In October last year, inspired by the Olympics and my first ever mountain bike race I started training and working towards my first season. I worked hard over the winter to go from fairly fit to race fit attending cyclo cross training in Southampton and putting in hours at the gym and on the trails.
The season started in March and my plan was to compete in my ‘local’ Eastern region series ‘Mud Sweat and Gears’ and to do as many Southern national races as I could. My aim was to finish within the top three in the sport category and move up to expert for my second season in 2014.
My first races were hard and the competition was tougher than I was expecting! As the season progressed I got stronger and fitter and started to really feel the difference the training was making to my performance. This encouraged me to train harder and when I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to have a V02 max test the results reflected my training. I took the data away and worked hard to improve with the help of the training plan set out for me.
As well as racing I decided, mid season, to take on The Prudential Ride London which was a 100 mile sportive around London and Surrey for the Junior Diabetic Research Foundation. This, it would turn out would be the ultimate test of my stamina. With very little training on road Martyn (my boyfriend) and I completed our 100 miles in a respectable 6 hours 28 minutes. This however was to put my racing on the back foot, picking up a knee/hip injury. I had to stop racing and training for August and most of September. With physio I managed to get back on my bike and be fit enough to race the last Mud Sweat and Gears at Hadleigh, it was a tough course and although fit to ride it was evident I was not fit to race! However having the opportunity to ride the Olympic course was a huge privilege and I felt a great sense of achievement when I had finished. This was certainly one of my favourite courses and although I found it scary at times I enjoyed pushing myself so far out of my comfort zone.
I have had an amazing year and feel I have come so far. Going from being a relatively fit person who may go to the gym once or twice a week and do something active on the weekend, to someone who trains 4 times a week whatever the weather is a huge lifestyle change but I’ m hooked on seeing how far I can go. I am dedicated to cycling and committed to pushing my cycling forward and looking forward to my next challenge.
This year has come with so many ups like having my parents at my first race cheering me on, winning my first race on Fathers day, finishing the Ride London alongside Martyn and competing on the Olympic course are all moments I will never forget.
The downs have been, a couple of silly crashes and hurting my hip, but that’s life!
So the score this year I have had 1 win, 3 seconds, 3 thirds, 1 fourth and a fifth. Overall I came second in the Mud Sweat and Gears series and Fifth overall in the country behind Mel (EHF Racing) by 5 points!
Over the winter ready for next season I am looking to improve on my endurance. I will focus on building my endurance based training both on and off road as well as keeping up the threshold and sprint work from my training plan. I will incorporate two pilates and one strength and conditioning session every two weeks to build my core strength and keep my hips where they should be!
I believe I have developed a lot over the year in my riding ability and fitness and aim to improve on this and build on it over the winter ready for going up into the expert category for 2014.
Things I have learnt this year;
- Falling off hurts
- Racing is as much a mental game as a physical
- You can never do enough technical training
- Having a team of people around is important
- Racing is expensive!
- Training with people who are better than you pushes your riding
- Nutrition is key
Thank you for all the support from my family and especially my boyfriend Martyn who has been their for the highs and lows.
Thank you also to WyndyMilla, it has been a pleasure to meet and train with such a great bunch!
Roll on the 2014 season!
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