A Minute With… Harriet Owen

Harriet Owen has been one of the hot tickets at this season’s DHL Future Stars competition at the Revolution track meetings in Manchester, where she has won several rounds in the 5km scratch race. The 15-year-old Bicester Millennium CC rider has her sights set on ride in the 2016 Olympics on the track. We just hope her headmaster isn’t a reader of Cycling Weekly.

What is it like to race in front of the big crowds at Revolution?

It’s really good, the noise from the crowd makes you ride faster. Although I was nervous at first, you get used to it quite quickly.

Is current DHL Future Stars leader Ruby Miller beatable, and could you be the one to do it?

Yes, I think she is beatable but it’ll be very tough to get ahead of her. I hope that I will be the one to beat her, but Laura Trott is also in with a good chance.

Which cyclist do you most look up to?

Nicole Cooke. She shows great determination in everything she does and she had a fantastic year in 2008.

What’s your best cycling experience so far?

Definitely winning the national youth circuit championships in 2007.

And worst?

It has to be the 2008 track national championships. It just didn’t go as well as I had planned and I really didn’t have a good day.

What are your plans for the next 12 months?

I’ll be riding in the Future Stars races at Revolution, then I’ll be getting ready for circuit races on the road. Hopefully I’ll also be doing a couple of international races, but I’ve got to be selected for those depending on my performance leading up to them.

What got you interested in cycling?

I used to go and watch my dad racing. I watched a youth race before one of his races at Hillingdon and thought, ‘I’d like to have a go at that’, and so I got a bike and started racing.

Do you think you’ll be riding in the 2012 Olympics in London?

Probably not 2012, but hopefully I’ll be ready for 2016. I’ll aim for the scratch or points race.

How much training do you do?

I train six days a week, for one or two hours. I alternate between the turbo trainer, rollers and going out on the road. My coach [south west British Cycling Olympic talent team coach] Stuart MacDonald sets out my training programme.

imageWhich do you prefer, road or track?

I prefer the track. I’m definitely better at shorter races and that’s where I’ve got more results – I think that I’m just more suited to track riding.

What is your main ambition in life?

To represent Great Britain at the Olympics Games.

How do you fit it in around school work?

With great difficulty. But cycling definitely comes first!

What do your school friends think of your cycling?

Well, they thought it was a bit weird at first, but now that cycling is more in the headlines with the Olympic success it’s a quite a cool sport. Now they think it’s great that I do something out of the ordinary.