Rider Profile Series : Clair
This rider profile features Clair, who I first met during a bike fit at Rutland Cycling, where Clair works. At this time I had been cycling for around six months, so it was really good to meet someone with experience and a mutual interest in cycling. We soon got talking, Clair was really encouraging when I mentioned time trialling and she told me about Phoenix Velo, a club ran by herself and husband. I went into the shop with a bike that wasn’t fitting me properly and left with a bike that did, along with plans to ride out with the club the following weekend. I went along and had a great ride. For anyone within the Midlands looking for a club, I would recommend considering Phoenix Velo, especially those new to cycling, wanting to progress or just those wanting to ride with a group. They run regular rides and aim to support their members to achieve their goals, but also work on the policy of ‘no one gets dropped’. I ask Clair a little about her experiences
So how did you get into cycling?
I had been selected for the Great Britain Senior women’s dragon boat racing team but wanted to get into the premier women’s team.( Senior women were over 40), the premier women’s team were the fastest 22 women in the country irrespective of age, most were in their late 20s and a size 10 or 12. I was 44 and a size 18. I couldn’t change my age but could do something about the weight! So whilst on holiday in France I bought a bike from Decathlon (and a car rack to bring it home). I started riding regularly and yes I did get into the premier women’s team and won bronze and silver medals at European championship
You participate in time trials, how did you get into that?
As part of my training I wanted to measure my fitness (I love statistics). There is a local club that does a time trial nearby every week, so off I went. 10 miles – 46 min, I was last but I did it, everyone was welcoming and encouraging so I went back, joined the club and got quicker.
And what happened from there?
I was still paddling but gradually cycling took over! I started coaching children, and leading Breeze rides, and entered events away from the club. My time for a 10 mile TT had settled at around 31 mins. I decided that I wanted to focus on cycling so gave up paddling, and my time dropped to 30 mins.
I knew that to get quicker I needed to train harder, at a higher intensity. So I started to plan my training better – sweating on the turbo, not just a feminine ‘glow’. Last year my goal was to do a 28 min TT. It could have been 28:59 I didn’t care just as long as it started with 28! First race of the season 28:08! And by the end of the season 27:55 boom.
Have you any tips for anyone wanting to get into time trialling?
Give it a go – it’s only 10 miles, view it as a marker of your fitness. The 2nd one will be quicker.
What training do you tend to do over the winter months?
A mixture of long steady miles but some high intensity sessions too. I like Suffer fest turbo videos and many clubs will host group turbo sessions.
What’s your advice for anyone wanting to get quicker?
Get a bike fit, do interval training, allow for recovery after rides ( that’s when you get stronger). If you train hard and fast you will go fast!
You work at Rutland Cycling too, how did you get into working in retail?
I was a health and safety consultant travelling around the country every day to visit clients but got fed up with spending the day in the car to attend meeting were the clients hadn’t changed anything since the last time I visited! The kids (4) had grown up and finished university and so the domestic budget was more flexible. With my husband’s total support I gave up the company car and half my salary to start working in a role that combines my passion for cycling with a love of solving problems and people.
First time trial for me very soon – eek! Have you any tips!?
Check out the course! Make sure you know the way to the start from the HQ. And give yourself plenty of time to get there.
Is there anything you’re currently working towards achieving?
Going faster! Target for this year is 27mins.
Most local clubs are too fast for beginners , but it’s great to ride with others. Group riding teaches you new skills and pushes you to go faster and further, and it’s great to make new friends. I was also fed up with being the only woman competing for a club. So in 2014 we decided to set up a club as an of shoot of my coaching business. They are now totally separate entities. We have over 30 members of very varied abilities and aspirations. Some focus on long distances and regularly attend sportive’ s together, ten women regularly time trial and others are working towards their first 50 mile ride.
For anyone interested in Phoenix Velo cycling club you can visit the Club website – http://www.bc-clubs.co.uk/phoenixvelo/
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