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Please Welcome Our Newest Blogger: Josh Cunningham

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Hello. I suppose I had better start with an introduction! My name is Josh Cunningham, I am 20 year old, and for two years I have committed myself to the formidable task of “making it”, in the world of professional cycling, or at least get as far as I can possibly go in realising these utopian dreams.

I started racing with intent in the 2009 season, for the then called In-Gear Development Squad.

After a season racing locally in the South East of England, with some Premier Calendars and trips to Belgium mixed in, a plan was formulated with two team mates to take the plunge and move abroad to ride under the name of Flanders Racing.

Josh Cunningham
I enjoyed my time racing with Flanders.

We rode a season almost entirely consisting of the mythical kermesse/kermees/kermis racing scene, and certainly from my point of view, rode the peaks, troughs and all else that entails in living the life of an amateur cyclist… I just had to go back for more.

I shan’t go into the gory details, but my 2010 season was, in my eyes, not as fruitful as I had hoped.

The troughs for me came in the form of illness, until July when I was involved in a text book sprint finish pile up, subsequently breaking my wrist, where they took the form of metal plates and scar tissue.

Josh Cunningham
Nothing else to do but smile.

I ploughed on through though, and after riding as a guest for the Japanese Eurasia Team, I managed to finally pull some decent results out of the bag and do enough to gain a team, and a plan, for 2011.

This year, I will be riding for the Royal Antwerp Bicycle Club, riding in the “Beker Van Belgie”, or “Cup of Belgium” series, some “Top Competition” events, as well as some pro and UCI races.

A calendar like this cannot be faulted, and will hopefully provide the foundation for a good season of racing.

I’ll be living in a town called Zottegem in West Flanders, just east of the infamous Vlaamse Ardennen (where those short, steep, unforgiving, terribly bumpy bits of road are) and the cycling Mecca that is Oudenaarde.

Josh Cunningham
Where in the world Zottegem is.

My four house mates are made up of two Englishmen, Matt Green and Conor Dunne, and two Australians, Adam Blake and Chris Jory, all of whom will be riding for VL Tecniks, a newly promoted Top Competition team.

Enough of the background digest though; What’s happening now?

Well, all that typifies being a full time amateur cyclist in short; working and training.

I returned from Belgium in mid October, and duly set about getting a job to fund the following season.

The Bannatyne Hotel in Hastings has since been my main employer, and between waiting shifts there, I have also found time to do some garden landscaping, decorating, and bathroom tiling too.

Maybe if the cycling doesn’t work out I could become a property developer?

I have, however, been doing my best this winter to limit the possibilities of that happening, fitting a good deal of miles and gym sessions in around the ad-hoc work schedule.

The ‘catch-22’ situation that confronted me was whether to prioritise training or work; money needed to fund being full time for 6 months, training needed to make that time worthwhile.

Now five months down the line, I think I’ve done pretty well in getting that balance.

Of course I will only know whether I’m right or not come March, and the start of the racing season.

With the base out of the way, I’m starting to build turbo sessions and hill reps into my schedule, and it won’t be long before these are replaced by races, with my first calendared event being Brussels-Zepperen on 7th March.

So that’s the deal.

I’ll be writing throughout the season keeping all those interested up to date with the highs, lows, to’s and fro’s of my second season in Belgium, continuing on the merciless ladder of bike racing.

Josh

If you like this, you’ll love Josh’s site.

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