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Amber Joseph: A Bit of Everything.

Amber Joseph - Barbados National Cyclist

Episode 32

“I want to be an inspiration. That’s really what I want to do. I don’t care what happens to the end of this. I just want to inspire people.”

Have you ever had the pleasure of having a chat with Amber Joseph? Join Joan this week as she sits down with Amber Joseph of Barbados, as they discuss a little bit of everything. From riding in the pace car to summer racing schedules to being the newest member of Legion, Joan and Amber cover it all.

Amber Joseph - Barbados National Cyclist
Amber Joseph – Barbados National Cyclist

Instagram: @amby1999 @l39gion.la

Twitter: @ambyjoseph99 @l39ionla

Facebook: @MainSportTiming


Thanks to B Braun Medical Inc. for sponsoring the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. BBraun is a global leader in infusion therapy and pain management, B Braun develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical products to the healthcare community. They are also strong believers in supporting the quality of life in the communities where their employees work and live.

Transcript

 

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to the Talk of the T-town Podcast where we discuss all things track cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your host and Executive Director, Joan Hanscom along with my co-host, Athletic Director, Andy Lakatosh. Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom, Executive Director here at the velodrome. And today our guest is Amber Joseph. Amber came to T-Town for the first time in 2018, race the 2019 season. We obviously didn’t get to see her last year in COVID and this year she’s back.

Joan Hanscom:

And we’re very excited to have her on the pod. For those of you who don’t yet know Amber, you will. But Amber, let’s see, Amber was born in Barbados. Her mother relocated them to the UK, but had spent the last two years in Aigle at the UCI Cycling Center, but primarily based in the UK, but based in T-Town for the summer. Amber is also this year racing on the road, a bit of a split program between track and road with Legion. And Amber and I got to race bikes together yesterday and I got to witness the power of the Legion Jersey in-person. So we’ll talk a little bit about that as well. But first, Amber, just welcome to the podcast.

Amber Joseph:

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, thanks for getting up and getting in here early after a big race day yesterday. So yesterday, you had a great race?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I did.

Joan Hanscom:

You went flying by me at one point-

Amber Joseph:

I was like, come on, Joan. Come with me.

Joan Hanscom:

… like you were on a rocket ship, which was amazing to see. Finish on the podium.

Amber Joseph:

Yes.

Joan Hanscom:

Second-

Amber Joseph:

Yes.

Joan Hanscom:

… play strong, second place, which was awesome.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But then you got to spend the rest of the afternoon not eating fried fattening food with me and the rest of the crew, but in the pace car taking photos. Talk to us about that.

Amber Joseph:

That was probably the highlight of my day. I mean, it was pretty cool getting second winning the bunch sprint. But I have to say going around that course in a BMW M3 was the best thing I’ve probably done in a very long time. The adrenaline I had was probably more in the car than it was on my bike and the race.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s amazing.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it was a great race though. So we were at the Historic Riverton Crit, which is a tremendous local event, really a local regional event, puts on a great show in a cute little town. Great audience vibe.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I mean, it was amazing. Everyone was just so friendly and so inviting and happy. And it was like they were so happy to have a bike race after probably… 2020, they couldn’t.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

And this year, it was a good turnout and there was loads of people and they were just so, so happy to be there. And I just felt great being there.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, you’re going to Intelli Cup with Legion.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I think so. That’s on the calendar.

Joan Hanscom:

And so I lived in Chicago for many years and I race Intelli Cup and Intelli Cup is 10 days in a row of Riverton.

Amber Joseph:

Oh, wow. That’s amazing.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s exactly like that with bunting on people’s porches and lawn party, just all the stoke like that coming from the community for you day after day after day.

Amber Joseph:

Oh, that’s amazing.

Joan Hanscom:

So I’m so jealous of you getting to go.

Amber Joseph:

Come with me.

Joan Hanscom:

We have the little thing happening here called Elite Track Nationals in July that keeps me-

Amber Joseph:

Oh yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

That’s small. [crosstalk 00:03:40].

Joan Hanscom:

That small thing. So sadly I don’t get to go play bikes at Intelli Cup, but you are going to have the best time. I’m so jealous. It’s the most fun of crit in the whole country I think daily-

Amber Joseph:

I’m looking forward to.

Joan Hanscom:

… Anytime.

Amber Joseph:

You’re beginner.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

I’m looking forward to it.

Joan Hanscom:

For sure. So you’ll have to say hi to all my friends out there.

