I haven’t raced since September 1st. I’ve been working hard though, on Swift Momentum Sports (SMS), and restoring an old building and of course, some training. SMS is doing pretty well. I’m glad to have shown people some fantastic cycling and running, as well as to have trained some very good athletes. My professional cycling career, however is pretty much over. I wasn’t renewed for the 2014 season.
The fact I feel tranquil now after the Volta a Portugal is the fact I’ve got an education, a business and I have lived my dreams as a cyclist. I’m looking forward and I’ll keep riding my bike. I love cycling.
This Volta, the Volta a Portugal 2013 and I really feel lucky to get here. My form is good, possibly the best ever. Obviously I get the odd pang of paranoia; I think twice if I drink a beer, worry about food - kind of stupid really.
The Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho is the last tune up for the Portuguese peloton before the biggest race of the season, the Volta a Portugal. A lot of the teams turn out very strong for Agostinho, as it's known. The amateur teams also turn out strong since the race is a 2.2 and the pinnacle of their calendar, aside the 'Volta a Portugal do Futuro'.
I haven't written on this blog for a while. The reason for this was that I was kind of getting tired of whining on about bad luck, hard times and other problems. No one wants to read that and no one cares. So I decided to keep calm and hang tight till good news come along. Writes Tomás Swift-Metcalfe.
So I'm home now after the Volta ao Algarve, which, like always, proved to be very hard. The stages were all mammoth 200k slogs on twisty-turny roads through the hills. The stage finishes were a bit sketchy and the whole thing was topped off by a 35km TT through the hills on bad roads which were wet for the first half of the race.
The Tomás Swift-Metcalfe season has started, my sixth season as a professional. The weather here has been brilliant (a little cold at 10-12ºC) but always sunny and it's been fantastic training up for these races.
I haven’t written an update on the Tomás Swift-Metcalf Blog since the penultimate stage of the Volta a Portugal. I have been wary of writing bullshit in such stressful, emotional times. I don’t like to speak of the problems in cycling, since I find them so boring. It’s the first thing anyone outside the sport mentions when I say I’m a cyclist.
Stage Ten of la Volta a Portugal 2012 started with a ceremonial 37km where we pottered along behind the winners. I felt awful.
32.4 km, 212m ascent today, in the stage to Praia de Pedrogão. What a FARCE. My TT bike was exactly at the right length when I came to this race, yet at the prologue they told me it was 1cm past the limit... It was duly cut and shortened.
Today's stats at the La Volta a Portugal 2012; 154.9 km, 4000m ascent. I wasn’t able to update this immediately as we had a nightmare getting to the hotel and only arrived at 12sh.
185.3 km, 2520m ascent today in the La Volta a Portugal 2012. The first stage after the rest day is a bit tough. The rest day can do more harm than good and I for one like to just keep on going, to get it over and done with.
184.1km, 2050m ascent. I had a bad day today from Aveiro. It was just one of those days where I just felt crap. I pushed through, did my work at the beginning, attacking, jumping across to break away and the like, but didn’t get away.
176.9km, 3000m ascent. This Volta a Portugal 2012 stage was a tough one, we had a huge mountain right at the start and several others to follow. The roads were crummy also, which made descending awkward.
151.9km, 2720m ascent from Viana do Castelo to Senhora da Graça. Last year this stage wasn’t so hard since we had four ‘rouleurs’ rather than just two this year. The race started in the beautiful town of Viana do Castelo and ended on a large mountain called ‘Senhora da Graça’ it was epic.
176.1km, 2100m ascent from Vila Nova de Cerveira to Fafe. We’re in the Minho, in the far north western corner of Portugal. It’s a wonderful place and feels like home away from home. It’s tough for racing though, it’s extremely hilly; you never go well, you’re never comfortable.
191.5km, 2400m Ascent from Oliveira do Bairo to Trofa, and today was brilliant! No long transfers this morning and I didn’t have very much to do. It was fantastic, a rest day practically.
The day started with a long transfer from our hotel in the magnificent town of Covilhã, Termas de Monfortinho, situated at the foot of Serra da Estrella. We’ve been run of our feet with with reconaisance, various signings on and parading around the palce...
