Its now time to have a bit of a reflection on the season and it made it pretty obvious that I wouldn’t have been able to have had such a successful time with so many great experiences without your support, so I cant thank you all enough!
As you will all know my trip really started when I went overseas in June with a few of the boys from the track squad for some racing and training on east coast of America!
This first bit of buildup was an invaluable period where I was able to race in some of the elite American national series. I was racing against some of America’s best riders and managed to hold my own relatively, keeping myself in the top 5 for all 6 of the races and squeezing in for a couple of podium places and even a win. After a very quick month we were joined by the rest of the junior track team which included the rest of the girls in the team (as now I was starting to feel like a boy having hung out with them for a month! Turns out they are pretty good company). We spent the rest of the 3week in Kutztown, training on the quiet hilly roads and racing on the velodrome. The next part of the build up was to be spent mostly in Invercargill with a short few sleeps in our own beds to prepare us for it. It’s the most important part of the build up as it is where you fine tune your form and if you’ve done the hard yards already, the training gets shorter (but definitely not easier!). Unfortunately for me I was still feeling a little tired from training and I had to constantly adjust my taper. Race day I didn’t feel my normal self however I was motivated to just forget about how my legs felt and race how I had planned to 6months ago, to get two silvers was an improvement from last year and I would’ve been over the moon with it then, however I couldn’t help but feel like I had some unfinished business,.On the race nights though, I had done all I could & couldnt ask for more.
This experience only fed the fire for Road worlds where I was pretty determined to make sure I had my best race form. I was forced to forget the time trial as an early decision was needed and I wasn’t sure of form since the track preparation had prevented me from riding my time trial bike. It was a good thing in a way as I only had the road race to focus on and limited time to prepare in a foreign country with lots of other new things to take on board so it wasn’t a bad thing. The training for the next 3weeks was spent (minus one weekend) on the course I would race on. I was out doing hill repeats, motor pacing and sprints along the fast roads so that I was completely at home on the course. I was lucky enough to have some local help after we bumped into the Physio/Soignier for the U19belgian team on the course in our first day, he was really keen and helpful and ended up pointing us in the right direction for a lot of things. His mate ,Johan ,at the local bike shop was even nice enough to motor pace me on his wee scooter during his lunch break! He then locked up his shop on race day so he could come cheer for me.
It all paid off on the Friday of my race, my legs and head were both good. My attempts to split the race up were to avail as no one else wanted to take a risk, it ended up a bunch sprint falling right into the hands of the defending champ who had struggled up the hills but help from her team mates kept here there and gave her an impressive leadout to finish. I managed to sprint to 4th coming up fast on 3rd. Initially I was annoyed as the race hadn’t played out how I wanted but that’s racing and you can never control what others do. On reflection,I thought 4th in the world wasn’t too bad and it encouraginly left room for improvement. After that nice ending it sounded about time to put the feet up and watch some epic racing from the worlds best riders.
So it was a whirlwind few months and it doesn’t feel quite right sitting here in Alexandra, studying…but it has to be done and I now get to look forward to a perhaps even more exciting year ahead!
I will keep you posted on what lies ahead for me, I’m hoping some more foreign lands!
Thanks again for supporting me right the way around the world! I know I’m pretty lucky to be able to chase this dream!
P.S. sorry for the novel, I found it hard to keep short! So much to say