We were sorry to hear about your cycling accident earlier this year. How did it happen and how is the rehab going?
On the 9th January I had a severe crash at the Rotterdam 6-Day Race in Holland. I can’t remember what happened during the crash, but from what I have been told, myself and Elis Ligtlee (a Dutch rider) locked arms, and then both collided into the fence.
The first obvious injury was a large degloving cut to my right flank which went as deep as my spine exposing my vertebrae. It can definitely be described as looking like a shark bite!
To my neck I suffered a fracture to C3, and a C5/C6 prolapsed disc. My pelvis had also been fractured and dislocated. However, it was my back that took the worst hit. I had multiple fractures of the transverse processes from L1-L5, L4/L5 spinous process fractures as well as a L5-S1 dislocation. So it wasn’t looking very good to say the least!
My rehab process over the last 8 months has actually gone suprisingly quick. My pelvis bone graft is yet to be fully healed, but I can still do some light exercise. Core and glute work form a big part of my rehab programme, and I will hopefully be training back at the Velodrome in the next couple of months!
How did you first get into cycling?
In 2009 I was picked up through UK Sports Talent ID Programme Girls 4 Gold. This programme was a female talent recruitment setup to find powerful athletes. I was lucky enough to make it through the full process and gained a place on the GB Junior Team.
By 2010 I was competing at a National, European and World level. I quickly made my way through the ranks, and by 2013 I made my first GB Senior debut at the World Championships in Minsk. It was here myself and Becky James won a bronze medal.
What does an average week of training consist of?
An average week would consist of 3 gym sessions, 3 track sessions, and a handful of road rides and lab sessions, depending on the season we are in. The gym sessions work heavily to improve strength, which in turn will aid us to produce more watts on the track. The road rides serve a purpose of both light recovery and aerobic fitness, whilst the lab sessions allow us to look at specific technical aspects.
What motivates you to keep training?
The thought of crossing the finish line and becoming Olympic or World Champion is always in the back of my mind, and definitely helps with those last few reps in the gym! Also I just love the feeling of bettering myself. Lifting a heavier weight in the gym, or technically nailing a gate start – the little things along the way also give me a great buzz.
What other types of training do you do?
Besides riding on the track and the road we do a lot of gym training. Predominantly this consists of weights, in particular the compound movements of squat, deadlift and leg press. I also do some pilates outside of the velodrome to help improve my core strength even further.
What are your goals over the next few years?
I don’t have any short term goals at the moment, as I’m not really sure of the time scale required to get me back to full fitness. However, I am hoping to be fit for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, and then after that Tokyo 2020.
What would be your advice to a young, aspiring cyclist dreaming of eventually competing for GB Cycling?
Enjoy every moment! You should love riding your bike be it just on your own, or with a group. Also remember it does take time to do well at something, so be patient, train hard, and keep focused. The sky has no limit!
Which sportswear label do you wear to train in at the moment?
I train in a mixture of adidas and Sweaty Betty sportswear, but I definitely have a favorite outfit. The sports bra has to be the adidas Tech-fit crop top, which comes in hundreds of different colours, of which I think I nearly have all of!
For the top and leggings, it’s Sweaty Betty’s Zero Gravity Run Leggings with matching kick run vest in an amazing glacier marble print. Both are bang on trend and are perfect for all types of gym training.
The trainers I am nearly always wearing are definitely my adidas Element Refine running shoes. They are perfect for my gym warm up which involves a lot of dynamics and jumps.
Which sportswear label do you wear to cycle in at the moment?
I wear adidas cycling kit provided by the GB Team. The kit is affordable and comfortable!
Do you wear sportswear outside of the gym / cycling?
I love wearing sportswear around the house, and even out and about! There’s nothing better than wearing a comfy sports bra on my days off. My Sweaty Betty gym leggings are great too, and are ultra comfy, perfect for trips to the supermarket or even a quick coffee with friends. I pair them with UGGS in the winter or some birkenstocks in the summer – they work whatever the weather!