This is what Emma has to say about herself:
I was born and brought up in the North Yorkshire village of Cawood with one older brother and one older sister. Primary school and high school were not so local so I didn’t get to know so many of the other ‘kids’ in the village until my college years, however this didn’t perturb me. I was usually out in an evening attending gymnastics club, swimming club, lifesaving club or pantomime rehearsals. My mum certainly had her work cut out, but the taxi was always so willingly there; thanks mum! Swimming became my primary focus when I was about 13, for 3 years I threw myself into a fairly rigorous training regime with the York City Baths Club; progress was very rapid and before I knew it I was at county level. I chose to branch out to teaching the sport and my training hours dropped as I began to study for my A-levels and take on a couple of part time jobs.
With 4 A-levels under my belt I headed off to Bath University to study for BSc in Mathematical Sciences. The degree course included a one year industrial placement with three years of studying. This was the most academically testing challenge that I have ever undertaken, but they were four years I would do again if I had the chance! Just like most students I fitted in everything that I possibly could. It was during my university years that I took up triathlon and indeed bought my first ever bike- a Specialized Allez! Around studying and training I regularly attend the Bristol University Officer Training Corps, I benefited from the experiences there no end- Hill walking in Wales, the Lakes and Picos de Europa, military training in Gibraltar, Army Triathlon team training in Cyprus, Cambrian Patrol and of course the frequent training weekends in the delightful outdoors during January and February.
My placement year was spent in an agricultural research station on the outskirts of Bristol, here I was involved in statistical analysis of data, teaching of statistics to MSc students and even I managed to publish a paper! It was an enjoyable year and a great opportunity to earn money which in turn allowed me to travel a little- destinations included the Gambia and New York! However, it made me realize that an office was not the place for me!
I combined my final year studies with triathlon training for the World Age Group Championships in Edmonton, Canada, as well as an RAF flying scholarship. All three had successful outcomes!
In September 2002 I began my first ever full time job as a teacher of mathematics and resident tutor at Dean Close Boarding School in Cheltenham. I made the decision to narrow down my sporting activities to ‘just the bike’. This was a decision I would not regret after a month or so of working at the school; ‘busy’ just doesn’t begin to describe the life there. I found it really challenging but unbelievably fulfilling. It is such a beautiful profession and I hope to one day return to it. With teaching, sports coaching and resident tutor duties I had little time left for the bike but I made the most of what I had. If I could cram in a couple of two hour rides during the week- 5.30am was the best time, then one long weekend ride around my residential duties I was doing well. Competition was limited for women as most British female cyclists will know- time trials and racing with the men filled in the many gaps. I continued to satisfy my thirst for travel- usually with the bike; Italy with the Cheltenham and County ‘boys’, touring in Morocco and touring in Wales- a very under-rated country!