Bossing people around at last year's Harbour Sprints.
Fun little interview I did with the Victoria International Cycling Festival last month:
Gillian Carleton grew up riding bikes around Victoria, competing on the road and as a Provincial Junior Triathlon Team member, before focusing her attention on the velodrome track. Then Gillian really took off. She’s now competing around the world and destined for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England. Along with teammates Tara Whitten and Jasmin Glaesser, Gillian recently earned Canada’s first World Championship medal in the Women’s Team Pursuit. Her latest win is still very fresh. Just a few days ago, Gillian won the Dana Point Grand Prix in California.
Keep an eye out for Gillian at the Summer Olympics, for sure, but you’ll also find her helping organize local alleycats and the VICF’s Harbour Sprints.
We recently caught up with Gillian to hear a bit about her experiences cycling in Victoria.
VICF: Why do you think it’s important to celebrate cycling in Victoria?
Gillian: Victoria is the perfect city to be a cyclist in, with a mild climate, beautiful roads and a network of bike paths, and a thriving community and huge support network for all avenues of cycling. I think it’s very important to continue raising awareness about cycling culture in Victoria, and the VICF does a great job of inspiring more people to simply get outside and ride a bike.
VICF: Your team recently earned Canada’s first World Championship medal in the Women’s Team Pursuit and you’re on track to compete at the Summer Olympics. How has living in Victoria contributed to your success as a cyclist?
Gillian: I have been supported and helped out along the way by some amazing individuals and groups within the Victoria cycling community. I hope that I will be able to use my success to help other up and coming local riders, and show them the same generosity and support that was given to me.
VICF: When you’re not training at the Juan de Fuca Velodrome, what is your favourite area to ride? Most challenging?
Gillian: I think one of the most challenging (and fun!) areas to ride inVictoria is the Highlands (think Munn, Ross-Durrance, and Finlayson Arm). It’s quite easy to put yourself in the pain cave on a few of those roads, especially if you go hard up the hills. My favourite route of all time though is the standard Waterfront-Lands End ride: it’s flat, so you can either take it easy or hammer out some efforts, and you can always add (or subtract!) some distance to get the right volume for the day. Plus it’s a ride I’ve been doing since I was 14, and sometimes it’s just nice to ride something so familiar.
VICF: You have helped organized a number of local cycling events, including the Harbour Sprints. What do you enjoy about working off the bike and seeing others compete?
Gillian: I find it is very easy to get caught up in my own individual performance, and sometimes that can feel quite negative and self-centered. It’s very important for me to stay involved with cycling at a local and grassroots level, as I get reminded on a daily basis what it really means to just ride a bicycle for pure enjoyment.
VICF: The VICF celebrates all types of cycling. Besides the Harbour Sprints, what event interests you the most and why?
Gillian: JumpShip is one of the VICF events that I am most looking forward to. It’s really cool to watch some of the most talented freeriders in the world throw down massive tricks, and the live music and outdoor party vibe make it so much fun.