Coping with Turbo Life

The last few days have presented a few challenges to us Brits. Several inches of snow have brought several areas of the UK to a standstill. Having had at best 1 day of snow a year for the last couple of years Suffolk is not remotely geared up to cope with this.

gascoigne drive snow
Proper snow!!!

The majority of the county have been worrying about menial things such as ‘getting to work’ and ‘running out of bread’. I can confirm neither have been an issue here in Suffolk, although that may be aided by the fact that I live next to a main road and am not a big lover of bread.

Anyway. For us cyclists the weather presented a much more pressing issue. Training. Early season gains don’t come free and with the weekend coming up a lot of people would have been set  some decent length sessions.

With the roads considered not suitable for riding to everyone bar Freddie, the turbo was the obvious option. This is not always an enjoyable prospect.

freddie snow
Freddie proving that cycling is possible in all conditions. Your bike OK down there mate?

So here is my guide to coping with turbo life. (Freddie this article no longer concerns you)

Turbo Life

Firstly I feel there is a myth here that needs addressing. Namely the popular rumour that I love the turbo. This, understandably, came about from the time when I did 40 hours of turbo in 3 weeks.

This was out of necessity. Not choice.

Where the myth began… remember this one?

Having said that. I will admit there is occasionally a small amount of truth behind the myth. But the max I can stretch to is calling it type 2 fun.

Just for clarity. The types of fun available:

Type 1 fun – Fun at the time. Fun in hindsight.

The cafe run. Type 1 fun at it’s best.

Type 2 fun – not fun at the time but in hindsight you become convinced it is the most fun you’ve ever had. Turbo life basically.

Mostly grim. Look back on session with fondness.

Type 3 fun – not fun at the time. Not fun in hindsight. Brings back memories of a certain cross race I did once… (FYI cross is normally type 1 fun. The weather and my softness played a big bearing in my selection of type 3)

cross race
Was probably just sad at how much my helmet clashed. Photo credit John Lloyd.

But anyway. Regardless of what type of fun you consider turbo life to be. It is sometimes unavoidable.

So back to coping with turbo.

Structured sessions

These don’t present too much of an issue. They are normally an hour to two hours max. Man up. Do the session. Job done.

Longer Sessions

Sessions longer than 2 hours generally require slightly more motivation. I will take the example of my 3 hour race replication session as a template for how to deal with these sessions.

I started by messaging coach to check he definitely wanted me to do the session. He did. Plan A of doing a shorter session was off then.

Still. There are ways to make long sessions fun. Everyone’s got zwift now right? (For those that haven’t it’s a virtual cycling world where you can ride with other cyclists. It’s been very busy over the last few days).

Tipper is currently in Thailand but was still on hand to convert the session into a ‘zwift friendly’ session.

zwift whatsapp
Modern day coaching requirement. Zwift knowledge. Still got lost though.

This is how we broke down the 3 1/2 hour session (yes we actually ended up making it longer):

Section 1 – Sprints. Go get the sprint jersey.

Sprint jersey. Check.

Section 2 – Race attack lap. Go get the lap jersey.

Lap jersey. Check.

Section 3 – Race replication session. Do a zwift race. Finish in a mediocre position amongst a group of guys. (50/130 FYI).

Got lost and ended up with the epic KOM jersey too…

So there you have it. A session that at times bordered on type 1 fun. 3 1/2 hours of reasonably pain free training.

Other Useful Tips for Coping with Turbo Life

There are a few other tips/hacks to making your turbo session more enjoyable.

Get some good tunes on – This is a very personal choice. But the main thing is to find a tune that makes you happy. Apparently 90-100 bpm is optimal if you want some science.

The jury’s out on whether westlife is appropriate on a turbo playlist…

Get your set up right – When you’re on the turbo you’re generating a lot of body heat, which generally means a lot of sweat too. Make sure the room is as well ventilated as possible and use a fan to create some wind chill. (Also make sure to turn the heating on again after so your long suffering house mate does not freeze)

Treated myself to the big screen. It’s he small things.

Ride with your mates – the beauty of zwift is that you can still ride with your mates (although it does help if you follow them back – sorry Ross). Set up a zwift groupchat and co-incide your rides for some extra fun 😉


** In Other News **

Quick update on the helmet situation. Owing to a small amount of collateral damage in an earlier crash, there has been a development in the green helmet saga.

