SKYPE: Andy Layhe - Bike Pure info at bikepure.org

VeloUK interview Hester Stembridge of Bike Pure-LeMond-Aspire Velotech RT

6
Nov

1002187_10152134464710830_773113681_nHester Stembridge, who will be riding for Bike Pure-LeMond-Aspire Velotech RT next year, lives in South Devon and has been racing for about five years in both bunch races and time trials. She admits she’s only really raced seriously for the last three years but then she is still so young that’s not surprising.

Hester admits when asked if she has seen any changes to the sport over recent years, she replies “During my time racing, I’ve seen a massive increase in the publicity of women’s racing, mainly due to the success of British riders such as Pendleton, Cook and Armistead.”

“I also think there has been an increase in the opportunities for women’s racing in Britain in the last few years, but there is still a long way to go before we are equal to the men.”

Hester’s highlight from this season was a 6th place in one of the National Circuit Series rounds in Scarborough, but adds “my highlight for this cycling season was watching the World champs, particularly Marianne Vos’ dominant performance.”

Not surprising for anyone who has been there, Hester says her favourite race of the year was the Isle of Man Youth Cycling Tour. “It’s a really unique, well-organised event in a beautiful part of the world, and I would thoroughly recommend it to any Youth or Junior rider for next year”.

“In the summer, I train about 8-10 hours a week mainly on the bike. In the winter, I train about 6-8 hours a week with a bigger variety of activities such as swimming and circuit training. I’ve just started my first year of sixth form, so I’m working full time for that.”

Hester says she has a brilliant coach, Roy Wyle-Smith at Elite Velo, who helps her to structure her training. “I would be pretty lost trying to plan it all on my own” Hester admits showing the value of having a coach.

“In the summer, I train about 8-10 hours a week mainly on the bike. In the winter, I train about 6-8 hours a week with a bigger variety of activities such as swimming and circuit training. I’ve just started my first year of sixth form, so I’m working full time for that.”

“Generally, I find it ok to fit all my training in with school, homework, etc. In the winter, it’s hardest because it gets dark so quickly so I don’t always have a lot of time after lessons to fit in a longer ride.”

Asked what is the best thing about racing a bike, Hester admits “the adrenaline I guess. I like the way it’s unique from other sports, a mixture of physical and mental skill at the same time. Not just who is the fastest or the strongest, but who can plan their race the best considering their ability and the conditions and outwit their opponents to cross the line first.”

And what does she enjoy least! “The thing I enjoy least are the miserable rides in the pouring rain, straight into a brutal headwind! There’s not much to enjoy about that!”

Asked what she would like to change about her weaknesses, Hester replies “If I could, I would change my sprint to one of my strengths, because we do so much crit racing, it would be pretty beneficial to have a better sprint. I think, to be a better bike rider I just need to have a bit more confidence in my ability; I can always do more than I think I can and being conservative is not the way to win bike races!

Admitting she is not that ‘geeky’ when it comes to equipment, Hester says she has a Thompson Sirius 2.0 bike with Shimano Ultegra groupset. “As long as I’ve cleaned it and it does the job, I’m pretty happy”.

“I think 2014 will be a big year for women’s racing with the Tour of Britain. It will bring more publicity to women’s cycling in the UK, but also give it a higher profile all over the world.

Looking ahead, Hester says “I’ve got a pretty structured programme for the winter, but it will be more relaxed than my spring training to prevent illness. Just making sure I get a lot of miles in to have a good base for next year when the races are longer and harder.”

“I think 2014 will be a big year for women’s racing with the Tour of Britain. It will bring more publicity to women’s cycling in the UK, but also give it a higher profile all over the world. Also, I think the new UCI President Brian Cookson will be looking to develop women’s racing. I feel like women’s racing is just gaining momentum at the moment and 2014, or maybe 2015 could be the year to give it that final push it needs.”

Hester says when she’s not riding her bike, she enjoys hanging out with her mates or surfing. “They’re good ways to relax” Hester adds. She also admits to enjoying watching Rugby on the television when not working on her cycling or school work.

And finally, if she had to go abroad, where would she head to go for her cycling? “If I had to go abroad to race, I would probably go to Southern France. Like the Pyrenees or somewhere mainly because I like climbing. I also like cheese and I can speak a bit of French, so that would be pretty perfect for me!”

Good luck to Hester in her training and next year at school and with her racing!

Follow Hesters racing via social media at

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Interview and article by our good friends at VeloUK