Resilience is a term we hear more often these days, particularly in relation to sport and overcoming adversity. But why is it something that we should consider and something we should work on?

Being resilient allows you to overcome adversity and generally be in a stronger position than before facing the obstacle. 

In my own experience, being mental resilient has not only increased the longevity of my cycling career, it has opened doors in many different avenues in life leading to opportunities to grow as a person and an athlete. 

Photo; Andy Rogers, TDU 2020.

In 2014 I experienced an injury ridden season, While this season is my worst in terms of results or input towards team goals, it is also the year I learn the most about myself and grew as an athlete and person. I began experiencing pain in my left leg whenever I went ‘hard’ for more then about 30 seconds. This mentally hurt me because my first thought was that I simply needed to train harder and then I wouldn’t be dropped in races. I knew deep down this wasn’t right and with the help of my family and coach I sought out help, I was diagnosed with external iliac artery endofibrosis. This is a reasonably common problem with professional cyclists, however one that requires surgery and a lengthy time off the bike to recover. It was March when I found out these details, basically 1 month into a 8 month season. In discussions with my coach and family, we decided to stay in ‘the flow of the seasons’ and have the surgery at the end of the season. That meant I faced the rest of the season knowing I was limited in my physical performance and recovery. 

This is the time I really learnt how to train, previously I didn’t place the value on quality training that I had to in this moment, I was faced with a clear obstacle in my career and training smarter and at a higher quality then I ever previously had was the result. Mentally this was a tough period, while I couldn’t physically perform to a high level, that I expected, I was faced with a team director who didn’t believe my diagnosis and became challenging to work with, this lead to high stress for me as contract negotiations were beginning and without options for a 2015 contract I had my back against the wall. Financially I was struggling, all the funds I earned as a rider I put back into my development, through gym memberships, massages or training days. I know you only get out what you put in and this was a time to invest all I had into future me. I had learnt growing up that you can always find a way and your attitude plays a massive role in your situation, but my beliefs were stressed and values questioned during this time. 

Winning the Ronde van Overijsel in 2015 in The Netherlands

Mentally this year was hard and looking back there were a lot of times I was unhappy, but I knew it would change, I knew that if I trusted the process, it would work out and I just put my head down and concentrated on what I could control and tried to not worry about what I could not. I was offered a contract extension by Team Hitec Products as they valued me as a person and still believed in my potential. This lifeline and faith from Karl Lima (team manager) kept me in the sport and focusing on what was still possible to achieve. I had the surgery at the beginning of October in 2014 and I went on to win 5 UCI races in 2015, including the Oceania Championship title and my first big race in Europe, the Ronde van Overijssel in The Netherlands, as well as being nominated for the Australian female road cyclist of the year award. I am grateful to have faced and overcome the challenges physically, mentally and emotionally in 2014 as it lead to 2015 being my most successful year to date on the bike in terms of victories and  has played a key role in every season since, showing how important resilience can be.  

In Hospital April 2018 after crashing in Amstel Gold Race

When I crashed on my face and broke my arm in the 2018 Amstel Gold Race, I worked hard through the rehabilitation period to stay mentally fresh and motivated for the second half of the season. This freshness from six weeks away from competition, I believe ultimately lead me to a successful back end of the season where I took 2 victories in France for my team. I was fresher then many of the other women in the peloton, both physically and mentally, as I was ‘forced’ to take a break and ultimately became stronger because of it. 

Facing obstacles makes you stronger. For me the deeper you have to search within yourself to overcome a challenge and find a way through, the higher you can soar when you overcome it. Attitude is everything, focusing on what you can control and finding the silver lining to the situation leads to resilience. 

Photo: Thomas Maheux
Winning my last race of the year in 2018, GP Isburgues in France

Fletcher and Sarker’s ‘A grounded theory for psychological resilience in Olympic Champions’ highlight 9 steps for developing resilience; 

  1. Develop a positive personality
  2. View your decisions as active choices not sacrifices 
  3. Use support available to you from other people
  4. Identify your motivation for succeeding 
  5. Focus on personal development
  6. View setbacks as opportunities for growth
  7. Strengthen your confidence from a range of sources
  8. Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and behaviours 
  9. Concentrate on what you can control

I believe that these 9 steps are fundamental in overcoming challenging times and soaring to new heights. Resilience is a powerful asset to any athlete or in business. Growing this skill is within your control. 

