Emily Watts – Sydney Uni Women’s Cyclist
As a high school student, Emily successfully juggles training and her final year of study at the same time. Cycling is definitely a large part of her life, if she’s not cycling, she’s thinking about it. After a surprising silver medal at her first national champs, Emily’s passion and determination to keep striving for new cycling goals grew. Now with Sydney Uni Women’s Cycling team, Emily is looking forward to her first full NRS season.
Staminade: How did your love of cycling begin?
Emily: “I come from a family that has a focus on staying fit, trying new things and doing your best. I always remember having a bike, normally pink with some sort of girly theme. I started my journey in Little Athletics, Triathlon and Cycling. There were a few other stops along the way, basketball and Physical Culture but we won’t talk about them. After making my first state team for Triathlon my coach (Mel Ashton) thought it was a good idea to join the local cycling club. This decision was made not knowing that cycling would take me on a wild roller coaster, of which I would never want to get off. Surprising even myself at my first State Champs, I qualified for the National Championships and went on to win an individual Silver everyone was shocked. I was stoked and I couldn’t get enough, this one race totally changed everything for me. I got back on a track bike, raced track and later that year raced at Track Nationals and I guess the rest is history. I am now excited about my first full NRS season and racing with Sydney Uni Staminade .”
Staminade: What are your top 5 tips for young aspiring cyclists?
- Never give up!
- When it comes to tactics, give it a crack never get to the end of a race and have regrets.
- Never be afraid to try something new
- Always ask questions
- Never stop trying to reach your goal and don’t let anyone stand in your the way of you achieving your goal
Staminade: What’s it like being a female athlete in today’s society?
Emily: “Being a U19 rider means that I as a young rider have the privilege to be able to race the NRS races with elite women.This for a young rider like me is the most amazing thing in the world to be racing against women who have raced internationally.
When ever I can support women cycling races, I do because women often don’t get their own races, race for less prize money, race shorter distances and dont receive the same support as the men. I do everything I can through my social media profiles #racewithmeemilywatts to promote womens cycling and support the sponsors that support the team.
This year there were also changes made to the structure of the National Road Series. This meant that U19’s and para riders would join the elites and U23’s at the National Road Series in Ballarat, this was exciting to be able to race my race and then watch Sarah Roy and Rebecca Wiasak strut their stuff.”
Staminade: What has been your greatest success to date?
Emily: “I have won a few State and National medals in Track, Road and Triathlon but I think my greatest success was recently at the B2B Crit in my adopted home town Bathurst. It was one of the early races of the season with Sydney Uni Staminade. Nate our DS told me to break from the gun and try and stay away for as long as possible, and thats what I did. Crossing the finish line with a half a lap WIN, it was a real team effort.”
Staminade: What’s your ultimate cycling goal?
Emily: “My ultimate cycling goal would be to ride over in Europe with a Professional Team (particularly Mitchelton Scott) and riding in all the Major tours, and off course to represent Australia at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.”
Staminade: Who was your role model as an aspiring cyclist?
Emily: “Sarah Roy and my coaches Mel Aston and Nat Bates, both are strong women that have perfomed on the world stage and have played a significant part in the athlete that I am today”
Staminade: What’s your pre-event routine?
- “Time line for race day.
- Prepare my Equipment and meals.
- Lay out my clothes for the next day.
- Hopefully a massage from Dad and some stretching/rolling.
- Wake up, I normally have waffles with ricotta and banana.
- Pre-start – Go to race, prepare early so everything is set with plenty of time, put my headphones on and get in the zone.
- Gel, warm up and move to the start line.”
Staminade: How does a typical training week look for you?
Emily: “Depends on what block of training we are in, but with starting to race in the National Road Series, my coach is definitely adding some kms. I am normally on the trainer early mornings before school during the week. I have been doing a few rides from my School during my free periods. I am lucky to have a very supportive School (The Scots School Bathurst). Over the weekend I will ride up to 7 hours in the many hills around Hartley.“
Staminade: Favourite part of training?
Emily: “Just being able to go fast and not have to think about a problem in the world. For me training is an escape from everything that is going on in my life whether it be schoolwork or a problem I have to overcome or just be free. When riding I just clear me head, enjoy the ride and be out in nature. Another thing I love about training is coming back after a ride knowing that I have executed my coaches plan for that ride and looking at my data and achieving my goals”
Staminade: Hardest part of training and how you overcome the challenge?
Emily: “For me having to wake up early to complete a ride before school would probably be the hardest thing, on a Monday it doesn’t feel that bad waking up because I would have had a good sleep after the long weekend of training. It is worse when it gets to Wednesday or Thursday, but once you get over that initial shock, jump out of bed and get to it. No time to think about how tired I am or how hard this next session will be, just head down and do it.”
Staminade: What’s your favourite flavour of Staminade?
Emily: “Wild Berry Rush or Lemon Lime.”
Staminade: Staminade’s tagline is ‘First Aid for Thirst’, what does this mean to you?
Emily: “Hydration is such an important part of competing and training for an endurance event. First, is for preparation, ensure that you get to the start line hydrated and loaded with all those goodies that Staminade gives you to perform at your best. AID is the maintenance of those levels during the effort to enable you to get to the line fast and ready for a strong finish and Thirst is dont wait to get thirsty before you reach for your Staminade, reach for it FIRST.”
If you want to hear more from the Sydney Uni Women’s cycling team check out our blog where you can find more including this one with Chloe Heffernan: http://staminade.com.au/qa-with-chloe-heffernan-sydney-uni-womens-cycling-team/