Amber Joseph:

I will.

Joan Hanscom:

But yeah, I’m so jealous and you’re going to crush it based on how you were going yesterday which is awesome.

Amber Joseph:

We’ll see. We’ll see.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s cool though. So your first return to crit racing was the weekend prior at Armed Forces and Clarendon Cup.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it was.

Joan Hanscom:

So you went from zero to 100 in-

Amber Joseph:

Real quick.

Joan Hanscom:

… So tell us a little bit about that.

Amber Joseph:

So yeah, I haven’t done crit racing for a really, really long time. I’ve just been focusing on the track and doing my road training like normal. But it was a shock to the system for sure. And the team, they really believed in me and I had a plan. I had something to do on the first day and that made me feel so important. And I know it didn’t go to plan, but it was just going into that race and thinking of the ways I can do that. I know by the end of the season, I will be able to pull that off because every crit that I do, every corner I go into, every straight we go into, I learn something. I’m like, oh, that’s how you do this and oh, that’s how you do that. So I’m really, really excited to have the team believe in me and see what happens for the rest of the season. So-

Joan Hanscom:

And you have two of the best crit racers in America-

Amber Joseph:

… Oh my God.

Joan Hanscom:

… to learn from, right?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, they’re amazing. They inspire me. They all inspire me. The guys and the women, all of them. The way they come together and support each other, it’s amazing to watch and learning from Skylar and Kendall is going to be the best thing for me and make me as a bike rider I believe, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I think I told you before, would… Intelli Cup-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, [crosstalk 00:05:34].

Joan Hanscom:

… When Skylar was 13 years old, she was crushing all of us ladies in the… It was astonishing. So you have a great person to learn from-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… there. I mean, yeah, she’s quite the impressive razor.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So-

Amber Joseph:

I’m really excited to see.

Joan Hanscom:

… very cool.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So you landed on Legion, which is really-

Amber Joseph:

An honor.

Joan Hanscom:

… It’s amazing though. I mean, I think they have the power to do something really big in American Bike Racing.

Amber Joseph:

They do. 100%.

Joan Hanscom:

And they have the power to… American Bike Racing has always been about crit racing. It’s always… At the core of it, it’s what we do here.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And they have the power and the potential to bring it back.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Which is amazing. And-

Amber Joseph:

And I think that’s what they’re doing. That’s really what they’re doing. We went… So at Armed Forces, it was amazing to see. And I didn’t know the scale of it until I was in it. And there were people there that had just come to watch Legion and were in their Legion shirts. And they were just cheering and cheering. Every lot we did, I just heard, go Legion, go Skylar, go Kendall, go Amber. I’m nothing big, but just to hear the impact of this jersey and what it means to other people and what this team is inspiring other people, it’s amazing to be a part of that and see it firsthand.

Joan Hanscom:

You kind of know, you follow along and you kind of get the vibe through your phone, through Instagram, whatever, but just seeing the people with you yesterday and in your Legion kit and how people are reacting and how they’re responding to that, it gives you hope for bike racing.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And so what an incredible opportunity for you-

Amber Joseph:

Really.

Joan Hanscom:

… and one that you’re obviously embracing. I mean, I will say the pros that I admire the most are the ones who make time for their fans, the ones who stop and take pictures-

Amber Joseph:

I mean-

Joan Hanscom:

… and that’s how you grow the sport.

Amber Joseph:

… Exactly. At the end of the day, they make our sport.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

They’re why we do what we do because we love inspiring and making an impact on the people that are watching us and admire us for what we do. For me, it’s gives me more energy to go to the next day and do my training because I know that I want to make the people that follow this team or follow me proud.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

That’s what it’s all about.

Joan Hanscom:

It was really… I haven’t seen anything like that in our sport for a while.

Amber Joseph:

Oh.

Joan Hanscom:

And I’ve been in our sport for a long time. And so it’s one of those things that as a person who’s seen the sport go really high and really low, seeing that type of energy around a team, you have to hope it’s contagious and you have to hope that it drives new people into the sport, that it inspires new people to come race bikes.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But it also inspires people to come out watch.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, 100%.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it’s super cool to watch.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it’s an honor and a dream to be a part of it really. Every time I’m with the team, when we were in DC, it was like I was pinching myself because it honestly, like I told Justin, I was like, this feels like a dream. It really does feel like a dream being in this Jersey and people looking up to me when I’m looking up to my teammates still, it’s an honor. It’s a dream I really can. It’s an… I can’t describe it what it feels.

