First off… Do the nerves effect you as much as when you were younger? Say before a big junior race?
Not quite. As a youth and junior pre race nerves were something that I really suffered with, and it often had a negative impact on my performance. I saw a sports psychologist for around 6 months which helped me massively. I still get nerves, which everybody does, but not to the point where it would have a detrimental effect on my performance.
What types of foods do you have to eat before a long stage?
I try and eat well the whole day prior to a stage race. An evening meal would consist of something high in protein and a moderate amount of carbohydrates- usually rice as personally I find it less bloating than pasta. During the race I try and eat as much as possible. In a stage race you’re actually eating for the next day, not the current stage. If you blow in a stage race you will definitely feel it the next day!! I usually stick to OTE flapjacks and gels as my body reacts well to them.
What’s it like racing with/against people from all over the world?
I love that I get to race against women from all over the world. This year I have met so many cool people from all over the world which I think is a really exciting part of being a cyclist. You can definitely tell the difference in riders from country to country, with aggressive Italians and impressively strong Belgians, it makes for exciting racing.
Whats the hardest part of being a pro rider?
Time away from loved ones and home. As a pro rider you spend a lot of time in hotels in foreign countries and not a lot of time in your own bed! Whilst I love the travelling I definitely miss all my friends and family.
Do you do a lot of training together before a race? Together meaning the team you’ll take to the race.
With Drops, we have a team training camp at the start of the year where all the riders get to know each other. Prior to the race we usually arrive the night before, however in some instances we have gone quite a few days earlier. For the Tour of California this year we arrived nearly 1 week before the start. We needed to try and acclimatise to the altitude and practice our team time trial formation as stage 3 was a TTT near Sacramento.
Is it easy to make the correct decisions on the way you want to take your career E.g teams, races ,training…?
Definitely not! In cycling there is now more and more routes that you can take in your career. Deciding on what route you want to take when you step up from Junior can be really difficult. I decided that I wanted to go down the route that I thought I would enjoy the most which was a road based pathway. With coaching, there are so many coaches out there these days that it can be a little overwhelming. For me it was a no brainer to ask Mark at Epic to coach me- the professional yet relaxed atmosphere is perfect for young aspiring athletes.
Who decides when you should race and what races?
Our team DS. At the beginning of the season I had a meeting with my DS Bob where we discussed the races I would like to ride and the races which I am going to target, however saying I want to race doesn’t necessarily mean I will get a ride! It depends on form and how my other teammates are going too.
Understandably there is lots of support but is there lots of communication between yourself and the team in between races?
Yes. There is constant communication throughout the team between staff and riders. Drops has a really good team atmosphere and all riders and staff work really well together. Communication is key especially for ensuring that the correct riders are selected for each race.
Are you living comfortably – being able to buy food and pay for things without a struggle?
Women’s cycling is ever improving however budgets of smaller, development teams do not cover being able to pay riders a living wages. This year I had to work part time in a bike shop at home in order to earn money which was a challenge when combined with trying to train to compete against the best women in the world.
Is it a struggle to find a contract at the end of each year?
I have been lucky for my past to seasons that I have found my team relatively stress free. I signed for DROPS for the 2016 season and was told in August that they wanted to resign me- so no contract stress as of yet!
Do you prefer racing or training?
Racing! Definitely racing. Although I definitely did miss having consistency in training this year when I was on the road from race to race.