The green helmet is no more.


Replaced by a slightly more discreet kask protone. I was given no say in the choice of colour this time (not sure why) and would therefore like to intoduce you all to my new white helmet…

New era.
Dad likes my new helmet so much he took a photo of it at a cafe.

So that just left one important question. Does anyone miss the green helmet?

helmet poll
Apparent 16 people actually miss the old one. Sorry guys. Its gone.



Maximising Gains Abroad

I’ve been lucky enough to spend a fair bit of time training on the continent this year. The ‘training camp’ is a fantastic way to make some fitness gains. If done right, it can set you up for a great season.

On the flip side, there are a few common pitfalls which may try to sabotage some of the gains. Many of them I have fell for myself (by many I mean most). Others seem reserved only for Sherwood. For those who haven’t met him, basically the most unlucky cyclist in Suffolk (also one of the nicest just to clarify).

I’ve compiled a helpful list of ways to make sure you don’t fall for any of these pitfalls.

sherwood the shell
James fell for the pitfalls. Don’t be like James.

Make sure your bike is working

Going abroad is a great excuse to get the race bike out again (unless you’re Josh Aiken).

Your race bike was working when you last used it. Therefore logic dictates it should be a simple job of packing it into the bike box and putting it back together again at the other side.

Solid logic. Unfortunately not as sound logic as it seems. How many people give their bike a full service before packing it away for Winter? Certainly not me.

The night before you leave is not an ideal time to realise your seat post has seized over Winter (**cough Freddie Grover**). Equally the first ride after you land is not a brilliant moment to find your brake calipers have not been done up tightly enough (**Emily Meakin called it**). Despite numerous attempts I have also never once managed to accurately index my own gears based off a GCN ‘how to’ video. If you want a smooth ride abroad it’s something best left to the professionals.

5 minutes after leaving the bike shop… some things you can’t avoid

After experiencing some of these problems myself, I have made it a pre-trip ritual to take my bike to Elmy’s for a once over at least a week before I go anywhere. This gives ample time to order in the new bottom bracket to replace the one you left water in all Winter, or to replace the chain and cassette which have a whole race seasons worth of neglect in them.

elmys blog photo
This bike was probably less high maintenance than mine…

Have the essentials in your hand luggage

By essentials I mean the things you need to ride your bike. You’re on a cycling holiday, you can manage for a day or so without pjamas and ‘normal clothes’. In calpe you’ll see far more lycra than you will jeans anyway.

This is what I consider the essentials (obviously feel free to add and subtract):

  • Pedals
  • Helmet
  • Shoes
  • Lycra (enough to keep you warm at the lowest temperature recorded in the last month or so where you will be riding)
  • Garmin and mount
  • All the essential documents you needed to get on your flight anyway

When you check your bike box onto your flight it goes through a complex ‘sorting system’ to then make it to the hold of your flight. Normally pretty reliable, but very much out of your control. Your hand luggage on the other hand is escorted by you onto the flight.

Although very rare, occasionally the person checking in the bike is James Sherwood. Luck dictates that this bike box will not be put onto the same flight as said person. Unfortunately Sherwood’s shoes and helmet were not in his hand luggage. He had forgotten he was James Sherwood when packing.

If your hand luggage is packed correctly, whilst the situation is frustrating, it is at least salvageable. Hire a bike. Attach appropriate pedals. Put on the set of kit you brought. Wash on repeat until bike box arrives. Claim back bike hire fees from insurance. Simple.

sherwood bike
Happy ending. Made it eventually.

Make sure you have some structure to your week

The temptation when abroad is to do mega miles every day. Whilst this sounds like a great way to gain fitness, all you are actually doing is missing out on the necessary recovery needed for your muscles to adapt.

I’ve been working with Jacob Tipper from ‘Tipper Performance Coaching’ for long enough to know that I can trust him to set sessions that will take me right up to my limit. I get set a combination of pretty grim intervals, and rides where the aim is to just ‘hold on to the guys’. I try to stick to my plan as strictly as possible nowadays. Sticking to my plan correlates very well with making performance gains. Leaving the plan correlates very well with getting ill.

Post ftp effort. Just a shell trying to get aero.

We still have a healthy debate on how much is acceptable to do before a flight every trip, but that’s all part of the coaching relationship right? If anyone has access to a research paper showing the benefits of a big ride pre flight, send it my way!

freddie and gary
You’d better not do this on a flight day guys. Total legends though.

