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.
Perhaps it was the ‘Scottish’ weather at Harrogate which made the Scots perform so well at the recent World Road Championships? Stuart Balfour spent much of his u23 Championship ‘up the road’ to help set up GB team leader, Tom Pidcock for his eventual bronze medal; Balfour finished in 39th spot.
On a dry morning with little wind and a temperature which varied from mild to chilly depending on how the clouds whirled into the Lomond Hills, 23 year-old Kyle Beattie (Cairngorm CC) took the Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2019 north with a 7 minutes 43 seconds ride; a margin of 12 seconds over Fife rider Robin Downie (Team Andrew Allan Architecture) who put a single second into bronze medalist, Tom Merry (Edinburgh University).
Alfie George took a fine seventh spot in the Junior Men’s World Championship Road Race just 12 seconds away from the bronze medal. We let the 18 year-old from Dundee thaw and dry out after his Harrogate epic then had a word with him about a season which has also seen him place highly in the Junior Paris-Roubaix and win a European title and three British Championships.
This Sunday is another edition of the famous Tour de Trossachs time trial based in Aberfoyle, with a scenic and testing course using national parkland and quiet lochside roads. We've covered many of the recent editions and we'll be attending this year too, but for this week's "VV Selects" we thought you'd like to read Al Hamilton's piece from 12 years ago, in which he reminisces about the first time he saw the race on the Duke's Pass, a mere 41 years ago...
"In Spring a young man’s fancy..." Well, this Spring, being no longer young, my fancy turned to applying for volunteering at the World Road Championships on the "Yorkshire Team", the events being held 22st to 29th September in Yorkshire, where I have been living for the past eleven years.