Joan Hanscom:

Plus it gets in your head that sweet bike.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it’s a crying baby. It’s my baby.

Joan Hanscom:

So Maura, our assistant here is Maura and she doesn’t have a microphone today, but she hasn’t witnessed yet-

Amber Joseph:

She can shout. Confess her.

Joan Hanscom:

She hasn’t witnessed the people just be like, oh my God, that bike is beautiful, yeah.

Amber Joseph:

And they just want to touch it. They just touch it.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I just-

Amber Joseph:

I had a few days, people were like, oh, I touched it. Bike you can’t buy, I touched it.

Joan Hanscom:

… Random people just walking up. A girl I know from riding was like, “That’s a beautiful bike.” And I was like, “It is just striking.”

Amber Joseph:

It is. It really catches your eye. I mean, it’s just so different. And actually Justin is the man that came up with it.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

He’s always been into graffiti and art. And he, I asked him like, “Who did this? Who came up with, is it you?” And he’s like, “Yeah, I made it all.”

Joan Hanscom:

We’re going to need a picture of your bike for the show notes.

Amber Joseph:

Oh yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So that people can see it.

Amber Joseph:

I will do some close up. [crosstalk 00:09:41].

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, you have to send more pictures of the bike because it is.

Amber Joseph:

I’ll show you my favorite little touch is on the top. It’s like they’ve got a little quote on the top tube and a little change legacy on the inside of the fork. Yeah, it’s beautiful.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, send pictures. We’ll put them in the show notes for y’all to see because this bike is a stunner.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So we’ve been talking about road, but you’re a track cyclist.

Amber Joseph:

Yes, I am.

Joan Hanscom:

And if I’m not mistaken, you started as a sprinter, which is why you crushed the fields per yesterday. But you have transitioned to being an endurance rider.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Why?

Amber Joseph:

I don’t know. The sprint, I always enjoyed sprint, but I never fully trained as a sprinter. I was just, I loved the gym and I like to go fast. So I like automatic and the guy that helped me in Barbados basically learn how to even get on a bike. I didn’t ride bikes beforehand. And he was the man, he was a sprinter before and he’s the man that got me on a bike. And he started as sprint. So I think that kind of was my first inspiration. Oh, I want to try that. And he would tell me about his race and I’m like, oh, that’s so cool. I want to do that. And then when I came to England, it’s kind of like what I just fell into because I think I hadn’t built up my endurance.

Amber Joseph:

So I didn’t really enjoy it. I was like, no, I don’t want to do that. I want to do the sprint. That was quite powerful. So I did the 500 Keirin Sprint. And then I kind of realized it was getting to… We went to nationals. And in England, this is before I changed my UCI number because you have to race, in England, you have to register. And when I registered for my race license, GB changed my UCI number to GBR. I didn’t even know about UCI number at that point. I didn’t even know that I was entitled to GB at that point.

Amber Joseph:

So we did nationals and I realized it was getting quite a serious level. And I found myself really, really stressing out because you only have three laps in a match sprint and so much can happen in three laps that it can all go wrong and you go travel to a race and you do a fine 200 and it turns out you can’t race. And I don’t like that. I like to prove myself if I make a mistake and I didn’t quite feel that in sprinting. And then I did a scratch race. I quite like this. If I’m at the right place at the end, you can do this thing called winning. It’s like, okay, I’ll try that.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

So-

Joan Hanscom:

This thing called winning.

Amber Joseph:

… So I did scratch races, points races and then the omnium at that point was made up of the old program. So it was the 500, the flying lap, the elimination, the points race, the scratch race and the IP. So there were three individual events that I could work on personally and execute them and get them really, really good that I’d be able to move up because I hadn’t quite mastered the bunch riding or my endurance yet. And then the program changed and I still stuck with endurance because I just felt I enjoyed it a lot more. But in 2016, I was asked to do patterns for Barbados. And I was like, what events do I do? And say, will you pick? So I picked the omnium, the 500 and the scratch race. And I think in the 500, I got fourth or fifth. And then in the scratch race, I got fourth. And then in the omnium, I got silver by one point. I missed the gold by one point. And that was my first international event. And I was like, okay, that’s what I want to do.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, found it.

Amber Joseph:

I really, really enjoyed it. And I was like, I’m kind of okay.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s amazing how you do better when you enjoy it.

