ONE of Ireland's big medal hopefuls at the Paralympic Games, Katie-George Dunlevy, speaks about her love of cycling, her rowing past and will to improve.
Q. Do you enjoy training or is it difficult being away from home?
A. I actually like going around training camps. We don’t go away for too long, usually no longer than two weeks, although at Rio I’ll be away for longer, probably four or five weeks. I like the environment of training, you’re in that bubble where you can really focus on what you’re doing. And then of course I’m with Eve (McCrystal, her cycling pilot), so we can work on what we need to do together. It’s usually a positive vibe, whereas at home it’s quite hard to train day-in-day-out on my own, it’s tough at times.
Q. How do you relax in between training camps?
A. When I get home from training camps I’m usually just sorting out my clothes! I usually just take one day off as a recovery day, but then I’ll be back training the next day. It isn’t usually as intense, but I still be training, going to the gym for 10 days or so before I’m heading off again. It’s been non-stop since the beginning of February. I’ve been to Mallorca twice, I’m going back in April and then my first race is in May on the road. From there it’ll be non-stop training and racing in the build-up to Rio.
Q. What’s your favourite thing about being on the road?
A. Simply my enjoyment of the sport, being able to cycle. I do love going around the world, but a lot of the time I don’t get to see the countries that I’m going to – I’m either literally on the road on the bike or I’m inside the velodrome, so I don’t get to see much of the place where I’m based. But for me it’s all about getting quality sessions in and then racing, I love the actual racing, especially the road racing, which is my favourite event.
Q. Are you interested in other sports?
A. Oh yeah, I love all different types of sports. I’ve done quite a few from a young age – I did athletics and swimming to quite a high level when I was a youngster and then I represented Great Britain in the Para-rowing in 2004-2005. I did rowing for about six years and was a member of the club in Maidenhead, so I’ve done a lot. I just love being active.
Q. As an athlete, what would you say your greatest strength is?
A. I would say coping well under pressure. When it comes down to it, in the races, I can always perform to a high level. We can always pull it off on the day, which is a really positive thing, and it seems to come good most of the time, in particular at the major championships.
Q. Is there anything in particular you’re working on to improve yourself?
A. I’m continuously working on a lot of things to improve myself, it’s an ongoing thing. It might even be rehab, like when I had a bad injury last year, I’m still doing rehab on my ankle from that. Whether it’s that or strength and conditioning in the gym, working on my core, getting stronger. Then there’s the nutrition side of things, it’s always ongoing, improving everything you can think of to try and be the best you can be.
Q. What’s your favourite type of music?
A. I listen to all sorts but my favourite would probably be indie rock, but I also love pop and whole mixture of stuff, even Disney stuff from when I was younger, I still remember all the words! Then there’s musicals, motown music, R&B, I love all sorts!