Louise Haston was part of the para-cycling team that won Scotland’s first medal of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She also has a number of titles and medals, from the Masters’ National Track Championships and the Scottish National Track Championships to her name. Here, Louise kindly provides us with an insight as to how it all began…
TORQ: How did you get into cycling?
Louise: My interest in cycling was sparked by watching Team GB and fellow Scot, Chris Hoy, at the Beijing Olympics, it really made me want to give track cycling a go and I thought “how hard can it be?!”
At the time, I was training for the triple jump and had represented Scotland a few times. So one evening, after I had finished my training at the Meadowbank athletics track, I decided to wander across to the velodrome, to see what was going on and talk to someone about getting involved. Allister Watson was the first person I saw and after a 10 minute chat, he chucked me on a bike on a set of rollers. I loved it instantly and decided I was going to give it a real shot. So I quit athletics to focus on cycling and I started buying all the kit – everything had to match of course because I’m such a girl!
TORQ: What was the first event you ever raced and how did you get on?
Louise: I can’t remember my first race exactly, but I do recall one time (from the early days), when I was racing at Meadowbank and I was left to my own devices. I thought I’d done a really good job of sorting my bike out, but when I got out on the track, I realised I had forgotten to tighten the wheel nuts on my front wheel. The steering was crazy and I came flying off the track straight onto the grass verge, but incredibly I survived unscathed!
TORQ: What is the one thing you now know about training or racing that you wish you had known when you first started racing?
Louise: For me this is a no brainer, getting the fuelling right is by far the most important thing, if you don’t you’re pretty much wasting your time. I used to think I could race and train on practically nothing – how wrong was I?! Now I take my nutrition much more seriously. If I’m going out for a long road ride, I’ll have some porridge with fruit and honey before I go and if I have a double session in a day, I’ll have wholemeal toast with scrambled egg between sessions. TORQ energy and recovery are also a really important part of getting it right, so that I can train properly and recover for the next session.
TORQ: What is your greatest cycling achievement?
Without a doubt my greatest achievement to date was winning two silver medals at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, piloting Aileen Mcglynn on the tandem. It was Scotland’s first medal of the games, which made it even more special. Competing at a home games and being successful, especially after all the hard work we put in, made it very special indeed. It is a memory I definitely won’t forget.
TORQ: Who has inspired you?
My inspiration was always Jonathan Edwards, the Olympic Gold Medal winning triple jumper. I loved watching him jump, his style was so fluid and his jumping looked so effortless.
TORQ: What is the most adventurous thing you have done on a bike?
The most adventurous thing I have done on the bike was to ride the “Pedal for Scotland, Glasgow to Edinburgh challenge.” It was 110 miles of hell and I was really relieved to see the finish line. I was asked to do it through Scottish Cycling and because the press were at the start, taking photographs, I started after everyone else had left and had to cycle most of the route on my own.
TORQ: What is your favourite (non-cycling) food off the bike?
I love my food! If I want something I will generally eat it in moderation, but for the majority of the time, I eat fairly healthily. My absolute favourite though is Thai food, so a night out at the Thai Orchid restaurant in Edinburgh is a real treat.
TORQ: How many bikes do you own?
I currently own a wattbike, two track bikes and a road bike, all of which take up so much room – so it is just as well I don’t care about shoes and handbags! Trainers though are another story. I’ve lost count of the number of pairs I own.
TORQ: When you are not training for world domination on the bike, how do you spend your time?
When I’m not on the bike or in the gym, I am usually running around after my nine year old son, Riley. At the weekend, most of my mornings are spent freezing my butt off at the side of a football pitch. During the week, I work at the Bank of Scotland, which has been great at supporting me throughout my cycling career – the branch manager and my colleagues in particular have been amazing. I think I am now used to not being able to rest; my life is a constant conveyer belt and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
TORQ: What is your most dreaded and loved training session?
I absolutely hate the gym. I’m useless at squats – my long legs are my excuse – and it really stresses me out. It doesn’t help that I have about as much upper body strength as a mosquito, so overall the gym sucks! At the moment, I am currently doing two gym sessions per week and I am lucky enough to be able to use Scottish Cycling’s gym – but I will be back to using good old Meadowbank in the next couple of weeks.
On the other hand, I just love hurting myself on the wattbike. The best sessions are when you finish and you are hanging over the bike trying not to throw up – I love those sessions!
Louise will be racing the Elite National Championships, the National Masters and World Masters Track Championships, as well the National Omnium series and some criteriums in a very busy race season. We wish her every success and look forward to reporting her results here.
As part of the TORQ Performance Track Team Louise is supported by:
Limar – Helmets
Lake Cycling – Cycling Footwear
Tifosi Optics – Eyeware
Jagwire – Cables & Housing
Lezyne – Pumps, Tools, Bottle Cages
Fenwicks – Bike Maintenance
Raceware Direct – Custom Chain Catchers and Computer Mounts
Camelbak – Bottles
Active Life Logistics – Dugast Tyres
Ceramicspeed – Ceramic Bearing Upgrades
Todayscyclist – KMC Chains
ithlete – HRV Measurement and Analysis