2019 is flying already
We've been here a while, but it feels like only yesterday that we began 2019 and has it started well for me! I came out of the Christmas period going into our first team training camp on the final weekend of 2018 knowing full well that I had work to do and weight to lose. I was very aware that in the previous season I had taken my weight and form to peak condition much too early on and paid very much for it in the high point of the season. Consequently this year I have been far more relaxed and I am going far better and more consistently than ever before as a result of it. The aid Trainsharp has given to me in getting my training right and looking after me has been invaluable I couldn't do it without their support and expertise! Plus I am much happier and when happy everything just works anyway!
I made it a priority to get off to a winning start this year. I raced several track leagues where I didn't race especially seriously. I used them to stretch out and keep the high end fibres ticking along. I began racing more seriously in February with the East London Velo Winter series. I went into the first one cool calm and collected fully confident in my ability. It was perhaps the first time I have ridden in such a manner as to be clever with my race tactics and using my legs to get the best out of the race. I have in the past had a tendency to race solely with my legs trying to brutalise races, which in short is virtually impossible to do in this day and age. Having had this epiphany on race tactics I won my first race of the year! A huge relief as last year I went the entire year without winning anything. I raced 4 more races in the ELV series These were all pretty good races for me I finished 3rd, 8th and 2nd (in perhaps the closest sprint in history behind another local rider Liam Fenner) of a 10 race series (I only rode 4) I finished 2nd which was nice. especially being 2nd behind my good friend Colin Peck.
I mustn't forget that alongside the early criterium races I have been heavily involved with the new Zwift Kiss super league for professional teams. This has been exceptional and perhaps harder than racing on the roads! There is no hiding place in a Zwift field. Though the draft effect is an essential part. To remain well positioned in the bunch requires incredible skill and control of power through the turbo. I always find myself either rocketing forward or backwards and rarely holding station. The Madison genesis team and Zwift all stars, as well as The Dream team showcase some real technique and if you want to know how to ride a Zwift race you need look no further than the guys racing there! I was very pleased with my 5th place in Richmond and I have yet to improve on it with 2 rounds remaining.
In terms of road racing I began my year with the renown Crest CC race. I must admit I was really very nervous about the event. I, having finally passed my driving test, drove to the race by myself for the first time and prepared for what would be a pretty dull day in rain and wind, my favourite conditions for racing! We rolled out under dark skies and being sprinkled in fine yet soaking water. As the race begun it was clear that the race hierarchy would be established early on. I had made it clear to myself in my head that I would not ride too hard early on. Typically this did not happe on the first two laps as I jumped across to promising moves only for the race to reform shortly after. I settled in on the 3rd lap. My Heart rate dropping stupidly low! It was on the 4th lap following the escape of two very strong local riders, Ben Beynon and Colin Ward that I knew I had to escape or lose the race. With still 80km to go I committed to the chase twice launching attacks only breaking free on the 2nd go. I was quickly joined by 2 other riders, a nemesis of mine Liam Fenner and another Strada sport rider. I decided I would ride with them and try to use them as best as I could before the time was right. We had a real battle fighting the 3 up front yoyoing between 20seconds-1minute. I lost my breakaway friends one at a time but fortunately I was left solo with only 2 laps to go just as the front break blew apart. I picked them off one by one. Ensuring to jump away from each of them as I caught them until I found Ben at the front after 80km! I could see he was in a bad place so it was time to kick again and I climbed the finish hill with time to think about throwing my arms aloft for the first time in what seems like eternity!
Strangely I have not raced since then! Adverse weather conditions cancelled play when I received a late call up to Grand Prix de la ville de Lillers souvenir Bruno Commini. We went for a very pleasant ride in sunny but extremely windy northern France to replace what I'm sure would have been a brutal 187km. Yes I was also the only rider on the squad inept enough to be blown into a field! someone had to do it! Nevertheless it was still a great weekend with some stellar guys.
I am still in awe of Scott Thwaites! I can remember when I first discovered cycling and watching Tour Series rounds at Colchester and Ipswich and seeing the likes of Graham Briggs, Ed Clancy and Scott Thwaites ripping up the fields. I'm in a reverie about riding with them. It's not often you realise childhood dreams but I am lucky enough to have been able to get to where I am. I can't express how grateful I am to Vitus pro cycling and Cherie Pridham for this opportunity and I can only say that I'm sure the dream and journey is just beginning.
Next Blog will cover our "absolutely mint" training camp as Ed Clancy described it. Stay tuned and I leave you with some of my handiwork about the humble wheel:
In strongest thread you were made
Layers of fibre here were laid
To generate unmistakable form
That could brave the fiercest storm
And to this form there spokes were laced
So that stress upon you could be placed
Then to these whiskered blades was glued
A fulcrum which could end the feud
Of centripetal motion and forward travel
Enabling crossing of road, mud and gravel.
Upon this harmonically moving tool
Attached the mechanism to stop a fall
With this, traction too was given
The power for this object to be driven
Further addition had to be
A way to stop both you and me
From careering into hedge, ditch or wall
Yes, to stop the speeding fool.
Thus the humble wheel was created
Man's desire to travel forever satiated.