The fusion team camp was a great chance to get to know each other as a team and practise some team tactics for the upcoming race season, under the guidance of Iuri from Velo Performance.

velo perfrmance
Iuri prepping the team on sprint lead outs. Focused much Emily?

Get Your Nutrition Right

Training camp is the time to get strong, not lean. It’s only February. There’s plenty of time until race season to hit that ‘racing weight’.

In an ideal world you would start off the day with some slow release carbs and some protein. During your ride you want to keep the glycogen stores topped up with some sugars. Cereal bars do the job just fine for me. Post ride every knows about the ’20 minute window’ to take on some carbs and protein to aid the recovery process. For dinner some lean meat, plenty of veg and some high quality carbs will set you up well for the next day.

While you’re abroad you may not always have access to the ‘superfoods’ instagram suggests we are all eating diligently. The cafe you’ve stopped at may only serve cake and chocolate bars. Don’t go without just because it’s not the ‘perfect ride snack’. When you’re on a ‘get round’ ride a calorie is a calorie and I can guarantee you you’ll need lots of them.

All the essentials on one table. Tostado. Flat white. Cake.

If you want an idea of how many calories you’ll need to get you through a week of intense training go watch my team at the breakfast and dinner buffet!

Bring Kit for all Weather

Whilst it’s nice to think that every day will be 20 degrees and clear skies, in reality it is only February! Whilst generally a good 10 degrees warmer than the UK, south Europe is not immune to rain. 14-16 degrees is a pretty safe bet. Not quite shorts and jersey weather yet!

At fusion we are fairly lucky to have been kitted out with all the necessary layers by velotec. The following should get you through most weather Spain and Portugal can throw at you. If it doesn’t, it’s a blip, take that rest day early!

  • Shorts and jersey
  • Short and long sleeved gloves
  • Long sleeved jersey
  • Arm and leg warmers
  • Water resistant jacket
  • Short and long sleeved base layer
  • Socks of an appropriate length
team photo
Did I mention we have really cool kit this year? And no that is not appropriate sock length. Ross has rectified the situation. Fear not.

Get the Company Right

It’s a well known fact that good company and ‘soft banter’ facilitates the highest quality training.

In each week I have been away I have stayed with a different group of people.

Calpe take 1 with Jos – this was a bit of an impromptu trip with my good friend Jos (training partner supreme). This involved a lot of getting dropped on climbs, and some proper through and off on the descent from Castell de Castells (a firm favourite now).

Obligatory cafe run. D’Origen. Standard.

Algarve with velo performance and Team Fusion – This was the first time a lot of us had met, and its fair to say we get on like a house on fire. Lots of singing. Lots of abuse (as you know mostly from Molly). Lots of strong friendships.

fusion team
What a great bunch.

Calpe take 2 with the lads – A mixture of all the local teams in one villa. Very different dinner table chat to the fusion crew! You learn to zone out of the parts that you don’t want to hear! Very solid riding. Overall another great bunch of some of my favourite people.

gary and freddie
About 5 minutes post arrival.

Make sure you’re enjoying yourself

At the end of the day, if you’re not enjoying yourself all of the above is irrelevant. Cycling holidays are meant to be fun. Not everyone wants to be the next Chris Froome so if you want to ride from cafe to cafe full gas each day, go for it! All of us started off as cafe racers anyway!

no aero
Have fun. Make gains. Over and out.

Lessons Learnt on Camp

fusion wall

As most people know, this year I will be riding for Fusion Velo Performance. We have some fantastic sponsors this year, one of whom is Velo Performance, ran by head coach Iuri. We are lucky enough to have Iuri as our DS as well this year, and a major perk of being sponsored by a coaching company is of course the team training camp.

It’s been a pretty incredible week, with a pretty incredible bunch of girls (both on and off the bike)! Iuri has drilled the sprint lead-out train to perfection and there is no lack of climbing talent on the team.

For most people the week was a chance to get to know the team and gain a bit of fitness on the bike. For one teammate however, it soon became apparent they had a much more pressing challenge. Step forward Molly Patch, who soon noticed there was another member struggling somewhat with some of the style concepts required to compete in a coherent team.

That person was of course me (cos lets face it there’s only one person here with a green helmet)

Lesson 1 – Wear Matching Kit

I have green helmet. Don’t ask me how it happened. I have never ridden for a green team.

