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.
Stuart Balfour’s win in the supporting u23 race to the GP Ouest France Plouay, one of the most prestigious amateur in France, was special. The Dave Rayner Fund thought so too and made him their ‘Rider of the Year.’ As well as his Plouay success he won in Montpichon and at the Ronde Briochine; he was top 20 in the tough Kreiz Breizh UCI stage race and top 10 in the Tour de la Manche. Nice results in what is still one of the sport’s Heartlands and races are hotly contested. We thought we best have another word with the 21 year-old from Heriot in Scotland.
We recently spoke to 15 mile, 100 mile and 12 hour record holder, Alice Lethbridge and now to ‘complete the set’, here's what 10 mile, 25 mile and 50 mile record holder, Hayley Simmonds (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) had to tell us.
‘Well Phil,’ the words that we all remember so well, used by Paul Sherwen when he was about to put co-commentator Phil Liggett right about something during one of the hundreds of Tour de France stages the pair covered for TV networks from England to Australia via the USA. Sadly, we’ll hear that catch phrase no more, the 62 year-old Briton having passed away in his sleep at his home in Kampala in his adopted nation of Uganda on Sunday.
We caught up with the man behind the team and the holder of the record for most British titles won in one season – eight – Dan Bigham, after he returned from a successful foray to Canada where round two of the Tissot World Cup took place on the boards of the Milton Velodrome in Ontario where the men in black came away with silver.
Here at VeloVeritas we’re pleased to inform you that we’ve hooked up with ace cycling snapper, Gary Main. You may already have seen some of his images in our Mark Stewart and Dan Bigham interviews? We thought it might be a good introduction to his work for our readers if he picked out some of his favourite shots for us - over to you, Mr. Main...
He’s been quiet, that man Mark Stewart, Scotland’s reigning Commonwealth Games Points Race Champion. But he’s back with four World Cup medals on two continents within a matter of days. Best ‘have a word’ we thought to ourselves...