NEW! Lockdown Q&A with Neah Evans

Commonwealth Games, Worlds and European championship medallist/champion Neah Evans from Scotland is the next star to take the lockdown quiz …

NEW! Lockdown Q&A with Neah Evans

Q: Where are you based during lockdown and is that your long-time home?
Neah: I’m in sunny Aberdeenshire at my parent’s house. I was up for a short visit after the track worlds and then lockdown happened. They have a small holding, so we’ve got space to walk and plenty of animals, so it’s been ideal, although having said that, I have serious regrets about not bringing up my coffee machine.

Q: What was the last race you did – the World track champs?
Neah: I was due to do Manchester 6-Day but on the morning of the race, we were told it was getting cancelled because of fears around the virus. I didn’t have much racing planned after this, so haven’t been as affected as many others. The next six months were all about the final run in to Tokyo so I had very little in the way of road races.

Q: What was the highlight ‘ride’ wise that the World champs?
Neah: I was fairly pleased with my rides in the Team Pursuit. I was starting from man 2 (rider 2/person 2/position 2 depending on how you view the world ;-) ), which is not my favourite position but I still managed to do a good job for the team. I wouldn’t say they were perfect rides but considering where we are in the Olympic cycle, we were all reasonably content. Well, as happy as you can be with a silver medal.

Q: How would you rate how tough the Madison is compared to any other race you do?
Neah: It wasn’t one of my finest races for sure. Madison’s are always a bit hectic and this was no exception. The pace was on and it was a fast race as the conditions were good, coupled with some strong teams, the race was just on. It’s hard to describe but it didn’t “click” for us and we just never manged to get in control of the race. Ending the race with my arse gaff taped up sums up how the race went.

Neah in Australia after winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games

Q: Was the Olympics the big goal for 2020 and if so, is it disappointing to have it postponed or good to work on raising the bar even more?
Neah: It was and is the only goal. The whole British Cycling ecosystem evolves around the Olympics so while it’s nice to do races like the CTT and National time trials, from a sporting context nothing can compare to the Olympics!

I think the delay benefits me quite a lot. For me, I’m on an upward trajectory (I hope). I’m still fairly newish to Team Pursuit as I was never on any British Cycling development programs and when I was invited onto the squad in 2017, that was the first time I was exposed to team pursuiting so it’s taken me a while to play catch up on girls who have been doing it for the best part of 10 years. Every track session I’m exposed to is a huge learning opportunity for me and this delay gives me even more time to prepare and improve. So, while I have empathy with people who are devastated by the delay, I’m not that upset.

Q. What is your career highlight so far?
Neah: Good question, what I remember as a good race doesn’t always marry up with a good result. Results wise, retaining the European Team Pursuit title last season was ace and at that stage, a very good time. Individually, commies (Commonwealth Games) were special. It was my first major championships and to come home with medals was fantastic.

Neah racing the track with Team GB in the Team Pursuit

Not strictly a result but getting on the British Cycling program was a major achievement. I don’t know of anyone else in recent years, who has never been part of a British cycling program (Talent ID program etc) and has got straight onto the podium program. So, in terms of big career moments, that underpins so much of what I have now gone on to achieve.

Q: How difficult is it to keep the pedals turning after all racing has been postponed?
Neah: I didn’t have much racing planned so a big training block was on the cards anyway. I was due to have a lot of camps, which I am sad to miss out on (they’re wonderful tanning opportunities LOL). I guess being at home has acted as a good mental change so that’s helped boost my morale. I have always been motivated to train as I enjoy being active and doing stuff, which is a blessing when there are no short-term goals to aim for!

Q: Where is your favourite training ride there?
Neah: For Aberdeenshire, it all depends on the wind direction. The wind up here can be relentless so that dictates my route choice. Going inland towards the Aviemore is mega with some scenic roads but I also enjoy going along the coast but that tends to be lumpy.

Q: What would have been your racing programme had this virus not stopped the world turning.
Neah: There wasn’t much, maybe some local TTs and track events to prep for the Olympics. After the Olympics, I would like to try some more road racing.

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Q: Is track racing your favourite discipline?
Neah: Yes, I really love it. I find a TT oddly enjoyable too but it’s not the same rush you get on the track. As for road, I haven’t really done enough of it but when I did the Women’s Tour in 2018, I loved the chaos of the final 5km. I guess it’s a bit like a scratch race finish so that’s why.

Q: Your win in the CiCLE – how does that rate in your career?
Neah: From a road perspective, it’s my best result, I am now more aware it’s actually a fairly prestigious race in the women’s calendar, but I am a touch naive about road racing and the reputation of some events. I did win a massive bottle of gin, so from that point of view, it’s gotta be up there with the best.

Q: What have been other major highlights on the road for you?
Neah: I’ve been 9th on stages of the Tour of Yorkshire and The Women’s Tour in 2018, which although not an amazing placing, for me it was a good achievement. I haven’t done much road racing and it very much felt like diving in at the deep end. Looking back, I rode like a bit of a tit in terms of positioning and timing, but I didn’t know any better.

Where Neah goes, Figaro goes even if its a spell on the turbo LoL

Q: What are the craziest things you have seen during lockdown?
Neah: Nothing really crazy. I have seen many people being idiots in the shop – my favourite is remove face mask, cough and then replace it. Entertainment wise, Jonny is petrified of horses so making him bring them in from the fields at night is pretty hilarious.

Q: Who sets the pace on training rides together…
Neah: We often end up training separately… but if we do go out, I’ll sit on until he looks tired and then come along side and annoy him. He ends up real pissy which is exceptional for my morale.

Q: How much of your training would normally be in the gym and do you have that at home where you are in Lockdown?
Neah: Gym is twice a week in this phase of training. I have managed to borrow a barbell and some weights and with the tractor bucket as a squat rack we’re actually pretty well sorted. It’s nothing fancy but very functional.

People like to over complicate gym and the amount of equipment you need. If you are an efficient lifter, then you can achieve a lot with a barbell and weights. I am really enjoying having the home set up. I tend to be doing gym much later in the afternoon than I normally could meaning more recovery between sessions which is a big plus. I have always found gym fun and it’s a nice contrast from always being on the bike.

Q: Turbo or Scottish countryside?
Neah: Countryside (weather permitting)

Q: E-racing or watching the Soaps on tele?
Neah: Both. I haven’t really mastered E-racing but its fun to have in the background. I also put some TV series on for extra entertainment as we don’t really watch TV so it’s a nice opportunity to log some screen time.

Q. What’s the best distraction from Lockdown …
Neah: We have a whippet puppy Figaro who provides constant entertainment. I am also doing a master’s in wildlife management so that’s mopping up lots of time. Some how with training and everything else, I haven’t really been bored, so apart from missing a good coffee, lockdown has been pretty fun for me.

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you have seen since this crisis began?
Neah: Jonny in my dressing gown walking round the garden in the rain saying “quickly quickly” trying to get Figaro to pee before he goes to sleep.

Thank you Neah, that was brilliant  … good luck with the rest of lockdown

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