Tanya Griffiths started racing in 2012 at the Ixworth Crits with the Ipswich Bicycle Club. In 2013, her second year, she won seven races, came second four times and third twice and by the end of the season was ranked 7th in the country. She says that the currently-active rider she finds most inspiring is Marianne Vos, and the athlete in history she most admires is Gino Bartali.
When and how did you first get into cycling?
I first started cycling (commuting to work) in 2011. I was introduced to my local club by someone in the bike sheds at work! I took part in my first race in 2012 and have been hooked ever since.
What do you love the most about the sport?
The complexity of racing. There is so much that can happen during the course of a race, it’s so tactical. You can’t just turn up and go from the gun, it’s not always the strongest rider crossing the line first. Also, there is a great camaraderie between the riders. We’re all competitive, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get on.
What was the highlight of your 2013, and what are your goals for 2014?
My highlight was getting stuck in at the Tour of Britain Johnson Health Tech GP, getting involved as a key player in the race. It was the culmination of everything I have learnt this year. Racing in Colchester in the Johnson Health Tech GP Series was pretty special too, pretty much a home crowd cheering me round.
This year I went from hating crits to loving them, but 2014 I’m aiming to improve out on the road. Where 2013 was all about experience, 2014 will be about using that experience to get results, although you never stop learning!
What does the future hold for women’s cycling? Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
I’m optimistic. There seems to be a buzz at the moment around women’s cycling. We just need to keep the momentum going.
In 2013, a lot of fans have been getting more involved in women’s cycling. Any ideas what we can do to help even more?
Come and watch the racing, watch it when it’s on TV. Line the streets when the Women’s Tour comes through. For sponsors and television companies, seeing has to be believing when it comes to proving that supporting women’s cycling makes commercial sense.
How can the cycling world – fans, riders, race organisers and the UCI – encourage more women to start racing?
Without trying to make it sound simple, because it really isn’t! In my opinion, there are initially 3 things that can be done. Firstly, we need the media coverage to promote the sport; many girls don’t see cycle racing as an option for them, because they don’t see it on the television.
We need to provide the races for them. It’s not very encouraging when a new rider has to travel 100 miles or more to have a go at their first race and potentially having to compete with the best in the country.
Just as important are women only race training sessions, they are growing in popularity, with many being well over-subscribed, the Women’s race training sessions in Manchester are a case-in-point. It gives women and girls a clear way into the sport. But you need a venue for them. There are still vast areas of the UK not supported with dedicated cycling facilities. If we build it, they will come!
What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just picked up “A Dog in A Hat” by Joe Parkin. It was suggested to me by my coach Mark Walker, so it promises to be a good read.
What’s on your Ipod?
That I would admit to? I like to mix it up a bit, some Eva Cassidy, Katy Perry, Dean Martin, Lily Allen, something with a strong beat like Kaiser Chiefs when I’m on the turbo.
Here’s a time machine which you can use to meet any rider from any point in history. Who will you be meeting?
Last question, and it’s the one that top psychologists agree reveals more about a person than any other: which is better – cats or dogs?
I can’t choose, I like them both! What does that say about me?