Published: 30th November, 2013
Picnics made to order
During my first Soggy Bottom three years ago, I decided to stop half way around the race to have a mini-picnic at the top of the gravel climb. I took my time to eat, take off my coat and cheer on all the other riders - enjoying the fun atmosphere of the event. Now, the fun side continues, but I’ve learnt to save my picnic until afterwards.
My first race...
Over three years I have gone from doing the occasional Yogi Fun ride to a serious training programme
It all started at my picnic race, when my parents took me along just to give it a go. After, my second race I realised that this was a sport I really enjoyed. I was lucky enough to find out about Fully Sussed advertising a youth team sponsorship and jumped at the opportunity to apply. When I found out I had got it, I was unimaginably over the moon! This was the start of everything.
The first Fully Sussed team ride at Haldon Forest
Maddie and Jay Horton at Fully Sussed have been the most supportive sponsors, organising extra sponsorship from Certini Bicycle & Co. and now all my training. They have continuously helped me through all my riding experiences, from my first Cyclocross race to my first Nationals this year. I used to find it hard to find anyone to ride with, but thanks to them, I now have the team of Mavericks all of which I'd call close friends and love to ride with on a weekly basis.
Socialise or train? Both!
My coach Maddie is a role model to me, being an elite athlete who is motivated and enthusiastic about training. She inspires me to train hard and it is our choice to get up at 5am to train still in the dark, knowing that dedication is the only way to get to achievement. Training with Maddie is socialising in its self - she's always great company and we never stop giggling!
However, I'm a typical 17 year old - so I do like to party as well as train. It is sometimes hard to balance this with my training and I've realised that you have to weigh up what you want more? For me; I dream to be National Champion and so I've chosen to put it as my number one priority. I'm lucky that my best friends from school understand this, as two of them do activities of their own, one being a ballerina and the other being a previous national champion at Judo. Although completely different sports, they share a common understanding of the commitment you have to make and are always very supportive of me.
You have to give up a lot of time and that means home-work and socialising has to be worked around the busy programme, but it is manageable! It has got easier and easier since starting the programme with Maddie this year, and now just seems like the norm for me. I have even started feeling guilty not training on my rest day - officially obsessed. I have learnt to juggle lots and my number one advice is to get a calendar, to avoid double booking!
Thank you to Maddie who gives up so much of her time to train me. Also, my other coaches, Gary Andrews and Jay Horton.
Thank you mum for being my chief organiser and manager, and dad for being my pro. mechanic, pit feeder and driver. Plus, Max Suttie for being my secondary mechanic he-he.