December 26/12 8:31 am - Tara Whitten Interview
Posted by Editoress on 12/26/12
Last week, Team TIBCO announced their 2013 lineup, and one name missing was Tara Whitten, a member of the bronze medal winning Team Pursuit squad at the Olympics this summer. The release said that Tara would be taking time off to focus on her academic studies (she is partway through completing a PhD in Neuroscience). We spoke with Tara from her home in Edmonton about her plans for the coming season and beyond.
Canadian Cyclist: When we spoke at the Cycling Celebration in November, you still hadn't quite decided on plans. Based on TIBCO announcement it appears that you have decided to go back to school and take a year off cycling. Is that correct?
Tara Whitten: At that time I had to decide on whether to commit to a full racing schedule (for the TIBCO team). I'm thinking really seriously about racing the time trial for the future, so I probably will race a bit this summer. But I didn't want to commit to a full team program and schedule.
CC: So does this mean we will see you at the Track World Championships for the Team Pursuit, or are you going to give that a miss and focus on the road?
TW: I'm definitely skipping this track season. The timing of it is crazy; we had a full season of racing (2011-12), then the world championships, and then the Olympics, and then the next track season ... so it would have been two full seasons of racing. So I'm definitely out for this track season, but you might see me on the road, doing things like Gatineau and Road Nationals.
I guess my long term plan is that I'd like to get as much of my PhD done in the next couple of years as I can, so I probably won't race as much. I'll be picking and choosing ... enough racing, but not a full schedule.
CC: So does this mean you abandoned the Track for Road?
TW: The track is interesting because we don't know for sure what the Olympic events will be (in 2016). We know for sure that it will be a four rider Team Pursuit for 4K, which makes it interesting. It's tempting ... I want to keep the options open.
CC: Are you going to be doing anything different, for example skiing? (Tara came to cycling from nordic skiing)
TW: I have been skiing, and it's been really nice. I went to Canmore as a spectator to watch the World Cup, which was pretty fun. I am doing the Gatineau Loppet this year, they've asked me to be their honourary President this year, so I'm going to do the 55K Classic event (Tara won it in 2004). So I've been having a bit more variety and staying fit that way.
Tara Whitten, Gillian Carleton, Jasmin Glaesser at the 2012 Olympic Games, London