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Becky Storrie interview: going big or going home

Alexander Smith interviews the 23-year-old Scot who has quickly establish herself as a rider to watch in this year's National Road Series

Becky Storrie, the 23-year-old from the Isle of Man, has hit the ground running in 2022.

The overall victory, and two stage wins in the Peaks 2 Day, added to second place at the first round of the Cold Dark North Race Series at Capernwray, has put the CAMS-Basso and Movistar e-Team rider at the top of The British Continental’s national road race rankings. 

I want to target the National Road Series, go big or go home! I want to win that or be on the podium for the overall

She first came to our attention last season when she won the Scottish national road race championships in July, while still riding for CAM-Bassos development team, Brother UK – Team OnForm (now Brother UK – Orientation Marketing). She followed that up with third at the Capenwray road race, second at the Ryedale Grand Prix. These performances helped earn her promotion to CAMS-Basso, who she then represented during a very solid week at the National Road Championships where she finished eighth in the time trial and then 14th in a tough road race in wet conditions.

In short, Storrie is quickly proving herself as one of the leading domestic road racers and should be one of the riders to watch ahead of the National Road Series, which begins this weekend with the Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix.

2021 Women’s National Road Championships – Rapha Lincoln GP – Lincoln, England – CAMS Basso’s Becky Storrie climbs the Michaelgate cobbles. Photo: Will Palmer/SWpix.com

But who is Becky Storrie, and how did she get to the top end of British domestic racing? 

Her journey starts in triathlon. 

“I started triathlon when I was 14.” Storrie says. 

“I ended up racing to quite a high level, I was on the England talent squad, and I got a bronze medal at the under-23 British triathlon champs.”  

Following her successes in triathlon, she received an offer to become a part of the triathlon performance squad at the University of Stirling. 

However, during her second year at university, where she was studying Psychology and Sports Studies, she got chronic fatigue. 

“That put me out of action from all exercise for 8 months, which was hard going from 25 to 30-hour weeks to nothing.” 

I found of the three sports the one that was least demanding for my body was cycling, because I couldn’t handle the early morning swimming sessions and running batters your body

As she recovered, she found it was cycling that her body could cope with best, and it happened to be the discipline which she had missed most during her time off. 

“I found of the three sports the one that was least demanding for my body was cycling, because I couldn’t handle the early morning swimming sessions and running batters your body!

“So, I just rode my bike.” She says. 

“Looking back anyway, it was always my favourite of the three disciplines!” 

That was in 2019. In February of that year, Storrie took part in her first bike race. 

“I did my first race, as I felt I needed to get fit, and what’s the best way to get fit? Throw yourself into some bike racing!” 

“Coming from triathlon was a shock to the system; triathletes have a reputation and I soon discovered why!” she says. 

At the EasyToys Bloeizone Fryslân Tour in March this year. Photo: HPSource Media

Some good results followed, with Storrie showing that she had what it took to compete. The transition came with training benefits too, as she switched from concentrating on three disciplines to just one.

“I found it easier transitioning into just cycling, I don’t train anywhere near as much as I did for triathlon. That was another reason why I loved cycling, because then I could have a bit of a life! I could socialise rather than being out running, riding or in the pool.” She explains. 

“My grades improved dramatically too, having more time!” 

She rode the Tour of the Reservoir in 2019 and threw herself in at the deep end. 

“I did Tour of the Res[ervoir] in May. Bearing in mind I had only started riding in January, I decided I’d give that a go. It was the only National Road Series round I did that year. 

“I think I was 20 minutes down on the first day and didn’t finish on the second day. So, I thought this is the standard, this is where I need to be.”

Following that was a trip to Gibraltar for the Island Games, where Storrie represented her native Isle of Man. She took home the win in the time trial and came fifth in the road race. 

“That was cool! The Island Games and the Commonwealth Games are really the only times when you can represent the Isle of Man!”

Later in 2019, after what had been a hugely successful first season on the road, a victory came in the Scottish National Hill Climb Championships in Fife. 

I thought, I may not be able to race my bike, but this is an opportunity for me to catch up on lost time. I found that year of lockdown really valuable

After her first foray into road cycling, COVID hit, and all racing was cancelled. But this, for Storrie, presented an opportunity to “catch up” with her cycling-specific fitness, and to hone some of the skills she needed to perform on the road, now that she had had her first experience of what was needed to compete at the top of national racing in the UK. 

“I thought, I may not be able to race my bike, but this is an opportunity for me to catch up on lost time. I found that year of lockdown really valuable. 

“I used it to get used to training as a bike rider rather than a triathlete!”

Following the lockdowns, Storrie began racing again, with some success. A victory in the U23 British Hill Climb Championships was the highlight of the 2020 season for Storrie, placing third overall. But, it was 2021 when she started to show she could be a rider at the highest level. 

“The 2021 season came in thick and fast, we were not bike racing and then all of a sudden, we had loads of events!

“I was pleasantly surprised with how far I had come during the year.”

A couple of early season National Bs came in May, before taking to the start at the CiCLE Classic and the Otley Grand Prix. 

2021 National Road Series – Becky Storrie at the Ryedale Grasscrete Women’s Grand Prix 2021 – Ampleforth Abbey, Yorkshire. Photo: Craig Zadoroznyj/SWpix.com

A win in the Scottish Road Race Championships, a third at the Capernwray National B and two rounds of the Tour Series came in July and August. But her standout performance was at the end of August, at the Ryedale Grand Prix, where she finished second after a two-up breakaway adventure with Illi Gardner

“My podium at Ryedale was the catalyst for getting onto CAMS-Basso.” She says. 

A strong performance at the National Road Championships followed, as Storrie took eighth in the time trial and 14th in the road race. She put a postgraduate teaching degree on hold, to continue to pursue her career with CAMS-Basso.

Life’s too short, you don’t get these opportunities every day so at the moment I’m all about cycling

“I started my teaching qualification last August at Strathclyde University, just before I got the podium at Ryedale. Up until that point I had never considered pursuing cycling. 

“But then the CAMS-Basso opportunity came up, with the opportunity to race abroad and more frequently. With my Commonwealth Games selection coming through in November, I decided to pause my studies, so I am now on voluntary suspension. 

“Life’s too short, you don’t get these opportunities every day so at the moment I’m all about cycling!” she says. 

Road racing is, for Storrie, still a discipline that she is adapting to. 

“I’m still adapting. There are a lot of things in cycling that, as I didn’t grow up racing a bike, I lack, like the tactical knowledge and skills.

“So, a lot of things I’m doing in cycling, even now, I’m doing for the first time. Doing different events, racing in different places. I don’t see it as a disadvantage, as I think it’s quite fun throwing yourself in at the deep end, you have to learn quickly then!”

At the Vuelta CV Féminas this year. Photo: HPSource Media

The 2022 season has started with a bang for Storrie. Some overseas racing meant she had some racing in the legs before returning to start racing in the UK. 

On her return to the domestic scene, the racing has gone about as well as she could have hoped for. 

“We were really fortunate, we started racing really early. So that was helpful, to get the early season form. 

“By the time of my first UK race, I’d had eight days of racing in my legs. 

“But you can never know what will happen in the UK, the racing is really hard.”

Storrie started at the Peaks 2 Day, taking two stage wins in the opening time trial and in the final road stage. The overall victory followed, with teammate Danni Shrosbree taking the QOM competition. 

“The Peaks 2 Day was a great event. I really hope that continues and we have more events like that. It was great to see Danni do so well, and we had such a good team performance!”

The Commonwealth Games is what everything is about for me this year. Everything is geared towards that event

As for the rest of the season, she hopes to carry her form into the summer, with some of her biggest season goals to come. 

“The Commonwealth Games is what everything is about for me this year. Everything is geared towards that event. 

“I have a busy few weeks coming up, with some downtime in May to get some solid training in.” She says. 

“Then the Women’s Tour too, having looked at the stages, I have my eye on a few of them. 

“Having done it last year as my first stage race and first UCI race, now I know what to expect.

“The Manx International as well, in July, being from the Isle of Man, as a home race that’s going to be super exciting!”

2021 AJ Bell Women’s Tour of Britain – Stage Three- Individual Time Trial – Atherstone, England – CAMS Basso’s Becky Storrie rolls off the ramp. Photo: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

She is careful to stress that she is taking things as they come, though. A lot of her development has come in a short space of time, and she is looking forward to progressing more over the coming years.

“I try not to look too far ahead. You never know, so I am just enjoying the process, watching my development. I really enjoy being a part of CAMS-Basso, we have a great group. There’s a lot of experience between them, so I’m learning from them every race. 

“I’d love for it to be a job one day, but we’ll see how that pans out and keep our fingers crossed!”

Alongside her road career, she rides on Zwift for the Movistar e-Team. An entirely unexpected move for Storrie, it emerged out of random, late opportunism. 

Like most riders, Storrie turned to Zwift during the lockdowns, and took up the racing side of the platform. She was told that the Movistar team was recruiting riders through a series of races the night before the first qualifier. 

My fiancé’s dad phoned me and asked if I’d seen this Movistar qualifier event? If you win you get to ride on their e-team

“My fiancé’s dad phoned me and asked if I’d seen this Movistar qualifier event? If you win you get to ride on their e-team. 

“That was the night before, and I was like, you could have told me a couple of weeks ago!” She exclaims. 

“I was doing the Donny Chain Gang on Zwift, which got me obsessed with it, and that was all the training I did for it.”

From over 2000 applicants, she kept progressing through to the next rounds, much to her surprise. As the process went on, additional aspects, like interviews and power testing were added. A final zoom call with the final candidates was held, when Storrie was told she had a place. 

Photo: Becky Storrie

“We were joking about it, as if I’d got that far! I genuinely didn’t think I’d get that far. When I made the final, I had never won any of the rounds, I didn’t think I’d done anything exceptional. It was more than just winning the races, so when we had the final call, all 20 finalists were there [10 men and 10 women]. 

“I was at my partner’s sister’s birthday party. I said I had to go for five minutes, I said I’ve just got to go for them to tell me I’ve not got on,” she explains. 

“I couldn’t believe it when they told me, I was like ‘really?’ This is mental. 

“It’s now got harder, with all the road racing too, but it’s so much fun.”

An opportunity to travel to the Movistar team camp followed, which she says was a bit of a surreal experience. 

You had Valverde there screaming at you, cheering you on for a Zwift race!

“Because of COVID, we didn’t get to do as much mixing as we planned. But one of the coolest things was we did one of the Zwift races, with Zwift having their full set up, which was mega. 

“You had [Alejandro] Valverde there screaming at you, cheering you on for a Zwift race! He was asking us questions about Zwift racing, as he didn’t have much of a clue about it, why would he?! 

“It was just surreal!” She says. 

“I definitely think they [the road team] thought before the camp that they would want nothing to do with us, but then we got to spend those days with them, and we could show them we could ride bikes pretty well outside as well as inside!

“We got a bit more respect from them as a result of that trip, I think,” she adds. 

“They are so kind and so supportive of our goals on the road and outside the team, so they’re so supportive of everything.”

Photo: HPSource Media

So, with her Zwift racing and her racing on the road, what would be a successful season for Storrie?

“I’m just hoping I can carry form through. 

“I want to target the National Road Series, go big or go home! I want to win that or be on the podium for the overall.  

I want to target the national champs. I was eight in the time trial last year, so I’d like to improve that, a top-five would be a good day

“I want to target the national champs. I was eight in the time trial last year, so I’d like to improve that, a top-five would be a good day. 

“The road race being in Scotland, I have no excuses with home roads! I think last year I was better than the result I got, it was one of those days. I am also very happy to be able to sleep in my own bed and go to a race! 

“I don’t really want to set a goal for the Commonwealth Games, just to be on that start line in an Isle of Man skinsuit is going to be an honour no matter what happens on the day!”

She is currently racing at the Ruta del Sol, before returning to ride in the Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix this weekend. She looks set to go well at the race where she finished 14th last season at the National Road Championships. 

A strong start to the season means she will be a marked rider at all races this season. She will be one to watch this weekend, and for the rest of the season to come. 

The future looks bright for the rider from the Isle of Man.   

Featured image: HPSource Media