Interview: Victoria Pendleton
PUBLISHED: 21:52 10 September 2014 | UPDATED: 21:52 10 September 2014
As part of the Macmillan Cycletta, a campaign that aims to raise money and awareness for the cancer support charity through cycling, Olympic champion - and Wilmslow resident - Victoria Pendleton will this summer take part in a series of women-only races across the country.
“It has been such a pleasure to be involved with Macmillan Cycletta,” she tells Living Edge. “I’m proud to be supporting such a brilliant cause, and anything that raises awareness of that and of cycling in this country has to be worth getting behind. And you look at the wide-open spaces of Cheshire – it’s such a marvellous and beautiful part of the country. How could you not want to go for a ride and soak it all up?!”
The region welcomes the event on September 28, with Tatton Park the host. Last year, the event attracted 4,000 riders, with course distances ranging from 20-100km.
“Cycling has done so much for me ever since I took it up as a child,” Pendleton continues, “so through the Cycletta series I want to spread the message that cycling is a great hobby, a brilliant sport, or simply a great way to get fit. It doesn’t matter your motivation or your ability, come and get involved in the race. It will be fun!”
Those racing against Pendleton – no small feat given her bevy of Olympic, Commonwealth and World Championship gold medals – can expect an easier ride than competitors may have done in the past, though just because the 33-year-old has retired, it doesn’t mean she isn’t in great shape, nor relishing the chance to make it across the finish line first!
“I think I am actually aerobically fitter than I was, but I am nowhere near as powerful as I used to be. I’ve lost a lot of muscle, but I am fit enough to race, that’s for sure! And I do still love the feeling of winning, although the stakes are perhaps not so high these days!”
Pendleton called time on a professional career following the London 2012 Olympics, and is comfortable admitting she doesn’t miss elite competition.
“I do miss the training though,” she offers. “I know that sounds crazy, but I loved the routine, and it was great spending time with team-mates and being in that environment. Not seeing them every day has taken a while to get used to because it was such a social thing. But I’m probably busier now than I ever was when I was competing. I’ve still got sponsorship deals to maintain, I’ve the Cycletta, plus other charity projects. And I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of the world. Cheshire people I think are unique, because they possess a combination of that age-old northern spirit with a great sense of style and class.”
The highlight of Pendleton’s career, the ‘home’ Olympics, is now almost two years ago, but for the Keirin gold and Sprint silver medallist, the emotions remain as fresh today as they were back in 2012.
“It still just seems like a dream,” she smiles, “a dream that fortunately came true. I was very lucky to be part of it, it was awesome. It is an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life, and it’s all thanks to a simple pedal bike. So I’d implore others to give it a try – you never know where you might end up!” n
To find out more, visit humanrace.co.uk/cycletta