With 1 National Title, 5 National top 10s including 2 podium, international stage race experience, 1 category upgrade, 2 course records, 7 wins on the road and 2 in time trials…
…it has been somewhat of a breakthrough year for me!
It all started with my first training camp, Calpe 2k17, I have to say probably the most enjoyable and hardest month of my cycling career. Made gains and friends for life, already looking forward to the next one! I’m waiting Lawrence! But onto the racing!
After a very hit and miss winter, not ideal going into my first year as an U23, the season actually started pretty well. My first race of the year was the infamous North Road Hardriders, on a shortened course, but it was clear my block of training out in Calpe had made up for the missed training in December and January. The first race on my new time trial bike, which I managed to get set up perfectly. I pulled off a second place, my first podium of the year. I followed that up with a third at the Chelmer Hardriders and then
finally managed to get on the top step at the Stowmarket Hilly 20, and to make it even better I broke the course record. I had really found my legs in the time trials which was great as that was one of my main targets for the year. I was hitting better and better numbers in each consecutive race. Aside from the TTs, the road season started pretty well too. With a 2nd place at a little handicap race and then a few weeks later my best RR result of the year, a 4th place in the Fenland Clarion Nat B. With a bit of help from my teammate, I managed to bridge over to the break on the last lap and fight it out in the sprint.
I really found my stride around May time. With the start of the local crit series, I was getting in plenty of racing hours in and it was really honing in the legs. I pulled of the win in round 1,3,5 and 6, while putting in big rides before each race. Along with that, I pulled away from the bunch on the final lap of big local crit to take my first serious race win of the year. Another win and course record came on the Shiv at the Ely & District 10mile TT, which set me up perfectly for the RTTC National Circuit TT Champs a few weeks after. The legs were firing on all cylinders and with a pb power I finished in 4th place overall and first U23, getting my first national title in the process. I also took my first (sort of) stage race win at the Peterborough 2 stage. As a team target we had 2 full teams racing. We finished 2nd in the TTT in the morning and then after bridging to the break and then going solo in the finale I won the RR with a great ride from my teammate Charles. I managed to rack up enough points to get my first category, another big season goal ticked off.
Run of Bad Form:
Unfortunately after my good spell, I had planned to begin my taper ahead of the National Championships. Sadly it didnt really go as planned and I fell ill and lost the form I had just the weeks before. Even worse that was when my biggest targets of the year fell. The National Championships and the International Tour of Martinique. Firstly, the National Champs. I would like to say once again, a huge thankyou to Amy and Matt Hill for the travel and accommodation during out week on the Isle of Mann. But sadly the form was just not there to be competitive in the TT and RR. I managed 22nd in the TT, although I was 20 or 30watts down from where I think I should have been, then the RR was just a total disaster getting spat out first time up the mountain. Then came the Tour of Martinique. My biggest high light of the season and yet the 9 days that pose me the biggest questions. I gave it everything, went deeper than every before. But the question is always there, if I could have gone there with the form I had earlier in the year, what could I have come away with?
Ending the Season:
Thankfully though, after all that, I managed to end the season on a high! Firstly the Rapha Road Race, Eastern Div Champs this year. I was out in the breakaway all day, sadly suffering cramp on the bell lap, but the race tactics and legs were there and I know what I have to do to be in the finale this time next year. I rolled in 18th place, finishing off my road season nicely. Then with one more big effort to go, it was National 10 time. A big target from the start of the year and it was time. A big journey up north, but worth it. I really couldn’t of ended the season any better, hitting a PB 20min power and bagging myself 3rd U23 and 11th Overall. Seen as my target from the start of the year was a top 15 I was super chuffed.
But now we have to look forward to the next chapter, things are in the pipeworks and they are exciting!!
I would love to say a massive thank you to Cycle Team OnForm and all the sponsors for the support they have provided this year, with a special mention to Simon Howes for all his great advice, my coach Mark Walker and my Dad for putting up with my expensive and rollercoaster ride of trying to make it as a pro cyclist…
A collection of my favourite photos from this year: