Marie competes in cyclocross at an international level. She talks to Sundried about life in this competitive sport.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, sport has always been a part of my life. I did many sports when I was younger and was always known as the ‘sporty’ one at school, being part of many different sports teams. My first introduction to competitive sport was at the age of 12 with triathlon. I got a place at the regional triathlon academy and this is when I started to compete at a high level. Since then, I have moved towards cycling and now compete in cyclocross and road both nationally and internationally.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
Like many young children, I went to swimming lessons to learn to swim and then really enjoyed this so I decided to join the local swimming club where I enjoyed training and competing. As I got older, my school put me forward for cross country and athletics races. It was suggested to me that I should try triathlon even though at the time I was not a fan of cycling.
My brother was part of a cycling club at the time and I occasionally went along with him but I was not very into cycling; there were no girls my age and I preferred the warmth of the pool! I put all three elements together and began competing in triathlon.
As I got older, the pressure of exams meant I stopped competing in triathlon as I struggled to manage the expected training load and increase in school work. I fell in love with cycling and I no longer compete in triathlon but swimming and running are still part of my training programme. Running is good training for cyclocross and I love going for swims on my recovery days.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
My first cyclocross international race in Belgium. I literally threw myself in at the deep end and raced one of the hardest courses of the world series calendar and came away with 7th U23. I was racing with people I had only ever seen on TV before. It was pretty surreal and I didn’t fully appreciate how big the race was until I had been there and ridden it.
Have you had any racing disasters/your toughest race to date and why?
The 2018 National Champs were tough! I was taken down in the first 200m and crashed pretty hard into a barrier and lost a lot of time. I got up and carried on and managed to finish 6th before being taken off to hospital. Although I was physically injured, the toughest part was knowing I could have made the podium that year (based on my lap times) and it was a hard pill to swallow when you work towards something for so long and don’t achieve your goals because of something that was out of your control.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Setbacks are part of sport. Understanding and accepting that not everything is going to run smoothly and sometimes it will feel like the elements are against you is important because everyone will encounter setbacks. It is how you manage them that makes the difference. I always try to remember why I started and set myself achievable goals which will allow me to progress. As hard as it can be, it is important to try and focus on yourself and not compare yourself to others too much and don’t try to control the uncontrollable.
What advice do you wish you’d been given before you started competing?
Focus on the here and now and take every day, competition or training session as it comes. Don’t stress over competitions – it’s not the end of the world it’s only a race. But most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy it and have fun.
What are your goals for 2020?
In 2020, I hope to continue to learn and progress in the sport and still be able to compete at the highest level nationally and internationally.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
My favourite things about the Sundried brand are the eco ranges. Making clothes from recycled materials is a great idea and using sustainable materials to create premium activewear is what sets Sundried apart from the many companies who are polluting the environment with low quality and cheap ‘fast fashion’.