2017 marks my first year as an Under 23 rider, meaning I’m able to ride bigger, longer races and really test myself as a rider. It’s been a good start to the year, with no injuries *touches wood* or illness holding me back, so I’ve been able to train and race properly. I’ve been given some great opportunities so far this year so without further ado, here’s how it’s been going…
Just before racing started, I started using a power meter with the help of getting it through Gary and Allan at BSpoke in Peebles. The use of it has transformed my training completely, we were able to use it for an FTP (functional threshold power) test, and the numbers that we saw gave me a lot of confidence, and I’ve taken that forward into my training and racing since.
Gifford was the first road race of the year, and quite possibly the soggiest ride I’ve ever been in, which is saying something! Gifford was an important benchmark for me, as it was my first road race since June last year so I just wanted to test the water and see how I felt, which, thankfully, was very good. I normally don’t like racing in the “moist” conditions, but just being back in a bunch racing fast felt awesome, and I really enjoyed the day out.
I’m also lucky to be given the opportunity to do Wednesday night time trials, which are a really good test to do weekly. These allow me to just ride to power for a set distance and not have to worry about anyone else, and provide really good training.
I suppose I now have to talk about THAT race in Ireland…
The Tour of the North was our first real big test as U23’s and myself, Stuart Paterson, Calum Johnston, Gavin O’Neill and guest rider Ali Merry made the trip over with our step-in Mum Craig, and helper Zak. There’s not much to say about the racing really- I took an absolute kicking, there’s no other way to describe it really, however what I can take out of it was learning just how good you need to be to even remain in the bunch in these races, staying on your bike also helps too! It was also a privilege to be there to see John and the rest of Pro Vision, for want of a better word, destroy some top quality amateur riders, winning 3 out of the 4 stages solo and placing two riders on the final podium. A top 10 for Calum J in the time trial was also a brilliant result for him. Can’t give enough thanks to the guys for this trip, Craig did basically all the organising on his own, went through a lot of stress to get us there and back in one piece and even managed to get us an earlier ferry home after the race! Zak was superb in the convoy, which is a super stressful job too, trying to follow the race, watching out for dropped riders and other traffic is no mean feat! So thanks guys. Also to the guys racing thanks for the good time we had and the laughs we had over there.
Whilst writing this, I’m just back from the Peebles road race, which was a good race, the break went from the drop of the flag and stayed away, which is a top effort. A super quick race meant a lot of further attacks were quickly neutralised, including two of my own, and it came down to the remaining guys in the bunch to duke it out for 3rd in the final.
Going forward, I’ve got the Glentress 7 coming up with my teammate Calum Kennedy, who suffered a nasty accident at Crit on the Campus in early April, and has done superbly to get to where he is in such a short space of time. The day after that, I’m off to France for a bit to see what some real climbs look like…! Then we shall see what happens after that!
As always, the usual thanks must go to Mum, Dad and my family for their support. My friends for always believing in me, especially when I don’t! The guys at BSpoke in Peebles, Halfords Galashiels, Jarlath Flynn, Chris Bryant, Andy Kirkland, and everyone who reads and supports these blogs, I really appreciate it! Until next time.