Where has the winter season gone?!
It feels like no time since I was wrapping up what was a very memorable 2016 season. Not long ago I was a stranger to the road scene, fast forward one year and I’m still overwhelmed by the support from the road cycling community and look forward to seeing some friendly faces each week, both on the road and heckling us at the finish line.
With a Ras Mumham win, representing Ireland at International events and finishing 3rd overall in the A1 ranking under my belt, I enjoyed some downtime after the season making a trip to Bali to OD on noodles and Nasi Goreng.
I was refreshed and ready to get straight back to work making 2017 a bigger and better year. As well as wanting to improve on racing for 2017, I’d like to keep my blog regularly updated with training posts, nutrition tips, reviews of some of the gear I’m currently using (putting it in writing will make me stick to my word….)
Again, for 2017 I’ll be riding for Chain Reaction Cycles – huge kudos to them for their amazing support over the years. I will also be supported by Vitus Bikes using their Vitesse Evo Team edition bike (they’ve knocked it out of the park this year, check the pic of my new steed below), Prime Wheels using their RP-50/RP-38 carbon tubular wheels for racing and their Pro Road alloy wheelset for training. A new addition is dhb clothing who are kitting me out with everything I need for training. They have an amazing range of cycle clothing which I’ve been testing out in all weather conditions (thanks to the NI weather). Stay tuned for a more in depth blog post on my current training the kit.
Now onto the racing! The race season kicked off with a double header for me with the Annaclone GP on Saturday and the Phoenix GP on Sunday. I was excited to get the race season started but also pretty nervous, it’s one thing having the numbers on training peaks showing me I’m in better shape than last year, but until you get the results to back that up, it means nothing.
Annaclone GP was the first race up and I did exactly what my coach told me not to do… I got too excited (flashback to my first races for sure). I spent too much energy trying to make the break work but we were caught on the final lap. I tried to recover as best as I could and position myself well for the sprint but when I stood up to sprint for the line I just went backwards. I finished 9th in the end – you live and you learn! In saying that I still had fun, which is always one of my main priorities, and it was good to be back racing with guys I haven’t seen since the last race in 2016. Reset and refocus for Sunday’s race.
Onto the Phoenix GP, this is a course that always promotes hard attacking racing and with a strong A2 group getting a 3 minute handicap, I knew it was going to be fast from the get go. The race itself played out very well for me, I got into the breakaway that made it across to the A2 groups and then again made it into the winning breakaway. Although the latter was much harder to get organised and only stuck after several laps of constant attacking and covering attacks, I think everyone was feeling the effects on the final lap!
Coming into the run up to the finish I was trying to conserve as much energy as I could for the sprint while still doing enough to keep the chasing group at arms length. With 500m or so to go I was on Eoin Morton’s wheel who won the event last year. With around 150m to go I timed my sprint perfectly, crossing the line in 1st place… A feeling of relief as I crossed the line knowing that the hard, cold, wet winter days training to and from work have paid off and that I’m in good shape coming into the rest of the race season.
Next race for me is the Cycleways Cup promoted by Navan Cycling Club. I’m looking forward to trying to keep the ball rolling and will be hoping to get another win.
Thanks to all my sponsors for their continued support, Chain Reaction Cycles, Vitus Bikes, dhb, Prime Wheels, MellowVelo Cycle Coaching.
Until next time and thanks for reading.