The 2016 is very exciting for me because it’s my first year as a professional cyclist. I still find it crazy going out training in the iconic kit and thinking “hang on, I was actually given it!” because a few years ago I remember being an avid fan of the British races watching them all on TV and idolising riders... Then last year as a first year senior I took the step up to riding the big races and now I’m riding for one of the longest running UK professional teams!
As a “neo-pro” My role in the team is to develop and support the team while continually improving. This year is going to be a massive step up for me to try to prove my worth to the team. I am currently a student and Edinburgh University studying Sport Science so while riding for the team I have had to find the balance between my studies and cycling. I find that University has been quite good for my cycling career so far. I have been studying and learning about sports and applying the theory into my own performance which I am finding fascinating. The learning is also quite flexible so I am finding the time to train hard and also study – cycle, study, cycle, study. I do find it quite hard at times - finishing a 4 hour training ride then having a shower and a sandwich and jumping back onto my commuter bike to make it on time for my 2pm lecture… and then trying to absorb what the lecturer is telling us! Never the less, I find uni good because the long summer. I have now finished all of my exams (16/05/16) and I now have until September to be a full time bicycle rider. Uni is hard work during the winter but now there is no external pressure influencing my cycling performance.
Raleigh has given me a good start to the season. We started with a training camp in Spain which was really great because it gave me a chance to meet the team and get to know everyone a bit better. There are some quality riders on the team this year with loads of experience so my time in Spain was spent being a sponge trying to learn from everyone. The first night, when Morgan Kneisky and Sebastian Mora arrived after world track champs was crazy because Mora had returned with the world scratch race title and a Madison medal each… I find it very motivating to have such class in the team because I just want to prove myself even more and make the most of the opportunity I have been given.
I was selected for the first few big team races and I was relatively happy with how I have performed. I have since had a few weeks away from the top level racing due to the stress of exams however now that they are all out of the way I am really looking forward to kicking on and giving the 2016 season everything I have.
This has been a long-winded introduction to how my season has started but I’d now like to take the time to thank Cherie Pridham for giving me this opportunity, Craig Grieve of Spokes Cycles for all the support last year which has helped me to get this chance. Also Blair Whiteside of Extra UK and Fizik for the saddle and shoe sponsorship, they have been a real help in getting this season off to a good start.
A short video from the training camp - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPB305shga0 (featuring an interesting clip Sebastian waving at the camera on my bike!)