Q & A: Ellie Park (Team 22 WRT)

Q & A with youngster Ellie Park of Team WRT who tells us about her 2016 highlights and aims for 2017

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Q & A: Ellie Park (Team 22 WRT)

Ellie says the best part of being in a team like Team 22 WRT is the sense of belonging and having friends that can push you in training and help you in races.

Photo: GeeBeeImages

1. How did you get into cycle racing?
Ellie: I got into cycle racing (BMX racing) when I was nine years old. My dad used to race when he was young so he brought me to the track one day and I was hooked. Sooner rather than later, I did my first race, and loved it.

2. What’s your favourite discipline in cycling?
Ellie: My favourite discipline in cycling has to be the road. All the different routes and weather conditions are endless. There are always new roads in new places to ride and never gets old.

3. What is the best thing about bike racing?
Ellie: The best part about bike racing for me is that it’s great fun and you get to travel and experience many things people who don’t race may never do in their life time and they certainly won’t experience it in the same way we do.

4. What was the highlight of 2016 for you and why?
Ellie: The highlight of 2016 for me would have to be getting second in the Future Stars Points race at the final round of the Revolution Champions league. Not so much the result, as happy as I was with it, but more the process.

I attacked two laps out from the first sprint and won that and scored low in the rest of the sprints. It was the first time I’d got my confidence back in racing (since I broke my collar bone and elbow in late January) and really believed that I deserved to be back up at the sharp end of the race. So I was really proud of myself for that.

5. What was your favourite/most fun race of 2016?
Ellie: My favourite race of 2016 would have to be the national criterium championships at the Redbridge Cycling Centre. It was the first race where I started to feel back to full fitness and I was able to enjoy racing and embrace the tactics rather than always fighting to stay in the bunch.

6. What was the toughest race of 2016 for you and why?
Ellie: The toughest race for me in 2016 was the Youth Tour Of Scotland. The weather was true to a classic in Belgium and this made the races very hard physically and mentally but it was a really great experience to say I completed the distance.

7. If there was one thing you learned most in 2016 to help you go faster/better, what was that?
Ellie: The most important lesson I learned in 2016 was the importance of specific training and managing my time. This was my first year of balancing training and racing with exams. It was tough to say the least.

8. What is the best piece of equipment (clothing/bike/gadget) to do with racing you are proud of most?
Ellie: My favourite piece is cycling clothing is most definitely cycling shoes! Especially when they are paired with some socks of the correct length and colour. There is nothing better than having a nice set of socks and shoes when your suffering!

9. What is your warm up routine for races – rollers or turbo? Music or no music?
Ellie: Before every race, I will use my rollers. I carry out a slight variation of the standard BC warm up for me. I always have my music to keep me focused and prepare myself for the pain that is about to be endured. Most importantly, I use the music to go through the race and my plans for what I’m going to do and who are my rivals, the pressure points of the routes etc.

10. Will you stay in the UK to prepare for next season during the winter or get in a training camp or two abroad to get in some serious miles?
Ellie: I will mostly stay in the UK for training over the winter but luckily in February, Team 22 are having a training camp in Calpe for a real morale boost. I can’t wait!
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11. When will you start training for 2017 and what comes first – long steady miles or a mix of miles and efforts?
Ellie: I’ve already started my training for 2017. For me it has to be a mix of long miles and efforts. As I am moving up to my first year as a junior, I will really need to step up my mileage but let’s be honest the only way to win a race is to have some sprint for the finish or to get into that race winning break.

12. What are the goals for 2017?
Ellie: The goals for 2017 are to be selected for team Scotland to participate in the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, experience racing abroad as I have never done that before, and gain a place in the GB Junior Academy programme. I’d also like top five results in national level races both on the track and the road.

13. Does winter training consist only of riding the bike or running/swimming/gym work (cross training)
Ellie: Winter training for me includes not only lots of bike riding but also time in the gym and also sometime in other disciplines of cycling when the roads are too icy like mountain bike and cyclocross.

14. Finally, what have you learnt over the years to best deal with the winter months on a bike!
Ellie: Over the years I have learnt that to deal with the winter months you have to keep the training varied and find yourself a regular group to go out with or a friend so that on those days when you’d really rather stay in your bed you know that you would be letting somebody down if you don’t go. Also, I really enjoy going abroad at some point so you don’t go totally insane, only if you can afford it of course!

Good luck to Ellie in 2017!



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