Lauren Kitchen is the youngest women in the Australian Women’s Road Cycling Team. The bright young 19 year old rider from Port Macquarie considers her mother and brother to be her greatest inspiration. Like most cyclists, she doesn’t like rain, because training inside is boring, and although she’s not a fan of mountain passes; Lauren has a King of the Mountain (KOM) jersey to her name.
Lauren "Loz" took time out of her schedule to speak with Rowena Scott for Bicycles Network Australia before she heads to the Giro d’Italia Femminile in July, where this motivated young women is sure to give it everything she’s got!
BNA: How old where you when you started riding seriously?
I was 14 years old when I started riding. I was picked up through a talent ID program I attended for the North Coast Academy of Sport, NCAS.
BNA: What’s your riding style?
I’m more of an all-rounder, I don’t mind the hills and prefer it over flat as it makes the races more interesting, but I’m not that much of a fan of racing up mountain passes. I love the classics the most and can see that part of the year being my focus in future seasons.
BNA: Do you have a favorite race?
I really liked Flanders, I would love to win it one day.
BNA: What’s your best placing?
Well recently I finished 2nd overall and won the young riders and KOM jersey in the Tour of Bourgogne in France. Last year I finished 2nd in Stage five of PEI, UCI 2.2 which is also up there. I have also won U/19 nationals and have placed 7th at Junior Road worlds.
BNA: Undulations, mountains or the flat, if you could only do one which would you choose?
Undulations for sure as it suits a break-away.
BNA: Do you have a pre-race song?
Nope not really, I like to mix it up, whatever comes on really.
BNA: What/who is your inspiration?
For me, my major motivating factor is my hunger to join a top pro team. My mum and my brother are a great inspiration as they have been there since the start and I want to do well for them as well as for myself.
BNA: What’s your most embarrassing moment on the bike?
Probably a gumby crash.
BNA: How much coffee do you think you consume?
Not as much as Rach! Haha, nah, I drink coffee when we stop at cafes, which is pretty often… so probably a strong coffee each day on average.
BNA: What are the worst and the best things about training?
The worst thing is when it’s raining, if you go out you get wet and cold, if you train indoors, it’s boring. The best thing is catching up with mates and the beautiful scenery that you pass, plus how could I forget: Coffee shop stops.
BNA: Best place in the world to be a cyclist?
Australia. No doubt about it. Aussie bike riders get a continuous summer. We have October to February and a majority of March in Oz generally, before heading to Europe for their summer. My goal is to not experience a full winter anywhere for the next 15years.
BNA: What would you like to see change in women’s cycling in Australia and/or over the world?
(I just asked my brother and he said "have it removed?” It’s because he misses me and that everyone asks him about it and he can’t remember which country I’m in, ha-ha!)
I would like to see and what I’m sure the other girls would like to see, more sponsorship for the women’s pro circuit. To do this I would love to see more media covering our competitions from all over the world, that’s the only way the sport can grow globally and at a national, state and local level.
BNA: What’s the best thing about being an Australian Athlete?
Being an Aussie Athlete is something that means a great deal to me. I think Australia has a strong sporting identity and to be a part of that is something I have always dreamed to achieve. The support from my local community, Port Macquarie, is something I find pretty special.
We wish Lauren the best of luck in the Giro d’Italia and her goals for the future; you can follow Lauren on her website www.laurenkitchen.com.
Photos used with permission.