Maybe I was still concussed after a crash. Maybe it was Josh Aiken’s smooth sales technique (I think it involved the statement ‘are you sure you don’t want to wait for us to get a red one in’).

Anyway, regardless of cause, the purchase happened and I have clashed with all things bike related ever since. First, I wore it with blue. This was what would be described as a sub-optimal situation. Next, I introduced it to the orange and blue of my local bike shop Elmy’s cycles. They didn’t deserve this. The situation was now in what I would describe as the ‘critical zone’. Finally, I introduced my helmet to the red tones of the new velotec kit I will be donning with pride next season. The situation had finally reached a head. Red and green is not acceptable.

Step forward Molly Patch, take 1. The abuse had started. One Instagram story was all it took and the support flooded in. Coach Tipper has been on my case for months (sorry coach!) so was straight in. Next up was Ross, with a degree of exasperation. Then came Sherwood (not one to miss out). Etc. Etc. Etc.




Fortunately there is actually a solution to this problem. Not one that requires rocket science either. Step in Fiona with the spare team helmet.

Green and blue – sub-optimal indeed
Why not try it with orange then?
Yup. Definitely doesn’t work with red.
Feels good to match. (Fiona is excited cos I’m wearing her hat)

Lesson 2 – Respect the Bike

There are a few unwritten rules to photographing ones bike. I say unwritten. My coach had to write them down for me. But I guess that’s jut me.

  1. No saddle bag. In dire situations it is possible to get away with having a discrete saddle bag. In no situation where Molly is behind you with a camera is it possible to get away with a suitcase.
  2. Big Chainring and in the 11. Basic.
  3. Clean bike.
  4. Find a nice view. Actually had already nailed this one.
calpe bike

Lesson 3 – Lose that 4th cat (Molly has corrected this to 5th cat) tat!

The dreaded 4th cat tat is something every cyclist strives to avoid. Some are very adept at this. Some are less so.

Winter is normally the ‘safe time’. The time where legs are covered in leg warmers so no-one is any the wiser.

In the Algarve Winter is less of a thing. This means leg warmers are also less of a thing. This posed a big problem. A problem that was soon on instagram.

3 though?

Fortunately Tipper takes these things seriously and was on hand to offer some sound advice. Coaching me is about more than just numbers you see.

4th cat tat 2
What’s that about cleaning my bike coach? I’ll just pop it in the hotel bath then.

There you go coach.

post 4th cat tat
Even made the fusion insta! #coachingworks

Lesson 4 – Strike a matching pose

There are times on a team camp where you will be required to strike a pose. Typically this will start with announcement from a team member that a photo is required. This is followed by specifics on the content of the photo. For example ‘lets just take a nice one’ or ‘guys lets do Charlie’s angels’.

On day 1 we had been fortunate enough to get some pretty mint new kit from team sponsor velotec. That coupled with the fact that we had not seen sunshine in a while and it being the obligatory leg opener cafe ride meant photo requests were flooding in.

The first few went well. Nice simple straight lines. Smile. Then people wanted more. Popular culture referenced started coming in. And I’m not that familiar with popular culture.

Take Charlie’s angels as an example:

charlies angels
Mate you look quite chinese there…

There is a way round this. As with everything in this blog post all that’s needed is a little direction. Copy the most confident looking person and all that.

getting better
Getting there. Still progress to be made.
team photo

Lesson 5 – don’t forget to just enjoy riding your bike 😉

The final day of our camp happened to be the first day of the Volta Algarve. With the promise of some big names we went for some shameless ‘pro spotting’.

After we had had our fill of pro spotting there was still an afternoon of ‘free riding’ to be had. I was pretty keen to go find some climbs to do some more training. Efforts are good ya?

Meakin had other ideas and dropped the bombshell ‘I’d quite like to just ride my bike’. This was at first a confusing idea. ‘So we won’t be doing any efforts?’ Mind blowing. Still with the promise of a hill rep or 2 if I wanted we went off to ‘just ride’.

The result.

3 cafes. Plenty of sunshine. Lots of leg spinning. A few sprints. One hill rep. Mostly just good chat.

Yup. ‘Just riding your bike’ is pretty damn good!

beach view

A few thank you’s:

This last week has been pretty incredible, so a few thank you’s are in order.

