Roz Purcell: 'Being on the bike is such a pleasure'
Rozanna Purcell may be one of the country's top models, but her idea of heaven is far removed from Manolo Blahnik heels and Chanel couture: for this 23-year-old, nothing beats tackling the hills of her native south Tipperary on her prized road bike.
"I love to go out for a 100km or 120km cycle up along the Nyre river and towards Dungarvan," she says. "It's such a beautiful part of Ireland and it's very popular with cyclists because it's very much Sean Kelly country. I knew the roads really well and that makes it all the more special. Being on the bike is such a pleasure."
If Rozanna is preparing for a triathlon, she tends to cycle the route non-stop and in a time of about three hours, 20 minutes. If she's cycling purely for leisure with family members, she will take the opportunity to stop off here and there for refreshments. Rozanna's early interest in cycling was fostered by her father, a keen cyclist, and her willingness to go the extra distance was inspired by a sister who had fallen in love with 'Ironman' competitions.
Together with musician boyfriend Niall "Bressie" Breslin, Rozanna has taken part in several bike races including the notoriously tough Ironman triathlon which was held in Austria earlier this year.
"It was very full-on," she says. "But a lot of the hard work we had put in paid off. I really enjoy the variety of triathlons, but cycling is definitely my favourite part."
Despite a willingness to throw herself and her bike into hill climbs, Rozanna says she is very cautious when it comes to the business of descents: "With my job, I can't afford to fall off the bike and break bones or do something that would have me out of work for months at a time. I have to be careful, so I probably don't take the downhill parts as quickly as I might like. I've been lucky - I haven't had a bad fall yet."
While Rozanna adores cycling in rural Ireland, she says she is not a confident cyclist on the streets of Dublin, her adopted city: "There's so much traffic."
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