Born and raised in Šumava, thirty-seven-year-old Tereza Vlk Huříková has lived most of her life in one of the oldest mountain ranges in Europe. And because her destiny is the bicycle, she was forced to use the trainer quite often in the mountain conditions during the winter season. Twenty years ago, a necessary evil she hated. Ironically, after her career, she started working as a marketing manager for Rouva, an indoor cycling app.


"My opinion about training on the treadmill has changed a lot in my new job," says the ambassador of L'Etape Czech Republic by Tour de France 2024, the largest domestic road race for hobby cyclists. She describes her hatred of training on the treadmill as a teenager, the additional sports during winter training and her current attitude towards indoor training for the cycling season.

Was riding on rollers or a stationary trainer an integral part of your winter training when you were pushing yourself to the cycling pinnacle, or was it all made up for with training camps in the heat?

The cycling part of the winter training took place on the treadmill. I used rollers or a treadmill. But it's hard to explain to all the current users that twenty years ago there were no smart trainers. Riding them was very unnatural. Every minute felt like an hour. It was a necessary evil. A terror I hated.

How much time did you spend on the treadmill in training?

When I was still studying at the sports high school in Vimperk, my training was very much based on versatility. When there was snow, I went cross-country skiing. I went to the gym. And hockey was also a part of my training.

Did a girl majoring in cycling really play hockey with full gear?

Yeah, she was. My brother played as a kid and my dad was the coach at the time. I went to hockey camps regularly. I learned to skate there. So then when we went to the ice rink in high school, it was a better idea than sitting on a trainer. Half the class knew hockey, the other half was useless.

And which group did Tereza Hurik belong to?

I could skate very well. But I never played hockey competitively, so I wasn't very good with the puck. It was the finishing that was the problem. When I had to hit the puck at speed, there was a hitch. That made me sick. But I had a lot of fun... We went twice a week, I was the only girl. If I had to put indoor activity and hockey side by side, I'd choose ice training. At the same time, I can't say it was my favorite way to prepare for cycling.

Was there a lot of emphasis on versatility back then?

Absolutely. Maybe we ran for an hour and a half. I did circuit training at the gym. Often I was so exhausted and my muscles were so tired that I'd climb the stairs backwards at school.

So the treadmill happened once or twice a week at most?

Three times a week during the winter, we didn't go to the heat until spring. After I graduated from high school, I started going to the warmth during the winter and spent more time on the bike, yet I still had to spend three hours on the rollers in case of inclement weather. They were better than the treadmill. The ones back then had only a brake roller at the back and the training was far from the present form of trainers. Rollers were more natural than trainers, you just had to sit still. They were great for training cadence, learning proper pedaling technique, but taken outdoors it was a total flat out.

Getting started on rollers often involved some nasty crashes. Did you handle this unconventional training discipline without any problems?

I learned it at the Zadov training camp. I sat on the bike in the garage on the rollers, my dad holding me under the saddle. I kept making sure he was holding me. But I didn't have the courage to turn around to keep the bike from rocking. Of course, he wasn't steadying me at all anymore, but I didn't know that. I quickly realized that I had to keep pedaling in a circle or I would rock the bike and go down.

Three hours on the rollers, it must have been torture...

Today's smart trainers and indoor cycling apps have taken home training to a whole new dimension. The fact that the trainer can simulate inclines of up to twenty percent is just incredible compared to when I first started on the trainer. And when you add in all sorts of extras like trainer drive plates or a front wheel attachment that can simulate incline, it's pretty close to reality.

Did the trainers change for the better during your career or did the dramatic boom come when you were not part of top cycling?

I still managed to have a cycle trainer at home in the form of a stationary bike. But there was again a problem with a very wide middle, which was uncomfortable and very unnatural.

As a mother of two children, how often do you use the treadmill nowadays?

I try to get on the bike regularly at least once a day. I can sit on the Rouva for two and a half hours. If the route is nice and I have a good day, it goes by quickly. It's the same as out there. There I also sometimes feel like going around the whole of Sumava and other times it doesn't run away at all. But I have to admit that the differences between indoor and outdoor cycling have blurred.

So it's not true that you only use the trainer with the app in bad weather?

I often do so even when the sun is shining outside and the sky is blue. It's easier for me. I pull on my shorts and shoes and can choose within two minutes from a large number of routes that I don't have near the house. Considering that there are thirteen hundred routes in the Rouva environment, one can always choose. If I put the kids to bed during the day, I'll cut a short training session. It's certainly easier than going into the woods in the evening with a headlamp. Whether it's for cycling or running.

Especially at the beginning of spring, when you don't have enough kilometres in your legs to tackle the hills of the Sumava, is the trainer a great alternative to preparing for L'Etape Czech Republic 2024?

Yes. I'm very motivated by various challenges on Rouvy. These are a few selected routes that you have to do in a limited amount of time and you move up in your career. The last time I completed one was with L'Etape by Tour de France. I scored some motivational points, it moved me up in my career within the Rouva. Plus, I guess everyone feels tired sometimes and doesn't quite feel like doing sport. Or maybe he's got his head full of worries from work. There are always plenty of online riders on the virtual route who can motivate me to perform. I can also arrange with a friend from the other side of the country to join and ride the ride with me...

And then the racer's soul awakens in you, adorned with the leotards of a world cross country and time trial champion?

Totally! It's not often that I get on the trainer and just want to ride. But then someone caught up with me. And that's the racer that stays with me. I'm able to let my soul out for the rest of the course, just to feel like I didn't get beaten on the cheap or my opponent didn't get me. This is just completely different cycling on the trainer than I experienced when I was young.

Plus, thanks to all sorts of streaming platforms, you can watch series not black and white shows...

That's not happening. Watching TV would distract me. I have a headphone with music in one ear and I'm maximally focused on the track on the screen. So it often happens, like last summer, that while filming for L'Etape Czech Republic I arrive in places I've never been to, but know intimately from the virtual environment. I'm still thinking about the profile. How to swing the easiest way over the bridge that awaits me. How to spread my strength over a long hill. I'm figuring out cadence. I'm just mentally still training like I'm in a real environment, even though I'm sitting on the trainer.

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