Victoria Pendleton and Olympic preparation


British Cycling talks with the Vicky as she prepares for what will be her last appearance at a World Cup, the Olympic Games and life after cycling.


vicky Pendleton flying 200



BC: It is the last few months now, so how are you approaching it?


VP: (screams) I just want to make the most of every last opportunity that I have. It's kind of weird. I was thinking about it yesterday - this is the last time I will do a World Cup. I feel a little bit emotional because it has been a whirlwind of a short career and I have travelled so much, been to so many World Cups and you just take it for granted that there will be another one next year …



BC: So this one more intense?


VP: Yeah, definitely. It's not as if I can suddenly train harder than I have ever done before because I feel I can do the most I can do anyway. I am always trying to be my best but it definitely keeps me in a nice frame of mind, a good frame of mind in terms of knowing that I am ticking these things off. It's quite exciting and daunting at the same time. I think getting this close to the end (laughs).. gosh! it's given me a new lease of life almost, it's definitely a positive thing.



BC: How do you approach a world cup when there is a Olympic Games is coming up?


VP: If you win here there will be a great confidence build for the next six months, however, it's important to keep things in perspective. It is a stepping stone. As a sprinter in particular when you haven't raced on a track and you haven't seen other people race on a track its difficult to know what tactics will be employed, how successful they will be and just learning as much as possible out of what the boards are going to offer.  Winning is important, but I would have to say that learning is the most important part of this World Cup and taking as much information away in order to get everything to the best of your ability right in London.


Victoria Pendleton on the wheel of the derny in the Keirin



BC: Have you had much track time?


VP: It's one thing training on it but having a competition on it gives you a massive amount of information. You can try different things in training but it's not the same as race day and you have got the best in the world facing you doing their best.. it's a unique opportunity this. It's rubbish going in to a competition and not being in your peak form and knowing the whole world will be watching what you are doing.  If someone says do you want to win World Cup or an Olympic Games? There is no point in even asking that question is there? For me, I know from my past experience that trying to peak too often in one season is just impossible. I can't do it. I don’t maintain my form very well and my best performances in my lifetime have been very well prepared and constructed with very little interruption. I know that and have to believe in that and believe the people around me know that. I have it all planned and I am sticking to it. Whether it comes to fruition at the end is... my guess, your guess.. who knows.. but the process.. I just can’t interrupt it. I am going with what I have got., I will try my hardest. I am not in my peak condition. I will just have to deal with it really.



BC: What phase are you in now?


VP: I am just on the back end of that gym training phase, so I have been doing it all through the winter and I am pleased with the results. I have probably gained more strength in that time than I have for the last 3 seasons. I feel I have developed some exercises what I achieved last year or the year before. In terms of strength training, I am really pleased that I have dedicated that period of time to it. I know that does take a little bit away from my top end speed but the preparation was definitely worth it, so I am not by any means in a specific phase yet, that will start after the world cup.



BC: Should we expect to see you in better form in the world champs?


VP: Yes, definitely by the World Championships I will be well on the way. I will go back in to the gym to consolidate the training I have done and missed through being at the World Up. After that point it will be more race specific through the World Champs towards the Olympics so...hopefully that's when we will see some speedy legs.


 Vicky Pendleton match sprinting


BC: Are you injury free at the moment?


VP: Yes (shouts) yes! I am injury free at the moment. I am really pleased. I had a rubbish start to the year and last year was interrupted by a few back issues - wear and tear, which is really good to know..! Nothing you can do about it! I have just managed them really well though. The physios and people around me have managed them really well this time and we changed a lot of my gym exercises and that has really made a difference - to find enough loading in different exercises, to take the squats out completely. I am not doing any free weight squats at all. The compression on my spine was causing me a lot of issues. 



BC: Will you miss racing about Anna Mears after the Olympics?


VP: I am not going to miss racing full stop. It's really hard to explain...I have really enjoyed it but I think because I have beaten everyone already once - not that I am satisfied with that -  I have done it... there isn't anyone who has beaten me and I have never gone back and beaten them, so I kind of feel that I have ticked a lot of the boxes already. There is maybe at the moment six girls in the world who are within the range of winning a gold medal at the Olympics. They are all very close in the top echelon. The speeds and the qualifying times have got faster and faster over the last 3 years and there has been a real improvement in women’s sprinting. I still consider myself within that top group so anything is possible really.


 Victoria Pendleton promoting Cyletta



BC: Are you relieved that it will all be over in 6 months?


VP: Yeah, I think I am actually. Everyone says: ' You will not be able to stay away from it.. Give it a couple of years and you will be back' and I was 'yeah maybe in a different discipline..'  I would really enjoy to do a bunch race or any kind of racing that’s a bit different.  I miss that, I used to do it as a kid and haven’t been able to do anything like that. I may not say goodbye to cycling in total but definitely to track sprinting. I won’t be missing that, believe me! It's the worst event isn't it?! (laughs) First of all you were at the track all day so mainly doing nothing, so you can’t escape the environment and it’s just up and down up … you have to get up for a race, then chill out, then you have to get up for a another race.



BC: Will the Olympics will be more intense?


VP: I have come to this conclusion.. it's taken me three years.. that it's just another bike race on a different track with the same girls. I might win, I might not win, but I have no more control than that… I am really feeling more relaxed than I have felt in a long time about the whole thing. It's entertaining at the end of the day. It's not life or death. I might make it seem trivial by saying that but that doesn't mean I don't take it seriously because I have spent my whole life trying to be really good at it, if not the best. That’s all I can do and I will always continue to do my best. It's in my nature so I have nothing to worry about do i? Steve has been trying to tell me this from the start and it wasn't until it turned 2012 that it kind of hit me. I suddenly thought I don’t want to wish this year away full of dread and anxiety and despair. I want to enjoy it because it will be the last time I do it. That’s where I am right now. Whether i stay here or not is the question.


Victoria Pendleton as the face of Hovis



BC: What will you do after the Olympics?


VP: I am going to take a year out and do some general random work experience and just see because I honestly have no idea what I want to do, or what I am good at, but I also don't have the time to spend thinking or planning it right now. So I am just going to focus on this one job and see how it goes. Have a year of work experience and hopefully bring it to a conclusion.



BC: how about modelling for Paul Smith?


VP: No. I would love to (laughs). I asked him if he could give me some work experience and he said he would have me. One of the fun things to do. I will do a whole range of different things and see 'cos I don't really know. The only other job I have had is pulling pints.


Victoria Pendleton enjoying the winning moment



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