Getting to know Euan and Laura

Getting to know Euan and Laura

As part of Bike Week, we caught up with two of our TEAMBrookes athletes, Laura and Euan, to find out a bit more about their background in cycling

Tell us a bit about yourself

Laura - I'm 24 years old, originally from Oxfordshire and I am a final year Physiotherapy student. I also lived in Cardiff for a few years while I did a degree in Biomedical Science.

Euan - I'm Euan, a 19 year old cyclist from Oxford. I have just finished my first year of Architecture BA.

What is your earliest memory of cycling?

Laura - My earliest memory of cycling was learning to ride a bike in our lane without stabilisers for the first time. I can vividly remember dad letting go of the seatpost and me flying down the lane (which had a slight slope to it). I do also remember quite a lot of crashing into the bush at the end and my brother getting stuck on a pothole with his stabilisers either side....

Euan - Learning to ride a two wheeled bike up and down my garden when I was 3.

When did you take up cycling as a competitive sport?

Laura - I didn't take up cycling very seriously until I joined the cycling club at Cardiff University as a way to meet people, keep fit and have an outlet outside of studying. I rode for fun for a few years and then started racing in 2017. I tried some of the university races including BUCS, and just got a bit hooked. Over the summer I came home and got involved in some local racing clubs which provided a really good foundation for getting a bit stronger as well as learning group and racing skills.

Euan - I started riding on the back of a tandem doing club rides when I was 9 and then progressed to racing when I was 10. My first race was at Blenheim Palace festival of cycling in 2012. I trained as a youth and started to compete nationally as an under 14 rider.

What do you like about cycling?

Laura - Cycling has given me so much. It's the people you meet and ride with, the time spent outside seeing some really beautiful countryside (in the summer at least!), knowledge of the local geography and where all the best cafes are... It's a really nice headspace and I find it really helps my mental health. I've cycled a little bit in Oxford as a way to beat the commuting traffic and it's a much nicer way to start your day than being bumper to bumper for hours.

Euan - I can't remember a time where I haven't been around bikes. I've always enjoyed the escape from everything and it's been a time where I can clear my head. Socially I've met some great people and have always had something to talk about every weekend on a club ride.

What are your goals within the sport?

Laura - My goals in the sport are mostly around time trials, criterium, and road races. I'd like to see what I can do in some of the national series time trials and races with Team OnForm this year. If I get the chance I'd love to ride the individual pursuit at track nationals as well, but it depends on getting enough track time which has been difficult with Covid-19. The driven part of me is always asking what more I could do... but the main thing is just really enjoying the sport and progressing as much as I can. There's always the pipe dream of a full time UCI team but for now I'm really enjoying where I'm at.

Euan - 2020 was a challenging year especially as it was my final year as a junior, racing for a national level team with an international calendar. It made me look at the sport in a different way and see where my enthusiasm was. I picked up my cross bike again and hope to compete in the autumn. I also plan to keep up with my time trialling in CTT (Cycling Time Trials) events and look out for opportunities to race on the road as the sport opens up again.

Euan Backus

What advice would you give to someone who might want to take up cycling for fun?

Laura - Taking up cycling for fun- get some comfortable kit, a working bike, and ideally join a club. It's much more enjoyable if you have people to go out with. Getting Strava is also great as you can get some data about your times, distance etc., and if you're feeling a bit competitive you can always aim at the leaderboards! Starting in the summer is also good as the weather tends to be a lot more enjoyable. And make sure you're eating enough!

Euan - Find a good route, Find friends and just ride your bike.

What tips do you have for someone who wants to go from leisure cyclingto competing?

Laura - I would say definitely get involved with your local clubs and race teams. You'll meet a whole range of people with a wealth of knowledge, find training buddies, and have some social support which can make racing a lot more fun. Don't put loads of pressure on yourself but just try and take a learning point away from each race for next time and focus on what you've done well. Everyone gets dropped at first! Coaches can be really helpful, especially if they're relatively local and can see you riding and give you feedback on your races.

Euan - Set yourself regular, achievable goals, find a group to train with (local cycling club is a good place to start with) and look out for events to watch and race at. (British Cycling website is where you'll find local races)