Britain's Biggest Cycling Fan joins Chris Hoy for a day on the track
Lauren Booth was crowned Britain’s Biggest Cycling Fan on 19 September. For those unaware of Lauren’s story, she contracted meningitis at six weeks old when doctors predicted that she would never walk, talk, or have any quality of life. What has followed is an incredibly inspirational story with her love of cycling at the very core - for the rest read Lauren’s story. It all led to her being voted Britain’s Biggest Cycling Fan – and as her prize, coming to Manchester and riding in a special track day with her hero Sir Chris Hoy.
Lauren arrived at the velodrome nice and early, eagerly anticipating the day ahead, and was not let down when Olympic Champion Jason Kenny strolled past her in reception! After a quick drink and a look at the track it was time to get kitted up and ready for action. Her group were quickly started on a few warm up laps by the coaches. While this was taking place Chris Hoy entered the D and got ready to get involved.
As the cyclists came to a stop you could feel the anticipation rising as Chris took his place at the back of the pack. Shane Sutton, Great Britain Cycling Team coaching guru, also came down and shared some pearls of wisdom – and then they were off.
What followed was something that very few people get to enjoy, as Chris cycled right next to each cyclist offering advice and encouragement as they circled the velodrome. Chris’ words seemed to take effect as each rider gradually built up speed. Lauren looked like one of the team as she and Chris, both in full GB kit, raced around the track.
It was then time for the group to do a timed ‘flying lap’. With Lauren leading out she powered around the track, even taking Chris by surprise with her speed. She clocked a very impressive time of 21.15, which ended up being the fastest time in her session. After a final few laps of the track with Chris before it was time for lunch.
After a spot of lunch the group had a Q&A with Chris Hoy in the stands of the velodrome. With questions ranging from ‘how do I help my son become an Olympian?’ to ‘would you ever do Strictly Come Dancing?’ Chris was great and gave some top insights into being a pro cyclist and how he likes to spend his free time. Finally there was a signing session, where Lauren got a signed Sky Ride bib and a photo with her hero.
Then it was time to go home after an incredible day for Lauren and the rest of the group. For Lauren it was a deserved reward for the amazing things she has achieved in her life, leading her to being crowned Britain’s Biggest Cycling Fan.