That last blog post came way back in July. I continued racing throughout the summer and into the early Autumn, rounding off my season mid October. Though I still had some nice performances during this time (such as winning the Overijse three day overall classification) it ultimately was a frustrating season. Unfortunately it always just lacked that little spark, that little edge and that little bit of luck. With the winters again lack of contract, continued uncertainty and an on-going and ever-growing frustration with the structure and politics of the sport that once again unexplainably leaves me in such a position, this ultimately carried over onto the road. Never the less I am grateful to the Assez's and Asfra-Flanders for the 2017 season, the team from which this blog began back in 2010.
Asfra-Flanders, volle gas!
For 2018 once again nothing was moving, years of battling to have a contract continued. Something had to change, I had to take some control.
In February 2017 I was approached by Merlin Cycles to help them make some promotional videos in Belgium, using my knowledge of locations and featuring in. From the outset it was clear I was working with a friendly, respectful and open minded company. This continued a few months later when needing a new bike, something Merlin were happy to provide in the form of the Merlin Nitro SL, a bike I have been nothing but impressed with from day 1. You can check out the videos that we made in February 2017 once again here:
Made in Belgium - Merlin Nitro SL https://youtu.be/03yVom1-118
Made in Belgium 2 - Merlin Fuse https://youtu.be/3BIH6Kecy1c
Filming in Flanders.
At the start of November I reached out to Merlin Cycles to see if they were interested in me riding in their colours in 2018 and supporting an individual project. The response was quick and positive, once again confirming my already positive experiences with Merlin and the road to 2018 began in earnest. Things are evolving all of the time and i’m sure this will also be the case throughout 2018. Racing in the UK, Belgium and beyond, representing Merlin Cycles whenever and wherever possible and as always leaving it all on the road in doing so. As always this year will also be about representing inside and outside of racing, on and off the bike, whenever and wherever the road takes us.
Appropriately the first National Series race in the UK on the 15th April just happens to be the Chorley GP, hometown of Merlin Cycles and therefore an ideal early season goal.
Breaking Away in the Chorley GP 2016.
So far in addition to being on Merlin machines, 3T will provide the finishing kit, Castelli the clothing, Sidi the shoes and Stages the data measurement. Science in Sport will once again fuel me for the year, a relationship that has been developing over the last years and one i'm very happy to continue with and likewise with the support and advise from Mark Huxley.
Fuelled by Science!
In case you missed it, please find a link to Merlin Cycles' own blog post on the evolution of Team Merlin https://www.merlincycles.com/blog/2018-team-merlin-dan-patten/ as well as the official press release here on Velo UK https://www.velouk.net/2018/02/05/news-dan-patten-rides-for-team-merlin-2018/.
As the season gets closer, a big thank you to Debbie, John, Rick and all at Merlin Cycles for the support for the project. Likewise as always to my family and friends, both near and far and ofcourse my girlfriend. We’re looking forward to bringing something different to the road in 2018. Keep up to date on Instagram/Twitter by following me @dfpatten and ofcourse keep following along on here. Until next time!
On the road with Team Merlin!