Tomorrow (26th January) is the 3rd round of the Thetford Winter Series, my home ground and somewhere I have been riding and racing since I was a wee lass in Ronhills and a one of Decathlon’s best (worst!?) helmets.
I feel so fortunate to have travelled and raced all over Europe, but as I’m sure many people will agree, there is always something special in coming back to old friends and familiar trails.
The 2014 season promises to be an exciting one for me as my first year with an Elite licence. I’m really happy to have been able to move straight from racing as a junior to riding in the top categories of Elite or U23. And I’m hoping a 2 hour blast around Thetford will get me in the swing of racing before more exciting travels commence.
The diary for the season is already getting full and promises lots of adventure. At the end of February myself and my team-mate Callum – alongside my sister, Anna, and Callum’s dad, Andrew – are off to Cyprus for the prestigious Sunshine Cup. Here Callum and I will be racing the UCI Haute Categorie 4 day stage race, and, as we realised the other day, lining up amongst some of our heroes. It will be quite a jump into our new categories, but throwing myself in at the deep-end is becoming somewhat a habit! The main aim of the trip is to collect some much sought-after UCI points which would allow me entry to the World Cups: my main goal of the season.
The thought of a week in the sun (however tired my legs will be) is definitely something I look forward to immensely! And here’s to hoping Anna doesn’t get too attached to any more Cypriot sticks.
Following what I hope will be a successful trip, and having gained a nice little tan, at the end of March comes the first British National race of the season and a chance to really see whether those rainy training sessions paid off. The series starts fairly locally at Codham Park in Essex, with a very varied track which should provide some exciting racing.
The beginning of April is an exciting time for me as I am planning to move to the Netherlands to live with my boyfriend Michiel. This is a really exciting prospect for me, riding and training with Michiel is always fun and helps me test my limits and broaden my skills. The forest is 5 minutes from the door which is a massive plus and there is such great riding if you know where to find it (which I don’t…yet!). The prospect of learning a new language is also so much fun and is really cool, although it has proven testing at times. Sorry mijn Nederlands is niet zo goed ik ben aan het leren!
From there the season will consist of a mixture of Dutch and British Nationals, trips back to the UK for some local races and team meetings and, if all goes to plan, a few World Cups thrown in for good measure. There are 3 I have my eye on: Nove Mesto, a course and a venue that I have raced before and loved, Albstadt in Germany which will be a new one for me and then Méribel in France which I have also never ridden.
World Cups, for me, are the pinnacle of racing. I love everything about them; the expo area the challenging courses and being surrounded my amazing riders. SO COOL!
But before all that a trip to Thetford is just what the doctor ordered. A chance to ride with everyone from the amazing Newdales Cycles, see some old friendly faces and get some tyres muddy!
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