With a life without school exams or school finally in sight, I’m starting to get excited and intrigued into where I and what I will spend my time on. Cycling takes up a large part of my week with 15+ hours of training combined with bike maintenance and watching pros rip it up on TV, but without school and the work that comes alongside a 9am – 3pm day I will have time to fill some of those hours with other little obsessions that interest me and peruse them further than I had been able to in the past.
These things I’m sure will range from fine-tuning training and bike equipment to a level where that would be classed as ‘time wasting’ or ‘procrastinating’ when you have other more important things to be doing, but also learning and doing things that will allow me to step away from the bike from time to time, like photography, cooking or even starting to learn a new language. Hopefully these things will make my life feel relatively balanced but also giving myself something to talk to a cycling muggle about, and also areas of life to enjoy when races aren’t going as planned, because ultimately, it's not all going to go well.
Unlike many I have seen a reduction in how seriously I am taking the whole cycling malarkey as I have grown older. Self-induced stress as a youth about performing led to many odd injuries, such as back pain and also breathing problems but as a junior this changed as I started to look at the whole idea of racing a little bit differently, rather than being afraid of failing it was about being excited about the chance of winning and embracing the failures because that is how I learn best, this allowed me to relax because there was no fear or pressure involved, only possibility. I don't know if it has worked but I have definitely been enjoying cycling more, if that was even possible.
To maintain a more relaxed attitude to racing I really enjoy having other things going on in my life and school was a big part of that. With races usually at the weekend, not having much planned during the week, for me can lead to a build-up of pressure, with nothing to take your mind off constantly assessing your body and health to ensure you are going into the race with the best chance. This is different for everyone as some people enjoy having that extra motivation to ensure everything is done correctly and aren’t quite as obsessive about it. But for me with an obsessive personality I can end up wasting a lot of time worrying and sometimes even end up forgetting to do things in preparation for the race.
This isn’t so much of a problem now, but I am very aware that the loss of school may leave me with too much time causing me to fall back into old habits. And with there being so much out there to explore, I want to use my cycling as an opportunity to travel and meet new people but also push myself daily with that sense of achievement that keeps me motivated. I think 4/5 hour rides with no route in mind will be a good place to start...
I didn’t really have a direction for this blog post – as you might have realised by now, but I guess it is really just to explain my excitement for changes in the future and I hope to keep you updated as to what I am doing both in races but also off the bike in general life.
Over the last month I have got some really good training in that should hopefully help me last with some form deep into the season, I have done some big races with no real results to talk about, but I am really looking forward to what is coming up and felt like this blog post about other updates would mix it up from the “On race day I ate breakfast” type posts, which have their place but can get a little repetitive to read but also to write.
On another note, I have been lucky enough to receive some Hunt 50mm race wheels that I have been riding for around a month now. The truth is, I have never ridden any super high-end road wheels before from other brands, but I really can’t see how you can get much better. They are as stiff as you get, you can go full on, out the saddle Thomas Voeckler on them with your brake pads very close to the rim and I am yet to hear any break rub. And with experience riding the 36mm wheels they can take a year’s worth of junior cobbled classic racing and still run perfectly true. Genuinely what more do you want!
Thank you to Hunt and Pedal Potential for the support. But also, Ridley Hermans (Dutch Junior team) for taking me and Tom Gloag onto their team for Axel Tour UCI 2.1 in the weekend just gone. (Pictures Below)