Tuesday, July 27, 2021
HomeBlogsCyclo Cross Pro Ian Field's BlogIan Field Blog: Tough Times Make the Good Times Even Better

Ian Field Blog: Tough Times Make the Good Times Even Better

-

Whenever there is a long gap between me writing blogs it usually means I have been really busy training and racing hard. This time is no different!  Writes Ian Field

I ended the last blog on the disappointment of the Koppenberg Cross and as I mentioned next up would be the Superprestige at Hamme. I got a really good weeks training in between the two races and morale was high as my girlfriend was able to come and visit for just over a week.

Being away from friends and family the majority of the year is hard so when you do get to see them it really makes a difference.

Even the five mins before the start of the world cup at Koksijde with my Brother, sister-in-law, best mate from school and my little Nephew really gave me a boost before the race.

Ian Field
Shouldering the bike on the dunes in Koksijde.

Hamme went ok; it was the fastest ‘cross of the year averaged nearly 30kph which is pretty outrageous when you take into consideration the dead turns and the fact you were off and running up steps twice a lap.

I managed to slot comfortably into the second group and was moving through the group nicely into the top 20 when there was a crash in the group and I was heavily baulked. I chased hard for the remainder of the race but ended up a slightly disappointed 22nd.

My minimum goal in this these races remains’ top 20 (on the results list at the end of the coverage on TV).

Another hard week’s training in the tank between Hamme and the local classic Gavere was really good and the weather was still holding.

Mid-November and I was training without gloves and no thermal jacket needed. It makes those longer rides so much more enjoyable not having to dress so you look like the Michelin man just to stop yourself freezing to death on a three hour ride.

Gavere is a super tough course with plenty of technical descents and hard climbing each lap, right up my street.

I felt really good warming up on the course and got a really good start riding into the top 20 on the first lap then on a small steep bank there was a crash ahead of me, I went to go round it and one of the riders pushed their bike straight into my front wheel ripping out a spoke and leaving the front wheel rather buckled. I limped to the pits and changed bikes. I was back in the low 30’s feeling hard-done by.

I could have given up and spat my dummy but I put my head down and tried to see what I could do. Like always with an extra bit of adrenaline inside, I went deep trying to catch up – a little too deep. It left me struggling towards the end of the race and I ended up 18th.

I was so frustrated, once again a bit of bad luck had put pay to a top 15 at another big race.

I have a rule with racing though, I allow myself to be grumpy for the remainder of that day then when I wake up in the morning it’s behind me and a new week is ahead where I can make a difference for the next race.

Ian Field
At the Gavere cross.

This next race just so happened to be Koksijde World Cup, and with no WC in the UK this is the closest it gets.

Only 45mins from the Eurotunnel plenty of Brits make the journey every year. It makes it really special for me and all the British riders competing there.

Along with the fact the course is legendary with huge sand sections which were even deeper this year due to the lack of rain. In parts of Belgium it hadn’t rained for an amazing 51 days… Belgium, no rain, 51 days!

I left nothing to chance though, the Wednesday before the race I went up to the course and did three: hours of practice. I hate to think how many laps I totalled but it would have been a lot. I started off struggling then hit a golden patch of being able to ride the majority of sand sections finally as I tired I moved back to the struggling phase!

When this happened I called it a day and drove home, content no one had done more than me that day. With the World Champs being on exactly the same course as the World Cup it had even more riding on it than usual, it’s not often you get a dress rehearsal for the world champs just two months before.

I got a really good start and my training in the week really paid off, for the first time on the Koksijde course I felt good. With so many people shouting my name it felt good to repay them with a top 25 finish (my goal at this year’s World Cups).

I actually finished 22nd one of my best world cup results ever. I was so pleased and this leaves me in a really positive frame of mind for the world champs come January. I finished the race absolutely knackered. A very long wait in dope control ensued as I sat there downing bottle after bottle of water. Eventually I was able to leave and start the long journey north to the following day’s Superprestige, which was in northern Holland, at Gieten.

Ian Field
In the mud at Namen.

Sometimes I really do wonder about the ‘cross calendar in Europe and think it is designed with no thought whatsoever.

4.5 hrs sat in a van straight after a race isn’t the best way to recover from an hour of full on cross racing especially as I didn’t get to warm down after the Koksijde race. I reached the hotel in Holland just before midnight, showered and jumped into bed legs still twitching from that last lap in the sand dunes.

The following day’s Superprestige was super slippy and tough going. All morning my back felt a bit dodgy. Come the race it totally locked up and anyone who knows about bad backs will know once this happens you have no power coming out of your legs. I called it a day with two laps to go. I hate pulling out of races but sometimes as a Pro you have to keep the bigger picture in mind.

The following morning I flew early to Malaga, Spain.

Two weeks of unbelievable weather and great training on tough roads began. I went there in good form and looked to build upon that hopefully making another step up the ladder. I felt good for two weeks and did some really good riding completing some really tough days out which just wouldn’t have been possible staying in Belgium especially as soon as we left the weather began to turn cold and wet.

I returned a few days before the World cup round in Namen, Belgium. Another course which is usually right up my street. I was well up for it! I started well and settled in, looking to move forward over the first few laps but suddenly the back pain was back, really hurting when I got off the bike and tried to run.

With three steep run ups a lap I was really struggling.

Not wanting to pull out I eased off the pedals and cruised a full lap dropping into the late 40’s finally my back began to ease and I could start racing again. I put in some top 25 lap times towards the end and got back to 37th. Once again I can sum the day up as frustrating. When I could actually use my legs they were good!

With so much racing coming up over the Christmas period it was my first priority to get things sorted a deep tissue trigger point massage and a Chiro appointment later I’m sat here on the day of the Superprestige in Diegem unable to race.

