IT'S funny how nicknames can stick sometimes. For so much of my life I’ve been “EK” (never Emma, never Kate), but since being in the US a new nickname has crept in – and it has begun to take on a life all of its own.
I’m now Eccles, the Brit Chick. She’s also a fun and feisty young chick who will feature on my new look website at www.eklidbury.co.uk as well as all of my training and racing apparel this season. She was created by Anthem Media Group, my title sponsors in Kansas City, to build my brand both on the race course and off it.
You may wonder, of course, where the name comes from and my coach, Matt Dixon, is largely responsible for it. When we began working together in 2011, he simply couldn’t get his head around my double-barrelled first name and would equally struggle with ‘EK’. Very soon, he’d created “Eccles” – partly a play on the phonetics of my three initials, EKL; partly after the fine English cakes, which, as a Brit abroad, he no doubt missed.
Funnily enough, the name stuck and many of my American teammates who had little to no clue what an Eccles cake even was, soon began referring to me only as “Eccles”. The name grew in popularity so much that it soon became apparent that it would be a fun way for me to build a brand here in the US. As one of few British athletes racing full-time in the States, I felt it important to highlight my British roots, hence the Brit Chick.
Now, the Eccles Empire continues to rise. The Lancashire Eccles Cakes Company kindly shipped me 10 kilos of Eccles cakes which I’ve given to team mates, coaches, training partners and local athletes in a bid to spread the word about me and them. My Eccles, Brit Chick logo will feature on my custom painted bike frames from my bike sponsor, Felt Bicycles. I also have mugs, t-shirts, bags and cards in production, so it’s a fast moving project.
Of course, as someone with creative flair and marketing savvy, it is fun to do, but my over-riding aim is to build a brand that has appeal and longevity. It is part of the challenge of this career and one I relish wholeheartedly