Result: Rachel Galler (Saint Piran)

Former runner, Rachel Galler of the Saint Piran’s Women’s team, from the county of Northumberland, has been road racing for two years – we quiz her on her racing and goals

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Result: Rachel Galler (Saint Piran)

Q: How long have you been racing?
Rachel: I’ve been road racing for two years, and dabbled with hill climbs and time trials the year prior.

Q: How did you come to race bikes?
Rachel:I used to run for Elswick Harriers, but chronically damaged my ankle and ended up on crutches for eight months and had to relearn to walk again on it. I turned to cycling as a low impact exercise. Then my partner got us a ‘couples membership’ at a local cycle club without asking me, and I’d go with him and watch his competitions and thought I may as well do them if I’m here, and then got stuck in.

Q: How difficult was 2020 with little racing or did it give you time to reset, refresh and focus on 2021?
Rachel: I took advantage of it and used the time to get lots of miles in to prepare better for 2021.

Q: Do you think you came out of 2020 stronger, the same or less strong as you were before that season of no races?
Rachel: Both. I came out physically and mentally stronger, but slightly lost touch with the ability to race in a bunch or on the wheels, but the drive to race again was exciting.

Q: What was the highlight of your racing in 2021?
Rachel: Becoming north east regional road champ and a top 20 in the my first National Series road race.

Q: What race in your career is the one that still gives you the biggest buzz?
Rachel: Otley National Crit in 2021 was my biggest buzz as I was representing my local club Blaydon and had never competed at that level before. I only had my mam for support, and it was the intensity of the build up and the crowds and being on the start line with some very talented riders.

Q: Were there learning moments in 2021 races and if so, what were they?
Rachel: I’ve had my fair share of mechanicals and crashes and just like that your race is over, and mentally it can be hard to get back to where you were and go again, but not impossible. And having that self discipline and determination to get back up again after being knocked down were times when I learnt a lot about myself and how to handle it.

Q: What’s the furthest you have travelled for a bike race in 2021?
Rachel: Not very far, I stayed local. I was working in Worcester one weekend so I gave their Regional RR champs a blast whilst I was there. Why not!

Q: During a race, do you find there is a lot of talk between riders in the same team to deal with changes in the race like breaks going, key points in the course approaching and the finish coming fast?
Rachel:I don’t hear too much talk. I often see it unfold and its relatively obvious what team mates are doing for each other and who they are working for, but communication is key for those scenario’s whichever way its done.

Q: Do you go into a race nervous or intimated by other riders or do you have the confidence to hold you own and race the race confidently in your own style?
Rachel: Of course I’m nervous but I’d like to think I don’t show it too much, a good poker face, and looking confident makes you feel confident.

Q: Do you train more in a given week in winter than what you do in summer when there is a lot of racing and travelling?
Rachel: I get a lot of my strength work done during the winter because you find in the summer that the weeks leading up to races involves some form of tapering and tune ups, and trying to juggle staying fresh for targeted races but also keeping training intensity rolling over is an important balance to get right.

Q: Do you train on a training bike or the race bike?
Rachel: In the summer, I train on my race bike, getting a feel for it is crucial, and in the winter I have a different bike on the turbo, and also have my winter bike for outdoors which is quite heavy but it is durable.

Q: Do you cross train at all, running, swimming, gym or other disciplines like MTB?
Rachel: I do gym and S&C sessions. I have a good little set up in my spare room at home so I don’t have to go far, and my job is very active and labour intensive so I clock up a lot of miles just at work.

Q: Where is your favourite training ride?
Rachel: I spent six weeks training in Gran Canaria and have lots of favourite routes out there, Serenity being one.

Q: What type of race suits you best? (Time Trial, Circuit Race, Hilly or Flat road races)?
Rachel: Hilly road races suit me best (unfortunately…), but I’d like to be more powerful on the flats as town centre crits are incredible to race.

Q: What are your tips for staying warm on a long winter ride?
Rachel: Stay inside. I’m soft, and live up north, if its cold, it’s very cold. So I mainly use the turbo, but when I do go out, my feet are my main priority, and also a windproof jacket to keep the chill off you. Too many layers isn’t good for anyone. I always get told there’s no such thing as bad weather its just not having the right kit, so investing in good quality gear is the best advice I can give.

Q: What are your goals for 2022?
Rachel: To learn as much as I possibly can from riders with pure experience; the wisdom of these riders at this level is something that I thrive to progress from and utilise as I target the national road series.


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