TalkingShop: Junior Saskia Hook

A new recruit to the Squadra Donne team (sponsored by ShuttVR) is first year junior Saskia Hook. Those who have seen her race say she is destined to do good things in the sport of cycling and VeloUK spoke to her at a recent team launch .

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This season is going to be a big leap into the unknown for Saskia with races where the distances are longer and the speed higher. So, the young Derbyshire rider has joined a team who will be there to help and guide her along the way. Saskia knows what it’s like to be successful as she has watched as a former teammate, Lucy Garner has gone on to be a World Champion. Like many would be champions, Saskia is hoping to follow in her footsteps.

Saskia is coached by Steve Palmer and asked what she is looking forward to most this year, she says the Tour of Malta. It will be her first international race and she will be doing it with her Shutt Squadra Donne teammates.

In 2011, Saskia rode for Heanor Clarion as a youth rider and at the end of the year came to a cross road in her developing cycling career. Did she stay in the club or join a team? She chose the latter. “I wasn’t sure what was going to be best for me so Steve sent my CV to Jon (Miles) and we started to talk and they asked me to join the team. I thought it would be a good way to get into the women’s series and have a bit more support.”

Saskia admits to enjoying bunch racing on the road and track the most and would like to race bikes professionally in the future. Right now, it’s school work that is the main priority but once that is finished, Saskia is hoping to get more serious with her chosen sport.

Talking about last year, Saskia admits she was nervous about racing the National Circuit Race Series for Youth A girls. “Once I got going though, and started attacking off the front, I gained more confidence that I can do this. I won one of the crits in Wales, Tywyn, and that was my first national series win.”

Saskia finished eleventh in the Youth Circuit series for Youth A Girls and her training is getting ever more serious. At the moment, with school and dark nights rolling in not long after, Saskia says that her week sees her doing a lot of roller work before getting out on the weekend for some chaingang riding with the Derby Mercury. Saskia also has a very intense roller club night on Wednesday which gives her plenty of intervals.

Mixing training and school is not easy but with good grades, Saskia admits she’s just about managing to fit it all in. A rest day on Monday after a lot of training on the weekend helps her catch up with the school work. Saskia explained that her training is very different now. It used to be just riding the bike but now her coach is giving her specific intervals to do and she is also learning to eat right for racing her bike.

Asked what she enjoys about racing, Saskia replied “It’s really good riding in a big bunch and being able to attack off the front, competing with the other riders. It’s good racing with the boys but with the women, it’s more evenly matched and a lot more can happen.” Good luck to Saskia in 2012!

Saskia racing from the front at the Youth Champs last year.

Article brought to you by Shutt VR clothing

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