Lockdown Q&A with Connie Hayes (AWOL Worx)

More Q&A’s with those in the racing community, this one with Connie Hayes (AWOL Worx) who is a full time student at Queen Mary university and based in East London

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Lockdown Q&A with Connie Hayes (AWOL Worx)

Q: When was your last race?
Connie: My last proper race week was the 3rd, 7th and 8th of March. I raced Les Samyn Dames which was absolutely savage but good fun and then the Milton Keynes Spring series where I came 5th and the Hainault Hilly 30m Time Trial which I won the women’s and also took the course record in.

Q: With racing cancelled what does a training week look like?
Connie: Five or six days of various different turbo sessions set by my coach Mark Dolan to keep the legs functioning and to just have a bit of normality in all the madness that’s going on in the outside world.

Q: Enjoying the turbo or avoiding it like the virus?
Connie: I really enjoy turbo sessions which is good as right now I have made the decision to not go on anymore road rides for a while. I live in London and although the roads are quiet, those who are out, are driving recklessly so I feel it’s better to just stay safe on the turbo as I don’t want to end up in A&E and put any extra pressure on our brilliant NHS staff.  Although it’s tough not knowing when I will get to race again and racing being my escapism from the stresses of normal life since I was a youth, once I get going, I love a turbo session so this is really helping me mentally stay on top of everything.

Q: What are the distractions on the Turbo?
Connie: I just listen to music whilst on the turbo- usually the 1975 or the Wombats. I don’t currently use Zwift – never really seen the appeal of it although my coach, team mates and boyfriend are all on a mission to change this but at time of writing I am refusing to budge!

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Q: What’s the hardest thing about the lockdown?
Connie: That’s a tough one, I really want to say racing. Yes, there is more to life than a bike race but I grew up on the sidelines either watching my dad race or the pros, I then took it up myself so my whole life sort of has been bike related. When I was out for a number of weeks in the autumn of 2018 with a fractured back (my only real race break till now), my sanity was going to watch my mates race at the local ‘cross league.

This time the whole cycling community is on hold. As much as I miss the adrenaline rush, I think it’s more the people at races who I miss. This sport is like one big family really! Away from cycling, it’s also tough because I went into uni one day and then we were told everything was being moved online a matter of hours later and we were one of the first uni’s to announce this so we didn’t have any warning.

A few of my friends are overseas students so I am unlikely to see them till late September at the earliest so it was tough to process although completely the right decision and I am proud to go to a uni that took this decision early for safety of the whole community.

Q: Away from cycling what’s your biggest distraction?
Connie: This is going to sound very nerdy but definitely my uni work. I am studying geography at Queen Mary University of London which is a very demanding course so the lockdown has allowed me to get lots of reading and work done which is helpful.
Once I have finished all my work for this year, I am also going to try and get a head start by doing reading for my modules next year so that I can take some of the pressure off when I am back racing cyclocross in the winter.

Q: Having to ride solo – New or used to it?
Connie: As said above, I am currently not going out on the road but when I did during the week before total lockdown, I dragged my dad out to sit on my wheel – I try and avoid riding solo in normal times at all costs as I am not a fan of being miles from home on my own!

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you have seen since this crisis began?
Connie: Oh that’s easy the queues at supermarkets; it’s utter madness!

Q: At home or still having to work/Uni?
Connie: I am at home but as mentioned above I still have lots of end of semester essays to complete as well as online lectures and readings to do.

Thank you Connie; stay safe, stay healthy!

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