Interview: Anna Christan –Team Scott Contessa Epic


Talking with up and coming Isle of Man champion, Anna Christian who rides for Team Scott Contessa Epic in 2014

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Anna started racing in the world renowned Isle of Man Youth league and then went on to compete in the National Youth National Circuit series and road races when she was 14. Anna says her favourite discipline is road racing, preferring a course with a hilly terrain.


“Being from the Isle of Man, has meant the track has never been easily accessible so I’ve always concentrated on the road. As well as bunch racing on the road, the Isle of Man has a good scene of time-trial leagues which are good to do throughout the season” Anna explains.

Have you noticed any changes to the sport of women’s racing in that time?
Anna: Yes I have. I’ve been racing in the British Women’s series for the past two years since I became a junior, and over that short time, I’ve noticed the step up in racing, teams and the backing for women’s cycling. It’s great to see the British racing scene improving with teams becoming more professional with their set up. I think it makes the racing a lot more competitive and challenging. It’s also really good to see my team (Epic Cycles Scott Contessa) taking another step up for 2014, I’m excited to be part of it.

What has been the highlight of 2013 for you?
Anna: Definitely the junior national road race championships. The hilly course suited me as a rider and I had targeted the race hoping for a good result, so I was really happy to win it. Also, the Junior World road race championships in Italy were an amazing experience and great way to finish the season on a high.

Which race has been the best one to do?
Anna: Other than the Nationals and World Championships, this year, the Ride London GP was one of my favourite races. The crowds and course made a great atmosphere and a really good race to ride with a quality field having some UCI teams riding. I think the Curlew Cup and Ryedale GP are also good, as they’re the same day as the men’s Premier Calendar, so it is good to have the benefit or their race organisation.

Do you coach yourself or have a coach to help structure your training?
Anna: Yes, I’ve had Mike Doyle coach me over these past two years, and he’s helped me to structure my training. I’ve learnt so much about racing and training from his experience.

How many hours a week would you train on and off the bike?
Anna: My training varies a lot, but at the moment it’s around 12 hours a week. So far this winter, I’ve done a bit of gym work, to help with my strength and conditioning.

How much time do you have for training?
Anna: I am still a full time student, studying for my A levels at sixth form, so I have to base my training around school hours and I try to make the most out of my weekend rides!


What is the best thing about racing bikes?
Anna: I’ve always been quite competitive so I’ve always enjoyed racing. Aside from trying to achieve results for myself, I like the fact that it’s a team sport so I get just as much satisfaction if I play a part in helping a team mate get a result.

And what is the one thing you enjoy least!
Anna: Misreading a race and crossing the line with good legs knowing I could have achieved a better result. Apart from that I’m not a big fan of crashing!

If you could change one of your weaknesses into a strength, which one would it be?
Anna: I would like to improve my sprinting. So many of the women’s races this year have finished in bunch sprints, so it’s definitely a disadvantage for me. I think my confidence in getting involved in the finishing bunch sprints also lets me down.

What type of bike you do ride and what type of groupset wheels does it have?
Anna: The past two seasons I’ve riden a Scott Contessa Foil with Shimano Dura Ace Groupset and Reynolds wheels.

Are you ‘geeky’ when it comes to the equipment on the bike?
Anna: No, not at all! I just spin the pedals. I’m more about how it looks than how it works!

What will you doing training wise during the winter – as little as possible or a structured programme based on getting success in 2014?
Anna: Throughout the winter I’ll have a structured training plan, usually set each month by my coach. I am hoping to step it up a level going into the senior category for 2014 with a big aim to ride the Commonwealth Games for the Isle of Man.

Do you see 2014 being a big year for Women’s racing with a UCI Stage race bringing pro teams here?
Anna: Yes, I definitely think it will. Having these bigger events, such as ‘The Womens Tour’, coming to the UK can only be good for the domestic scene here in Britain.

What is the one thing outside of pedalling the bike that you feel you need to learn to be a better bike rider.
Anna: I need to learn how to read a race better, and how to pace my efforts throughout the race. Knowing when to put the effort and when not to, so I don’t cross the line feeling I missed out on a better result – Although I guess this comes with race experience, so I can only improve on it in time.

What do you enjoy doing when not riding the bike?
Anna: When I’m not on the bike, I’m usually chilling or going out with my friends. I’ve always enjoyed baking and I love a birthday so I have an excuse to bake something!

Do you try and get away from the weather here and go abroad for a winter training camp? If so, where do you like to go most, for how long and how often during the winter?
Anna: I have never trained anywhere else but the Isle of Man, although it’s not a bad place to train! However, I had a pre-worlds training camp in the hills around Rochdale area for a few days, which was quite like the Isle of Man. Early next year the team is having a warm weather camp in Majorca so I am looking forward to that – hopefully the weather will be good!

Are you a very competitive person or do just enjoy racing and don’t feel pressure to win?
Anna: I’m not competitive with everything in life but I am when it comes to cycling. I put a lot of time and effort into my training and preparation, so I feel I would be wasting my time if I wasn’t competitive and didn’t try and get a result.

When do you expect to start racing in 2014?
Anna: The British women’s road racing usually starts around late march. Although the Manx road race series usually starts earlier, so they’re good to see how I’m going.

Finally, do you have a favourite training ride, and if so, where is it (short description)
Anna:I don’t have a particular favourite training route so would have to say any ride on the Isle of Man; It’s good for the climbs as well as the flat lanes. You don’t have to go far before you feel your miles from anywhere on really quiet roads.


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