Q&A: Connie Hayes (Liv/AWOL)

Question time with a winner already in 2019, Connie Hayes of Liv/AWOL who won a race at Redbridge Cycle Centre in NE London last weekend

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Q&A: Connie Hayes (Liv/AWOL)

Connie, who rode for Liv/AWOL in 2018 and was a 2nd category first year Under 23 rider tells us because her father raced for years, she has been surrounded by the sport her whole life.

“I hated it and getting 10 year old me to ride my Islabike was a struggle” Connie admits. She adds though “however, when I was in year 6 at primary school, we had to do cycling road safety and as with anything involving 11 year olds, there was the unplanned element of competition which came in the form of sprints across the school playground. I enjoyed beating the boys so I decided I wanted to take it up properly so joined LVYCC and I suppose the rest is history”. Here’s the Q&A with Connie

VeloUK: Full time rider, student or working?
Connie: I am in my final year of school so balancing racing and my A levels. Luckily, my school are supportive and helpful when it comes to making it all work.

VeloUK: Best result for you in 2018?
Connie: My best result of 2018 is a hard one. On paper, my 5th at the Cyclopark Team Series round was probably my best as it was such a hard race, especially as I spent an hour in a break on junior gears. However, personally, I think 17th on GC at the European Junior Tour of Assen was my best result as it turns out I fractured a vertebrae in my spine on stage 3 so to be at the front end with some of the best riders in European was impressive especially given the circumstances.

VeloUK: 5. Best organised/fun race you did in 2018?
Connie: The best organised race of 2018 for me was defiantly the Omloop Van Borselle UCI nations cup round. The road closure and convoy were amazing especially due to the large amount of crashes that occurred that weekend. In the UK, it would have to be the Otley GP as every year it is so well organised and professional whilst keeping the iconic UK nocturne feel.

VeloUK: Toughest race of 2018?
Connie: Toughest race for me had to be the Watersly Ladies challenge as it was such a high standard race on such hard courses. Credit to the race though that it was one of my favourite races of the year and I am anything but a climber!

VeloUK: Funniest moment in a race in 2018?
Connie: The funniest moment in a race had to be the elite crit champs at Stockton. I decided to go hard and try and blow the race apart from the gun which I did do quite successfully whilst getting some nice TV time for a few laps as the race was live on Eurosport. However, I was a tad too hyped up so once I got myself comfortably in the lead group, I managed to crash out at about the half way mark which was kind of ironic. I did not find it funny at the time but looking back it’s the sort of story that would only happen to me.
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VeloUK: Do you train alone or have others to help you get through the ride?
Connie: I mostly train on my own as a large proportion of my training is turbo based.

VeloUK: In the winter, training on the road or indoors?
Connie: Living quite centrally in London, riding on the road is far from pleasant so I spend most my time on my turbo. Trying to fit road rides in is quite difficult as I hate getting in and out of London due to all the cars. However, I do try and get weekends away in other parts of the country in order to get pleasant long rides in.

VeloUK: How many hours on the bike can you fit in during an average winter training week?
Connie: My training hours really vary especially as I try to race cyclocross during the winter. I suppose on average I do 8-10 hours a week.

VeloUK: Is there any off the bike training (running/swimming/gym etc)?
Connie: I go the gym once a week at school and I do the odd bit of running training during the cyclocross season.

VeloUK: Do you train with any gadgets (Heart rate/power) or just go on ‘feel’ of the ride?
Connie: I train with heart rate and power; when I remember to put batteries in my power pedals that is!

VeloUK: Are you eager to race again or happy to wait for the first to come along in 2019?
Connie: As much as I am enjoying falling off my cross bike whilst trying to race it, I am very eager to race on the road again.

VeloUK: Are you doing anything different in training this winter than last one?
Connie: Training wise, I have been doing pretty much the same as I was last year, however I had to have over a month off the bike in September/October due to having to let the fracture in my spine heal and that was the first time in six years I had been off my bike completely for more than a week. As much as I hated it at the time, I think its done me a lot of good as its allowed me to re-set myself both physically and mentally.
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VeloUK: Which races are you looking forward to most in 2019
Connie: I am defiantly looking forward to racing some UCI women’s races in Holland and Belgium. It’s going to be a big step up but I can’t wait.

VeloUK: Favourite pre race meal?
Connie: When racing abroad in Holland, its defiantly Dutch breakfast Pancakes. This probably goes against every pre-race meal guideline there is but when you’re really nervous, they’re nice to eat!

VeloUK: Favourite race drink?
Connie: A bottle of water with OSMO women’s specific mango flavoured drink.

VeloUK: Best one thing you learned about racing in 2018?
Connie: I suppose learning how to move about large bunches on the continent. You don’t have to deal with that sort of racing in the UK so it was a big learning curve as the style of racing is very different as its much more full on and ‘pushy’.

VeloUK: Favourite professional to watch on tele (male or female) and favourite race(s) you like to watch and inspire you?
Connie: Paris Roubaix without a doubt is my favourite road race to watch. I adore racing on cobbles and I am hopeful that they do a women’s version in the coming years as I would love to race it.

VeloUK: Your bike for 2019 will be what and what’s the best thing about it?
Connie: For 2019, I am riding my team bike which is a XS 2018 edition LIV Envie Advanced Pro which I utterly love. The best features have to be both the aero brakes which I find really effective and the Di2 as I have small hands and it makes gear changes and breaking a lot easier.

Good luck to Connie in 2019 …. may the wins continue to come your way …. 


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