Q & A: Olivia Bentley (Team Brother UK – LDN)

Quiz time with Olivia Bentley who starts her fifth season in 2020 in a new team, Team Brother UK/LDN and is looking forward to two of th toughest British races, Ryedale GP and Tour of the Res

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Q & A: Olivia Bentley (Team Brother UK – LDN)

Racing for Team Vision Innovative Leisure in 2019, a new recruit to the Team Brother UK-LDN team is Olivia Bentley who will be embarking on her fifth season in 2020.

Olivia (pictured above racing Ryedale in 2019) explained how she got into cycling by saying “I didn’t really come from a competitive sporting background but just enjoyed riding my bike and eventually joined Twickenham CC. The club was really friendly and Lisa and Mac encouraged me to give racing a go. Mac used to run sessions for the women in the club to work on racing skills: cornering, group riding, team time trial etc., which were invaluable to gain the confidence needed. So I tried my first road race at the Dave Peck Memorial in 2016. It didn’t go so well as I wasn’t very fit but I was immediately hooked and determined to improve. Very sadly Mac passed away unexpectedly before Christmas, so next season will be in his memory.”

– Highlights of your season 2019?
Olivia: That would be getting my first top 15 (12th) at a national series race at Ryedale GP and finishing 7th on the Queen stage at the Ras na mBan at the end of a long climb.

– What was the best organised/fun race you did in 2019?
Olivia: I raced the Ras na mBan in Ireland for the first time in September. It was great fun, really friendly and very well organised. It was really nice seeing school children out along the routes cheering and the stages had a bit of everything I like, mountain top finishes, good hills and a town centre crit.

– What was the toughest race you did in 2019
Olivia: It’s a tie between Tour of the Reservoir and my first UCI race (GP Isbergues). At the Tour of the Res (two day), it was mostly due to mechanical problems, which meant I raced most of the first day on my carbon rim. A horrible sound and not particularly quick either! It was a target race as well, which made it tough mentally. Whereas in France, it was about it being a different style of racing and dealing with crosswinds and echelons for the first time. But I’m sure I’ve learnt a lot from the experience.”

– What’s your favourite London circuit for racing on?
Olivia: It’s got to be Hog hill as there’s a good hill and some nice corners! The team also runs a great series of races there too (planned to start on 21st March this year), including skill sessions put on by our team manager for newer racers. This is really fantastic especially for riders from clubs with less support for racing. Having said that, I’ve never raced Crystal Palace but it looks like a lot of fun too!

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– Was there one thing you learned in 2019 that stands out that you feel will help you in 2020?
Olivia: That would be how to deal with a race not going the way I wanted. I’ve been working on not dwelling on the negatives as much and taking in the positives like: what did I improve on, which of my aims for the race did I succeed in, etc. Even in the worst race, there’s usually something in there. That lets me keep my head in a good place so I can focus on training and preparation for the next race.

– Your bike for 2020 – what will it be and how will it be set up (groupset/wheels etc)
Olivia: I’m racing on my Liv Envie again next season set up with a mechanical Ultegra groupset and Fast Forward F4R carbon tubs.

– What races are you looking forward to most in 2020?
Olivia: I’m really looking forward to the Ryedale GP and Tour of the Res. Ian has also got something big and mountainous lined up for us abroad, which I’m equal parts excited and nervous about; it will be an amazing experience! I’m also really keen to race the Tour Series as I love a town centre race but haven’t had a chance to race these before.

– Where’s your favourite training ride?
Olivia: A nice long loop of the Chilterns with a few hills, some efforts and a good buddy for company.

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– Best things about being part of your team?
Olivia: It’s a really friendly group of strong riders that I’ve enjoyed racing against so far and now I’m really looking forward to working with them next season. I stayed with the team at Lincoln and Tour of the Res last year and it’s obvious they are a great bunch with some really lovely helpers. Ian has a clearly evident passion for racing and is genuinely interested in getting the best out of his riders and helping them progress further in the sport. The team has been working really hard to give us an exciting and challenging calendar to help us all achieve the most we can and progress, which is really great!

– When did you start your training for the 2020 season
Olivia: I finished my 2019 season quite late after the hill climbs finished. So after that I had a few weeks off proper training, did a bit of running for a change and started up again at the end of November.

– Is your training endurance based (hours on the bike) or effort (interval) based with fewer hours?
Olivia: I keep my training time efficient by using effort based sessions as I have a full time job. I still do some endurance sessions, but most rides have some form of efforts. My coach, Mark Dolan at Epic Coaching sets them for me and they’ve really helped me improve. When you are time squeezed it’s great to trust the content of a session and just worry about executing it well.

– Any warm weather training planned – if so, where’s your favourite destination to escape the British weather?
Olivia: I’m heading to Calpe at the end of February with the team on our training camp for a week. I’ve been to a couple of places for winter training but Calpe is definitely my favourite. The weather is usually pretty decent, the roads are smooth and there’s a good variety of terrain for different efforts.

– Finally, When do you expect to start racing in 2020
Olivia: I’m planning to start the season off at the end of March at Capernwray although I might enter a local race before then.

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