Amber Joseph:

Exactly, and that’s-

Joan Hanscom:

Happy racers go faster.

Amber Joseph:

… That sticked with me forever because I went to Pan-Ams the next year and I put so much pressure on myself to get the gold in the omnium this time that I raced like crap. I really raced badly. And it’s because I had so much pressure on myself that I wasn’t thinking of how to win. It was, I need to win. And I wasn’t thinking of all the little things I have to do to win.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

I was just thinking on the end result rather than what I’m actually doing in that race at that point in time. And then I realized that the next day and then I… So that was the omnium, I got silver again. I was devastated. But then the next day, I was like, I don’t know if I want to do the pointS race. Mom was like, “Yeah, I know. I don’t want you to do it either.” And then my coach like, “No, do it and just enjoy it and see what you can do. Just try things.” I was like, “Okay.” And then this is how much I thought I wasn’t going to be on the podium.

Amber Joseph:

I was like, mom, because this point, we’d been in England for about three years and I hadn’t seen my sister spent any birthdays with her. So it was my coming up to my 18th birthday. I was 17. I said, “Mom, if I get on the podium, you have to buy me a ticket to Barbados for my birthday.” And then she’s like, “Yeah, whatever. Yeah. Right. Okay.” Because we just won. There was some good riders there and I was like, yeah, I’m not going to do anything. And I probably rode the best race of my life to this day and I got gold.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, there you go. Pressure is off.

Amber Joseph:

And that’s because I was just enjoying it and riding my bike and having fun. And that’s what happened. So from that moment, I’ve realized that I cannot perform under pressure and I just have to enjoy it. And it will come not to say naturally, but I’ll be able to think better and it will come naturally.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

So-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Yeah, it’s much more organic and-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

… you’re relaxed.

Amber Joseph:

It just comes to you, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And you’re not wasting mental energy which-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… is also physical energy. So-

Amber Joseph:

Exactly, a weakness of mine that I do.

Joan Hanscom:

… So do you work with a sports psychologist or no?

Amber Joseph:

No, I mean, I did for a little bit. And then I started reading the book that he was a part of and I found that it turned into a Bible and it’s called The Chimp Paradox.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh yes, yes.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, so I’ve got probably every page with 10 things circled that I just go to open up when I’m starting to go into a little thing and I’ll go to the part that I know is going to help me. And I just look at those key things. I’m like, okay, that’s what you have to do, chill. This is that. That’s why this is happening. This is that. Your chimp’s telling you this and you’re not going through your computer of course.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

So yeah, I’m kind of figuring myself out.

Joan Hanscom:

That whole, The Chimp thing was really big in the UK.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, really, really was.

Joan Hanscom:

I think Grant Thomas works with them.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And he was a-

Amber Joseph:

[inaudible 00:15:48].

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, and it’s super interesting because I don’t know that it ever quite made it over here to the same extent, but it seems like something that has been tremendously impactful.

Amber Joseph:

It really has. Especially I think it’s a thing in Europe because I was on the WCC, the women’s consensual team institution and one of the other girls had it and I was like, oh wow. It’s made it outside-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

… But yeah, there was a guy called [Tim Buckle 00:16:14] and that’s the guy I was working with. And he’s an amazing guy. He’s so, so good. He’s just so enthusiastic. And I really connect with people that are really, really enthusiastic. And he was a part of this book and he’s like, I would get it and read it and I’ve never really needed outside help since I’ve had this book.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s amazing.

Amber Joseph:

So yeah, but I know when it gets to the high level and a lot, lot, lot higher when I have to deal with a lot more stuff that I’ve… Yeah, I’m that person that overthinks everything. So I know that I will need some black number.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

It’s not how it is.

Joan Hanscom:

Just for you.

Amber Joseph:

But for now, it’s my mom. So it’s fine.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, well, that’s interesting. You say it’s your mom because you bring her up often in conversation.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So she seems very impactful in your life.

Amber Joseph:

She is. She is the star in my life. I love my mom to pieces. If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t be riding bikes right now. She has been the biggest support, my biggest fan since day one. And she’s always supported me and told me that you can do anything.

Joan Hanscom:

We’ll have to get her here one summer.

Amber Joseph:

I know. So I’m hoping that she can come for the UCI race because that’s what she’s-

Joan Hanscom:

[crosstalk 00:17:21].