Go Flourish

Loz :). 

Lauren continues the story with FDJ

I have re-signed with French registered Women’s World Team, FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. This will bring my time with the team to a five year term, as I began working with the team in 2018. 

 I believe that within any workplace, team spirit and resilience through tough times are what make a team great and ultimately what will lead a team or workplace to perform. Our team is one of the longest running teams in the women’s peloton and that long term commitment and story is something inspiring to me. 

photo : Thomas Maheux

There are a number of reasons to why I have committed to two further seasons with this french squad. The team manager and management really value me as a person and a cyclist and are committed to continuing to develop my role as the road captain but will also allow me to continue to explore my potential as a leader for the hard Spring Classic races. This team is focused on the long term development of the squad as a whole, and have supported me through challenging times as well as fruitful times over the past two and half seasons. 

In 2018, my first season with the team, I broke my arm and required plastic surgery on my face after a crash in the Amstel Gold Race. I have never felt more supported by a team than in the month that followed the crash, they never put pressure on me to return to racing quickly and provided access to the best medical advice for an 100% recovery. I went on to take two victories for the team later that season. These victories were a direct result of feeling supported when times were tough for me.

The world is facing an unthinkable situation, something no one planned for, yet our team seems to have taken it in their stride. The team have continued to fully support me and my team mates, I’m sure there has been some stress behind the scenes, yet the leadership from Stephen gives me faith in this team, this project and our future as a squad. 

Photo: Laura Fletcher

This squad has a french heart but there is an international vibe, there is the deep french emotion and love of the sport running through the team, yet there is a cool and likeable Scandi influence from the northern European team members, balanced out with the laid back Aussie way to round it all together. 

I believe the best is yet to come, for me and for the team.

Lauren Kicks off 2020 with Tour Down Under

Lauren get 2020 underway down under

Lauren has captained her French professional squad through the first professional race of the season at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide last week with the team picking up a solid top ten result in every stage and captivating the race coverage through breakaways and aggressive racing. 

Lauren picked up 8th place in stage one in a bunch sprint, however it was her team mate, Brodie Chapman, who animated the race with a strong breakaway in the final 50km, she was only caught with 500m remaining in the stage! 

The team continued with this style throughout the race and picked up a further three top ten results over the next three days. 

Photo: Laura Fletcher

“It was a great start, the team atmosphere is good, it’s really important to start with this attitude and nature at the start of the season, if we continue to race this way, big results will follow”

Lauren was pleasantly surprised with her level for the first race of the year, being able to follow the moves over the climbs on the selective days.

“Spratt and the Mitchelton girls were at a different level to everyone, along with Winder, who ultimately won the race, but I am really happy with my level at the moment, I exactly where I need to be for January and I’m really trusting the process and happy to see that my preseason work is paying off”

 Photo: Laura Fletcher

Lauren is now training in Adelaide until the 27th of January before heading to Geelong for Ride Torquay on Jan 30th and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on February 1. Lauren will the return to France for team presentation on February 8th in Poitiers, France.

“It’s all started again now, but I’m happy to be where I’m at now, I’m seeing a few positive signs and I’m looking forward to the next races in Geelong”

Altitude training

Lauren has recently spent three weeks in the Italian Alps preparing for the second half of the 2019 season. She spent one week at high altitude of Stelvio Pass (2778m) and the two weeks in Livingo (1800m). The self supported training camp was an opportunity to rest, reflect and recover from a busy first section of the season and an opportunity to train hard for the busy upcoming second part of the season.

“I really wanted to get back to Livingo this year, Ive missed it the last couple of years, I find that it sets me up really well for the back end of the season, so I am really grateful that I had the time to get there this year. I decided to spend the first 6 days on top of Stelvio pass, which is one of the highest paved roads in Europe. I decided this as I was coming straight from a hard week of racing and I wanted to really focus on rest and recovery and just let the altitude work without doing too much physically.”


“When I travelled to Livigno after six days at Stelvio then t was time to get into some training, My coach, Cedric, set some challenging training sessions but also prioritised recovery, so the altitude can work itself. I mainly worked on a three day block program while I was on my camp, with three days of training and one recovery day before starting again. I had a teammate join me for the last week or so I was in Livingo also which was nice.”

