Victoria: Addicted to two wheels
Victoria Hood developed such a love of cycling in her 30’s that she decided to launch an all-female race team with the aim “to support more women to get into racing, with friendly and approachable role models”. The Jadan-Weldtite team members are mainly younger girls who Victoria is mentoring to success, but her own cycling career began aged 34.
A dancer for many years, mother-of-one Victoria had never done any endurance sports but decided on a whim to buy a bike and enter a women’s road race, with no training. “I didn’t even get clipped in and they’d all gone, it was a real shock,” she said.
She was determined to progress and worked with a coach to improve her bike fitness, technique and race craft. She said: “It might be hard to start building endurance in your 30s, but it is doable. I’m not the strongest rider physically, so I had to think tactically to race well.”
Victoria now works for British Cycling and runs a bike shop in Lancashire. She does point out that it can be tough if all categories of riders are bundled together due to low levels of female entrants in races, and hopes more women get into the sport to boost numbers.
“It’s about testing yourself when you finish a road race you just think ‘wow, I can’t believe it!’ Road racing is the best thing I’ve ever done. I think it’s absolutely amazing, it makes me feel so exhilarated. It’s addictive.”
Now 39, Victoria is focusing more on track racing and says her own age or the age of her competitors has never had an impact on her performance (a much bigger concern is the painful arterial endofibrosis condition that affects her left leg).
“I don’t think women get weaker as they get older, I think their endurance gets better. There’s no need to even consider not being as good as a younger woman. The only thing that can separate you is your skills,” she added.