A week in the life of Lucy Bechtel


Date: Monday 21 November 2016 – Sunday 27 November 2016.

Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia

Training for: Tour of Bright, three day tour including a Time Trial and two hilly road races.


Who is Lucy:

Lucy lives in Canberra, ACT, Australia with her partner Mark and has been riding with Specialized Women’s Racing since 2016. She bought her first bike when she moved to Canberra from QLD to start a job as an economist with the Australian Government. It was a commuter bike, so that she could take up the challenge of riding through the sub-zero Canberra winter. Her competitive streak quickly came out when her commutes in hiking gear turned serious, she invested in lycra, joined Strava and so the commuter cup began.

She transitioned into racing after joining Canberra’s cycling community, then a NRS development squad and raced her first NRS seasons at the end of 2014. After spending three months racing for a USA criterium team, Lucy joined Specialized Women’s Racing in 2016. She’s an aggressive and opportunistic racer, who loves to ride on the rivet, get off the front and roll the dice when racing.

In her words, she loves that in cycling the goal posts just keep moving. There are so many milestones, and things to learn about the sport and yourself. Not coming from any background in sport, unless you count Sunday night social netball, she has found the journey to be exciting and is so grateful to those who kept prodding her to take each next step.


Monday is the treasured rest day for me. I take it slow in the morning before driving to the closest free parking to work and walking the kilometre into the office. I usually spend the day sitting at a desk, so I use my treasured lunch time to head outdoors, eat lunch and do some stretching on a grassy patch. Once I finish work, it’s home to relax, prepare some dinner and get ready for a hectic week ahead.


At 5am I wake up! I make a coffee and Peanut Butter toast in record time, before facing up to the local bunch ride in Canberra 6am HoP (aka the Hour of Power).  After the bunch I creep home for a smoothie and scrambled eggs, before its back on the bike for the quick commute to work. I’m lucky to have a bike path to ride along by the lake. At lunchtime I sneak out to finish off the session for the day, 4 x 2 minute efforts up the base of the local climb, Red Hill. After work, I ride home, make a big Spaghetti Bolognese and collapse on the couch with Mark.


The 5am alarm sounds and the rest of the morning goes like this - coffee, commute, gym, commute, work, coffee. I eat my packed breakfast of muesli and yoghurt at my desk and then I get a quick chance to go outside for a short wander to stretch the legs. At the end of the working day, it’s back on the bike to ride out to the local club criterium race, at Stromlo Park. Fast and furious racing then I hang about at the track to catch up with friends and watch some of the other races, then it’s home for some leftover spag bol and some shut eye.


After having a late night amped from the race, I struggle to move when my alarm goes off this morning. I press snooze a couple of times and opt to do my session in the afternoon. I need to keep in the small chainring as I spin along the bike path to work! Work is filled with coffee and meetings. After work I ride home and switch bikes to my Time Trial bike and head out for 2 x 14min efforts. As I’m home late, a quick dinner follows, tonight it’s salmon steak on the BBQ and mango salad, YUM.


I have the day off work. This year I’ve negotiated to work 4 days a week, so by the time it gets to Friday I’m exhausted from the early starts, ritual of packing my food, clothing and commuting about Canberra like a pack horse. I make a big scrambled eggs, a smoothie and a coffee and relax at home. Only for a short time though, then it’s out on the bike, Friday is my fun mix up day and long endurance day. I usually choose to take the mountain bike. I head out for 3 hours of single track and fire trails. I love mixing it up on the mountain bike. Friday afternoon is spent relaxing, I do some house (and bike) cleaning and life admin that got away from me during the busy week.


I enjoy a sleep in, a coffee in bed and a very slow start to the day. With Tour of Bright next week, Mark and I head out for 2 x 25min hill efforts. It’s a shorter targeted session that is about 2 hours ride time all up. We come across some friends just as we are finishing up our ride and head to a coffee shop together. We spend the afternoon relaxing and grazing before driving to my brother’s house in a country town 45 minutes away, where we head out to a good old country pub for a counter meal and catch up.


This morning it’s the Annual Canberra Cycling Club Race called the Honey Suckle, a lumpy couple of out and back laps before diverting to head up the steep 8km Honey Suckle climb. I felt good and it was the perfect leg opener for Tour of Bright next weekend. After the race we all head to the coffee shop to hang out, refuel with brunch and a milkshake. In the afternoon it’s time to stock up at the shops for the week and give the van a wash.

Interesting stats for the week:

Hours of training: 15

Kilometers ridden: 375

Bananas consumed:12

Hours worked: 30


What kind of rider are you? Sprinter, Climber, all rounder. All rounder

Where is your favorite place to ride? In Australia? Canberra. In the world? The Italian alps.

What are you training for this year? Another American summer season, which is conveniently book marked by a bunch of NRS races to carry form into.

How do you keep a work life balance? My cycling time is also my socialising time so that helps to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. It also helps that I have no dependents! (eg. Animals or children) and we are happy to eat leftovers all week!

Where is your favourite cafe for a #healthycatchups? My local is Red Brick, but 80/20 is popular after bunches and does an awesome smoothie if you have to get back out for extras!

What is your coffee order? Strong flat white (none of this skim/soy/almond/coconut business!).

What have you learnt? Things I’ve learnt over the past couple of years – 1. Think about your weakness and work on them. With enough practice, they won’t be your weaknesses for long. 2. Race when you can, it’s the best way to learn race craft and test yourself. 3. If you need a break from training on the road, get on the dirt, it’s the best way to refresh, hone skills and build strength.

All the best to Lucy for the 2017 NRS season and for trying to survive winter in Canberra

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