I haven't written a blog for some time. This is perhaps because I was too busy, felt I had little on which to comment and rarely discussed racing beyond the realms of immediate family and friends. Although recently I've realised this is because I became disillusioned and stagnant with the hobby. My first season with Champion Systems/Maxgear began with excitement, hunger and a passion to race everything I could enter. At first this was fantastic. I loved racing crits in March at Tameside and Salt Ayre. I enjoyed a period of time trialling in April including Buxton Mountain TT, BUCS 3-up 50km TT and BUCS 25 mile TT. Following this came the Junior National Road Race in South Wales that I entered in support of Eve, our junior rider. It was fantastic and the first time I've ever hung on to a bunch of riders at that level. It was such a beautiful day and I truly ruined myself. Early May brought Banbury Star road race – the favourite, not because I was anywhere near where I wanted to be, but because it was simply epic. We finished covered in mud, completely empty.
Then a rather turbulent, frustrating time began. I had my final year Uni exams, worked too many days at Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative and unknowingly became fatigued in both body and mind. I thought I'd be fine to go back to training in the aftermath of University. I was definitely not. As I commuted 1 ½ hours on the bike each way to work, most training took place alone. Suddenly most of the support I'd previously enjoyed at races was missing. Eve and Melissa were bogged down with A levels, Lauren was on placement, Hayley lived quite some distance away and Nicola needed time out herself at this stage in the season. I hadn't realised quite how important their presence had been. Sounds like a list of excuses right? That's not what I'm trying to get at. I just think, as many people do, I tried to come back too soon and made the mistake of heading down the motorway in search of races on my own. As a relative beginner, I somehow found the logistics far more stressful than actually racing, and when it came to the race – I did exactly what I'd been training to do; only kept up with myself.
This year I intend to learn from the mistakes of last. I do ride alone occasionally, because I'm perfectly happy with only myself and the Peak District for company. Some moan about the boredom of long winter miles – this I cannot fathom. Though most riding is now done with the team and any Manchester cyclists who are willing :) Or through futile attempts to remain upright on the mountain bike, with new team member Jo Blakeley and housemate Lizzie Waterhouse (BikeTreks RT). I'm really excited about next season and am focused on specific goals for both myself and the team. I feel, as many do, that other stresses disrupted last season. Of course exams came first, and I was ready to take the time off the bike. It was the mental fatigue I was unprepared for and only when September came did I feel at one with my bicycle again.
It's currently 2 degrees outside...I'm about to wrap up and step out for a short potter with 'Brian' – the bicycle who knows me best.
Good bye for now, Frankie x