Amber Joseph:

… planning on doing. But the borders are all closed.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

So I’m hoping fingers crossed that she’s fully vaccinated now. So I’m hoping that she can get over here.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, I think things are supposed to relax a little bit in the UK.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I heard a bit of a rumor. Well, in the UK, they’re relaxing big time. Now bars and everything are open and things like that. But I was told on the 15th of June, America was supposed to be saying that they’re opening borders or something like that was happening. But that’s a rumor. Who knows?

Joan Hanscom:

Who knows?

Amber Joseph:

Who knows?

Joan Hanscom:

But yeah, hopefully we get to have her here this summer.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I really hope we do.

Joan Hanscom:

So you’re leaving us shortly for Pan-Ams?

Amber Joseph:

Yes, I am. In a week, I’m leaving for Lima, Peru for Pan-Am Track Championships, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So-

Amber Joseph:

Being the first one since 2019.

Joan Hanscom:

… kind of crazy. This is like-

Amber Joseph:

It’s crazy.

Joan Hanscom:

… all getting back to it-

Amber Joseph:

It’s crazy.

Joan Hanscom:

… after COVID.

Amber Joseph:

I’m like, oh my God, are we all going to remember how to race our bikes fast? It’s like we just got to turn off. It’s fine.

Joan Hanscom:

Right. Yeah, I mean, it’s weird. You don’t know the competition, how much-

Amber Joseph:

Other people have changed, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… how much other people have changed. You haven’t seen each other. You haven’t-

Amber Joseph:

I don’t know how much I’ve improved or changed. Who knows?

Joan Hanscom:

… Yeah, it’s sort of the great blank slate.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it’s like the benchmark for the next few years I guess.

Joan Hanscom:

Which is cool.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And so if all goes according to plan, you’re going to do Pan-Ams. And then again, you have another big race in the fall because the season’s gotten a little bit weird.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, so I have Lima, Peru. And then at the end of June, which is the 24th to the 29th. And then I’m going to come back from that. And then my first race will be Boise with Legion. And then from that, I’ll probably stick with them all the way up until the 24th, which is here for the UCI races.

Joan Hanscom:

Woo-hoo.

Amber Joseph:

Woo-hoo.

Joan Hanscom:

Big July.

Amber Joseph:

So-

Joan Hanscom:

You’re either going to come back flying-

Amber Joseph:

… Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… or you’re going to come back-

Amber Joseph:

Tired.

Joan Hanscom:

… even that, yeah.

Amber Joseph:

One of the other I’m sure. But yeah, I’ve been really looking forward to the check, the three weeks of the UCI races. So I’ll be here for that. And then I’m hoping I can get here for the Madison Cup with Kendall.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh that will be fun.

Amber Joseph:

Although it does clash with a big, the Joe Martin Stage Race.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh yeah. Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

So we’ll have to see what happens.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s a fundraise.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah. Yeah, it is.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s a fundraise.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, Skylar was saying. And then so yeah, with Legion in July, then I come here end of July beginning of August. And then after August, then I’ll be with the team pretty much for the rest of the season I think-

Joan Hanscom:

Yes.

Amber Joseph:

… if all goes to plan. And then I have probably the biggest race for me personally is under 23 Pan-Am Games which is going to be in, I think it’s Cali.

Joan Hanscom:

All right.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s the track

Amber Joseph:

Wait, I think no, something’s telling me it’s not. I think it is. Or it’s-

Joan Hanscom:

So-

Amber Joseph:

… I think it’s Cali, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… So everything goes according to plan in 2021.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

The end goal, the big target is Paris in 24.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, 100%. Yeah, that is the goal. So this year-

Joan Hanscom:

So what are the steps to get there?

Amber Joseph:

… Okay, so for cycling for a single nation rider, it is a little bit more complicated if you’re part of a big organization. So for me, it’s really I have to bring my end game to every single race that I do because that will be it. I won’t have my other teammates to see if they do better to the qualifier spot.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

So one nation cup goes towards the games, but then it’s still three UCI class one, three UCI class twos. But the thing is now that for nation cups, you only need 250 points to go to the race. And then depending on how many riders they are, then they have qualifications. And then from the qualifications, then you do the race. So that adds a bit of stress. But it’s really to race my bike as best as I can and see what happens at the end of it. So yeah, nation cups class ones, class twos, they all go towards nation I think.

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t think people really appreciate how complex that whole process is.

Amber Joseph:

It really, really is.

Joan Hanscom:

And it’s complex even for a nation like GB, bed space and all of that.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s incredibly complicated.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But when you’re from a small country-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it’s really hard.

