A PEDAL-PUSHING vet is preparing to jump in the saddle when she represents Team GB in a world cycling championships in Poland this weekend.
Ella Steel, who works at Avonvale Veterinary Centre in Southam branch, has been selected to represent the British squad at the UCI Grand Fondo World Championships, which features amateurs and masters, tomorrow (Sunday).
The 35-year-old started training for a triathlon at vet school but an injured calf muscle while training for an Ironman duathlon a few years later stopped her running.
But it allowed her to concentrate on cycling which took over.
She did sportives – long distance cycling events – with husband Adam until they had their son, Bronson, three years ago, and then started focusing on cycle racing as it was less time consuming, although, she admits, far more intense.
In May, she invested in a cycling coach through Dig Deep Coaching and says after that she saw her performance improve dramatically.
Ella qualified for the world championships during the Tour of Cambridgeshire in July by finishing in the top 25 per cent of her age group, the 35 to 39 category.
She said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be representing Team GB. When I put on the kit for the first time, wearing the Union Jack, it was such a proud moment.
“I am very nervous. It’s a much longer race than the others I’ve done this season and of course there’s the extra pressure to perform well when you have the honour of representing your country.”
Ella, who lives in Bishop’s Itchington, trains up to six times a week.
She said: “It’s been hard work fitting the training in around a 40-hour week, especially with our son Bron and our dog Cosworth to look after too.
“Thankfully, my husband Adam has been incredibly supportive and taken all the slack when it comes to Bron’s teatimes and bedtimes so I can sweat it out in the garage.
“Everyone at Avonvale has also been so supportive and really encouraging.”