We’ve been supporters of Matrix Pro Cycling for a few years now and this year they invited us over to their beautiful new training base in the foothills of the Pyrenees to spend an action packed day with them. While we were there we had the chance to catch up with the newly crowned Track World Champion, Elinor Barker to ask her a few questions about the recent World Track Championships and her goal to become World TT Champion this year.
Elinor Barker and Helen Wyman from Matrix Pro Cycling
Starting with the World Championships, did you feel there was quite a lot of pressure ahead of the event?
There is always pressure racing in GB kit! I put a lot of pressure on myself this time. I wasn’t doing the team pursuit and so it was all pressure that I was putting on myself. I was incredibly nervous though.
The media were saying that coming 4th in the league table was a bad result… but I’d say that’s pretty good really, isn’t it?! We’re a really young team still so there is so much to look forward to.
How did you motivate yourself after Rio to get back into things?
I took 8 weeks off after Rio but I knew that I had a plan to get back into doing things which made it easier to get re-motivated.
How did you feel you got on in the Scratch and Points races?
I’m still kicking myself about the Scratch race. I keep thinking it over and over and think that I could have just made a different decision which would have meant a win. I think I had the speed to win but I got put in a situation that made me go too soon. That said, coming so close in the scratch race made winning the points race so much sweeter.
How much does the world title mean?
It means everything! Winning as opposed to getting a medal is such a difference, plus you get to hear your own national anthem and you get to wear world stripes for the next year which really does mean everything.
Elinor Barker takes Gold in the points race at the World Track Championships 2017. Photo: Matrix Pro Cycling
So why have you chosen to have a break from the track and focus the World TT Championships in Bergen?
I’ve wanted to do it for a while now but the timings have just not worked for the past couple of years to fit in with the track schedules so this year both the timing and the course profile worked out perfectly which is why I’ve thrown my name in the hat to give it a go.
How much of a challenge will it be to transfer from the track back onto a TT bike?
I have no idea where I compare against the rest of the world. It’s really exciting to see if it’s something that I can do. Although I was a junior TT champion, I’ve never done specific TT training. I think that with the course being hilly, it will be a little bit like the points race as it will be more stop start rather than maintaining a speed for a certain distance.
So will your training change?
Not really, I will be doing more time on the bike I think however I think the track specific sessions will just be switched into TT sessions. I also think that with the course layout as it is (technical and lumpy), and with it being a similar distance to the point race, I should be in a good position to switch over.
Elinor on her TT training camp with Matrix Pro Cycling. Photo: Jessica Strange
What do your peers think about the TT focus?
Everyone has been really supportive – they think it makes sense as something to give a go after Rio.
British Cycling and Matrix have both been incredibly supportive of my decision to change my goals. When I told Matrix about my plans, they immediately put a plan together for me and got me the Specialized bikes as they knew that is what I want to ride.
Who do you think your main TT rivals will be?
Mainly thinking about selection: Hannah Barnes, Hayley Simmonds and Katie Archibold.
What makes Matrix Pro Cycling so different?
We’re a team of individuals who all have very specific but different goals. It’s perfect for me and I feel very lucky to have such a world class support structure around me to achieve my goals rather than the team’s goals.
What are the best things about being a professional cyclist?
- It’s pretty cool in itself! I feel really lucky all the time; I still pinch myself regularly to remember that this is what I actually do for work!
- I particularly love the travel: I’d never have been to half of the places that I’ve been to had it not been for cycling. It’s hard sometimes when you don’t get to see much of where you actually go however, I do try to go and see at least one thing in each place that we go to.
- If I get my training done in time I can be on the sofa in my pyjamas by 2pm on a Tuesday – I mean that’s pretty cool isn’t it!
Even the pros have a cake stop!
Yellow Jersey have been working with Matrix Pro Cycling for 3 years now. We supply the team with their race specific insurance. To find out more about how Yellow Jersey can help insure your race team visit our cycle race team insurance page.