Louise Laker

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born in Wegberg, Germany & grew up in Portsmouth, Riyadh & Kent!

Where is your current home?

Girona, Catalunya

How did you get into riding a bike?

I have been riding a bike for as long as I can remember - my parents are cyclists & I grew up cycling to school & being dragged around Kent on the back of a tandem. I got into road racing in my early 20s when I was working in London.

What is your local climb? The climb you do the most out of any other.

My current local climb is Els Àngels in Girona - the base is a couple of Kms from home.

Nice climb! Can you describe what it is like?

Beautiful! The road climbs 12kms to a sanctuary which has 360 degree views of Girona, Rocacorba, the Pyrenees & the Costa Brava.

What kind of efforts would you say the climb suited to?

The climb has a steady gradient averaging 5-6%, but it also has a couple of downhill sections making a 10min or 20min effort tricky. It's pretty good for 20-40s (20 seconds full gas, 40 seconds tempo) or sets of 1 min intervals.

Is the Strava QOM for the climb ever in your thoughts, or do you strictly focus on the goals of the current effort?

Very rarely! The climb is popular with the professional riders who live in Girona so the best time is fairly unattainable. That said there's a closed road hill climb every year where the right conditions and a light set of wheels could make the impossible happen!

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Any other climbs in the area you prefer, or is this climb your favourite?
Els Àngels is one of my favourites - the same hill range (Les Gavarres) has two other crossings - Santa Pelaia & Montnegre which are better for training efforts. There's also Rocacorba for something more challenging or Mare de Deu del Mont for something tougher again. One of the best has to be San Grau - a climb which takes you to the Coast road and has stunning views of the Mediterranean.

What about favourite climb overall? Any reason?

My favourite climb ever!? That's so tough! I love all climbs... The Stelvio holds a special place in my heart - I climbed it on my first date with my now husband, Lee.

If you can survive the Stelvio together then I’m sure you’re set for life! What is the hardest climb you’ve summited by bike?

El Angliru - I was guiding a group across the Picos de Europa and on into Asturias. El Angliru was the last climb of a two week epic cycle tour - it was mega!

What kind of riding do you do in general? Is it more for training or pleasure?

Nowadays I ride for pleasure & work. I run cycle tour company Eat Sleep Cycle so now I spend time cycling in new places to design our new tours or cycle as a guide taking our guests across mountain ranges or introducing them to our local Girona roads - dream job!

Touchy subject, but something that has happened to every bike rider at some point, getting dropped. When did you last get dropped in a race or ride? What was going on when you got dropped?

I last got dropped in the first round of the Copa Catalana at the beginning of the 2018 season. There was torrential rain & it was very cold - I was dropped on the second lap on a long drag up into Begur. Nightmare!

Did you get back to the group you were with?

No

Gruelling turbo session or climbing the worst climb you can imagine in wind and rain?

Worst climb in the wind and rain!

On to more current matters. Which team/club are you riding for this year, and what do you aim to achieve in 2019?

I’m a member of Club Ciclista Eat Sleep Cycle - work means I will not reach race-ready fitness this year but I'm excited to try out some sportives - maybe La Purito... And definitely some local events.

What are your interests away from the bike?

Food! They go pretty well together. I love to cook and go to new restaurants & try new flavours.

Quick fire questions

Tell me your…

Go to summer road bike? My Worx RA SL - it's perfectly proportioned and handles beautifully (as a 5' tall rider this has been super difficult to find).

Dream bike? Probably a custom steel build with clearance for some wider tyres for exploring the gravel roads around Girona.

One climb to ride said dream bike up? The Zoncolan looks fairly horrific.

Favourite cycling book? I just finished 'The Rider' by Tim Krabbe. It made me want to race again.

Favourite cycling movie? 'A Sunday in Hell'.

Favourite pro rider(if any)? Chavez.

Why? He smiles loads.

Favourite piece of cycle clothing you’ve owned? My Eat Sleep Cycle jersey - I'm always proud to pull it on.

Thanks Louise!

Links
Louise on Instagram
Louise on Twitter
Eat Sleep Cycle