August has been a little bit of a disappointing month for me in some ways. It started with me messing up a big target race and ended with two races heavily disrupted by illness. Having said that, these sandwich a road race win so there’s been success too.
Welcome back, hopefully I’ll manage to keep this month’s blog post update reasonably brief for once as there’s no real drama to talk about. Instead, I’ve just had a solid month of pretty consistent training and racing, with one or two decent results thrown in for good measure. The form has been a little bit patchy, with a handful of days of slight fatigue balancing out periods where I had great legs, but on the whole it has been a relatively successful month.
Readers of my previous blog post may have been left with a slight sense of dispiritedness or melancholy, and rightly so; things really weren’t going all that well for me and mentally I had got myself into a bit of a mess. That’s the “tl;dr” summary of last month out of the way!
I’m not really sure what to say about the month of May. I haven’t been training very well, I haven’t really performed in most races (best result has been 20th in a 1.12A kermesse, one of only two races I’ve finished this month), and on the whole I haven’t particularly enjoyed riding my bike all that much.
The beginning of April finally marked the start of my 2017 race season in Belgium, after a long winter’s preparation. An unfortunate issue with the team’s accommodation arrangements for the year meant I had to head home unexpectedly immediately after arriving in Belgium, and this knocked me a bit sideways mentally for a while.
At the end of my last blog post, I explained that I had left Girona, having got a good few weeks of initial base miles in the tank, and had returned home to spend Christmas with my family. After six days at home relaxing and enjoying the festivities, I packed what felt like almost all my worldly belongings into my car (including almost £20 worth of Sainsbury’s crunchy peanut butter jars), and set off at 4:30am on 29th December towards Dover ferry port.
Firstly, a warm welcome to my new blog which aims to document my 2017 season of training and racing in Belgium with PCT Tomacc. Thank you for taking the time to read my ensuing ramblings, I hope you find them of some interest and if not, I can only apologise for being so dull in nature. In this edition there is an overview of the first half of my winter training, from picking myself up and dusting myself off after my collarbone break in September through to full gas December endurance training in Girona... Having returned from Belgium just a few days previously, on the 9th September I crashed whilst training in Cornwall and shattered my right collarbone into five pieces.
“Goin’ back to my roots,” says the Odyssey song – and so it is with Mr. Daniel Holloway, former ‘Crit King’ of the USA. But he’s now back on the boards in a big way with a World Cup omnium win in Chile and a memorable win in the 300 lap, 75 kilometre handicap Madison in the Copenhagen Six Day. It was 15 years ago, in 2003 when the man originally from Morgan Hill, California won the novices 500 metres at the US track national championships.
Jacob Vaughan is arguably the most successful of the Rayner Clan, this year with his move to the Lotto-Soudal U23 team. A solid first year U23 in 2017 was capped with an excellent win in the Guido Reybrouck Classic. We caught up with him prior to his first big get together with the team.
Third in London with Moreno De Pauw; winner in Gent again with De Pauw; encore in Rotterdam with De Pauw; the win in Bremen with Home Boy, Theo Reinhardt; second in Berlin with De Pauw and looking well on the way to the top of the podium here in Copenhagen with Michael Morkov – it can only be Topsport and Belgium’s Mr. Kenny De Ketele.
In a classic Six Day finale points shoot-out with the result not confirmed until the finish line, classy Home Boy Michael Mørkøv paired with the current Capo of the Six Day boards, Belgium's Kenny De Ketele to land his seventh Copenhagen Six Day at midnight on Tuesday on the wide boards of the 250 metre Ballerup track.
Daniel Holloway does the countdown in his Californian-Swedish, ten down to six; the crowd takes over from five down to one, the cannon report just about bursts everyone’s ear drums, then there’s the smoke. For a split second nothing happens, everyone is too stunned by the noise and reek of gunpowder. But there’s the bongos – and Paul Delicato’s velvet voice; 'Cara Mia mine, must we say goodbye...' It can only be the Copenhagen Six Day 2018 !
It's hard to believe it's nearly five years since we sat down with David Walsh and chatted about Lance Armstrong, his dogged pursuit of the American's own doping and team-enablement, and the recently-published USADA "Reasoned Decision" to ban Armstrong for life and to strip all seven Tour de France wins from his palmarès. David had been in Edinburgh to give a talk in the city's Lyceum Theatre as part of his speaking tour on the subject, and we took the opportunity to spend a few hours with him the following morning at his hotel. Our interviews with David are our pick for the year 2013 in our "The First 11 Years of VeloVeritas" series - they represent one of the - if not the - most significant and turbulent times in our sport.