June 23, 2023 0 Comments
We are following the fortunes of young racing cyclist Evie Field, in her first season as a junior for JRC-Interflon Race Team. In this month's edition of her blog she takes time to look back on the season so far, as training racing and high school exams all collide at the same time...
This year was always going to be a season of two halves. Pre-GCSE's and post-GCSE's. At the moment I am right in the middle of my exams, just three more weeks to go. The last month has been a balancing act between revision and not letting my form and fitness disappear off a cliff.
Before winding things down for my exams I had been coming into good form. I felt like I was getting to grips with the senior road races and had managed to pick up some wins in the local crit series. It’s frustrating to have this form and then feel it slipping away when you’re stuck behind a desk!
So, this feels like a good opportunity to review how things have gone so far. The good, the bad, the fun and the minus fun!
Our team training camp in Girona was just the best. (See March’s blog for more). For five days I felt like a professional. Everything was perfect. The weather, the roads, the cool old town atmosphere, the cafes…I could go on and on, but everyone already knows that Girona is the place to be if you’re a pro. Hopefully we’ll get to have next year's pre-season camp there too, if not I’ll just have to persuade the family to take a holiday there.
Gent was tough (see also Minus Fun) but was a real experience to ride in a UCI spring classic with the best riders from across europe. If you want to be a cyclist these are the kind of races that you have to be part of – exciting and terrifying at the same time.
Witham Grand Prix
Everything seemed to go wrong at this race. From the drive down, the place we had booked to stay in, and the race itself were all a bit of a disaster. Not a great experience for my first National Junior and U23 race. It was all very stressful.
Women’s Team Cup
In complete contrast the British Women’s Team Cup in Surrey was a much more enjoyable experience. Although the racing was tough with some of the UK’s best senior riders the atmosphere was much less pressurised. The course was pretty epic around the woods, it had a real Kermesse feel to it with some fast descents, tricky surfaces and a long drag to the finish line. A real tough roadie’s course.
What also made Gent good made it ‘minus fun’ if that makes sense? The rain, the wind, the dodgy corners, the fight to stay in the front group, trying to get back through the convoy of team cars made it a nightmare. But a pretty epic nightmare after it had all finished.
So what’s planned for the remainder of the season?
The main thing is to take what I have learned in the bigger races from the first half of the season and put it into practice.
The team has been accepted to ride the Grand Prix de Plouay in Brittany in September so hopefully I will be selected as I’m really keen to race abroad again this year. JRC managed to win this race last year so the 2023 squad has a lot to live up to!
The summer also sees the National Circuit Series of town centre races around places such as Otley, Ilkley and Newark. Having ridden these races as a Youth rider they were always a highlight of the racing calendar. There are always huge crowds for these events and the races are super-fast. I got to spray some champagne on the podium a couple of times last year in these events, but this year with the seniors it will be a case of trying to hang on. It will be pretty cool to race with riders whom I’ve spent the last couple of years cheering on as a fan though.
I will also be getting stuck into one of my favourite racing disciplines – Time Trialling. I have an eye on the Nationals in both the BC and the RTTC events later in the year, but will need to get a few events under my belt to remember how to suffer again. If all goes to plan the team does have one slot available for the GP des Nations in France in October. This would give me plenty of time to regain my form after the exams, but I know a couple of my teammates are also interested in this race so it could be pretty competitive just to get on the start sheet.
This is all in the future however, I just have the small matter of a couple more weeks of exams then a whole summer free for training and racing!
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