I felt the first post should be a bit of an introduction about how I come to find myself based in Belgium for the 2010 cycling season. An athlete in my teen years excelling over cross country, road and track I made the decision to switch to cycling in the summer of 2006. With a promising future in the sport it wasnt an easy decision, however after a few years of battling with an injury I felt a change was necessary. Having been putting some hours in on the bike to maintain fitness and having followed cycling on the tv I wasnt going into it completely blind, but it still was a big change to make after dedicating so much to athletics. None the less I began competing and within 10 races I had got my first win and had moved up to a 2nd category license. The 2007 season was another trial year to gain experience. Gaining my first category license, having a few wins and ranking first u23 rider in the South East Series, was a clear indication i was making good progress. This was also the year that i had my first experiences of racing in Belgium, a big contributor to my development.
In 2008 I was in my final year at Loughborough University studying for a degree in Sport Science and Management. As a result of my progress and testing results I was awarded a TASS (talented athlete) scholarship and at the same time was introduced to my coach, Adrian Timmis (Ex British pro, Olympian and Tour de France rider), who has guided me since. I had 4 wins in 2008 and numerous placings as well as taking the Eastern Counties Cycling Association (ECCA) title. I was part of the Great Britain team that went to the World University Championships in Nijmegen and I placed 4th in the Tour of Pendle Premier Calendar event. I comfortably gained my elite license and in doing so earned 738 points, which would have ranked me 7th in the UK. More racing came in Belgium and a kermesse win was getting ever closer, however my season was cut a little short due to a broken collarbone.
Having progressed well and having completed my degree at Loughborough University I signed for the newly formed Swedish UCI Continental Squad Magnus Maximus Coffee.com in 2009. Pre season testing at the University of Kent with figures such as 489w MAP during ramp test and 7.2 w/kg power to weight ratio indicated a good year ahead. I had a few wins in the UK and I also won a stage of the U6 Cycle Tour in Sweden and in the process took 2nd overall on the General Classification. It was a race that I was leading until being brought down in a crash on a criterium stage. This was backed up by going in the break of the day at the East Yorkshire Classic Premier Calendar event and taking the King of the Mountains title taking 7th overall. After riding the Tour of Pyrenees I spent the final month of the 2010 season riding the end of season pro kermesses in Belgium lining up alongside the likes of Tom Boonen, Francisco Mancebo and others alike.....a sign of how far i had come since taking up the sport.
And so to this year. I felt going to Belgium would be best for my development as a rider. This way I will have an abundance of good quality races and with the results I believe it can lead to good things in the future. Most of my races will be in Belgium, France and of course the UK, where I will also be back throughout the season to compete. However basing myself on the continent and in particular Belgium is a big step towards continuing my development and progressing my cycling career. I started the winter in good shape and this continued throughout, which included spending the month of January in Majorca. Pre season testing at the University of Kent once again produced some 'World Class' figures including VO2max 78.7ml/kg/min. No doubt there will be some exciting tales to tell....keep viewing!