Mikayla Harvey has immersed herself into life at the highest level of European cycling. In her first year with Bigla Pro Cycling Harvey has already tackled racing in Spain, Belgium and Italy; with her last outing taking on the World Tour one-day epic Strade Bianche. We caught up with her after the race to find out about the season so far.
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RC: First of all . . . this is it, you’re living the dream of being a top flight professional cyclist. Describe your first impressions so far of life with the Bigla set up, racing in Spain, Belgium and Italy against the best in the world consistently.
Mikayla: My life so far with Bigla has been a dream come true. For a small team we have a very professional set up, and everyone involved with the project is super motivated. I feel like we are becoming a really close-knit unit – making our team extremely special.
RC: Has your lifestyle had to change a great deal from your training and racing with Mike Greer Homes Women’s Cycling and Team Illuminate to now with Bigla Pro Cycling and if so what kind of changes have they been and how have you found them to deal with?
Mikayla: My first month with the team included: team camp, Setmana Valenciana, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche. It’s been a full-on month and I have enjoyed every moment of it. The racing is a whole new level compared to anything I have ever done before. Getting to race on cobblestones for the first time was a bit of a shock. I felt like I was getting rattled to bits!
The racing is full gas, a little dangerous and extremely exciting. There is no time to get bored during the classics! Also, riding for my team mates adds a whole new aspect to racing. Team racing is very special, when everyone bonds and works in unison, it creates a very motivating experience.
RC: January was a difficult month for you as you worked your way through injury. Fitness-wise where are you now?
Mikayla: The beginning of the year was not ideal as I was recovering from my fractured elbow. Even though it was frustrating, it gave time to focus on other aspects of training – I was able to do a proper block of gym work which gave me a different perspective. After the injury, I become even more motivated in my training as I realised how much I missed riding outside! In terms of my current fitness, I feel like I am going from strength to strength, I am fresh and ready for the season ahead.
RC: Strade Bianche is a race that has has so quickly become an event that is among the most exciting and captivating on the calendar and your role on Saturday helped lead to Cecile Ludwig’s fifth place. Talk us through your role in the race and how that outworked through the day.
Mikayla: Racing Strade Bianche was such an honour. It is a race that I have dreamt about since I have become passionate about cycling. It is one of the most epic one day races, from the white gravel roads to the special finale up into Siena. My role for the day was to help support our lead riders. For me the race started off well. I was having a blast on the gravel sectors, and I was doing my best to keep myself and my teammates at the front of the peloton. Positioning is crucial, as it turns to carnage once you hit the gravel.
Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go to plan on the long gravel sector 70kms into the race. Our lead rider Cecile Ludwig punctured, it was my job to protect her, so I become involved in helping her return to the peloton.
However, things got worse for me when I punctured during the chase, causing me to be well and truly out the back. Our team continued to fight, and Cecile road into 5th overall. The team was happy with the result considering the challenges we battled through on the day!
RC: What does your race calendar look like from here and what will you specifically be targeting as a race either for yourself or a race you will be looking to peak for?
Mikayla: I have an exciting season ahead with many more epic races lined up. Personally, I would love to race the Giro, however the team will be selected closer to the race. So, for now I am just focusing on building my form and gaining more experience and knowledge during the races I have coming up.