Julie-Anne Hazlett: Veloroos – Race Across America and Race Around Ireland
You may not recognise the name, but she has set precedents in cycling: racing 5,500km in less than seven days – record holder in the Race Across America and the Race Around Ireland. Julie-Anne Hazlett has an interesting story to tell…
Photos: Holly Stanton
“Just get out there and do it and don’t put limitations on yourself.”
– Julie-Anne Hazlett, when asked what advice she’d offer those who are considering getting into cycling.
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The Veloroos have contested two international cycling events as a team: the ‘Race Across America’ and the ‘Race Around Ireland’. Four women riders – one from Ireland, three from Britain – and a considered, unified approach to riding fast, non-stop, and over vast distances.
The American race is over 5,500km long and the record time, set by the Veloroos, is six days 13 hours and 27 minutes.
The Irish race is less than half the distance but it was undulating and included 22,000 metres of climbing. The quartet completed the course in three days and broke the previous women’s record by 19 hours. They finished fourth overall and it has inspired them to consider other events in the future – if they can conjure the funding to keep on riding their bikes. There’s not a lot of money in it, in fact it’s quite an expensive exercise, but there is satisfaction even if it comes with a good dose of sleep deprivation.
Take 20 minutes to watch our ‘Talking Cycling’ episode with Hazlett.
Click the YouTube link above and let Julie-Anne tell you her story…
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It’s easy to feel tired just considering the effort. And Hazlett admits that the toughest challenge for riders in this kind of event is missing out on sleep. When listening to this rider, it’s easy to believe that the physical toll is less than the emotional one… and not nearly as tough as essentially staying awake for days on end.
‘Adventure’ racing is all the rage at the moment; it’s a rethink on traditional cycling and it appeals to a range of riders – men and women, young and old, experienced or not.
“You don’t know what’s possible,” says Hazlett at the end of our interview.
“I certainly never thought that I’d have two records under my belt. And when I started I didn’t necessarily go out with that aim or a goal.
“I just started and I loved it. And I get so much pleasure in so many different ways through being on the bike.”
Action on the roads of Ireland (above).
Photo: Sean Rowe
Cycling is about much more than breaking records or doing extreme things but it’s inspiring to listen to someone who is relatively new to bike riding – someone who has achieved beyond her own expectations – talk about what she does with such gusto and humour.
Julie-Anne Hazlett may not be a household name but cycling attracts a diverse crowd and provides a vast range of formats for people to find their own particular strengths, and a style of riding that delivers satisfaction.
“The Veloroos,” she concludes, “stand for women who want to get out there and get involved – and see what you can do, without any limitations.”
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