The 26-year-old rider picked up cycling because her 6-mile trip to work took her a ridiculous hour and a half by train. She soon fell in love with it and her friends encouraged her to take it one step further.
“It was pretty quick. I did two races before the stage race – Ras Na mBam. But the two races I did were really far apart. They became my goals for the year – I didn’t realise it was the kind of thing that happened every week! I signed up for those and trained for them a bit like people do for a marathon or something. Once it was over I was like ‘ohh no more racing for a while!’ I didn’t realise people raced most weekends!” said Kelly in an interview for totalwomenscycling.com.
Her performance was so impressive though, she soon found herself on a development squad for a UCI team and is going to go pro next season. So how did her training change you ask? Not as much as you’d think.
“It’s more of the same! But what I have put thought into is the structure of my training. For example, I do the majority of my workouts on a turbo, doing spin classes from Youtube or The Sufferfest on my laptop, as it’s easier to fit in shorter, higher quality sessions, while managing a busy work and social life,” says Kelly who, living in the heart of Birmingham, has to do 7 miles just to get out of town.
“I used to do short, high tempo workouts, or go running if time was tight during the working day, or, on rare occasions I’d even miss the session out altogether. Now I have a team and maintain regular goals. I started getting up earlier, I guess I’ve got better at making time! The same turbo/gym/run workouts I used to do just for fun are balanced across the week regardless of my work schedule – this way, I’m already doing things I know my body can tolerate, so I don’t get too tired. But the structure has inadvertently meant my overall workload is now higher and higher quality than what it would have been.”
Competing at the top level of our beloved sport, every small detail can can win or cost you the race, so proper nutrition is considered to be necessary amongst cyclists. But what is it exactly? What is RIGHT nutrition? And does it mean alcohol is absolutely off-limits?
“I still indulge every now and again, except I’m more of a sensible Mediterranean-esque drinker, one or two glasses of wine or beer one or two times a week. My various group rides leave at 7.12/7.30/8.30am on a Saturday and Sunday so 3AM beers are out of the question. All in all, I think most people overthink diet and obsess about eating too much of some obvious things like refined carbs and fats and not enough about what they’re not eating, fruit and veg and so on. If I’m a stickler for anything, it’s making sure there’s enough colour in my meals.”
We definitely shouldn’t leave out the fact, that while being a pro rider would definitely be enough for us, Kelly managed to stay in school and is getting her PhD in neuroscience.
“I’m lucky because my working hours are reasonably flexible, it doesn’t really matter when I get my work done as long as I do. However, since my workload is very high, it also means that I work… A LOT, it’s just that I govern when I can take time to workout. It’s a selfish lifestyle really, I only have myself to take care of so I know I’m lucky to be able to balance things this way. I study Neuroscience and I use brain imaging techniques to look at language networks, so the only time my hands are truly tied to the lab is if I have participants to study. It’s ideal really, I can put my legs up under my desk and combine work with my recovery!”
What an amazingly positive approach, right? Good luck, Kelly. We hope to see you winning the big ones!