None of this would be possible without team manager Terry. He has somehow found a group of girls who gel as well off the bike as on the bike (and trust me that’s not easy).

Iuri, head coach at veloperformance, and our DS this year gets a massive thank you for putting on such a fun and stress free week. Everything was arranged right down to the airport transfers meaning we could just focus on riding our bikes and having fun. He’s used his expertise to get the team working really well together. Our sprint leadout train is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Velotec have kitted us out with some really great kit so we can look on point in the peleton.

Finaly, the backing of brother cycling has given Terry the scope to really take the team forward this year.

How Becoming a Vet Made me a Cyclist. And How Becoming a Cyclist made me a vet.


The Dilemma

Its summer of my third year of vet school and I’m anything but excited 1084883_650460151632743_57503068_oabout entering the clinical years of my vet degree.

It’s crazy really, I’m on an amazing wild camping cycling trip around

the stunning North Coast of Scotland. I’m with my friends from uni who are more like family and will be friends for life. I’m doing yoga by lochs. Laughing. Eating great cake. Eating terrible cake that tastes great because we’re camping. Having chocolate raisins in my porridge. And I’m on the course I spent a year working towards getting on. In other words I should be having the time of my life.

But in reality I’m miserable. I’m pretending that everything is fine, trying to enjoy the trip, but soon I’m crying on my friend’s shoulder. And then I’m making arrangements to end my trip early to go home and cry on my mum’s shoulder. I’m suddenly questioning every choice I’ve made in the last 2 years. It’s all I can do to not cry in front of strangers.  It’s pretty exhausting and I’m barely holding it together.

The problem is, I don’t want to be a vet anymore.

1477732_763387363687023_850864688_nDoing a vet course is pretty full on. You’re in lectures 9-5 each day. Then you head to the library to revise. Sometimes until 10 o’clock at night. And then you repeat. In third year it’s still all very theoretical and I’d had enough of lectures, I’d had enough of the library. It was all so intense that I’d convinced myself I wasn’t interested in being a vet any more. Meanwhile, the students on other courses seemed to be having a whale and I felt like I was missing out.

Seeing practice with qualified vets was only fuelling my doubts. I realised that being a vet is hard work. You work long hours, then you do on call, then you do some weekends. The job is emotionally exhausting as well. Pets are part of the family and this is reflected wide array of emotions we can come across within a 3 hour consult block. Some people are happy, some are distraught and sometimes anger is a natural part of the grieving process.  As a vet you need to remain professional and compassionate in the face of all of these emotions. I wasn’t sure I was cut out for it. Or rather I was certain I wasn’t cut out for it.

The Debate

The logical thing at this stage seemed to me to be to drop off the course and start a-fresh. Do something that interested me.

Except obviously that was not the logical thing, because you don’t tend to think logically when you are an over-dramatic 21 year old thinking you’ve made all the wrong choices. Fortunately I realised there were far more reasons to stay:

  • I’m 3 years into a well respected 5 year course with good job prospects at the end
  • I’ve already signed a lease on a flat with my brilliant friends from vet school who I would greatly miss
  • Being a vet interested me once. There was nothing to say a new course that interested me would interest me for another 3 years
  • I’d already had a gap year through indecision so felt I was getting pretty old to be starting another line of education (ridiculous I know)
  • I didn’t actually have to be a vet at the end of it

In the end I made the decision to stay. 2 years is not that long in the grand scheme of things, and I could go get a cushy (if slightly boring) job with the government after, or work in a lab. I wasn’t staying on the course to be a vet, I was staying on the course to get a well respected qualification I could use for something.

However, something needed to change. I didn’t want to be unhappy for 2 year. 2 years is a long time to be sad.

The Solution

I came up with an action plan:

  1. Work less hard – quite a hard point for me to implement. I’ve always struggled with the idea of doing something half heartedly and I the thought of 10497132_812978228714267_3216448685503693288_o.jpg‘over-doing’ this point and having to re-sit an extra year did concern me.
  2. Talk to people – friends, lecturers, family… anyone who would understand really
  3. Find a hobby I could really throw myself into. I’d already tried korfball, badminton, football, rugby, tennis, horse riding, kick-boxing, under-water hockey (yes that’s a thing… ask anyone from Orkney)

I started  with point 3 because that was the fun point… and well it turns out that’s the only point that really mattered. Because then I sort of forgot about the other points… or maybe the other points didn’t matter… or maybe I actually covered them anyway…

Point 3 (The Point Where I Start Talking About Bikes. And Don’t Stop Talking About Bikes. Ever. Sorry.)

