Interview: Junior Womens Hill Climb Champ Alice Cobb


After her recent blog, VeloUK got in touch with the Junior Women’s Hill Climb Champion Alice Cobb with a Q & A  about her cycling obsession

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Alice was previously a competitive runner but due to bad knee injuries, she took up cycling as a form of cross training. Out on a ride one day, she stumbled across the Nottingham Clarion club run and it just escalated from there


How long have you been racing either in bunch races or time trials?
Alice: My first club 10 TT was back in June 2012 and my first open TT race was the National Circuit TT Champs which I entered as it was on local roads. Much to my surprise, I came away with the Junior Girls title! My first bunch race was in April of this year and despite crashing, I really enjoyed the experience. My début season has been a steep learning curve but its been great fun and I can’t wait for next year’s racing!

Have you noticed any changes to the sport of women’s racing in that time?
Alice: Over the last couple of months, I have really noticed an increase in publicity for women’s cycling. With the likes of the Johnson Healthcare Tech series and The Tour of Britain creating a great buzz around the sport, I can only envisage more growth in women’s cycling; the future certainly looks bright!

What was the highlight of 2013 for you?
Alice: I think the highlight for me was the CDNW women’s race in Great Budworth. It was my second ever road race and I managed to get in an early break away which was a great experience. The five up break was successful and I managed to grab a second place in the sprint at the end. The event really inspired me to continue road racing.

Which event has been the best one to do this year?
Alice: In terms of atmosphere, I think the best event was the Milk Race in my home town of Nottingham. Racing against the likes of Dani King and Emma Trott around a circuit lined with spectators was a fantastic experience. The National Hill Climb Champs also deserves a mention. It marked my return from a fractured pelvis I sustained at the beginning of July, so it felt like an important occasion. The organisation of the event was really good and there was great comradeship between riders after completing The Stang in horrendous conditions.

Do you coach yourself or have a coach to help structure your training?
Alice: I have recently got a coach and I started working with him in October. He helps structure my sessions and guides my training schedule. I am really grateful for all his input and I’m excited to see the results next year!

How many hours a week would you train on and off the bike?
Alice: The focus of the training is on high intensity so I only do about 8 hours on the bike. I have also started doing a bit off the bike work conditioning work too.


Is it hard fitting training in with work for University
Alice: I find that it can be quite tough as I have quite a lot of contact hours and work. Being organised helps and so far I have always been able to make the time to train – sometimes that means a few really early starts but I don’t mind.

What is the best thing about racing bikes?
Alice: I just love the buzz you get from road racing; the competitive element mixed with the mental concentration and all that adrenaline – its an unbeatable combination!

And what is the one thing you enjoy least!
Alice: The crashes! Tarmac rash and broken bones …

Are you a very competitive person?
Alice: I am naturally a very competitive person so results are important to me – I would be lying if I said that every time I race I didn’t want to win! But I do also really enjoy the comrade and team spirit elements of cycling.

If you could change one of your weaknesses into a strength, which one would it be?
Alice: Sprinting… I wish I could be a ‘Cav’ in a bunch sprint!

Who chose the bike you race on and if you, why that specific brand and groupset?
Alice: I chose my bike with the help of my local bike shop; its an Orbea Orca Dama with a Shimano 105 groupset. The biggest problem I had was finding a small enough frame and the only suitable brand they stocked was an Orbea. Even though I had done much research into specs and groupsets, ultimately price dictated what I selected!

Is yours a women’s specific model?
Alice: Due to sizing difficulties and my short reach, it’s a women’s specific model with a shorten stem and narrow handle bars.

Being at uni, is it harder to keep to a good diet for racing on?
Alice: I’m quite disciplined with my diet and always try to eat healthily. So far I have been able to maintain this at uni …

What will you be doing training wise during the winter?
Alice: Two longish rides a week and some high intensity turbo sessions. My focus is now very much on quality over quantity and I have learnt that rest is just as important as sessions!

When do you expect to start racing again?
Alice: My first big race next year will probably be a stage race in Malta early in April. Although I may be very tempted to do a couple of winter warm up races in January.

Circuit racing or road racing – which do you prefer?
Alice: Road racing – the harder the course the better too! I love hilly and demanding road races that really put everyone on the limit.

Where is your favourite training ride and why is it the favourite?
Alice: My favourite ride is one around the Vale of Bevoir; its a 60 mile loop on quiet roads in the Nottinghamshire countryside and incorporates some nice hills and great scenery.

What are you most looking forward to in 2014 that involves your bike?
Alice: I’m really looking forward to the stage race in Malta and just racing in general! I will hopefully be getting a TT bike in time for next season too so I can’t wait to race on that!



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