Conyers commits to chasing her dreams
Caitlin Conyers is determined to pursue a professional cycling career as she aims to fulfil her ultimate dream of representing Bermuda at the Olympic Games.
Having only dipped her toe into the sport, competing in a handful of races in 2017, Conyers has gone on to reign supreme locally, winning the Presidents Cup, the Bermuda National Road Race Championships, the BBA Time-Trial National Championships, the Butterfield Bermuda Grand Prix and the Sinclair Packwood Memorial race.
That undoubted burgeoning talent was cemented further on the international stage with Conyers emerging as the surprise success story for Bermuda at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, last year, with top-ten finishes in the time-trial and road race events.
Her rise in the sport has been so meteoric that the 30-year-old took the decision to put her law career in Bermuda on hold and relocate to Tucson, Arizona, in the United States, along with her boyfriend Dominique Mayho one of the island’s top men’s cyclists, as she aims to give herself the best opportunity of matching her lofty ambitions.
“Myself and Dom took the decision to move out to Tucson full time in January and we’ll be here until at least April,” said Conyers.
“I want to pursue a cycling career and working full time in Bermuda wasn’t conducive to doing that.
“Being out here full time means I can focus completely on cycling. I’ve doubled my training hours and I’ve also been able to recover properly.
“I’ve just turned 30 and so now is the time for me to pursue this. In five years’ time I can’t try and turn my attention to professional cycling, but I can always go back to being a lawyer.
“It really is my last chance, a now-or-never scenario, so I feel I need to give it a proper shot and, luckily, I have some amazing support around me.
“The main drive to be out here was to gain experience, be part of the US racing scene and try and get on to one of the professional teams.
“I had to immerse myself into the culture of professional training and here is a great place to do that. I have the roads, the mountains, the competitions; it’s all here.”
The decision has seemingly already paid dividends with Conyers making an immediate impact in Arizona, clinching victory in a number of local races.
Competing at the A Race Against Time event in San Manuel, Arizona, she took top honours in the Women’s Pro 1/2 Division 30K time-trial race in a winning time of 47min 46secs.
Building on that momentum, Conyers enjoyed further success winning both the Women’s Pro 1/2 road race and criterium at the Pinal County Vuelta A Santa Catalina event.
Although Conyers is remaining level-headed about her most recent success, she set herself a blueprint for steady progress over the coming years with ambitions of securing a spot within a professional team, with an ultimate aim of competing on the world’s biggest sporting stage.
“The level here isn’t as high as the Pan Am region I’ve competed in before, but there are races more regular that I can compete in,” she added.
“I won’t be competing to World Tour standard, but I’d say it is just under that and if I can continue to do well, then it will be a huge boost for me in my aim of progressing further and eventually, hopefully, get on to one of the UCI professional teams.
“My entire cycling career up until now has been on the basis of seeing how it goes and so I have a similar mentality to this.
“If after a year things haven’t progressed as I would have liked, then maybe I’ll start to wonder whether I’m doing the right thing, but I’d like to give myself three to four years.
“I’m still new to the sport and it can take years for some people to reach the professional level. Over the next year, I’ll be focusing on training and building up the hours on the bike.
“The second year will be about really pushing on and trying to perform to a high level; that’s where my expectations are.
“Looking further ahead, I’d love to go to the Olympic Games. It’s incredibly tough and, really, you have to be part of one of the World Tour teams to gain points.
“However, if I can take it one step at a time, then I think 2024 could be a realistic ambition for a long-term goal.”
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