Interview with talented junior Caitlin Peters

RTTC junior women’s Champion of Champions, we chat to a very talented junior, Caitlin Peters who has still to find a team for 2020

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Interview with talented junior Caitlin Peters

It was only a few weeks ago that Caitlin Peters was winning the British Hill Climb championship for Junior Women after a long season of success. The talented young rider who has still to find a team for 2020, has shown how versatile she can be with hill climb wins, time trial victories and wins in road races too. VeloUK quizzed her on the 2019 season …

1. It’s only been two weeks but are you missing the racing yet?
Caitlin: Surprisingly no! This year I’ve done a lot more racing so I was really looking forward to my off season, switching off and just mentally resetting myself. When the middle of winter approaches, no doubt I’ll be missing the racing but for the moment it’s good to have some time to myself with no targets.

2. What were the big highlights for 2019 and why?
Caitlin: Definitely winning the National Hill Climb Championship but also winning the British Best All Rounder and Champion of Champions competitions. The last two were titles I thought were possible to win but depending on how a rider’s season goes, it can be anyone’s game.

I was also really pleased to get a top 10 in the Redditch Tour Series. It was my first ever Tour Series and I had no idea how I was going to go so to get a top 10 was a great surprise! One of my favourite races was the Lincoln GP. This was a really atmospheric race and was brutal! I loved the atmosphere and I was really happy to finish 22nd. I like tough races and that one was definitely a challenge!

The Hill Climb Championship – Photo: Andy Jones

3. Is time trialling your favourite discipline?
Caitlin: I don’t really have a favourite discipline. I love both road racing and time trialling and I find them hard to compare. Road racing requires tactics with changes of pace whereas time trialling is a sustainable effort for a set distance, has an emphasis on keeping aero and is more power orientated. Consequently it can be more strategic so that you don’t “blow up” mid ride. I enjoy both disciplines for these different reasons- they constantly have me on my toes thinking of different ways to improve.

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4. How did you find the Hill Climb Championships – did that type of climb suit you well?
Caitlin: I really enjoyed the hill climb and I hadn’t expected to! I entered it because it was a long climb which I thought would suit me better than a steep, short one. It meant that you have to hold onto the effort for longer and I knew that it would be more of a TT effort, rather than a pure hill climb sprint. I really loved the atmosphere of the championships- people you don’t know stood on the roadside cheering your name. It helps ease the world of pain you are in!

5. Did you do anything to prepare for the Hill Climb championships in training, a specific type of effort in training or just your normal training?
Caitlin: I didn’t change a thing in my training for the championships. I had made it clear I wanted to do it as a bit of end of season fun and keep training as normal. So there was no emphasis on hill training. I think during the week leading up to it, I had done one hill effort and that was that!

6. Did you do anything to your bike for the hill climb championships to make it lighter?
Caitlin: I didn’t ride with deep sections because you’re not going fast enough for them to make a difference. I rode with Vision Metron 30s which are great wheels. I also took both bottle cages off and removed my Garmin and mount. Apart from that everything else on the bike stayed the same.

7. What is your favourite distance in time trials?
Caitlin: I like 10 mile TTs because they are over a lot quicker! It’s just go all out and hold onto it as best as possible. A 25 mile TT hurts a lot! I’ve struggled with my pacing on these a bit over the past few years but I think I’m slightly better at the longer distance TTs. I want to give a 50 mile TT a go in 2020, I just need to find a good course to do my first one on. I’m open to suggestions!

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8. Do you have a favourite type of course – circuit/dual carriage way etc.
Caitlin: Circuit TTs are good fun and give you a true reflection of how fast you are because there’s no traffic to pull you on. They’re a bit more hectic too because there are so many other people on the course at the same time too – it’s a bit like an obstacle course at times! I like dual carriage way courses when you want to get a quick time but obviously there are a lot more variables with these; if it rains it can be dangerous because of spray from cars. Sporting courses are good fun too because they are normally much more challenging. I like to do these earlier on in the season as a bit of fun.

9. What event from 2019 stands out for you – ie, what was a ‘must ride’ event for you?
Caitlin: One of the events I wanted to do the most this year was the Lincoln GP. It’s a race that pretty much every road rider knows about because of the famous Michaelgate climb. I rode an aggressive race there and hope to race it again soon.

10. How often do you like to race during a season?
Caitlin: I like to race local races once or twice a week but I prefer to do the bigger, National events every 2/3 weeks. If you’re not careful you can spend your whole time in the car traveling to and from races. I think there needs to be a balance and also you need a few weekends off every now and then to fit in some quality training sessions. I like to start my racing late March/early April because the last couple of years I have finished racing in October. If I start racing too early, I will burn out by the end of the year, it’s about finding the right balance.

11. Do you race on power or feel or both?
Caitlin: When I road race, I race on feel. Only recently have I started to race with power showing in a TT. I would still say that I ride more on feel for a TT though. For the National Hill Climb, I rode completely on feel. I don’t feel confident enough to ride to a power number so took my Garmin off as I didn’t want to have the distraction of power numbers showing.

12. What have you done to make yourself as aero as you can be on your TT bike – ie, Wind tunnel/bike fit etc
Caitlin: I’ve never been to a wind tunnel, although this is something I would love to do in the future. At the start of the year I had a bike fit done by Backstedt Bike Fit which was really beneficial. I learnt a lot here about my ride style too which was super interesting.

14. As a young rider, how do you ‘learn’ to ride faster in a race – is it just natural progression at going faster or specific efforts in training to be able to ride faster?
Caitlin: I think it’s a mixture of things. Riding with others that are naturally faster than you will definitely help but I also think that the more you race, the more you adapt to the changes in pace, this being a natural progression.

15. Do you train on a TT bike or both a road bike and TT bike?
Caitlin: When out on the road it is normally always on the TT bike. This year I have done more indoor work on the TT bike than normal which has allowed me to focus on keeping an aero position for longer.

17. How many hours a week are you able to dedicate to training and is that indoors or outdoors at this time of year?
Caitlin: I’m really fortunate that my college, Itchen College, are really flexible with me when it comes to training and college work so it’s not too much of a complication. This winter I hope to complete on average at least 14 hours of training a week but I’ll need to discuss this with my coach first. I like to do both indoor and outdoor rides. If you stick to indoor rides all the times you miss out on skills that you gain from road riding, and I’m NOT a fair weather cyclist!

Podium finish for Caitlin (left) in the RTTC 10 Championships behind teammate Elynor Backstedt

20. Does your training in the winter go through phases like just riding the bike to maintain fitness and then structured efforts?
Caitlin: After the off season, I’ll have a bit of time that is just riding for general fitness. It will be unstructured and with no main aims. Then as I get further into winter training, the structured efforts start.

21. When do you expect to start your racing in 2020?
Caitlin: I don’t expect to be racing before March. Anytime before then and I risk doing too much early on in the season. I normally start racing off with a local road race or TT, just to break the winter ice and see how winter training has gone.

22. What are your key goals for 2020 – will you be a senior then or still junior…
Caitlin: I’ll be a senior in 2020, so no more restricted gearing which I’m looking forward to! I want to get properly involved with the HSBC National Women’s Road Race Series as I really enjoyed these races in the 2019 season. If I had the chance to race the Tour De Yorkshire with a team, I would love to do that too! Time trial wise, I want to better my PBs and try a 50 mile TT.

A big thanks to all my sponsors and my team for their help in the 2019 season, especially WindWave and LeCol. I couldn’t have achieved what I have without their support and generosity.

Our thanks to Caitlin for her insight into her goals and ambitions and hope you can find a team worthy of your talent on a bike. 


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