The camp was a great moment for Lauren to reflect on the season to date and also look ahead to the coming months with a fresh perspective and motivation.

“The first part of the season wasn’t bad, but wasn’t super good either, I think it was solid, I had some good days on the bike and some solid performances, overall I am happy to have had a season so far without any big disturbances, like last year breaking my arm. I think my form is building quite well towards the back end of the season, The world tour races in Sweden, Norway and The Netherlands in August and September are great races for me to show myself and I have a fresh motivation moving towards these events after a solid camp.” “The end of the season really show who has done the work, both physically and mentally, I am looking forward to showing myself in these races.”

Lauren’s race schedule for the coming months:
KBE, France UCI 2.2  Aug 1-2

Ride London, UK WWT Aug 3

Sweden WWT Aug 17-18

Ladies Tour of Norway WWT Aug 22-25

La Picto, France UCI 1.2 Aug 30

Boels Ladies Tour, The Netherlands WWT Sep 3-8

Madrid, Spain, WWT Sep 14-15

GP Isbergues, France UCI 1.2, Sep 22

Lauren win’s her height in Beer

Lauren finished up the Tour of Yorkshire on Saturday with a team truck full of beer and some very happy staff members after she won a special intermediate sprint prize in stage 1 where she won her height in beer. The two day stage race, on Friday and Saturday was held over challenging terrain across Yorkshire in Northern England. Along with the tough course, the peloton also were faced with two days of pouring rain and strong winds along with hail and maximum temperatures of 3 degrees. The races was attending by a top level peloton, as Yorkshire will host the 2019 world championships in September and a lot of riders chose to race to get a feel for the conditions they may face later in the year.

Stage one saw Lauren filter the day long breakaway after around 40km of racing, the front group of six riders came together shortly after the main climb of the day and contested the intermediate sprint on the finish line of the world championships course in Harrogate and further along the course a special sprint put on by the The Black Sheep Brewery. With a team plan to be aggressive, Lauren rode hard in the breakaway and managed to be first across the line for both sprints on the road, this meant she took 3 bonus seconds at the sprint in Harrogate and most importantly her height….around two metres…. in beer at the sprint at kilometre 115. 

TM- 141130.jpeg

“I was happy to get into the breakaway, it was a really cold day on the bike with the conditions, three degrees and rain, and then i just focused on trying to take those sprints. You should have heard my director in my radio when he heard I won the beer sprint!”
Lauren’s breakaway group rode hard and held off the peloton until 3km from the finish line, after nearly 100km off the front, it was a big day out. Lauren’s teammate, Emilia Fahlin, sprinted home to 9th place to secure a top ten finish for the stage and a successful day for the team.
“It was a big day out for me, It was hard in the break but it gave my teammates an easier ride behind in the peloton and it was nice to have the opportunity to be at the front of the race after a few races with some bad luck”

Stage two saw the peloton tackle some very steep and  challenging climbs in winds of 50km/h. The tough day ripped the peloton apart. Lauren finished in the remains of the peloton with teammate Emilia securing a top 15 in the overall with 13th in the stage and 14th overall. While the result may not have been the goal, it was a great couple of days with the team and an opportunity to get a feel for Yorkshire and what the worlds could be like come September. 

TM- 135136.jpeg

On Sunday, Lauren and two of her teammates did a course recon ride fo the World Championships. It was very beneficial and now gives Lauren a clear idea of what is required for the race and also for selection to the Australian team. 

“It was great to have the chance to see the course, Thanks a lot to my team for supporting this, its a really tough course, much harder then it looks on paper and the weather could make it even more challenging, In saying that, I also really liked what I saw and I am now super motivated to work towards this goal with the Australian cycling team”

“Overall it was a really nice few days in Yorkshire, I’m very tired now, but I think it was for sure my favourite race so far this year, I love racing in the UK and can’t wait for Women’s Tour in just over 1 month and the Worlds in September!” 

Next up for Lauren is the three day Easy Jacobs tour in Luxembourg this weekend before a short rest period to end the first part of the season. 

photos: Thomas Maheux

Lauren to Captain Uni SA Australia squad at Tour Down Under

Today Lauren has been named to the 2019 UniSA Australian Team for the Tour Down Under to take place from January 10-13 in Adelaide South Australia. This opportunity will give Lauren the chance to get a solid week of racing in following the national championships in Ballarat earlier that week.
Lauren has been named as the captain for the squad and will be the one to make the calls on the road and help to guide some of the younger riders making their national team debuts.

