Biking to Victory: Q&A with Ellie Dyas, award-winning cyclist and senior


Anushka Dasgupta

Senior Ellie Dyas rides her bike—cycling can be a team or individual sport. Dyas said she will often cycle in the front during team events so that her teammates behind her conserve energy to win at the end, since aerodynamics play a large factor in fast-paced road cycling.

Raphael Li

When did you start cycling?

I got into it about seven years ago. My dad had been doing it for a little bit, and then I went to a race and it looked really fun, so I started pretty soon after that.

When did you start biking competitively?

I was competing basically from the time I started. I raced mountain bikes initially just for the first season, and then I raced cyclocross in the fall, but right now I’m doing more road and cyclocross mostly.

What kind of racing do you do?

I race road (races). I also race mountain bikes trails and then I race cyclocross, which is on grass and sort of like cross country.

How long are these courses?

A cyclocross course can be up to two miles, but you do it as many times as you can within the time limit. You measure races based on how long they are, so I typically race for cyclocross, which is like 45 minutes, and that’s about the same time that a crit (race with repeated laps) for a road race would be. For a mountain bike race, you measure it based on distance. The races that I would be doing would be around 20 (miles).

What’s your favorite part about biking?

I really like mountain biking. It’s something you can do and be by yourself but can be athletic, and it’s not boring. Running or just riding in a straight line for hours and hours can get a little tiring. I like mountain biking because it’s something that takes a lot of skill, and you have to develop it over a long period of time, but then once you’re able to do it, it’s pretty fun.

What’s your favorite memory from biking?

My favorite memory from cycling so far (was in) December. We had Cyclocross Nationals, and I had a really good race. I ended up finishing fifth, which is really good for me. I’m placed well going into this year, and I had worked and trained with my coach for the entire year for that race.

Have you been injured cycling?

Yeah, I crash all the time. I have scars basically everywhere from racing, but it’s worth it. Most of the time, especially when you’re racing off-road, you fall on grass. The only time people get really really hurt is racing road, and, knock on wood, I have not crashed really bad racing roads, so it’s pretty good, but a lot of people break (their) collarbones. It’s kind of “the” cycling injury.

How do you train?

I do a lot of strength training, just overall fitness. I run a lot, but then I also train on the bike around 12 hours a week. Every day I train for a couple (of) hours, and then I do longer hours on the weekends. I go back on the road when it’s winter, and (if) it’s really, really cold, then you set up your bike inside on rollers or a trainer where you can pedal but you don’t go anywhere. For mountain biking and cyclocross, that’s got a lot of technical skills that you need, and you go out, and you can ride trails, or you can do skills practices with your team.