Ian Field
The Worlds are at Koksijde at the end of January, and if I get the same support I got in November, it’ll be fantastic.

However I’m allowed to train hard tomorrow and race the next round of the world cup in Zolder, Belgium on Monday. Yep that’s right – I spend Christmas day pre-riding a world cup course then the evening in a random hotel. Hopefully my body will allow me to race full on at the world cup and another top 25 is on the cards.

“Tough times are there so you can have a good time later on – and really appreciate it!”

Until next time, Fieldy.

Ian Fieldhttp://www.VeloVeritas.co.uk
Ian is 24 years old and has moved to Belgium to try and make it in the big world of Belgian 'cross. Here you can follow his progress on the international stage, backed by English sponsor Hargroves Cycles. Coming from a mountain bike and motorbike background Ian first discovered 'cross through a friend at school aged 12. Since representing Great Britain at junior 'cross worlds it has been a true love of his. 2009 was his first year of being able to concentrate on the discipline fully and he moved to Belgium, the home of 'cross, to pursue his dreams and goals. 2010 holds a whole new season and after last years steep learning curve he is back for more in Belgium, trying to take another step towards the top of the sport. Follow Ian right here on VeloVeritas.

Related Articles

Grant Ferguson – British U23 Cyclo-Cross Champion

It’s always good to see fellow Scots doing 'the business', especially when it involves bringing home a nice new national champion’s jersey. MTB cum hill climb star Grant Ferguson was the man on this occasion; he took time to talk to VeloVeritas about his winning ride in the British U23 Cyclo-Cross championships. He did get his Worlds ‘cross tip wrong, though – but so did most of us.

Snapshots from the Flat Lands – Gent Six Day and Koksijde ‘Dune Cross’

A pictorial summary of the Gent Six Day and our trip to the Koksijde Cyclocross race in the beach dunes of Flanders. At the track, it took me back to the days when I stood on the apron, bottles at the ready for Kris to hand up – but not too much in them so they don’t splash when the rider grabs them - just taking in the speed, noise, music, heat, people and that Gent buzz - high as a kite on the Gent Six Days.

Preview: “Dig In at the Dock” Cyclocross 2014

Within only 23 minutes of the Dig In at the Dock Cyclocross race going live on the internet, it sold out of it's first 100 places. The organisers were tasked with looking through the list of around 60 riders on the waiting list to select 30 who they felt could add even more sparkle and fun to the now increasingly popular season ending one for all bike race.

The VV View: In the Bleak MidWinter

Brexit, Covid, desperate weather, it’s been a long hard winter and we're still in what might be termed the Bleak Mid-Winter, made even worse by the sad news that former Scottish cyclo-cross, grass track and MTB Champion Craig Hardie has lost his fight with cancer. VeloVeritas offers deepest condolences to his friends, supporters and family.

James Spragg – Back in the Groove with Strong European Results

“James Spragg,” now there’s a name which hasn’t appeared in our pages for a while - but he’s back in harness and doing nicely thank you with some solid performances. We first came across James back in 2010 when he rode for the Qin Cycling Team and he's with Continental Team, Champion System for 2015 and back in the groove with some good results – like 10th on GC in the recent Baltic Chain stage race in Estonia.

Ian Field – Consistency in the World Cup CycloCross

Sometimes you time an interview just right and your subject goes out and does something big right after it. Take British cyclo-cross champion Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) – or should that be, ‘Field de Brit’ as they say in the Flatlands. We spoke to him on Wednesday and on Friday his coach Dan Fleeman of DigDeep Coaching called us to tell us that he’d pulled off a ‘biggie’ – 13th in the Koppenbergcross after leading for the first two laps and a puncture with two laps to go.

At Random

Super 6 – Round 3, The Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race 2009

The Trossachs in spring, a nice cup of coffee in Aberfoyle, the weather forecast is good, the Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race is always a good race to watch and...

Richard Bideau – Another record-breaking 100 Mile Time Trial, but again no certificate

Biggest news of the weekend? Spilak wins overall in Suisse - and the Russian team takes the GC at ZLM too with Goncalves; Dillier wins the Route du Sud for BMC or Cav shows form in Slovenia to get the Dimension Data management team off the Valliums? Nope - Richard Bideau. Adam Duggleby’s (Vive le Velo) 3:16:51 to break the British 100 mile time trial record on the e2/100, Newmarket course is the ride which has tongues wagging on this side of the Channel and North Sea. Peter Harrison (AS Test Team) 3:18:58 was also inside the old mark; as was the man we interviewed two years ago when we all thought he’d nabbed the record with his 3:18:54, reigning BBAR Richard Bideau – until the course was re-measured and found to be ‘short’ by 0.2 miles. We caught up with Bideau two days after his ride...

British RR Championships 2016 – Adam Blyth and the Barnes sisters steal the show

Adam Blythe produced the big result and relegating Mark Cavendish to second step of the podium for the second year in succession. With the Tinkoff team folding at the end of the year this result will make his chances of a quality contract for 2017 all the more likely.

Ton Merckx – Collecting Team Jerseys for Over 30 Years

When a man named Merckx emails us from The Netherlands and tells us that he likes our website and that he has a collection of 2,300 plus cycling jerseys, we have to pay attention, right?

La Vuelta a España 2012 – Stage 17: Santander – Power 187.3 km

There were no ‘pistolero’ gestures in Santander – it wasn’t a moment for playing to the photo opportunity. Just sheer joy of a man being back where he belongs – if you’ve taken the knocks and clawed back, then you’ll know that feeling.

Ron Webb Tributes

We recently ran Pip Taylor’s fine obituary to Mr. Ron Webb, former professional bike rider, track builder, father of the modern Six Day format, team manager and mentor to many. Below, we’ve drawn together some of the tributes we received from Ron’s friends and former charges: