Army Doctor, Captain EJay Harris began riding to cut the costs of her commute to work and then started racing with the Army Cycling team, in 2016 she debuted in a UCI team with Podium Ambition and continued to improve at a lightening speed. UCI top 10’s followed a successful Road Nationals, but then a collapse at the Tour of Norway in August 2016 saw her diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. Almost 12 months on and having been through significant surgery to remove the tumour, EJay is not just back at work and getting in to training, she has been selected to represent GB for the first time!
We caught up with her to find out how things are going and how she managed to balance training for such a high level of racing alongside a full-time job!
Q: You rode Ride London as part of Podium Ambition last year, how will that experience help you as you approach this years event?
EJH: Yes and it was a great race in an iconic setting and to have home support in a world tour race always gives you that extra boost (no better incentive than your Mum shouting to pedal faster). I know what to expect this year so I’m feeling more prepared and looking forward to racing.
Q: It’s almost a year since your cancer diagnosis did you expect to receive a GB team call up so soon after recovering?
EJH: At the time there was a lot of uncertainty and when something big like that hits you, you have to readjust your expectations. For me I wasn’t sure whether I would be racing again so to be getting back on my bike in full health by January was massive. The results that followed surprised me more than anybody and if you told me I would be riding for team GB in Ride London I’m not sure I would believe you!
Q: It’s been a phenomenal season for you on the road, from Tour Series success to being top Amateur at the Road TT Nationals in 10th and then a 4th place in the Prologue in Thüringen, what has been your highlight so far?
EJH: I raced the tour series last year for the first time, I love the fast paced nature of crit racing so to win Croydon was quite special after fighting to stay in the front group there last year, it just showed how far I had come. Plus it was the first win for Storey Racing and we got a 1-2!
Q: You balance your training around working as a Doctor, when do you fit everything in? If you have a typical day, what does it look like?
EJH: There is no magic recipe, a regimental routine helps!
0600 get up fasted ride or yoga/core work
0730 walk the woofer with breakfast, normally eggs and avocado
0800 Doctors meeting, 0830-1230 morning clinic
1230-1330 much needed Americano whilst throwing some tennis ball for the pup
1330-1630 afternoon clinic
1700-1900 training session
1930 dinner (if I’m lucky cooked by George)
2000-2200 finally catch up on emails/order more coffee capsules/twilight dog stroll/iron uniform and polish boots
Q: And finally, in terms of Ride London, what would you consider to be a good outcome for you?
EJH: I’m sure I will be given a role in the team and I hope I can execute that to the best of my ability, if I can do that I will be happy.
A huge congratulations to EJay on this first National team selection, we all hope there are many more and are excited to follow the action this weekend.