“I’m always looking forward to opportunities where I race in the Green and Gold, for me it’s a great chance to get a few extra days of racing in before I head to team training camp the week after in Spain. I am looking forward to being in a mentor role with some of the development riders and also looking for chances for myself as well as supporting the other strong girls, I think we have a really well balanced team and I can’t wait to get into it.”

The Tour Down Under takes place over four well balanced stages, offering some solid climbs and hard sprint stages. The GC will most likely be setup on the second stage with a finish on Menglers Hill. Last year Lauren and UniSA won the stage with Garfoot and will be looking to find further opportunities this year.

“The second stage finish is tough, there are most likely going to be some really strong climbers at the race and while this year we won’t have a favourite, I think we can definitely put up a strong challenge for a stage win and a solid GC result with a number of our riders.”

Before heading to the TDU in Adelaide, Lauren will take on the National Championships in Ballarat on Jan 6th and the TT on Jan 8th. Finishing 2nd last year in the road race has given Lauren some extra motivation heading into 2019 where the top spot is definitely the goal.

“I have been around the mark a number of times at nationals, I would love to win it, I know I have the legs for it but it all comes down to how it is raced and having a bit of luck as well. My goal is to be at my best for this period of the year, to give myself the best chance of taking the title.”

Lauren will then travel back to Europe to prepare for the Spring Classics via Spain for training camp with her team FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope.

Lauren picks up the silver medal at the Nationals

Lauren finishes 2nd in the Australian National Road race championships

The road nationals premier event, the road race, took place around the familiar Victorian circuit in Buninyong, just outside of Ballarat today. The 102km event was a hotly contested event with the biggest depth in the field in recent years.

Lauren and her teammate, Shara Gillow, stuck to their plan and nearly stole the national title, only to be denied by a classy ride from Tibco rider, Shannon Malseed.

photo: Kirsty Baxter

Lauren was part of the early break, which formed in the opening 2km of the race. The trio of riders, including Jessica Allen from Mitchellton Scott and Specialized racing rider; Kate Perry built up a maximum lead of over 4 minutes at one stage and were only caught as they approached the final climb with 12km to go.

“It was definitely a big day out for me, I rode the whole race in the breakaway, I knew it was the best situation for Shara if I was in front, and also for myself to be able to make the selection in the last few laps.”

“We knew we had to reduce the Mitchellton Scott numbers to be in with a chance in the finish and we thought if I went up the road they would be forced to ride and burn a few girls and hopefully Shara and I could both be there to contest the podium”

The plan worked perfectly, with Shara making the elite selection of 6 riders to bridge to Lauren’s group as the leaders got the bell for one lap to go. Lauren’s breakaway companions were dropped as they started the final climb of Mount Buningyong, leaving Lauren and Shara as the team with the most numbers in the final selection of 7 racing towards the finish.“I really was hoping that Shara could sneak away between the climb and the finish straight but it just didn’t quite work out that way, she was heavily marked. Kat Garfoot attacked with about 2k to go and it was looking like the win, but Shara buried herself to give me the chance to sprint for the win, we caught Kat with less then 300m to go and Dash (Malseed) was just too quick for me.”

Photo: Kirsty Baxter

After spending 90km in the breakaway a silver medal felt like a win for Lauren and a great platform to build on for the next races before the important Spring Classics.

“I’m really happy with this medal, I mean I was close to the win and that’s hard to take but I’m also really happy to win silver this year, I didn’t get many big results last year and this is definitely a turning point for me and a great way to start the year with FDJ!”

Lauren and Shara will both ride as part of the Uni SA Australian National team at Tour Down Under in Adelaide next week.

Lauren to race TDU with National Team

Lauren has been selected to be a part of the Uni SA Australian National Team for the upcoming Tour Down Under. The race will run from Jan 11th until 14th around the hinterland of Adelaide in South Australia. The UCI 2.1 event will offer not only a great opportunity to race in front of a home crowd but with the race carrying a higher ranking, the quality of the field has increased and should offer fierce competition to kickstart the 2018 season. The stacked national team is lead by World Championships duel medalist from 2017, Katrin Garfoot, along with 2012 worlds medalist, Rach Neylan. Tiff Cromwell, an Adelaide local will add firepower and local knowledge. The fifth rider named alongside Lauren, is Lauren’s trade team mate, Shara Gillow, a 4X national Champion.