Joan Hanscom:

… it’s really hard.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, so before they changed the UCI, the qualification system, so the quota worked out to be… The first two thirds of the quota went towards team pursuit, which contains the four riders, the team event and I’m only one. So that’s one quarter I can’t do. And then it’s the Madison and that’s another two riders with the slings and I still can’t do that.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

So that’s 16 places taken up by team events. And then it goes down to the individual ranking. And then that’s really hard to break top eight in the individual ranking because we’re at the end of the… Where they’re strong.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

It’s really hard to-

Joan Hanscom:

The competition is deep.

Amber Joseph:

… Yeah, it’s really deep and it’s really hard to, as a single nation to race every three class ones that I’ve done and every two class ones that I’ve done to really make a huge impact for me to be up there. I don’t have any help in races.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

In Europe, I’ve raced the class ones and class twos and it ends up being six GB riders, four Poland riders, four French riders and six German riders. And they’re all protecting two or three of their riders or they’re all trying to make the race as hard as they can.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, and there’s you.

Amber Joseph:

And it’s just one attack after the other attack after the other attack and then oh, we’ve got a French and GB up the road. Okay, we’re going to sit on the front and let the gap open up and not let anything else go.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

And then it ends up being first place, second, all those places are GB, GB, French, German, dah, dah, dah. And then oh, Barbados.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

So it’s really hard to break into that team thing. But I think now UCI kind of realizing that and they’re trying their best to make it so single nation riders can get that opportunity, but it’s still not quite there.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, its-

Amber Joseph:

I’ve just got to get stronger and I will.

Joan Hanscom:

… You will.

Amber Joseph:

So-

Joan Hanscom:

Have no doubt.

Amber Joseph:

… Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And I think July is going to get you-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I think it will give me a real kick on the bum. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… July is going to get you there I think.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s for sure. So that sounds like all work and no play, but that doesn’t seem like you. So what are you doing for fun here in T-Town-

Amber Joseph:

Oh, well, I mean, what… It’s… I don’t know. I go for my training and then I probably clean my baby, my bike and-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I know.

Amber Joseph:

… find something else to do. I’m really lucky to be staying with Pete and Shelly Taylor, which is just on the road and they’re amazing. And they’re always finding things to do when, oh, should we go do this? Or let’s go do that. Or oh, I’m going to come with you and do the shopping. I just like spending time with them. So yeah, I spent a lot of time with them when they’re here.

Joan Hanscom:

They are amazing people.

Amber Joseph:

They are. They really, really are.

Joan Hanscom:

Just they’re so good.

Amber Joseph:

They’re filled with so much love and warmth. I think that’s why I’m not struggling so much. I miss home, my mom and all of her animals. I’ve got like a minute to farm at home. But I think if I was anywhere else, I’d be really, really struggling with not being with my mom because we’re joined at the hip. But I think Pete and Shelly have made it a lot easier for me to be away from that and still make me feel like a part of their home and their family that they’ve taken me straight in. And I probably wouldn’t be here for this long if I didn’t have them.

Joan Hanscom:

I wonder if you were to make a list of how many athletes have passed through their home.

Amber Joseph:

I know. I know.

Joan Hanscom:

And how many different athlete’s lives-

Amber Joseph:

They still have an impact on.

Joan Hanscom:

… Yeah, I mean, it’s sort of mind boggling to think about how two people can make such a profound impact on so many people’s lives as they sort of pass through this sport.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And it’s sort of mind boggling to me. And we had Pete on the pod.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And it was great to have him come in and talk about the why and of what they do, but it’s just yesterday, he was there all day.

Amber Joseph:

He was.

Joan Hanscom:

And he had athletes-

Amber Joseph:

I think he told me yesterday, he did 12,000 steps just going around that course yesterday.

Joan Hanscom:

… Yesterday he had an athlete in every race on the program.

Amber Joseph:

He did.

Joan Hanscom:

And he was in the corner, cheering, yelling, motivating, picking people up off the ground-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… the entire day.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, he didn’t stop.

Joan Hanscom:

He didn’t stop. And as a person who was happy to sit underneath the canopy of the sprinter and hang out with you guys, it’s just you sort of sit back and you marvel at his energy and what he does.

Amber Joseph:

He’s filled with so much energy.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But he also seems like he makes it fun for you guys.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, he does. He really does.

Joan Hanscom:

You and Kara will be in goofball.

