who did a lot of our coaching and then he introduced me to my track cycling coach, which is Paul Parker, who actually still works out of DISC. He's got the cage cycle finesse there at DISC in the back corner, where he does a lot of training. He was my coach for many years.

FELICITY:

Oh lovely. You've had good guidance, obviously. How did that help you from transitioning to, say not having one, to then having one, did you? What results did that help you create?

PETA:

There's no doubt that if you wanna be successful in sport, you need to have very strict guidelines and guidance and have a coach. Doesn't matter how good you are. I mean, I obviously needed it, you need to really have that outside influence that you can just trust, so that you just get out of bed, you know exactly what you gotta do and that you trust that someone else knows the process, and that they have your best interest at heart to what you're gonna be able to do.

My improvement within six months was absolutely ridiculous, because I was just doing what a lot of people do, where you think to get good at cycling you just ride your bike, which is completely the opposite. You don't just go ride your bike, instead of just riding my bike, I went from every single training session had an exact purpose. Even if it just riding a recovery ride, you knew exactly that it was. Especially in track cycling, there's so much that you do that's not on the bike, that's in the gym. 100% if you're serious about cycling, you need to get a coach. It was different, my relationship with Paul, we were very close and we did a lot of one-on-one sessions, which obviously is a lot of investment that a lot of people don't wanna make, but there's a lot of great coaches out there that do really good online programs as well. Even for the weekend warrior who wants to get a little bit faster going uphills come summer, there's really good programs that you can follow that will really help you.

FELICITY:

And also I think it can help, say corporates. Depending if you've got a business, you've got your own business, so you need to be more time-efficient. You can't always go out training for hours. If you need ... I think it's good to a coach to help maximise your productivity and your time, so that you can actually know what you're training for and get the result that you want and also fit that in with your work life.

PETA:

Yeah, I was really lucky that I ... I didn't really own my own business when I was competing, but 100% because you need to ... a lot of coaches will create your training around intervals and things like that, so you're not spending 5 hours on the bike every day, it might be two hours, but it's quality over quantity. Yeah, 100%. The science behind cycling has changed so much that you just can't go by the old-fashioned methods. There's so much with the FPT training and everything like that that people do now. The science behind it keeps developing and if that's not your chosen field, just by tapping into that with the correct type of coach really helps.

And another thing that a coach does is that it makes you accountable. If you have those days "I don't wanna get out of bed. It's too cold. It's too wet." If you have to jump on to your training program and tell your coach that you didn't do it, nine times out of ten, that will make you do it.

FELICITY:

That's right.

PETA:

A little bit of accountability there as well. Doesn't go astray. And I think, also, a lot of athletes are very young when they start and so they really need that guidance. A good coach also isn't just riding a program, but they're talking you through race strategies and mental toughness and things like that, that all people can experience during the racing time, especially for those people that are 17, 18, 19, that are really coming those breakthrough years. That's really tough time emotionally to be able to handle that pressure.

FELICITY:

Absolutely. How does cycling fit in for you now, Peta, after being competitive and then having retired?

PETA:

I’m completely different. It took me a little while to adjust. In my first year of business I thought I can do this, I can still race competitively and I can run a business. And every time I was training I was guilty because I wasn't working, and every time I was working I was guilty because I wasn't training. And I found that my passion for wanting to compete at that level had just gone, because I wanted that passion to go into the business. I was really comfortable with that, but it took - emotionally - a few years for me to adapt that it was okay not to be competitive on the bike.

One of the hardest things that took me a little while to get used to, which now I love, is saying "It's okay to go for a 20k bike ride." Because there was a time in my life where I wouldn't bother putting on my kit if I was gonna go riding for 20ks, you just wouldn't even bother riding if it was only for 20ks. Where now, I love a Saturday afternoon where I can put on some clothes and go riding in the bike paths in the sunshine for 20ks, nothing makes me happier. It took me a little while to accept that change of mindset, but now, for me, cycling is such a life balance between managing the stress in my life and it's just pure enjoyment. I often don't ride with a garmin, on the mountain bike now I often wear baggy short, things have changed.

It's also my social life. A lot of the times, I'm still really busy obviously with time, and my time is our biggest asset and I believe that in business ... it's not like I have more time, but I create my social circles around cycling as well.

It changes from when you're a competitive cyclist to going for a ride and having coffee to now, when you go for a smaller ride and you go for breakfast.

FELICITY:

Well I'm glad there's foods and emphasis there, I think that's really important.

PETA:

Yeah, I know. I very much will ride for food.

FELICITY:

Nothing like that the carrot-danglers that we put out front for ourselves, it's either coffee or food, eh?

PETA:

Yeah, that's it. Coffee or food. But it's definitely been a really good stress-release for me. I actually have come to a point now where my creative thoughts come to me when I'm riding. So my creative side of business, when I'm writing blogs or getting ready for live interviews and things like that, a lot of that process I now put the time aside to do that while I'm thinking on a bike ride and it all starts to flow to me. That's a really interesting concept that I never thought would have happened and that's come in. Not only am I getting exercise, I'm getting less stress, but also I found it's when I become most creative.