Such a big fuss is made about the Volta that people forget there are other good and important races on the calendar. As ever, we put all our eggs in the one basket. I never really understood this.
I raced the Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho this weekend past weekend. The Prologue was very tricky, very technical. I did my best and I was very pleased. I didn’t have any great expectation for it, which was a good thing as I missed quite a lot of my warm up, due to everyone going berserk when my team mate and Time Triallist Alejandro Marque broke a gear cable just minutes before he was due to race. I also haven’t touched the TT bike since February.
The nationals are one of my favourite events of the season. The race is strange because I have no specific job to do, no pulling on the front, no marking, no driving the break and no one to let down apart from myself. The first British Elite Championships I took part in were in 2008, somewhere in Yorkshire.
The last few weeks have been reasonably uneventful so what to write on the Tomás Swift-Metcalfe Blog? We had a heat wave which was wonderful, but which only lasted a week. The team did a few races in Spain (I was resting) and won a stage in Vuelta as Asturias, which was excellent. I once did that race and it was probably the hardest I ever did. The weather seems to change from valley to valley and the place is very mountainous.
At the Volta ao Alentejo I spent the majority of every single stage on the front of the bunch controlling the race. All four days. Our sprinter was quite well placed to win the race, so I was quite happy to do this.
Although my season started over a month ago in Argentina, the Portuguese season opened on Sunday the 12th February with the "2nd Trofeu Cidade de Luís", followed by the Volta ao Algarve.
A quick update from the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, and it's a tale of bad luck and hard-going.
Well, I've never seen anything like that before... I'm at the Tour de San Luis and it's amazing. Not the Tour of Britain, not even the “Grandassima” (Volta a Portugal). Maybe only the opening of the Tour of Spain in Seville a couple of years ago was up to the scale of this “small” event here in the middle of Argentina.
After an eight hour car journey, fourteen hours in planes and a lot of hanging around, came the bus ride from Mendonza to San Luis. Mendonza is a wine producing region and is heavily farmed. For hundreds of kilometers there are well arranged crop and dispersed housing, like an endless suburb. It's not picturesque.
My season kicks of in a few days at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. I've never been to Latin America, so I'm a bit apprehensive - Brits aren't the most popular in Argentina, but it's probably just paranoia on my part.
Hi, my name is Tomás Swift-Metcalfe. Tomás is Portuguese, the Swift element is Irish, and Metcalfe is English. I'm a "Euro-mongrel", but I'm very much at home in Portugal.
British Tour de France winners are now commonplace but back in my youth, we could only dream of such things; however we had warriors out there, battling Johnny Foreigner in his back yard – Barry Hoban, Mike Wright and a chap called Derek Harrison. Harrison died in Pernes-les-Fontaines, Provence, France on May 12th last year at 74 years-of-age.
On social media the other day I saw someone contend that perhaps the crisis that faces time trialling – i.e. the participation age range becomes older by the season, with a case in point being the Scottish ‘25’ title: three youths, one junior – is as a result of the fact that the youngsters think that to compete on equal terms they MUST have a machine which will cost upwards of five grand.
Ben Swift launched a monster kick, leaving Scot, John Archibald to the bronze then zooming past teammate Ian Stannard on his blindside in the streets of Norwich to arrive at the line in solitary splendour and unleash a mighty roar of triumph and relief. We caught up with him at his Isle of Man home on the Tuesday after his win...
After a week home in London, I remembered how bad riding a bicycle is and in the end returned to Nancy for some more peaceful roads. But before I got too comfortable cruising around the gloriously empty local countryside, we were on the road for 12 days with the Coupe de France and the Tour de Beauce in Canada.
Six seconds, that was the margin between five times previous champion, gold medal winner and former World Hour Record Holder, Alex Dowsett [Katusha] and silver medallist, Scotland’s John Archibald [Ribble Pro Cycling] in last week’s British Cycling Time Trial Championship in Norfolk. There's a 'but'...
James MacDonald holds the Lands End to John O'Groats AND BACK record, and recently attempted the 24 Hour Record on a velodrome. It didn't quite go to plan...