XC Racer Blog Post

Step up to juniors

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BY: Evie Lane

Published: 9th May, 2016

Juniors, I've found, are quite like a-levels, you knew it was going to be a step up but you never really knew just how much work you really had to put in to do well. 
Last season ended on a high with my final MTB Inter Regionals where I felt my strongest of the year just missing out on a top 10. I also had a great opportunity to race at the Road Inter Regionals with the South West team which was an excellent interesting experience and a really nice way to end my season.
Following these I made the decision to have at least a month as an off season, during this time a spent time messing about on my bike and also took it as an opportunity to get my first job at the Royal Mail as a christmas casual. It was great to spend time doing this because during the race season I have found it hard to get a job with so much of my time taken up, especially this year as I've just started my a-levels. 
By the time I started to begin to train properly again I was admittedly a bit lost. Lost without the many RSRs and cluster sessions available and lost without the continuous youth support, it was like suddenly I was expected to sort my life out. I can hardly get up in the morning, let alone sort my life out! I was feeling slow and lost! 
Although this meandering feeling, it did give the opportunity to try and organise my own training with my dad. We read Joe Friel's Training Bible to try and understand what exactly needed to be done to go fast. 
After my first few races we came to the conclusion that we actually had no idea where to go from the stage we had got to. Joe Friel's book is brilliant but it just didn't seem to be working for me. I wasn't feeling like I have in previous years at that time, it was as if I wasn't entering races as a competitor just as a moving spectator. 
This triggered the search for some help. So we contacted Epic Coaching. This is one of the best decisions I've made to do with my cycling. After we got my training style sorted, I am actually seeing a weekly improvement in my riding which I never ever expected to see! The level of training has been stepped up to the next level so I'm out on my bike a lot but I feel like everything I do is completely worth it, compared to previous training when I had been doing sessions not really knowing why. I'm out on my road and mountain bike equally which is something I wanted to make sure I did, why would I want to do all of this training if I could only ride my favourite bike whilst racing? I also have time put aside for my full sussed, which is also one of the best decisions I've made in relation to my cycling. My current favourite place to ride it is at Tavi Woodlands (Gawton Gravity Hub), its brilliant for any ability level so I would definitely recommend a trip there. My confidence has improved massively since I've been riding my Mondraker Foxy (with thanks to Silverfish). When I get on my Stumpy I actually feel like I can transfer my technique from my full sussed to my hardtail, to enable me to try and descend as fast as possible. 
This full sussed has also lead me into a new world of racing, downhill! I've only done a few local races but I love it! Not only is the thrill of the race amazing but the people are so nice! They actually talk to each other! I think I managed to talk to nearly every girl at my first race and I'm not the type to go up to someone and start a conversation. The atmosphere is so relaxed unlike at a cross country or road race. There are no 'cliques' and every newby is welcomed with open arms. This pleasantly surprised me and I don't think I'd be scared to go to a downhill race alone following these experiences. Maybe us cross country and road riders need to learn a few tips from the downhillers and smile once in a while, it's actually quite nice when you do it!
Since starting with Epic Coaching I've began to be happy with my race results. At the recent National at Newnham I felt the best in a MTB race all year. I rode all the A lines I wanted to and after considering not racing following a disastrous race the previous weekend, I was really happy with how I felt. That fast feeling was returning and I had so much fun riding the course thanks to Fully Sussed, even when the hills absolutely destroyed me it's still my favourite venue of the series! It feels amazing to race on what is truly a world class course, I could totally see it as a World Cup venue.
More recently I competed in a women's circuit race at Torbay Velopark. It was one of those days when I knew I was feeling good! As I was doing my warmup on the rollers it wasn't the usual slog and my legs were feeling fresh. The Velopark is a good fast powerful circuit which does suit me quite well. I tried to also treat it as a training session so spent quite a while on the front and after 50 minutes, on the last lap, it was time to put the power down. I moved from the back to the front putting in max effort and when I looked behind to see I'd actually created a gap and to my surprise I managed to hold it to take the win! My first women's road race win on the season, things are looking up!!
With my exams starting next week I'm having a few weeks off racing but my next big race is the National in Forest Fields, it's a challenging venue but I'm really excited to see how it's going to go!
To finish I would like to say a few thank yous, firstly to Certini for the continued support, especially for the exceptionally quick solution to my broken frame. Also, thank you to Epic Coaching, I expect I would be on the brink of giving up without your amazing training. And thank you to my parents for supporting me constantly and giving up your social lives to take me to races! 

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