“I’m really looking forward to this race!, We have an incredibly strong team and I think it will be a great battle with a few of the squads over the four day race.”

The stages this year offer varied terrain with undulating courses for stages 1 and 3 and a hill top finish for stage 2. Stage 4 doubles as the People’s Choice Classic for the men’s race and will offer a lung busting criterium to finish the race. The varied terrain will suit the National team and give them each an opportunity to show their strengths and fight together for the victory.

“I think for sure we have one of, if not the strongest team in the race, I expect us to fight for the victory and that could be from any one of the girls, I guess we will see how we are traveling each day and back the girl with the best legs.”

The Tour Down Under will be hotly contested this year as it offers a moment to shine in front of Commonwealth Games selectors.

“I’d love to be considered for the Com Games, I think the course there suits me and I think I can be added value to the squad there. So therefore TDU is important to show my form and commitment to the team with an eye on the Gold Coast race in April.”

Lauren will first compete in the Australian National Criterium and Road Race championships next week in Ballarat, along side teammate Shara Gillow.

Lauren checks in after rounds two and three of the Women’s World Tour

The past two weekends I have spent in Drenthe, The Netherlands and in Cittiglio, Italy for the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the world tour. I really enjoyed both races but left both not quite satisfied. Drenthe is a tough 150km race around the flat, cobbles roads of northern Netherlands and can offer a different race situation each year with different factors making the race each time. This year I had good legs but missed a key selection in the final part of the race, I was really frustrated at myself for this as I really missed a great opportunity but I learnt something and that’s the most important moving forward. Marianne Vos, my team mate salvaged a hard fought 7th place for the team while I finished in the next main group in 27th.

After a good week of recovery and training I headed to Italy for ‘Binda’ this is a really nice race and also one of the first races I did with the national team when I started racing in Europe. The hilly circuit suited our team and I knew with a good day I could be there in the finish with the front. However it wasn’t to be, after about 10km myself and 3 of my teammates crashed quite hard and I spent the next 25km chasing only to rejoin at the base of the days longest climb. While I was generally unhurt, the team was down in numbers and had used a lot more energy then would be ideal up to this point. For me I ran out of legs in the final sections of the race, I knew this point would come after the chase from the crash. Kasia, our polish champion finished 8th after her last lap breakaway was caught.

While we didn’t come home with the results we are after, the team is bonding well and racing well, we just need a little luck for it to all fall into place. I have a lot of confidence in the team and also in my feeling personally that the best is yet to come.

Next up for me is Gent Welvegem next Sunday before the big one, The Ronde van Vlaanderen in two weeks time.

Lauren finishes 4th Overall in Tour Down Under

Lauren has finished in 4th place in the general classification in the Santos women’s Tour Down Under. The four day stage race was a tough fought competition with time bonuses and intermediate sprints being the key to a solid result.

“I’m satisfied with this result, It’s not a win but it is a big confidence boost and tells me that training is on the right track towards the Spring classics in five weeks time”

Lauren with Port Macquarie Cycle Club members after stage 4

Lauren raced as part of the NSWIS- Sydney Uni team for the race and was thankful to be able to start with the development squad and take the leadership role. The NSWIS – Sydney Uni squad is racing under the director, ex- pro Katie Brown and marked the first race of the year for the team.

“The team was great, its a good group of girls and they went pretty well racing against some of the top women in the world, we came into the race as probably the lowest ranked team the team many people didn’t expect much of and we finished with a fourth place in the GC as well as being a factor in the sprint competition, I think thats impressive!”

Lauren won one of the bonus sprints during stage 4

Lauren will now return to Port Macquarie for a ten day period before heading to Europe to link up with her professional team, WM3 Pro cycling.

“This result has made me even more excited to get over to Europe, my form is coming along nicely and now I can’t wait to get over there and spend time with my team mates”

Lauren’s next races will be in the Spring Classics where she is looking to build on some solid performances last season in the biggest races.

“Last season I wanted top 10s now I want a win, I think its the natural progression and now I feel ready to take that step with my new team WM3”