Amber Joseph:

100%. He reminds me everyday. You have fun. Cheer up. You know what your doing.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I had a crappy race and at the end of the day, you were in the pace car and I was shooting the show with Pete. And he’s like, “Joan, a bad day to bike race is still a better day than a good day at work.”

Amber Joseph:

Exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

And I was like, “Yeah, okay.”

Amber Joseph:

Yeah. Yeah, he knows exactly what to say.

Joan Hanscom:

He knew exactly what to say. And I thought he was either given me a little bit of the big daddy thing, which I appreciated because I was feeling pretty wretched at the end of the day yesterday. So he just knows what to do. He knows how to make you get back up and-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, he really does.

Joan Hanscom:

… that’s impressive.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It was cool to be part of yesterday.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, both of them do. I wouldn’t know what I would do without them here. They’ve… Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, taking you in.

Amber Joseph:

I love them into pieces.

Joan Hanscom:

You’re one of the family now.

Amber Joseph:

Yes, I’ve taken that spot.

Joan Hanscom:

They have a nice little set up here though. Their home away from home-

Amber Joseph:

They do.

Joan Hanscom:

… with their gym and pool.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it’s great. It’s really great. Their pool, I think they got like, they started building in 2019. It finished late 2019 beginning of 2020. And it looks so nice. You should go and see it. Really it’s gorgeous. And their gym, they’ve got a new gym in the garden and it’s so quiet. They have everything you need. Play boxes, boxes for jumps, boxes for squat, squat rack, leg press, barbell, the trap bar. They’ve got loads of stuff and it’s amazing what they do.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s-

Amber Joseph:

And it’s funny. My friend said, “Oh Pete, how much should I have to pay you to use your gym?” He looks at Shelly and Shelly’s like, “How much.” And Shelly is like, ” [inaudible 00:27:56].” Yeah. Okay, and Shelly’s like, “Fuck oh.” That’s how it is.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

They don’t want anything bad. They just want people to… They do things to make people happy and you don’t get many people like that nowdays.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, and to be resourced, right?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s the thing.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s like they’re just very giving of the resource.

Amber Joseph:

They are so giving. So, so, so giving and I’m so grateful-

Joan Hanscom:

Who else is with you at their house this summer?

Amber Joseph:

So for now, it’s Mindy, Kayla, she’s here with us as well. She arrived a few days ago. Billy, he’s-

Joan Hanscom:

Obviously.

Amber Joseph:

… [crosstalk 00:28:26] home.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s his house.

Amber Joseph:

Justin, yeah, yeah, Justin is there.Justin Park.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

And I think there’s a few more arriving, but I’m going to be in and out.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

So I’m probably going to… Yeah-

Joan Hanscom:

Lose your space.

Amber Joseph:

… No, no always my space.

Joan Hanscom:

You’re so funny.

Amber Joseph:

I’ll take us over if I have to. I’ll sleep with squirt. They’re done.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s so funny. That’s so funny. So what are you hoping to achieve this summer with Legion? Just learning more about crit or more about winning, more about… Do you think you’re going to get-

Amber Joseph:

A bit of everything.

Joan Hanscom:

… Are you going to get a chance to go for it yourself with a team or are you going to be a worker bee? Not that there’s anything wrong with worker bee.

Amber Joseph:

No, there isn’t anything went wrong at all. I think if, to me, we all won. Over this weekend-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s a beautiful thing-

Amber Joseph:

… I wasn’t even there and I felt like we won.

Joan Hanscom:

… That’s the beautiful thing about cycling that people don’t understand is that it really is a team sport.

Amber Joseph:

It really, really is. And I haven’t really felt that. It’s so recent that I’ve felt that. I was a WCC, but we didn’t get to race. The girls, we did our own thing and I didn’t feel completely a part of a team. And then on the track, when I was in the track program, I felt a part of a team, but everybody else was sprint and was the union. So I didn’t really have that endurance connection, that bike racing connection and suffering connection. But I think with this team, we’ve connected on so I felt like I’ve connected with them on so many levels that they understand and I understand. And I feel like really a part of that team and it’s insane. I met them all for the first time at Armed Forces, but they’ve already all made such a huge impact on me.

Joan Hanscom:

So one of the things you said to me before you went down to ride with them was that you were excited to be with them because what they’re trying to achieve is so much like what you’re trying to achieve.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it is.

Joan Hanscom:

So talk about that.

