The professional road racer believes that "If you keep going and believe in yourself, then eventually you can reach the pinnacle of the sport."
Raise Your Game: How did you first get involved in cycling?
Daniel Lloyd: I bought a mountain bike magazine and decided that I wanted a mountain bike. Not long after that, I think it was about eight or nine months later, I actually got a mountain bike from my dad. I was about 13 or 14-years-old. I found a local race and entered it. I didn't do particularly well, and it was a very painful experience because I felt sick at the end, but about an hour afterwards I was looking in the magazine for the next race!
6 August 1982
Cervélo Test Team
Winner of the Vuelta a Extremadura 2008.
It's a very addictive sport once you get into it and if you enjoy it, you keep coming back for more, no matter how many blows you take. In cycling you might compete in 100 races a year and you're lucky if you win one! Most of the people doing it keep coming back for more, so there's definitely some sort of an addiction to working hard and achieving good results.
RYG: How dedicated does someone need to be to get to your level?
DL: I've been doing it for a number of years now and, up to a point, you end up taking the dedication for granted because you've been doing it for so long. I don't see training as missing out on other things any longer. You need to be out training most days, watching what you eat, making sure you're rested and not staying out too late.
RYG: What's more important - attitude or talent?
DL: I think it's a combination of both to be honest. I'm certainly not the most naturally talented rider in the country! It's taken me a lot longer to get to this level than some of the other cyclists who are 19 or 20-years-old. I've plugged away for a good ten years and I've gradually made small steps each year. I'm proof that if you keep going and believe in yourself, then eventually you can reach the pinnacle of the sport.
RYG: What do you say to yourself to keep going when things get tough?
DL: Your body hurts the whole time. Everybody knows what's coming up, so you mentally prepare yourself for the fact that you've got to go over a climb. Most people have usually ridden it before the race to see what's waiting for them, but you feel pain for the whole day. From the word 'go' it's pretty painful. It makes a big difference if some riders are willing to hurt themselves to get a big result, when other riders don't feel like they need to do that to their bodies.
RYG: What advice would you give to young people looking to follow in your footsteps?
DL: When you're young you should do a range of sports, keeping fit and enjoying it. There's plenty of time to get serious about it when you're older. If you're still enjoying it when you get into the junior age group, then you can really make a commitment and a dedication to the sport.
You've got to keep making small progressions and keep plugging away. It's not a sport where you can be right at the top from a junior age. A lot of the biggest races abroad are won by people in their late 20s or even mid 30s. You've got to take your time, gradually build up and don't expect to be at the top straight away.
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