The End of Another Season

Craig Wallace | Wednesday 7th October, 2015

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I left Spain 2 months ago to finish my season off in the UK and to find a team for next year. It was a a hard decision to make but one that I am happy that I took and it ultimately turned out to be the best option for me as a rider as I am now full of motivation and desire about what the coming season will bring. Even though my time there wasn’t the best this year, I look back on the last two years in Spain mostly with fond memories-the people I got to meet and the places that I got to race, to everyone there- Gracias!

2015 has been a memorable year if not for race results but for the various experiences that have come my way. Once again I found myself in a team flat sharing with other riders. This is without a doubt one of the more interesting aspect of living and racing abroad as you get an insight into how different cultures live and go about their daily routines. This year I lived with a melting pot of different cultures- 1 Mexican, 1 Russian, 1 Columbian, 2 Spaniards and me the Scotsman. We all got on well and had some fun times together!

For anyone who races you will be familiar with the amount of travelling that's involved to get to and from competitions. Long journeys in an old team van passed down through different teams over the years is always going to have it problems. I think we all became attached to the trusty old van even though it went nowhere fast and one time left as stranded at the side of the motorway having suffered from a big oil leak. The only problem was we had just finished a stage race and were all fairly hungry but the only food anyone had was some leftover race gels. We must have been quite a sight when rescue arrived-a bunch of skinny tired cyclists sucking down gels at midnight in the middle of least it wasn’t cold.. Driving to races in the UK burns some serious fuel. On long 7/8hr drives I developed a strategy to sit on the bumper of camper vans and get towed along in the slipstream increasing my miles per gallon by as much as 15mpg! A handy money saver that was.

Bicycle mechanics is also a large part of racing. I've had some bad experiences over the years as some of you will know but the stand out case from this year was snapping a gear cable the day before the Scottish Championships. Not so much a problem if I was at home with plenty spares but it does become an issue when your at a camp-site with few tools and no spares. Long story short a kind loan of the park wardens power drill (don't ask) and a dash to the nearest Halfords with 10 minutes to spare before it closed and we had it fixed. Not really ideal race day preparation but it was certainly a fun way to spend an afternoon.

On the racing front I never seemed to properly get going-an illness I got at the start of the year put my form back a good bit and I didn’t really get racing properly until late May/June so I always felt as though I was playing catch up. There was the odd top 20 and a spell in the Sprinters Jersey at the Vuelta Castilleon after a day long break which showed that I was slowly getting back into it again, but, it was as if I was banging my head against a brick wall-getting nowhere hence my decision to come home and race here. As soon as I came home everything began to click. I began to enjoy racing and training again and was actually riding not too bad in the races that I entered which came as a pleasant surprise off the back of inconsistent spells of training/competition in Spain.

With some end of season wins in Scotland it was time to hang up the wheels again for a short break- another season finished. It's been an interesting year, full of ups and downs but I'm happy to come through it having learned a great deal which will stand me in good stead for the future.

Once again I owe a huge amount of gratitude to everyone involved with the Braveheart Fund as doing what I do wouldn’t be possible without them. A big, big thanks to everyone back home- Kenny for the year round support and always being available to chat things through, to Mum and Ali and everyone else who has supported me the whole time, helping me get through the tough times in one piece.

Right now I'm currently having a few weeks easy to recharge the batteries and focus on next year which will be a big step up but one I am looking forward to with a great amount of anticipation.

Thanks for reading



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