Amber Joseph:

Okay, so I believe I think that if I had stayed in Barbados, when me and my mom moved in 2013 to England, which then allowed me to get into cycling so much easier because it’s so big in England, but it’s not in Barbados, especially at that age, it’s not really a thing to do. I was running, swimming, I had a horse. I didn’t even know this whole bike quality. So I remember the 2012 Olympics, I didn’t even know the whole velodrome thing was a thing. I watched athletics, swimming and probably some hockey. I didn’t even register in my mind. And then 2016 Olympics, I remember watching on the TV and was like, what is this? Where are all these people from? All these countries, it’s amazing.

Amber Joseph:

But before that, so I was in Barbados and I believe that if I was in Barbados, I probably wouldn’t have carried on cycling because I’ve seen that you can go so far sometimes. Only a few of us have really made it on the international or Pan-American level. And I believe that I wouldn’t have gone as far as I have if I had stayed there and I don’t want that to be a thing. So my dream when I’ve retired and hopefully with my gold medals and the things that I can make people inspired by is go back home and create this pathway, all these big nations have and really make that team and show that if you have a dream and you want something, you just have to put in the hard work and you’ll get it.

Amber Joseph:

And I want to create that opportunity to people, inspire all the young girls and boys in Barbados that this is an amazing sport, try it. That’s really what I want to do and give knowledge and teach them about every aspect of cycling. So when they get to the international level, they’re ready or if they want to get to the Pan-American level or the Caribbean level even or even just national level, there’ll be ready.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, and I think just making them know that it’s a thing, right?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Just even like-

Amber Joseph:

I know there’s so many people in Barbados that they just don’t understand the scale of the, or sometimes they don’t understand the scale of sport. There’s only so many sports that we follow. Cricket is probably our biggest sport and football is growing and hockey is growing, loads of things are growing in Barbados. Judo is growing, everything’s growing. But so I think it has a place in my heart that I want it to grow and be a sport that when drivers in Barbados see cyclists driving, they’re like, oh, I wonder who that is or, oh, how I am in England.

Joan Hanscom:

Right. Right.

Amber Joseph:

That’s how I want it to be. And I really want this sport to grow and inspire. And I think with Legion, what they want to do is inspire and make an impact and bring crit racing and bring this racing back to America like you say and I want to learn from them and see how they do it. And hopefully I can do the same in Barbados.

Joan Hanscom:

What’s interesting about Legion? So the Williams are from Belize originally, right?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And so I’ve gone down and I’ve done that race, the cross country in Belize, the women’s version, which is not nearly as long as the men’s version, but you can see the impact that they have on the cycling community in Belize, right?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That that whole cycling community looks to the Williams brothers as role models and what can be achieved by… And Justin and Cory have gone back and raced the cross country a bunch of times and won. But it’s impactful. Again, it’s inspiring the Belizian athletes to believe that there’s a pathway. And I think that’s super cool because you could be that for Barbados.

Amber Joseph:

That’s what I want to see.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

I want to be an inspiration. That’s really what I want to do. I don’t care what happens to the end of this. I just want to inspire people. I wish I was when I was there.

Joan Hanscom:

Yaeh.

Amber Joseph:

Because the sport is a beautiful thing. It really is.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s super cool.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s super cool. I think that’s the perfect place to leave it though. The sport is a beautiful thing.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it is a beautiful thing. It takes you to beautiful places.

Joan Hanscom:

And well, on that note, let’s wrap it up. Let’s just say thank you for coming on the pod. We wish you so much luck-

Amber Joseph:

Thank you for having me. Thank you.

Joan Hanscom:

… coming up with July. And we’ll be happy to have you back at the end of July for UCI.

Amber Joseph:

CL.

Joan Hanscom:

But I’m losing my crip buddy for a while, but that’s okay.

Amber Joseph:

I’ll be back, Joan. I’ll be back.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, but we’ll have more fun on bikes later this summer, but we wish you the most luck.

Amber Joseph:

Thank you.

Joan Hanscom:

And yeah, keep us informed on how the progress goes.

Amber Joseph:

Definitely, I will.

Joan Hanscom:

Thanks for coming on the pod.

Amber Joseph:

Thank you for having me on the pod.

Joan Hanscom:

This has been the Talk of the T-Town Podcast with host, Joan Hanscom and Andy Lakatosh. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode brought to you by B Braun Medical Inc. Head on over to our website, thevelodrome.com where you can check out the show notes and subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode.