Meet CX's Rising Star - Anna Kay
We've had a last minute change in our coaching line up for our upcoming cyclo-cross masterclass on Sunday 25th April. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Nikki Brammeier has had to withdraw. But there's no need to panic! We've secured another incredible coach for the session instead!
21 year old Anna Kay from Gateshead is a current professional rider for Starcasino Pro CX team. She's one of the rising stars of world cyclocross having stood on the podium of u23 European and World championships. Anna has numerous elite World Cup top 10s to her name and has a host of British championship medals – we think it’s fair to say Anna is one of the foremost UK cyclo-cross talents and we can’t wait to have her input and experience at our masterclass session.
Anna will be coaching alongside our very own Graham Briggs & Ali Slater on Sunday. We have a handful of places still available, so make sure you don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to learn from a rising star, who is right at the forefront of the sport. You can book via our academy page.
Read our interview below when we caught up with Anna Kay, who is currently at a training camp in Belgium, to get the lowdown on her career to date and what got her into cyclo-cross in the first place.
When did you start CX racing?
I started racing over in Europe three years ago and I got picked up by the Experza-Footlogix team. Then I signed as a pro rider with the same team, new name Starcasino, and that's given me my pathway into a career. I've been professional for just over a year after signing a pro contract in my first year. It's been my big breakthrough year, on the podium at Euros and Worlds for u23 then on the elite podium at a World Cup round. This year has been different because of the pandemic but I've had to try to build on it and consolidate a place within the CX world.
How did you get into CX in the first place?
I started on the mountain bike, me and my Dad rode and raced when I was about 15. I've always enjoyed cycling, but started racing locally, then moved up to the North East rounds then National rounds then in the winter wanted to keep racing as I'd got the bug! I initially did CX to fill the winter but it was always so fun, the pressure was off and I could see my friends every weekend.
How did it become more than just a hobby?
I was with Storey Racing for a season. That was the first year I rode Worlds for GB and then I had a result on a national CX round and everything snowballed for there. Matt Ellis from British Cycling is the GB CX coach, I emailed him to ask if he was taking a team to Belgium and after I got a podium at a national round in Derby that was when he picked me to race.
What do you love about it?
The atmosphere is amazing - there are so many fans. My first time in Belgium I was shocked at how many people there were. On one race you go over a bridge and all you can see is crowds of people.
I love the intensity of the race and the adrenalin - the race is over so fast! I like how it's got a bit of everything. You don't have to be the strongest, you have to have everything - technical ability, strength, power, tactics, it's very diverse, not just one thing.
What do you do when you're not racing?
I love mountain biking, that's where I started. I haven't done that much over the past few years, but this season I'm going to do a lot more. I like road racing as well - they both compliment CX - you need road for strength, endurance and power. The MTB is good to keep the skill side, more like a CX race because you race on your own and you get that technical stuff.
In the past year, I've had to train more on my own, but I train a lot better when I'm with people. When I'm at home I include my Dad because he's strong. I do better when others are there. I do lots of turbo effort during the season to keep the top end stuff there as well.
What would you say to young people wanting to get into CX?
When you're younger, just do everything, do the disciplines that you enjoy and what you find fun because eventually it will pick you. You'll find out which you're best at and what you enjoy. The main thing is to ride with your friends, enjoy it, don't take it too seriously, there's plenty of time for that when your'e a bit older.
Who is your cycling role mode?
Marianne Voss - she's just so good at every discipline and you can tell that she wants to win. Every race it means something and that's what you need - the competitiveness.