The Olympic champion tells us about sibling rivalry and coveted shoes
On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your last race? Ten. It was winning gold in the World Cup Madison with Katie Archibald. We rode incredibly well; we can both be really proud of it. We talked about exactly what we wanted to do and did it. Katie is an incredible partner to race with.
What has been the highlight of the year so far?
Racing La Course was incredible, unlike anything I’ve ever done before — it was just pure madness. It was actually part of my preeuros track preparation so I wasn’t really in mountain climbing form. It was still an incredible experience and one of the most beautiful bike races I have done in my life.
How does having sister
Megan on the GB team influence your relationship?
We’ve been in different age categories so we’ve always been able to look out for each other even though we were a little bit separated. It’s interesting now because we are both on the Podium squad, so we are both fighting for the same spots — hopefully we can still manage to be friends!
If you could win any race what would it be?
It’s about the Olympics and track racing, so Madison Gold at the Olympics is at the forefront of my mind.
What do you do in the track centre between races to keep you occupied?
I’ve got a front row seat to quite an exciting show, there’s always bike racing to watch, so if I’m not thinking about my own race I’m watching another one. You can see what the mood is, see how the track is running, what works, whether people are getting rolled on the line or if they’re leading it out. But I’m also a fan and want to be watching the racing.
When did you know you wanted to be a professional cyclist?
I never had that epiphany moment, it gradually happened. I think there are a lot of women who never thought they could be able to be a full-time cyclist, or if they did that it would be a struggle. So it was never really an ambition, it was just something I wanted to do for as long as possible until I had to get a real job. What bike or piece of kit did you always lust after as a young cyclist?
I was far more interested in kit when I was younger because you’re spending your own very limited money. Now it’s completely different, you get what you’re given. I really, really wanted a specific pair of shoes, but I could never afford them because they were just extortionate.
Who has been the most important person in shaping your career?
At Maindy Flyers, Alan Davis gave me a good mindset. His attitude was that you’ve got to try very hard, you’ve got to put a lot of effort in, you need to try and do it right, but there’s no point in doing it if you’re not enjoying it, so find the corner of the sport that works for you and that you enjoy the most and give everything to that.
If you weren’t a bicycle rider what would you be?
If I had never cycled I would probably have gone to uni and done a degree, I’m not sure which. But now I’ve been able to study alongside cycling and take the time to decide, I think I would be a clinical psychologist.
Barker found her niche and rode with it