25 Apr 2013, 3:04 p.m.
Laura Trott was just 20 years old when she thrilled the British public with her stunning cycling performances at the London 2012 Games. She started her medal campaign last July by winning gold, and setting a new world record of 3:14:05, in the team pursuit alongside Dani King and Joanna Rowsell.
She followed this impressive victory with a second gold medal in the omnium, coming from behind to beat the favourite, Sarah Hammer of the USA, into third place. This spring she’s exchanged the track to gain some road racing experience in Europe as part of the new Wiggle Honda Women’s Pro Cycling team.
We caught up with her just before her 21st birthday yesterday to find out how she’s coping with sporting superstardom and how, as Prudential RideLondon ambassador, she’s enjoying encouraging everyone to get on their bikes for the Prudential RideLondon festival of cycling this summer.
Do you prefer to cycle on the road or track?
I enjoy track cycling, for sure. Who wouldn’t choose the one that’s indoors? It’s 30 degrees all the time and it’s never windy. Being out on the roads is horrible; I was in Holland cycling last week and it was so windy. It’s completely different and so much harder. I do enjoy road cycling for different reasons though – there’s a great team environment on the road that you don’t get on the track. I feel less pressure cycling on the road too because it’s so different to what I’ve been doing up till now.
It was nice to give something back to the Wiggle Honda team recently when I was awarded the best young rider’s jersey on the first day of the Nergiewacht Tour. The team has put me on its programme knowing I’m a track rider so I have been given a place rather than earning one, because track and road are so completely different.
Do you discuss cycling with your sister [Emma Trott rides for Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team]?
Emma and I are completely different riders. I’ll be waiting for the sprint at the end where as Emma’s more a hill climber or time-trial rider so we don’t have much in common in cycling to talk about.
How do you push yourself in training?
My attitude to being on the track is that it’s going to hurt; you wouldn’t do it otherwise. When you get on your bike, it’s going to be painful and some people choose to accept that while others don’t, and that can make or break you.
What are your tips for turbo sessions?
When I have to do a session on the turbo trainer, I tend to watch DVDs or catch up on TV I’ve missed. If I go round to my parents, I use this thing I-Magic [a virtual reality trainer] that allows you to race against other people, so you can do a Tour de France stage if you feel like it. It’s really great for making the miles go quicker.
How do you stay focused?
I stay motivated by looking at the bigger picture and focusing on the next goal, which right now is the European Track Cycling Championships in October.
How does it feel to win two gold medals?
I am surprised that success has come so soon for me. If I’d had to map out what I wanted to do, I would have gone to the Olympics in Rio in 2016 and used that as a learning experience then in 2020 focus on winning at the Games, so yes it has all come really early. I just look to the next event. The Europeans are a stepping stone to qualify for the Worlds, and the Worlds are a stepping stone to qualify for the Olympics. I don’t want to look as far ahead as Rio just yet though because the pressure can make you crack.
How many bikes do you own?
None; zero! British Cycling lends me the bikes that I use when I compete on the track. I have four track bikes in my garage at the moment, plus three road bikes and one time-trial bike – but none of them are mine!
How long would it take you to finish Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100?
I haven’t got a clue how long it would take me to ride 100 miles – everything’s measured in kilometres in Europe! But I would say to anyone training for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, just make sure that you put in plenty of time in the saddle. You don’t have to cycle 100 miles every week but a couple of times before the event would be useful too.
Any other sportive training tips?
My coach always used to say when you’re legs are hurting use a bigger gear. It’s a bit random but it stuck!
Do you cross train?
No, I just cycle.
How do you celebrate after a big win?
I like to treat myself to some nice food if I’ve done well in a race. Chinese food is my favourite. After the Olympics I had a great Chinese meal with family and friends.
How do you relax?
I walk my puppy! I love taking him out – it doesn’t matter whether it’s sunny or cold, the dog is just so happy to be out there, and I love that.
How are you encouraging other people to get into cycling?
Being an ambassador for Prudential RideLondon makes me feel like I’m giving something back to cycling. There will be a lot of people riding at Prudential RideLondon and it’s nice that people can have someone to look up to and put a name to someone in cycling. Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton are still around but I’m quite a bit younger so it’s good for me to be a role model for a younger generation can look up to me.
Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle will be such a great experience for all the family. I love cycling with my mum and dad, spending time out in the fresh air, so I’d encourage people who might be considering signing up for to bring the whole family along and get involved.