I HAVE been chatting with Gateshead mountain biker and road cyclist Anna Kay who has just signed to the Storey Racing Cycling Team

Matt: Congratulations on joining Storey Racing. Can you tell me how that came about and how you feel now that it is done?

Anna: So this was my first season of competing properly on the road as I have always competed in mountain biking in the national mountain bike cross country series. Competing in the women’s national series was hard as a junior, but I managed a few good results and started building a profile for myself. I approached Storey at the end of the road season and I was then invited to a testing day, and a few days after the testing I was told I had a place, which I was thrilled about! I had to keep my move to Storey Racing a secret for a while which was so difficult and now feels so good to have been able to announce it.

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M: What are they expecting of you in 2018 and what demands are you making of yourself?

A: The team will expect me to balance working as a team player as well as working on achieving my own individual goals for the 2018 season. Right from the start Storey have been keen to ensure that there is no pressure of results on young developing U23 athletes, which is really encouraging as a new rider in the team.

M: How did you get into cycling?

A: From a young age I have enjoyed riding my mountain bike from in the forest to my front street. But it was my dad who really got me into riding, he has always had a passion for riding and kind of passed this on to me also.

M: When did you take the step into riding competitively and how did that come about?

A: About five or six years ago I competed in my first competitive race which was at Hetton Lyons Country Park and was a CX race. After this I joined Hetton Hawks CC and competed in more local races and after that I was hooked.

M: You ride mountain bikes and road bikes, what is it about each discipline that you like and tell me about their differences?

A: For mountain bike, I get a real buzz from riding and racing it. My strengths have always been in descending on technical descents and always lacking power, which is why this year I took up more road to improve on my power/strength. For road there is a lot more tactics and luck involved as well as positioning in the bunch, so this season has been a real learning curve trying to understand about how to race smart on the road. In mountain biking I always have the mentality of going out as hard as I can and focus on keeping my rhythm and dialling my line choice. For road my mentality this season has been to hide in the wheels especially on descents, really making an effort to stay in the front bunch.

M: What has been your greatest success so far?

A: This season has been my strongest so far, winning the overall HSBC National Mountain Bike Cross Country Series as a junior. Also competing in my first international stage race ‘An Post Ras na Mban’ in Ireland finishing in 18th women/second junior on general classification and my best stage result of eighth in stage six. Also recently at round one of the national trophy series, winning the U23 category and getting third overall elite.

M: Tell me something about your training regime?

A: I have a coach Adey Dent who helps me with my training. My training fits in with my racing schedule so must be planned out way in advance, which helps me a lot as I like to be as organised as possible.

M: What are your ambitions within the sport?

A: I would love to some day make a career out of riding my bike but I’m sure I will be riding my bike for the rest of my life whether I make it pro or not!

M: You must have been inspired by someone or something as a youngster, what words of encouragement would you give to girls thinking about taking up cycling?

A: For me, my dad inspired me and encouraged me to ride. Also with it being the London 2012 Olympics and after watching the Olympic mtb xco race in Hadleigh I really wanted to give it a go. To girls my age I would just say ride for fun, go on your bike and mess about in the street with your friends, this is what made me want to do more.

M: How can people find out more about you and support you?

A: My facebook is just Anna Kay, my twitter @AnnaKay_3 and my instagram @annakayx . I will usually post about my riding on all three of these to keep people up to date.

  • If you are an amateur or professional cyclist and want to be featured in The Northern Echo email matt.westcott@nne.co.uk