I’d recently bought a road bike so the first thing I did when I got back was join the university cycling club and buy a jersey. I picked up my jersey from a nice guy named Chris who was president of the society at the time (a person who turned out to have a pretty big influence on my early cycling life). I thought, ‘he seems nice, hopefully they’ll all be this friendly’.

When I went on the first club ride it turned out most of them were this friendly. I was soon going on all of the club rides and riding at least twice a week (which for the record at the time seemed like a lot). By the time it got cold in Winter (and Edinburgh knows about cold) we were down to a select  group of fairly hard core seasoned cyclists… and me. I was pretty lucky really. I was by far the weakest cyclist there, but instead of dropping me every ride the guys always rallied round to get me a solid ‘get round’ each week through some dedicated wind shielding and encouraging chat.

I could write a whole other blog post on all the great times I had with the uni cycling club (and maybe I will) But that’s not the point of this post. In fact I’ve momentarily forgotten about the point of this post. Because that’s what cycling does to you. You forget everything. You forget stress, you forget decisions you should possibly be making, you forget that you have a job or that you have to study. And in my case I forgot I was sad.

I forgot I was sad because I wasn’t sad any more. I was happy. I was content. And in forgetting I was sad I remembered all the things in life that made me happy. I remembered I was really lucky to have scraped on to a course I’d always been passionate about. I remembered that on that course I had made the best friends anyone could hope to have. I remembered how lucky I am to have the best family in the World, who will always be there (even when I’m not because I’m absorbed in the World of cycling again).

Points 1 and 2

Can’t really remember these any more. Pretty sure I crushed them somewhere in the last paragraph.



I’m not even sure there is a conclusion to this. Well maybe there is actually. Because the last 2 years of uni were the best by far.


And now I’m a vet, and a cyclist. My job is rewarding. My cycling is my passion, relieves stress and has given me several of the best friends I have.

So if it wasn’t for cycling I probably wouldn’t be a vet. But then if it wasn’t for vet school I definitely wouldn’t be a cyclist. And I love being both.


cornwall 072

Finding Some Form

Since coming back from injury it’s been a slightly crazy few weeks with 6 wins, a national series solo break and my best ever national series placing! I’ve finally had a bit of time to reflect on what really has been a great few weeks with some great support!


Suffolk Cycle Racing Series – 5 Wins out of 5

My local crit series and the series that got me in to racing in the first place. I love all the mum and grandmalocal support us racers get here so a win always mean a lot! After winning the first round in my first race back, I felt quietly confident that I had the form to win all of them. It certainly got progressively more difficult to win each round, with my good friends Gemma Melton and Tanya Griffiths pushing me hard each week, but with a little variation of tactics I was happy to pull it off. Hearing Gemma had added 50 watts to her sprint before the last round did add a little more pressure!!


Tour of the Reservoir – National Series – A Solo Break and a Change in Perspective

At the start of the year I approached national series races with the view that I would be over the moon to make it round in the bunch. After the injury I was looking to do just that, but this race has changed that mindset for good!


Day 1 was a distinctively mediocre day out. As only my second road race since injury, I was still pretty nervous riding in the bunch. I managed to do the complete opposite to my coach’s recommendations… moving up through the bunch on the climbs and dropping straight to the back of the bunch on the descents… not ideal energy saving tactics!! Despite this I finished comfortably in a diminished bunch, so plenty of positives to take away.

tour of the res

Day 2 was a bit more of a day out. With team mate Emma sitting top of the QOM competition the plan was to get this sewn up by mopping up the rest of the points between us. A little way into lap 1 an opportunity arose to chip off the front… and with a descent coming up it seemed a great opportunity to not have to descent in the bunch!!

After a lap away and the first lot of points mopped up the bunch looked to be catching… with another descent coming up I thought I’d better push on and before I knew it the gap had extended out to 1.47 minutes at the bottom of the big climb.

I ended up staying away till the top of the queens climb where the break caught up with me. Unfortunately at this point my front derailleur then packed in so with a big descent following I never got the chance to see if I could stay with them. I managed to hang with an even further diminished peloton for the rest of the stage with a lot of spinning and finished a respectable 26th overall.


