Q & A: Amy Monkhouse (Bizkaia-Durango)

One of the many team transfers for 2020 is first year senior Amy Monkhouse who will be riding for Spanish UCI team Bizkaia-Durango – we quiz her on 2019 and 2020 … (thnx Amy)

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Q & A: Amy Monkhouse (Bizkaia-Durango)

A new team for you in 2020, tells us about this team which has had a few Brits riding for it of late?
Amy: Bizkaia-Durango has been a team since 2004 and over the years the team has been very successful. They have a very good race calendar for next year and I’m looking forward to racing along side Lauren Dolan (Worlds Bronze medallist, TTT relay) and Lizzie Holden!

Pic @amy_monkhouse (twitter)

What do you hope signing for a UCI team will bring you in 2020?
Amy: I wouldn’t say I’m expecting results from myself, as I am only going to be a first year under 23 next season. So, it will be pretty tough especially with the races that they do. But I am really looking forward to working as a team, developing myself on and off the bike and learning things from the older riders. It will be very different from any racing I have done before so I think this will play a massive part in my development and I am looking forward to the challenges next year will bring.

You are based in Girona? What are the key plus points about living there?
Amy: The advantage of living in Girona for the winter is mainly the weather and riding there. Training in the UK this time of year is never pleasant, so to be over there in such a nice place makes it much more enjoyable. It still gets cold, winter kit is still needed, but not many days of rain and the roads round there are great for training on. Living with three other people, another key point is having to fend for yourself. At home, the dinner is always on the table and things get done without you realising, so doing it all yourself you soon realise how much there is to do! It’s a good experience for when it comes to living in the team house or away from home for a whole season.

What were the positives about riding for Sarah Storey’s team in 2019?
Amy: The support from the team was great! The knowledge and experience Sarah has, was so useful and interesting. When it came to racing, we would always have a talk as a team before hand about tactics and this always helped and everyone knew what they were doing. I am very grateful for the help the team gave me over the year.

You also rode for the GB Academy?
Amy: Yes, I got on the GB academy going into my second year as a junior after a pretty successful season as a first year. I really enjoyed my time on it and won’t forget the year I had with the girls. I had many race opportunities with GB which were all a great experience.

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Was riding for a UCI team a key goal for 2020?
Amy: Yes, this was a big goal of mine, so to get this opportunity from Bizkaia-Durango I am very thankful for.

What role do you expect to play in the team in 2020?
Amy: I expect as a first year senior, to be helping out the more experienced riders wherever I can. I will give 100% to any role I am given within the team.

How nervous are you stepping up a level?
Amy: It will be quite daunting to start with. I have seen a copy of our calendar for next year and there are some very big races. I am quite nervous but so excited at the same time.

What was the highlight of the 2019 season for you?
Amy: This season has been very unlucky for me. I don’t really have any highlights from this year, after a crash at the Healthy Aging Tour in April, my season was pretty much written off. I had a month and a bit off with concussion then suffered with a knee injury for rest of the season until recently, so it wasn’t the season I had hoped for but these things happen :)

What was the most fun/enjoyable race in 2019?
Amy: My favourite race of 2019 was the Gent Wevelgem Nations Cup. No result to call home about from myself but I loved this race and it’s always nice when one of your team mates takes the win.

What was the toughest race in 2019 and why?
Amy: I would say the toughest race was national track champs. I hadn’t done any racing or proper training in a few months since crashing, so this was a bit of a shock to the system. It was also hard mentally when previously I had been up there with the other girls, this time I was struggling to just get round the week of racing so it was very demoralising, but I couldn’t have expected anything else.

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Was there one thing you learned in 2019 that stands out?
Amy: The main thing I learnt in 2019 was to be patient. I had never had a crash where I had to take more than two weeks off or which set me back so much, so I didn’t really know what to do. I rushed back into training too soon which didn’t help anything and just made my recovery process even longer. So yeah, definitely taking time to getting back into training, was a massive thing I learnt this year.

When does the serious training begin this winter?
Amy: The training has already begun. After the bad luck this year, I am more motivated than ever for next year to be a good one.

Is your winter training structured from day to day or a mix of riding the bike for fun and then getting serious with top end work on specific days?
Amy: Working with my coach, Mark Dolan, my training is structured from day to day. I really enjoy his training and think it works well for me. The focus for me at the moment is getting my fitness back up to what it was before I got injured after having quite a long time off the bike. My training involves longer endurance rides but specific efforts as well to work on different things.

Is there an effort in training that you dread having to do?
Amy: Haha, I don’t really dread anything about training. I really enjoy getting out on my bike and doing long rides. Specific efforts on the road or turbo, as painful as they are, are also enjoyable. I find it weirdly satisfying when I have completed a hard turbo session.

When do you expect your 2020 season to begin?
Amy: I expect my 2020 season to start February. As I said before, I have seen the race calendar, the first race the teams doing is early Feb, it looks like it will be a busy season!

Finally, what races in 2020 are ones you really want to work towards being part of.
Amy: The calendar looks very busy and I am not sure at this moment what races I will be riding yet but I would love to work towards doing one of the WWT races. I think that would be a mega experience.

My thanks to Amy for the Q&A … great insight into one of the many great young riders from Britain racing at UCI level… 


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