Pro cyclists’ most wonderful time of the year
Christmas Day is — you might imagine — the one day a year when racing cyclists keep their bikes in the garage, let their hair down and indulge themselves.
But what about pro cyclists — do they know it’s Christmas time? Do they celebrate and allow themselves pigs in blankets instead of protein shakes? Or do they sit on the turbo-trainer all day? Maria David asks them…
My family and Jason [Kenny]’s family all come up to our house in Cheshire for Christmas. I will definitely ride my bike at Christmas. The Track World Championships are in February, so I must keep going — but I’m still going to have a full Christmas meal and Christmas cake.
I get back from a training camp on December 22. I’ll go home and see friends and family, then eat cake on Christmas Day — I’ve got my priorities sorted! Cycling is a community sport, so when I go home, I catch up with people I haven’t seen for quite a few months. I’ll be riding on Christmas Day on a club run with my home team, Thomson Cycles. It’ll be nice to go home and see everybody.
My family are pretty big on tradition, so I’ll go home and see them in Cardiff. My brother and his girlfriend will have been travelling for 10 months by Christmas — they come home on December 20, so it’ll be amazing to see him. He’s coming home for five days before he goes travelling again, so I guess I’ll be spending a lot of Christmas with him. I will ride at Christmas. We’ve got another Revolution series early in the new year, so there isn’t much time for a breather.
I’ll go back to my parents’ who are around Shropshire/Wolverhampton way. Training doesn’t stop over Christmas. I’ll probably have Christmas Day off but unfortunately if you enjoy the festive period too much, you end up losing the Track World Championships [in February]. I won’t really get a Christmas, as I’ll miss the build-up while I’m on a training camp. It will be over before I know it, then I’m straight back to 8am track sessions.
I’ve got family in Sussex and in Cambridge, so if we go and see them at Christmas, I will ride there. It’s a good couple of hours’ ride from Essex, so I can get some training in. If we stay at my mum and dad’s, I won’t ride. I don’t find the actual Christmas dinner that exciting. We are not really a roast dinner family, so I won’t overindulge on turkey. It’s the Quality Street, Celebrations, and Heroes that really get me! I don’t hold back on them. One day of indulging doesn’t hurt. I’ve just got to be careful on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. If I have three days of absolutely stuffing my face, it’s harder to find a way of working that off.
We get back from a training camp in Tenerife just before Christmas, so I’ll be doing frantic Christmas shopping. I’ll be very happy to see my family down in Gloucestershire. I only really see them at this time of year. I’ll also see my girlfriend Natalie’s family in Huddersfield, where we are based now. It’s the one time of year when we all sit down together. I usually ride my bike on Christmas Day, so I am sure I will do that this year, though I won’t be out for seven hours!
I celebrate Christmas at home with my family in Sheffield. I don’t normally ride my bike at Christmas. I just get out and take the dog for a walk. My family is a set of raging alcoholics, so we all just get drunk. We don’t hold back!
I will be with my family — my parents, brother, aunt, uncle and cousin. We will get together in my hometown, Piacenza [Italy], for a meal on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Normally I ride on December 24 and take time off on December 25.
I’ll be in Belgium at Christmas and I am racing on Boxing Day, so on Christmas Day I will ride the cyclo-cross course. There will be no turkey! My mum has already given us a load of Christmas presents, as I won’t see her. We will celebrate Christmas but it won’t be until March!
For the last eight years, I’ve done the Zolder cyclo-cross World Cup, and every Christmas I’ve just spent the time eating salad and healthy food before a bike race. The last two years, I found myself getting depressed, thinking I would really like to be with my family, but then I’d get sick and would have to miss the National Championships [in January]. This Christmas I won’t race at Zolder and will stay at home and relax with my family in Lincolnshire.
My first cyclo-cross race this season is on Boxing Day in Zolder, Belgium, so on Christmas Day I will go and see the venue, which is near my home in the south of Holland. The next day, I’ll be racing, so my Christmas meal will be pasta, for sure. There will be no Christmas cake but I will be with my family, so we can enjoy Christmas together and have a relaxing time.