Cake and cycling go hand in hand – who doesn’t like a slice of something sweet on a mid-ride café stop? – but Sophie Faldo has elevated it to a new level.
Named the 2017 Great British Bake Off winner on Channel 4 yesterday evening (or on Twitter that morning, if you follow the show’s host Prue Leith on the social network), Faldo is also a national masters track cycling champion.
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 1, 2017
The 33-year-old former army officer from Surrey won the 2-kilometre pursuit for the 30-34 age category at the Wales National Velodrome in Newport in July last year.
At the same event, riding for the PMR @ Toachim House team, she also picked up a silver medal in the 500-metre time trial and bronze in the sprint.
In 2014, when she rode for London Dynamo, she won gold in the sprint in the 30-44 category at the same competition.
A ride captain for the charity Mylema’s London to Paris ride, in her profile on its website she describes that initial triumph as her proudest moment, saying that she had only been cycling “for a few months.”
Describing how she got into the sport, she said: “I started cycling to rehabilitate myself from a back injury when I was a full-time rower.
“My back took longer to heal than I thought and it turned out that I preferred cycling anyway!”
She said that she trains at the velodromes at Lee Valley VeloPark and the Derby Arena as well as “a fair amount on the rollers in my bedroom,” and prefers the track to the road.
“I prefer the training for it,” she explained. “Much more time in the gym and other cross training and no miserable cold, wet road rides!”
Faldo revealed that her inspiration is the Australian former world and Olympic champion, Anna Meares, saying; “As well as being an absolute track legend, she’s done some amazing things for charity.”
She also shared her top training tip: “Train hard, fight easy… one I stole from my Army days.”
Unsurprisingly, cakes have replaced cycling as the main subject matter on her Instagram feed, but hopefully Faldo, who is training to be a stuntwoman will find time to indulge both passions.
She's in good company, though. In August, former world champion Becky James, a year after winning two silver medals on the track at the Rio Olympics, announced that she was retiring from the sport to set up a cake-making business.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.