The last few years I have really started to take my cycling a lot more seriously. At first it was a social ride in the country side which then soon evolved into a trip from Lands End to John O’ Grouts and now I am sitting here looking forward to my next race.
In the last 3 years my racing has got more serious, the first year it was the odd race and gained my cat 3 license, the second year I gained my cat 2, and this year is all about retaining my cat 2 and trying to be more competitive at that level. Being 34 years young sometimes doesn’t help but as everyone knows… age is just a number.
Last year (2016) I was asked by The Velo Store if I would be interested in racing as part of the newly formed race team, alongside R.Lloyd, G.Bigham & S.Williams, for the 2017 season, without hesitation I accepted this offer. The opportunity to race for my local team with my mates was a no brainer. So the heat was on, although I was very excited about this I also was aware of the added pressure of performing at the level I wanted to.
Training started as normal in October, having a full time job and a wife who works nationwide and 2 children can make training extremely difficult but some how I manage to fit it all in. Sitting in the garage on the turbo trainer, getting up early am, long dirty wet weekend rides, just to ride for the trill of racing in the summer for the team.
After a pretty harsh winter I decided to go on a training camp to Calpe with team mates R.Lloyd, G.Bigham and the current national track champion D.Bigham. This turned out to be a fantastic trip, it was a chance to ride in the sun with good company, it was what the doctor ordered… even though we did get lost on my last day thanks to one of the Bigham brothers which put an added 30 mile on the days ride. The whole trip was massively beneficial and I would recommend it to any one as part of their winter training.
The 2017 season started – March – Myself and Grant started racing all over, from Lancaster to Wales, if there was an early season crit then we were there. Although I started racing well and felt fit the results weren’t going my way, burning way to many matches early on in races and having nothing for the end…I was just far to excited. Grant on the other hand, he was chipping away at the top 10’s and getting the pts which was good for him and the team.
April – I got a bit smarter, sat in more, kept myself fresher. I managed to get a few podiums, a 3rd in a E/1/2/3 in Rhyl and a 2nd at a local TLI race. Again, Grant was still chipping away at the top 10’s and getting the pts. In late April Grant had obtained enough pts to retain his cat2 licence so he was happy with that.
May – this has been the hardest month for myself ever. My legs have felt weak, my mind felt weak, I had genuinely been down about my whole performance. Instead of beating myself up to much I looked at what’s gone wrong and tried to work away round it. I have since had a change of coach and I am having regular massages @ Bd sports massage & injury therapy, I can’t tell you enough how much this has helped me to slowly get back on form.
June – its starting to look better, I’m feeling better and training is going well. Grant has hit some really good form and is starting to look more like a cat 1 rider. Richard has managed to get a couple of top 10’s to help him try and obtain his cat 2. Simon again is getting very strong, he even hurt me going up a hill the other day (I’ll wait for the message now) but collectively we are started to race like a team.
On the 11th of June we all raced in the local TLI race and managed to help Grant his first podium of the season. The race was full of action from start to finish, Grant managed to get in an early break and on the last lap, another member of the Velo club/team Paul Hollins managed to break away from the bunch solo to get 7th place. All in all a good day all round for the team.
Although racing is fun and the trill makes you go back for more and more, sometimes racing can also be very challenging not only physical but mentally – “ride fast and have a blast” is my motto cause nothing beats it. Over the next coming months I will try and achieve my goals which I am confident of, if for any reason I don’t, then it’s time to work harder over the winter months until I get where I want to.
Life is to short to fail.