The big result from this race was realising that I’m more than capable of competing at this level, so no more sitting at the back of the peloton ‘getting round’!


tour of the res 2


Cowley Condor’s Road Race – A First Road Race Win

A road race win has been big goal for a while, but thus far proved elusive! I knew the road race wincourse from last year and knew the rolling nature would suit me well, so went in to the race quietly confident.


Looking at the entry list it was pretty clear Steph Mottram was the person to be in a break with, so we hatched a plan to get away on the prime lap. The plan came off perfectly and we spent the rest of the race shelling out the 6 person break until there was just 2 of us remaining. Steph got a bit of a jump on me coming into the final straight but with a bit of graft I was able to nick it on the line, job done!!


Newton Longville Festival of Cycling – National Series – Domestique duty

The longest and flattest of the national series rounds. With no out and out sprinters in the team, the plan was to try and get someone up the road and the rest of us work hard to keep them there. Early on me and Emma both had a couple of forays off the front, but any moves were getting shut down quickly by a fast-moving peloton.

Half way round Jos managed to get away with one other rider, so me and Emma set to work disrupting the peloton. For the next few laps, between us we were able to close down anything that looked like it posed a threat, and Jos managed to stay away for an amazing 2nd place! A great team day out!


Ryedale Grand Prix – My First National Series Top 15

After my ride at the Res, Ryedale became the big target for the rest of the year. This meant a lot of improvising in training to try and replicate the efforts needed to tackle one of the more hilly national races.

The race centred around a few 3-5 minute climbs, and every lap a few more riders were shelled until we were down to a select bunch of 17 riders. I was climbing well, so with a lap to go I had an attack over the top of one of the climbs. Unfortunately for me no-one was really wanting to work and everything got closed down. Bunch finishes are not my strength and 15th didn’t really reflect where I felt I should have been able to finish.


Overall there were massive positives to take from my ride, and my highest ever national series placing. I’m confident there’s much more to come and can’t wait to fully focus on the series next year!


Thanks Guys

My run of form hasn’t come without a lot of help and support from some great people!


My team ‘Aprire HSS Hire’ have been great throughout, sticking with me while I was out injured and supporting me throughout my racing while I’ve been back. I’ve been racing the Aprire Vincenza, coupled with some great parcours wheels, and I can always be sure of a great ride. It’s been nice to be able to pay back the team for their support with some solid results and teamwork!


My local bike shop, ‘Elmy’s Cycles’ are pretty central to the local race scene and do a great job of making sure my bike is always race ready. They’ve even opened early before to teach me how to index gears, and I’m incredibly grateful for all the help they give me!


My coach Jacob Tipper has again been amazing at giving me some great form post injury. We’ve worked pretty hard on my weaknesses in training, and transformed my mental approach to races. In the 5 months I’ve been working with him I’ve gone from someone who would be perfectly happy just making it round national series races to someone who can mix it up the front with the best.



My season isn’t finished just yet and with a couple of 2 day races coming up plus my regional champs I’m excited to finish the season off strongly!



Making the Most of Some Time Out Injured

As cyclists no-one likes being injured, and it’s fair to say spending most of May on the turbo trainer was not really how I saw the first half of my season going. However, sometimes an injury can be an opportunity, and I don’t regret any of my time away from the racing scene.

The Injury

2 ½ weeks after a big get down at Tour of the Wolds, my back was finally somewhere received_1024030217727580close to being good for racing. There were no ladies to race so I was looking forward to getting some solid training in against the guys, with the comm’s exact words being ‘guys look after Becs…’

Didn’t quite happen… one lap in and one rider managed to cause half the field to come down… diagnosis for me… Broken elbow. Needs surgery. 3 months off the bike. (point 3 being a high point of debate while I lay in a hospital bed high on nitrous)


Step 1 – Fix Body

dsc_0315.jpgThe NHS is pretty much stretched to breaking point, but my experience was pretty good, and you definitely can’t fault a single member of the staff there! It took them 2 days to get to my op (lots of old ladies kept breaking their hips…) and that night I was free to go home and drink my way through a lot of morphine!

When it comes to physio Will Dykes from Hadleigh physio is pretty used to getting me back racing post injury and did his usual job of smashing the NHS predicted timings by getting me back on the bike safely 4 ½ weeks post op.


