For a group that set out to become the world’s most professional women’s amateur team in the peloton, signing a deal with Laura Massey was a no brainer. In doing so, not only did Drops Cycling Team add an accomplished cyclist–and current British Masters Champion–to their roster, but they also added an incredible leader to their team.
Briefly, tell us your story. How did your cycling career begin?
Well, my main sport used to be rowing. I rowed for my college and university (everyone in Cambridge rows!) and after several years of being relatively average, I decided it was time for a change of sport! I borrowed a road bike from a friend and did about 12 miles around the local lanes–I was knackered but I was addicted! I bought a basic aluminum road bike and started riding with the local Cambridge club. Looking back, I was a total liability–getting dropped on every slight lump and blowing up miles from home, having to be pushed back. But I loved it and kept persevering, doing the mid-week chain-gangs and time trials, and I finally developed some “cycling legs”. I began road racing in 2011/2012 and have been obsessed ever since.
What excites you most about the opportunity to race with Drops in 2016?
Being a UCI team means we have the opportunity to race on a world-stage in some pretty iconic races. This is a special opportunity. So special, in fact, that I decided to take a six month sabbatical from work (I am a management consultant in the pharmaceutical industry) to really allow myself to make the most of this opportunity. I am two months into the sabbatical and it is the best decision I ever made. I had to pinch myself on the start-line for the Tour of Flanders! I will be pinching myself again when we line up for the Tour of California next month. I am massively grateful to Bob Varney and everyone at Drops for giving me this opportunity.
Last year you won the British Masters Championship. What are your biggest goals for the upcoming season?
It sounds cheesy but my goal this year is just to enjoy my sabbatical and make the most of this amazing opportunity that I have been given by Drops. I want to get the most out of myself and see what I can achieve and how good a bike rider I can be without the stresses of work. Unlike the last few years (focused on UK racing), this year I don’t have a particular target race or result as this is a whole new level. I’m just going to give it my best shot each time I line up, suffer and see what happens. Last week this attitude got me a Top 20 at the Euskal Emakumeen Bira UCI 2.1 stage race in the Basque country so fingers crossed I can keep improving with more experience.
Who inspires you the most?
It has to be Lizzie Armitstead! Have you seen her legs?! It is inspiring to have a British World Champion who is currently so dominant.
Favorite place you’ve ever ridden and why?
For training, Denia in Spain (near Alicante) is my number one place–perfectly smooth rolling roads, nobody around, sunshine and a unique feel about it. The descent from the Montgo into Denia is magical. I also love the stretch of coastal road between Dartmouth and Kingsbridge in South Devon with its stunning sea/cliff views and aggressive ups and downs.
For racing, the Ardeche in Southern France was the most epic and beautiful race I have done.