Sometimes it might be a throwaway comment about her hair from a team-mate: “Can’t you just have it straight?”
Other times it is more overt: the faceless person on social media who questioned why the BBC was putting “non-British people” on screen when she appeared; the young boy who shouted “black lives don’t matter” as she jogged round the running track.
In many ways, Kadeena Cox believes she is fortunate that racism has not overly affected her during her career. But scratch ever so slightly beneath the surface, under the “tough skin” Cox says she has developed – been forced to develop – and it is evident just how much it is a frequent occurrence.
Cox, a Paralympic champion in cycling and athletics, is something of an outlier in the environments she inhabits on a daily basis. At the 2016 Rio Games she became Britain’s first black cyclist to win an Olympic or Paralympic medal. Of the 80 British road and track cyclists currently on top-level funding, she is the only one who is black. And while half the athletes on British Athletics top-level Olympic funding are of colour, Cox is one of just four – out of 28 in total – on top-level Paralympic funding for athletics.
Given the obvious disparity in racial representation in both environments, Cox, who has multiple sclerosis, says she feels “quite lucky” not to have suffered what she would deem as significant racism or discrimination during her career.
Perhaps, she says, “people in disability sport are just more open because they understand differences”. Maybe it is because “you get more discriminated against in general for having a disability” than for being black. Or perhaps it has always been there and she has simply become so accustomed to shutting it out that she barely notices.
Take, for example, her hair. Cox, 29, has lots of it – big, thick, coiled – and she is proud of the fact. “Natural hair is life,” reads the message at the top of her Instagram account.
But with black cyclists a rarity, it is not something the cycling world has encountered very often.
“It sounds weird, but it’s one of the most frustrating things for me because it comes up quite a lot,” she says.
“The majority of people scrape their less dense hair back into a bobble or a braid, whereas I actually have massive challenges getting my hair into a helmet. Going into Rio, trying to get my ’fro into a helmet was a big issue.
“You get little comments – people say things like: ‘Why don’t you chop it off?’ or ‘Can’t you just have it straight?’ But this is just the hair that grows out of my head. It’s frustrating that something so basic becomes such a big issue but it’s because there are so few people of Afro-Caribbean descent in cycling.”
In a cycling world she says is “dominated by white, middle-class people”, Cox points to a general lack of understanding of her background and how it might differ to others in the system.
“I actually got a comment from another cyclist earlier this year who said, ‘racism doesn’t exist in Britain,’” she says. “I was actually like: ‘Are you serious?’
“But because people don’t have to deal with it and it’s not in their face, they are ignorant to the fact that it’s a thing.
“The colour of my skin determines what opportunities I have; the colour of my skin says there’s only room for one or two of us to be accepted in a certain job; the colour of my skin has dictated everything I’ve done in my whole life.
“Even after I tried to explain that, he still said it wasn’t racism. He just didn’t get it because that hasn’t been his struggle. It is my struggle.
“Sometimes I do just feel a bit different. You shouldn’t have to accept being seen as lesser or discriminated against because of your skin.”
Of the more overtly abusive comments she has received, Cox has learnt to be dismissive. Earlier this year, she appeared on the BBC Three show Eating with my Ex, prompting someone on social media to ask why the show was supporting “non-British people”.
“They were basically saying I wasn’t British because of the colour of my skin,” she says.
Less than a fortnight ago, she was training on an athletics track when a young boy shouted “black lives don’t matter” at her. “It hurts, but you get a tough skin and forget about it,” she says.
“There’s probably more comments throughout my sporting career but because there’s so many of them they become irrelevant.”
Perhaps more than singular abusive comments, the greatest impact on Cox has come from a particular set of body-image pressures heaped on black sportswomen. Serena Williams is the highest profile woman to have spoken out about questions over her muscular physique and Cox says it is something she has struggled to endure throughout her career.
It has also contributed to an eating disorder that Cox first revealed in an interview with Telegraph Sport last year.
“It’s more unfortunate for me because I spend most of my time racing against women with cerebral palsy, which makes them skinnier because of their metabolism,” she says.
“I am compared to Serena quite often. The reason I’m in the position I am with my eating disorder is, firstly I was uncomfortable with the weight I gained [after developing multiple sclerosis in 2014], but for a long time in my career I’ve been told to get my weight down.
“I look back and I have always been big and curvy. Our family all have big arms, bigger legs, bigger hips and bum. That’s just the way we’re built.
“We’re built differently. There’s not much I can do about that. We shouldn’t be defined by one shape. I’m different to the norm. I just woke up like this! This is the way I was born.”
Although unable to attend any of the Black Lives Matters protests because her multiple sclerosis means she is on the NHS’s most-vulnerable list for coronavirus, she is wholly supportive of the cause. But she says the most important thing is what happens after the protests die down.
“What happens at home?” she asks. “Are you going to be educating your family? Are you going to be looking into the things you can do to support black people? Are you going to support black-run businesses? What comes next?
“The foundation that is currently in Britain and across the world is against us because we still have to endure systemic racism.
“That foundation needs to be eradicated and education needs to play a massive part. We need to bring everyone together. There should be no hierarchy. We are equal.”