GB sprint cyclist Katy Marchant, 23, from Barwick-in Elmet, near Leeds, is busy preparing for the Olympics in Rio. Katy won four national titles in 2015, only two years after switching sports from the heptathlon to cycling.
What is your first Yorkshire memory? I was born at home in Swillington which is quite close to Temple Newsam and I remember my mum and dad driving us over to Temple Newsam. We’d put our ponies in a horsebox and we’d spend the day bombing around and trotting and eating ice creams. I went to Oulton Primary School, near Woodlesford, and I have happy memories of sports days and cross country runs.
What is your favourite part of the county and why? I would say Bramham Park. My family is really into horses and we always go to the Bramham Horse Trials. It’s very scenic and as we now live in Barwick, it is virtually in our back garden.
What is your idea of a perfect day out or weekend out in Yorkshire? A relaxing time at Yorebridge House at Bainbridge, not far from Hawes. It’s a five star hotel right by the River Ure. You’ve got hot tubs and walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It’s lovely in the summer and great in the winter when it’s snowy and icy.
Do you have a favourite walk or view? I like the Towton battlefield near Tadcaster. My boyfriend Robert and I do a lot of walking with the dog there. We have a friend in Towton and after a nice walk we go to the Rockingham Arms.
Which Yorkshire sportsman or woman, past or present, would you like to take out for lunch? I’d like to say Jessica Ennis-Hill but I’ve already been out with Jessica a few times when I trained with her, so I think it’s going to be the Yorkshire and England cricketer Joe Root because my boyfriend plays cricket. I would like to learn more about the game and am sure Joe could teach Robert a thing or two.
If you had to name your hidden Yorkshire gem, what would it be? It would have to be Simon’s Seat, which is 400 metres or so above sea level at Bolton Abbey. It’s a really nice, long walk with waterfalls, goats, sheep and chickens on the way. We love going up there. We take a picnic and when you get there, it’s quite romantic.
What do you think it is that gives Yorkshire its unique identity? Yorkshire is God’s country. I’m a massive country person and our rolling countryside is just perfect when I’m on my bike doing a recovery ride. There’s nothing better than getting on your bike in the fresh air. We also have a lot of famous sportspeople from Yorkshire who are role models, such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Lizzie Armitstead from my sport and Joe Root. Yorkshire people are also known for being tough and hardworking. It’s a special place. I train in Manchester every day, but I love driving home on the M62 and when I get back, it reminds me how lucky we are.
Do you follow sport in the county and, if so, what? I follow cricket because my boyfriend plays, and I follow Yorkshire. We’ve been to a few T20 games at Headingley and the atmosphere has been great. I also follow closely the progress of the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny, both world champion triathletes from Yorkshire.
Do you have a favourite pub or restaurant? I have one of each. My favourite pub is the Shoulder of Mutton at Kirkby Overblow, on the way to Harrogate from Leeds. The Sunday roast is outstanding and we like to go there as a family. My favourite restaurant is Gauchos in Leeds which is an Argentinean place. If you like a good steak, it’s perfect and I like a glass of Prosecco with it, but as an athlete I don’t drink a lot.
Who is the Yorkshire person you admire the most? I have to say Jessica Ennis-Hill. I spent a lot of time with Jessica when I was doing the heptathlon. We trained together at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield and she taught me so much about being an athlete and a person. She’s very inspirational and someone whom I’ll never forget. Jessica is very strong-willed and knows what she wants. She strives all the time to be the best and works 100 per cent every time she goes out. On the first day I trained in Sheffield, I was a bit star struck, but Jessica was so welcoming, she was a great mentor and a great training partner. She taught me to go out there, stay focused and get it.
How do you think Yorkshire has changed, for the better or the worse, since you have known it? I think it has changed for the better. When it comes to sport, the county is far more recognised now. The roads here have been made a lot better for cycling and cyclists. Another positive aspect is that Leeds has attracted the World Triathlon event which is taking place here in June.
Which Yorkshire stage or screen star, past or present, would you like to take out for dinner? I would say the comedian Keith Lemon who’s from Beeston in Leeds. He is very entertaining and there’d never be a dull moment.
If a stranger to Yorkshire had time to visit one place only, where would it be? I’d say York city centre. York is so historic and you’ve got lots of good restaurants, lovely shopping and museums. There are so many things to do in York.