Rebecca is a cyclist who went from enjoying summer cycle tour holidays with her dad to becoming a competitive cyclocross racer. She talks to Sundried about the highs and lows of cycling.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, I have always been into sport. For as long as I remember, I have been cycling with my father and brother. It started off as casual cycling with no racing. We were in a cycling club called Pontefract Cycling Club for quite a few years; we did so much with them, from casual Sunday rides to touring around Holland and Belgium all together.
We carried on this tradition even after leaving that club. Now, every year me and my father go on a cycling holiday touring around Belgium for two weeks each summer. Then as I got older, I started racing. I have never been at a professional level of cycling, however I have tried every single type of cycling and enjoy what I do. I hope to get fitter this year and do better in the winter cyclocross season 2020.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race to date was a cyclocross race that I did in October 2018, this was a special Yorkshire points race that was held at the Great Yorkshire show ground in Harrogate. This was my favourite race because the atmosphere was so different to a normal Yorkshire points race on a Sunday. There were shops in a warehouse and it was incredible to look around before racing. The course was huge, it covered quite a bit of land and the best bit was that the mud came out to play! It was so muddy and to spend this time with my good friends was great. It rained during my race, however it made it good fun as it was slippery and muddy.
And your proudest achievement?
I have so many! Some of my proudest are being my club hill climb champion for the women twice (Knottingley Velo). It has also been taking part in as many things as possible such as having new experiences such as going to the velodrome, going BMX-ing at Manchester etc.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
My toughest race yet and my most proud to complete is definitely the 3 peaks cyclocross race, I took part in this in September 2019. To be honest, I did not do any ‘proper’ training for this, I did train for it but I went into doing this race knowing I was not at my full potential.
Nevertheless, I am so proud of myself for completing it, as it was my first ‘big’ race like this I did not even think I would be able to finish it. However, I did finish and I was ‘the last finisher’ too! That bit did not bother me at all just because I did it! I finished the 3 peaks cyclocross. During this race I had a race disaster, this was that on the last peak which was Pen-y-ghent, I unfortunately punctured going downhill, I had to then run to the nearest marshall to help me as I was full of cramp and I was cold. This cost me and my father the ‘father and daughter award’. I will be back to do it again hopefully.
How do you overcome setbacks?
During cycling, a person does have setbacks, I had quite a few during winter cyclocross last year, these setbacks can be anything from injuries to mindset. I wasn’t too well and was full of cold for a lot of the season, however the reason I did not complete the full series was because of my motivation.
I overcome setbacks by thinking about why I am doing what I am doing and why I fell in love with cycling to start with. I just remind myself my love for cycling and that it is not always about the competitive side, it is also about making memories, meeting new people and enjoying riding a bike.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
I wish I was given the advice to keep up my fitness more, that it isn’t all about winning and I wish I had been told not to push myself too hard that I will fall out of love with the sport. Mainly - 'To not take it too seriously!’
What are your goals for 2020?
My plans for 2020 are to get fit but not push myself too hard; to find a love for sport that I have not found before. My main goals are that I want to go back to where it started and take part in grass track racing, summer cyclocross, in order for me to get fit for the winter season so that I can hopefully start placing or having visible results.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I take my inspiration from many people, an obvious one is from the professionals, some GB athletes I looked up to when I was growing up were Chris Hoy, Lizzie Armistead also known as Lizzie Deign, Victoria Pendleton etc. I now look up to people such as Mathieu Vanderpoel and Ceylin Carmen, the two world champion cyclocross riders. Another person who I have known growing up and who is now very well known is Tom Pidcock, he has worked his way up to elite level and has raced with some of the best riders in the world.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I like everything about Sundried, I love it all. I could not pick a favourite piece of kit because it all looks amazing, some items that have caught my eye are the padded coat and the women's cycling and running kit.