Five Minutes With... India Landy

Five Minutes With... India Landy

1 April, 2022

India Landy is no stranger to ultra-distance, blasting onto the scene in 2019 with the NorthCape4000 and Transpyrenees. She then had her first podium at the Pan Celtic Race in 2021, coming second to Jenny Graham. This March, with a week's notice, she headed out to Rwanda for the 1000km Race Around Rwanda. We wanted to catch up with her to find out how it went.

Featured Photo by Dan King

1. We've seen you around the ultra scene for a while now, but how did you get into ultra-cycling in the first place?

The January before I turned 21, my mum phoned me and expressed her desire to enter the NorthCape4000. She'd done a couple of long, one day events before (eg Majorca 312) but wanted to try her hand at some even longer stuff. I thought she was crazy; the idea of cycling 10km down the road was detestable, let alone hundreds of kilometres for days on end. She was desperate to do it, however the issue was that she would be missing my birthday to do so. For whatever reason, something in my mind just said 'okay maybe you should give this cycling thing a go' and decided I wanted to join her, if she'd have me. It was a laughable thought, and friends and family were sceptical that I'd survive even the 70km ride from the airport to the start line, or that we would come out of the trip still speaking to each other. Somehow I/we did, and the rest is history!

India at the RAR by Simon DS

2. You recently had a film, Dolgoch, released with Albion, where you ventured into rural Wales to spend some time without technology riding in the Welsh Countryside. Can you tell us about that trip?

The week Dolgoch was filmed has to be one of my favourite ever weeks on the bike. Albion invited myself, Holly and Emma-Jane to a remote hostel in the middle of the Cambrian Mountains. We spent 4 days riding around the area, using the hostel, 'Dolgoch' as a base - cooking all our meals on the gas hob under light from a headtorch and cleaning ourselves using the solar powered showers as the hostel had no electricity. It was the perfect week to reset and recharge, as the hostel also had no phone signal - our entertainment was each other and the roaring log fire we sat around each night. Andrew, who was filming the trip, set us four routes that led straight out of the hostel (immediately up one side of the Devil's Staircase) and followed us as we rode. The riding itself was spectacular, and entirely made up for the fact I was struggling so much on the climbs after having a few months completely off the bike. It was also wonderful to be riding with EJ and Holly, the three of us having strengths in different disciplines, and we found ourselves in hysterics most of the time. We all keep saying how much we want to return.

India whilst filming Dolgoch by Rupert Hartley

3. We chatted to you about your plans for the year earlier in March and there was no mention of the Race Around Rwanda, next thing we know you're out in Kigali! Why did you decide to enter the RAR with such short notice?

Being completely honest, after finishing the Pan Celtic Race last year I had zero desire to race again for a long time. Initially this was because of injury, but even after I had (for the most part) healed, I still didn't particularly want to ride my bike that much. When this feeling slowly subsided and I finally found myself wanting to ride again, Boru and a few of the other Albion riders told me they were gearing up to race in Rwanda. The race had caught my eye before, after speaking to a few riders during 2VS who had raced the inaugural event in 2020, and couldn't stop going on about how incredible it was. I had always wanted to visit Africa and the more I thought about it, the more I was drawn to it. A week before I thought, 'I have the time - it's now or never!', and pushed the button.

India at the RAR by Simon DS

4. With only a week to prepare this must've been a monumental task! How was it planning the logistics and kit prep for the RAR in such a short time?

It was relatively easy for once! Having done a few races in the past meant that I already had the majority of the kit I needed - the hard part was actually whittling everything down to what was essential, I have a tendency to overpack and with a race this hilly I didn't want to be lugging any unnecessary weight. For the bits I was missing, the Instagram cycling community were incredibly helpful, I even managed to source a bike box and get support setting up my tyres tubeless the day before I flew. It was a little bit stressful doing everything so last minute, but I think I would likely have been just as disorganised regardless of when I entered the race, so this way I had a few less weeks of worry!

India's RAR kit by Rupert Hartley

5. We know for a lot of ultra-cyclists a large part of the build up to the race is mental preparation. How did you mentally prepare yourself in such a short time?

I told myself that there was no need to put any pressure on myself for this one, that I was simply going on a long training ride. It was really helpful, as I realised I'd just signed up for a 1000km race with a 6 day time limit, when I had only just managed to ride 1000km since the beginning of the year. I had no expectations to 'do well' or 'race' as I traditionally would, instead I was going out to experience a new country and riding my bike was to be a fun extension of that.

India ready to go by Rupert Hartley

6. As previously mentioned, we've had a chat about your upcoming season, it's pretty busy! With so many ultra races in the season, how do you pick a race and why?

I think my thought process for deciding on races so far has been 'hear about one, enter it'. I'm not sure this is going to work for much longer though, as the more I enter, the more I hear about! I find it quite difficult to decide on which ones to enter, especially as a lot of them are in places I've never been to before. I'm always attracted to the unknown, so I want to enter them all! The flip side to this though is that when I'm in a new place, I want to see as much of it as possible, which is difficult if you're in race mode and riding through the night. Last year I focused on UK events as I was less worried about 'missing out' on seeing things as I knew I could go back and visit relatively easily.

I know the kind of conditions and temperatures my body likes to ride in, and so I would say when looking for an event I would try and find one that caters to those requirements, but the places I want to visit often have climates nothing like this and that whole abstraction goes out the window. I don't think I've quite got my decision making nailed just yet!

India at the PCR by Dan King

7. What’s your best cycling pun?

Ah gosh, you've put me on the SPOT there.

India with Holly and Emma at Dolgoch by Rupert Hartley