I started the day bright and early before heading out on the bike for a quick spin, making every effort to avoid what I call “Flanders field” on the route back home. I’d just cleaned my bike and there was no way I was going to drag the poor thing through 3ft deep mud for about a km stretch of road where they are building these new houses. I can tell you now I failed because I left the house late and knew I had to get back quickly. So unfortunately the only route I could take home to get back in time was Flanders field. To make matters even worse it had been raining the night before. Worse still my new Ridley (complements of Ridley and Paul Milnes Cycling) is of course gleaming white…. As soon as I got back I hosed the bike down to make it more recognisable as a bike, let alone a white bike. I threw all the kit I needed into the car for the Woolly Mammal race at Stourport en route to the the British Cycling Awards Dinner at the NEC in Birmingham.
I got to Stourport with my Mum and Dad on time. I layered up and before long I was in my first race of the season. I decided to test my legs early in the race, so rode hard to begin with and found myself sitting off the front of a chasing group of 4. After sitting there for a while and not getting very far I dropped back to the chasing group. We all worked together really well. Unfortunately I messed up my finish, getting third, but I enjoyed it, and it was great to be racing again.
We then headed straight off to the awards evening at the NEC. When we arrived we met up with a few friends and had a good chat while we waited for the awards ceremony to get started. I was up to receive the Peter Buckley Trophy for winning the Junior National Road Series. This really meant a lot to me for a couple of reasons. First, it is a very prestigious award, reinforced by the list of previous winners engraved on the trophy (for a more complete list see Peter Buckley Trophy Past Winners)
Second, Pete Georgi and I had set winning the series as my main goal for 2017, and I am only the third first year junior to win the series. At the time that goal seemed crazy – so the lesson is dream big, aim high. If someone had told me at the start of the year I would have podiumed in 5 / 8 national series races I entered I wouldn’t have believed them. It has given me a lot of confidence going into this season. Lots of people to thank for the achievement obviously – Pete Georgi who was my coach and Mr Motivator, Welsh Cycling for all the support and guidance, Pedal Potential for the financial support (which helped me get a really nice set of race Wheels) , Cyclopaedia for the unquestioning last minute fixes to my bike, Sunset Cycles for helping me out with some great kit, John Barclay for all the Belgium racing experience.
Anyway back to the ceremony, they called me up and as I stepped onto the stage I saw the size of the trophy – there was no way I was going to be able to hold that let alone walk back with it.
Fortunately, all the gym work over the winter payed off and I was able to bring it back safely.
We then went for the meal, we were sat with Alex Haindes and his family. We talked about Belgium and other things cycling related. By this time I was absolutely starving and I would have preferred it if the food came out all at the same time and possibly if they had increased the portion sizes by maybe 100000000 😉 but it was really nice. Time to head back home.
Anyway, very proud moment. Enjoyed it. Goal achieved. Now moving on to 2018. Can’t wait for it to get going.
The background on Peter Buckley (source: Wikipedia):
Peter Buckley (2 August 1944 – July 1969) was a Manx and British racing cyclist. He was a gold medallist in the road race at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica. Buckley died in an accident whilst training in July 1969 when he hit a loose dog. The Peter Buckley Trophy was named in his honour, and is presented annually to the winner of the British junior national road race series winner. If you’d like to know a little more see Peter Buckley