Conyers pro dream hits the skids
Caitlin Conyers has been forced to put her pursuit of a professional cycling career on hold as she prepares to defend her Time-Trial National Championships crown.
After a host of impressive displays on the international stage following her relocation to Tucson, Arizona, at the start of the year, Conyers looked to be moving a step closer to fulfilling her professional aspirations and was handed a guest ride with the Lux Specialized Development Team in April.
However, much like the majority of athletes worldwide, Conyers's immediate sporting calender, and ultimately her ambitions, were disrupted because of the widespread consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“All of the cycling races in the United States got cancelled and so my plans of riding with the Lux Specialized Development Team got disrupted unfortunately,” said Conyers, who clinched an impressive podium place, finishing third among renowned professionals at the Tour of Southern Highlands in Northern Georgia in March.
“It's obviously disappointing because I was making good progress out in the US and I was really excited about the prospect of racing more against some of the top competitors out there, but it wasn't to be.
“Because of what is going on myself and Dom [Dominique Mayho] decided to come back home to Bermuda.
“It's been difficult coming back. I had such a good routine in Arizona and I loved training the big inclines and climbs for long intervals. Obviously we don't have mountains here so my training has completely changed.
“It is also difficult to get motivated again. Out there my whole life was geared towards cycling, I would be out all day cycling. [In Bermuda] there are my family and friends who are a nice distraction and I love seeing them, but know I need to find that balance again.
“I had a certain goal that I was striving for and that has become unclear now.”
As well as her immediate future being disrupted, Conyers said her future plans also remain unclear with no way of knowing how long the Covid-19 crisis will continue.
“I haven't really decided on my future as yet because it isn't really a time to make concrete plans right now,” she added.
“I don't want to decide on something, commit to it and then everything gets disrupted again. I'll have to see what happens with the Lux Team. If the opportunity arises I'd be interested in going back but it's obviously difficult to know what is going to happen at the moment.
“All I can control is keeping up my training and focus on events like the Time-Trial National Championships this weekend and hopefully the Caribbean Championships later this year.”
Turning her attention to the championships on Sunday, Conyers, who won the Female Open 19 to 39 Age Group Division last year, is relishing having the opportunity to race again, having already tasted victory in the Team Time-Trial event alongside Wenda Roberts and Sharon Hammond last weekend.
“It's good to get back to racing again,” she said. “The time trials are my favourite because it's me against myself and so it will be a good gauge to see where I'm at right now.
“Things have been really unsettled so it will be interesting to see where I'm at, but I'm excited to be back in race mode.
“It's been great to have that adrenalin again when training and it has forced me to dig that bit deeper. It's been a good wake up call for me to get ready to race again.”