Step 2 – Fix Mind

The first couple of days post op were insanely painful, so coupled with the realisation that this wasn’t an injury I could just ignore there was a fair amount of emotion banging about. Fortunately I have some amazing bunch of friends who swiftly set to work cheering me up, fixing my bike up and setting up the turbo.

I lost count of the number of people who recommended watching Matt Hayman’s return from his elbow break to win Paris Roubaix. This made me realise I had to stop feeling sorry for myself and start making the most of the opportunity to train as a full time athlete.

After a couple of days my dad set up a bespoke turbo rig and we were good to go!


Step 3 – Eat, Sleep, Train

Being signed off work for the forseable future and incapable of driving anywhere in my IMG_20170525_152757_557cast, the only logical thing to do was use the time off to train full time (on the turbo… in the garage…).

Having the support of a good coach is pretty essential through injury, so I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve had from Jacob Tipper (Tipper performance coaching), especially given I’ve managed to be injured for most of the time he’s coached me so far… oops…

Initially training was restricted by post GA exhaustion, so we set to work sorting out my diet (something in hindsight I should have done a long time ago…). This meant I actually managed to come out of my injury leaner than when I went in.

After a week we were able to start turbo bootcamp, under the strict instructions that nothing was off limits as long as it made me fast when I came back. Tipper took this appropriately literally and set a pretty grim programme mixing up intervals, double days, fasted rides and a couple of (really fun…) 4 hour sessions. 40 hours of turbo in 3 weeks is not something I’d like to repeat…


Step 4 – Ride Bike on Road

IMG_20170601_162339_815At my 4 week post op check the consultant made the surprise statement of ‘it’s OK to ride your bike as soon as you have enough pain free movement’. This was loosely interpreted as 3 days after the cast came off (after chatting to Will Dykes from hadleigh physio again, who’s word is gospel when it comes to injury).

With mega sunshine this was a pretty perfect excuse to just ride to café’s every day. Within a week of the cast coming off I was able to start doing my efforts on the road too and life was good.


Step 5 – Become a tester for a couple of weeks

With a crash likely to be pretty bad news for my elbow initially the plan was to use time trials to get back racing sooner.

The only minor drawback to this was not having a TT bike, but luckily the team set me up with a really nice Aprire TT bike (super grateful Phil!!) and our kit sponsor seight custom kitted me out with a nice aero speedsuit.IMG-20170614-WA0001 (1)

With only 3 days between getting on a TT bike for the first time and my first TT, elmy’s cycles have been fantastic at helping me with the final touches, and even lent me some fast wheels. These guys are fantastic at helping out the local racers and I trust them 100% with any of my bikes!

Turns out Tipper also knows a lot about being aero, so with lots of last minute whatsapp photo exchanges we managed to pull together a position that seemed pretty aero considering how last minute it all was!

6 weeks post op and I was able to do my first race 😀

East District 10 mile TT Champs – 1st place – To win my first race back was always a big aim, so coupled with the fact that it was the east district champs and I’d sat on a TT bike for the first time 2 days before I was pretty buzzed!!


East District 25 mile TT champs – 2nd place – Not a win but happy with 57.12 for my first 25, plenty of scope to improve on that! Kudos to Verity for a fantastic time of 56.18, reversing the result of the 10 mile, hopefully the start of many big battles 😉

Step 5 – Get Back Bunch Racing

IMG_20170623_174054_665 (1)Race 1 – Suffolk Cycle Racing Series Week 1 – 1st place – At the start of the race the comm announced the ladies were to mix in with the third cats. The thought of racing the men was slightly terrifying and I was promptly dropped by all of the ladies as they rode off with the guys. After a lap of wondering why I was there I remembered how to corner and spent the first 30 minutes riding from group to group until I finally made contact with the lead group in our race. The next 30 mins were spent teamed up with my fave break partner Gemma Melton lapping the rest of the field, with a sprint for the line to decide it. Most excited I’ve ever been winning a mid week crit!

Race 2 – Norwich VC Road Race – 10th – The last step was to get back road racing again, and I was pretty pleased with my legs even if the result wasn’t anything to shout home vc norwich rrabout. Had a dig off the front with a lap to go and nearly stayed away but with a mile to go the group made the catch and it was just about salvaging something from the sprint.


Injury is not that bad.

On to Tour of the Reservoir and the rest of my season now!!