Starting Point

It was late Summer i got interested in road cycling.  I had never done it before, but after watching the Olympics I wanted to give it a try.  I was taken out on my first ride around late August and I loved it.  I had never been on a road bike before so I was very nervous, but once I was out there I loved every minute.  I had never tackled so many hills in my life as I had that day – which seem so simple now, and it was such a rewarding feeling once it was over.  Thats when I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

In the past few months I have attended various different sessions – some challenging but worth it, and others fun.  I’ve been to a couple at Ingliston where I’ve learnt to ride in small groups on a circuit, overcome my fear of corners, and also make great friends.  I’ve also learnt during a team discussion what foods I should really be eating and what to start cutting out of my diet.  I took the nutritional advice I got given and started applying it and I now feel healthier and better about myself.  I also attend a Thursday night weight training session where I can see I’m getting stronger as I come away feeling very successful every week, and also wake up the next morning in a bit of pain which shows I have done my best.  After my weight training I go straight to rollers where I easily learnt how to cycle on a roller with help and motivation of others.  These two sessions have improved my fitness massively and I enjoy going to them every week to see what I can accomplish.

A few weeks ago I tried out a training session at Arthurs Seat where you had to climb to the top and descent back down in the dark six times.  I struggled a lot as I couldn’t even get halfway up before getting off my bike, and I just had to go home.  This is when I told myself I had to work harder and not give up over one difficulty.  I got out on my bike as much as I could since then and tackled the steepest hills I could find.  I recently went back to Arthurs Seat and managed to climb it no problem.  This experience has shown me that hard work does pay off and when things don’t go right, you never give up.

The best part of joining ERC is being able to go out every Saturday morning with groups of very encouraging adults and cycle distances and interesting routes I never thought I would be able to do in a million years.  It’s built my confidence being able to talk and make conversation with experienced riders who have gave me helpful tips of riding.  These rides have also helped me see what it’s like to meet new people who share the same interests as me.  I enjoy the company of the groups every week as they help me strive to do my best and show a lot of interest in me too.

I am really looking forward to participating in some races next season as the hard work I’m putting myself through now will hopefully pay off when it comes to racing.

Thank you to everyone who has made me feel so welcome into the club and made me so determined to reach my goals.  Big thanks to our coach Jarlath Flynn who’s supported me throughout these first few months and putting so much effort into the team as a whole, and finally thank you to Juli Rourke who put me on a bike in the first place and giving me all the help and advice I needed to get to this point.  I appreciate everything everyone has done for me and can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Hollie Begg

 

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First few months

I joined the club in October this year after becoming increasingly interested in road cycling. I’ve been keen on cycling for a while and over the summer did a lot of both road cycling and mountain biking. I like the rewarding feeling after a big and challenging cycle.

I’ve really enjoyed the winter training with the club. I’ve been going to the Tuesday evening sessions which are six varied laps of Arthur’s Seat. It’s cold and dark but still good fun and effective. On Thursday nights I have been going to the weight training sessions at the gym followed by a roller session. The next day my legs are always sore which is a good thing as I know this means my legs are getting stronger. Best of all have been the Sunday morning cycles. We’ve done some really good routes with some decent hills and a fast pace.

I’m feeling better on my bike and it’s clear that the hard work at training is improving my fitness and strength. We also had a very interesting discussion on nutrition and since then I have improved my diet by cutting out processed foods and excess sugar. I feel better as a result.

I’m really looking forward to 2017 as I will hopefully get a chance to try out some racing. I’m also looking forward to training in daylight and warmer weather.

I’ve felt welcome and enjoyed my first few months with ERC. Our coach Jarlath Flynn has been great at encouraging me and helping me out. I’m grateful for the time and effort he puts into the squad.

Finlay Middlemiss

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2016 Summary

2016 has been a funny old year hasn’t it? For me, 2016 was going to be THE year, but things don’t always work out the way you plan them. Nonetheless, looking back, I’ve actually had quite a successful year, which, if it were mapped out as a stage profile, would look like a mountain stage of the Tour de France, massive highs accompanied by harrowing lows. On one hand, I’ve broken local records which have stood over 35 years, but also fell way short of my own expectations of myself at the biggest race of the year, the Tour of Ireland, which was very disappointing for me. So disappointing in fact it put the whole sport into question for me, why was I so bothered by something I’m not particularly good at? This was constantly floating around my head the whole race, which when we got to stage 3 around Wild Atlantic Way, after breaking my thumb the previous day, I thought about just climbing off the bike and ending the race there and then. Somehow I managed to finish the stage, and sat in one of our camping chairs at the finish almost in tears, angry at nobody but myself for making such a cock up of the race, and most races I had done previously. The last stage was a turning point, somehow I managed to turn that anger into power on the bike and came away with 20th on the stage, after a frantic and lightning quick final stage around Ennis.

After we got back from Ireland, I decided to have a break from racing, just concentrate on a few local TT’s, before having a go at the hill climbs at the end of the year. This took the pressure off me  massively, and I started to enjoy racing again, just turning up on the night and going full gas, letting go of a lot of frustration and not having any nerves of results. I thought it would be “fun” to try the Scottish 25 mile championships, after not doing any training, and in a way it was fun, racing down huge open A roads around Irvine, with nobody but me to push myself on, you can learn a lot about your own mentality over a long time trial. Finishing 4th was a disappointment at the time, but looking back, after coming off the back of virtually no training aside from the occasional 10 mile TT, it was alright!

After September, came the hill climb champs, which I’d made no secret of my desire to win, and I put in a good bit more training. To end up 3rd and come away with a medal I was pleased, and beaten by 2 other very strong riders on the day.

In recent weeks, ahead of next season I have made a return to track racing, which I have to say I wasn’t expecting to do well in at all, but I’ve managed to settle in fairly nicely and have started to enjoy the races every Wednesday, and it’s a lot warmer in the velodrome than out on the road!

Finishing on a nice note- I’d have to pick the Tour series race in Edinburgh as my favourite race of the year, the crowds who were turning up for the pro race after ours were out in force, and I’ve never experienced anything like it, it was a very nice race and I’d definitely like to do it again next year, and hopefully gain some good results to pay back the people who’ve looked after me this year.

Speaking of that, I’d like to end my last junior race team blog by thanking a lot of people so please bear with me! Firstly, to my amazing family, who’ve been there for me during some very difficult times this year, who encouraged me to go over to race in Ireland and stick at it which I am very grateful for. Secondly, to my 3 closest friends who know who they are, your support this year is invaluable, and I really appreciate you all for taking good care of me! The guys at Halfords Galashiels and BSpoke Cycles in Peebles for taking care of my bikes and always being at the ready for them. To my friend and mentor Alex Coutts, who has enough on his plate already yet always time for a bit of advice! And finally, a massive thank you to Jarlath Flynn of ERC, the whole race team set up, my roomate and good friend Calum “Special K” Kennedy, and the sponsors for giving us the opportunities to race in some fantastic races. Thank you all.

Thanks very much for reading, see you all next year!

Joe