FELICITY:

You sponsor the NRS specialised teams. Tell us about that. How do you translate your business and work with that effectively with the team? How do you go about that?

PETA:

When I left the competitive cycling, I still had this passion for it, but I didn't know how to translate it or where to put it, so a few years down the track when I financially could afford it, I wanted to give back to a sport that had given me so much over my life. And that's originally how I decided to get into sponsoring an NRS team. And the team has a lot of core values that are synonymous with myself and my own beliefs, like communication, team spirit, things like that. I just really love supporting something where they need support to be able to achieve their goals. They're all women, like most women in the NRS, that have big career goals both on and off the bike and it's a segway for those that can try and make it to Europe, so they really need that support.

I get a kick out of it, there's no doubt about it. I love being there with them, it's like I get to relive these old pasts of myself without doing any training and being a part of that. Business-wise it’s an interesting concept sponsoring anything in cycling, because as we all see with Tour de France teams and things like that, the return is hard to justify. But if you realise and acknowledge to yourself that your sponsorship in it is more than just a financial reward, looking just for work back, but you're doing it actually for your own livelihood, it's very rewarding. If I put down in figures "Do I get enough work back out of the dollars that I put into the team?" I'll probably break even. But do I get more out of it because I love it and I've got friends and I get to support women in reaching their goals? Hands down, anytime of the day, yeah.

FELICITY:

And do you mentor any of the women in that team?

PETA:

No, I have actually deliberately am quite silent for that reason. It's very well run, it's a very professional team and I never wanted to take on any more responsibility than I could, and for me personally, my love in mentoring is actually now with grassroots. I leave those women to the more professionals as we were talking about before, these coaches that have all this new knowledge. But for me, with mentoring and coaching, I found that I actually get more of a kick out of helping new women get onto a bike, or even helping women get onto a bike, or juniors.

FELICITY:

So encouraging them and guiding them where they need the help?

PETA:

Yeah, up here in Albury, Wodonga, we do a lot of networking, helping women get onto mountain bikes and I get such a kick out of that. And then creating these networking groups where women feel safe to try mountain biking and then next thing you know, we've got these groups where 40 women turn up to a Sunday social ride that hadn't been riding mountain bikes two weeks ago. And that gives them an outlet as well and something just for them.

FELICITY:

Absolutely, that's really inspiring. That's fantastic, and also you've got that comradery and engagement so it's a great community. I think, activity for people to do.

PETA:

I just love it. There's one thing about cycling, no matter how good you are or how good you aren't, it doesn't matter what you do for a job, it doesn't matter what social economic status you come from, you're all there just because you love riding a bike and I just love that simplicity that brings people together to just have that common interest.

FELICITY:

Absolutely, it's a good neutraliser. Doesn't matter what you do or ... you just get out on your bike and feel great.

PETA:

Exactly! Exactly. And I love that. A lot of the people we get are mums that don't get time for themselves or their husbands mountain bike and so they're standing at the races, week in week out, supporting their husbands race and they're not doing anything. This is their outlet to have a go and go, "You know what, this is actually okay, we can do this."

FELICITY:

And it's fun for them to become engaged. It just makes it more personal as well. They're not just a bystander, they're actually getting involved themselves for themselves.

PETA:

And in this day and age, women are probably more conscious sometimes than men about the risks of riding on the road. I find a lot of mums are really happy to take up mountain biking, because it is so safe. They control the risk and that's what I say to them. They control the risk instead of it being cars and things like that. For a mum, it just gives them a little bit more security when you explain to them that they control the risk while mountain biking. That gives them more opportunity to get out and ride.

FELICITY:

Fair enough, too. As long as it's people becoming engaged, any sport’s healthy, so..

PETA:

Well, exactly.

FELICITY:

And getting outside it's good for your mental health and emotional health and it's great for the family as well, that at least the kids get to see their parents are being proactive also. Monkey see, monkey do, really. They're good role models, aren't they?

PETA:

That's a lot of what we have. We have a lot of families that get together and mountain bike which is awesome, absolutely awesome.

FELICITY:

Peta, what do you love about cycling now?

PETA:

I love the freedom. Obviously, I live a pretty high stressful life with my career, which is completely fine, I love that, that's what I chose. But it just gives me freedom, freedom of mind to.. there's just something so relaxing about being in an environment where there's no technology, there's no noise, you're just out in nature and getting that fresh air and just rolling along on the mountain bike trails or a nice rail trail. That just brings me so much clarity and pace, and just for balance. So definitely that, but the friendships. 100% the friendships. Some of the events you go to, you go to a women's ride and you ride with a hundred women and next thing, that's a hundred women that you are friends with. It's not just "Hi!" That person was there, you're actually friends with them. The stories afterwards, have a glass of wine and a chat and just the friendships, the comradery, just the lifestyle that it brings. Absolutely. And of course, the bikes and the clothes, of course.

FELICITY:

Yeah, of course.

PETA:

No matter how slow you get, you still get matchy-matchy. You still gotta be looking on point.

FELICITY:

That's right, still love our bling.

PETA:

Yes. Which is a far cry from my $500 bike that I started with.

FELICITY:

That's right, exactly. How times have changed, hey.

PETA:

Yes, yes.

FELICITY:

You've also done some MCing work and tell us about that and what was your experience with that?

PETA:

Oh yes. That was such an amazing time. It was only a couple years ago. I was so lucky, I was one of the commentators at the National Road Championships for a couple of years in a row and I also did one of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. That actually was really funny how that came about. It just simply came about because of my love of cycling. After I retired, I just basically had this passion and I still knew what everybody was doing and supporting teams and getting in amongst it.

And clearly, I don't mind talking. I was asked to go and commentate at a couple of races and I just loved it. You just couldn't shut me up and the vibe, and the experience. Honestly, it was a couple of the best days that I've ever had. It's not something that I do so much now, because I do more keynote speaking to do with business, but that doesn't take away from my love. And if you ever are at my house when the Tour de France is on, I pretty much talk with the TV like I'm commentating still. It was amazing and to be in Ballarat for that weekend of National Road Championships. If you haven't been there, it is one of the best weekends ever. Honestly, the vibe, it’s just amazing that and the Tour Down Under. I would definitely say, any enthusiasts, your love of cycling will triple if you just go to those events. It doesn't matter how good you are, it just encompasses everything. I love it. Everyone there wants to be there.

FELICITY:

I agree, they're both great events and great atmospheres and I would totally recommend them. I totally agree with you there. That's fantastic. And I can understand how you would enjoy ... you're a vivacious person, so I think you'd be a great MC and entertainer, so I think you would be fun to listen to.

PETA:

Ah, I just couldn't stop. I had to learn to be able to share the microphone with the others, like Matt Keenan and them. And standing next to Matt Keenan, I was a bit dumbfounded, too. I felt a little bit.. I was nervous as like you wouldn't believe. Some of the people that you met, and that are questioned before you go in, you're just a bit like "Whoa." But as soon as I got a microphone and as soon as the race started, all my nerves went. I reckon I had more nerves to start off with than some of those girls on the line.

FELICITY:

Absolutely. Especially because you know them as well, it would be a bit nerve-wracking.

PETA:

Yes! And definitely making sure that my commentating was very unbiased.

FELICITY:

Yes, absolutely, that's right.

PETA:

But that was interesting, too. I love all the girls, I love the sport and you just couldn't shut me up to be honest. The only negative thing, standing on those stages in forty-degree heat in Ballarat, that's not much fun.

FELICITY:

No, that's right. And you're in focus, so you've got, probably lights on and other things happening, so it would be very warm, super warm.

PETA:

I start jumping, I don't know where it started, but sometimes when I'm commentating and exciting, things are happening, I start doing this hop. I don't know how it happened, it's just this thing that I started getting a bit known for, but I start getting this hop going, and I'm jumping up and down when I'm getting excited and I'm calling sprints and you can imagine that's not helping in the heat exactly either.

FELICITY:

No, that's right. That's fantastic, it's been great to hear your story today and I really enjoyed listening to you.

PETA:

Thank you.

FELICITY:

Our listeners can contact Peta on Facebook at Peta Stewart and Insta at Peta Stewart Conveyancing as well. And also, her website is www.petastewart.com.au and also, I think, there's another Facebook which is at Peta Stewart CPC, so Peta is actually very active on social media, we'll have all those details in our show notes. So, if you'd like to refer to those, you'll be able to find her. But I'd like to thank you for joining us here today, Peta. It's been a pleasure to chat with you and I look forward to maybe seeing you MC at an event in the future.

PETA:

Ah, the pressure's on. I think they don't invite me anymore, because I don't shut up. The event's over and I just want to keep going. No.

But thank you! As I said, I love doing anything to promote cycling and that's one of the reasons. I'm always happy to talk to people, because it's an industry that's really hard sometimes, financially, for a lot of businesses, for a lot of riders, and if anything at all, we can help anyway, I'm always happy to pick up the phone for sure. Thanks for having me on board.

FELICITY:

Fantastic, you're welcome! Thanks Peta.

PETA:

And my advice to everyone: Just keep on riding.

FELICITY:

Absolutely, I'm with you on that.

Thanks for listening to the All Torque podcast. We'd love it if you would leave us a rating and review on iTunes. This helps us to deliver content you want to hear about. Please take a moment to share it with your friends and family on Instagram and Facebook. I'm Felicity Dales, see you next episode for another story of inspiration and motivation on the All Torque podcast.

 

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