Since I started my training diary in January I’ve logged ~400 hours, have ridden over 6,500 miles, and climbed in excess of 300,000 feet. All with a single goal in mind: The 2015 National Hill Climb Championships.

Which is why this post has been so difficult to write.

8th October, 2015 19:27

Dear Rider,

Regrettably I have to return your entry for the National Championship. The event was massively oversubscribed and I spent a couple of days searching all the entrants on the CTT site before selecting the field. There were too many Senior entries, and also, unfortunately more than the permitted 20% Junior entries, despite the increased field size.

Sorry if you have been disappointed. A refund of the entry fees will be issued within the next couple of days.

Just seventeen days from potentially achieving something I’ve worked towards all year I checked my emails (over dinner during our first year anniversary trip!) to find a message titled “RTTC Hill Climb Championship“. Excitedly I opened it expecting information about my participation and the organisation of the event…

It’s tough to describe the disappointment and frustration (and being completely honest with myself, slight sense of relief) I felt after reading the email for the first time. I’ve been extremely open and vocal with the fact that this has been almost exclusively my cycling goal for the year. Everything I’ve done has been with the last weekend in October in mind. And arriving at the start line in the best condition I could for a four minute effort.

I even submitted my entry back in March with the assumption it would be first-come-first-served and any results from the year would be logged in the system as they were processed on the Cycling Time Trials. I’ve ridden a number of open hill climbs and consistently placed well and always thought my place on the start sheet was safe.

The way building towards Nationals has affected my training and nutrition isn’t what bothers me the most about receiving this news. I would always have ridden my bike and trained hard this year regardless. What upsets me, really, is that this is an event I’ve talked about constantly with friends and family. One that throughout the year I have made a number sacrifices for. And now I’m being forced to tell everyone:

“Oh, that thing I’ve been going on about all year?
Yeah… turns out I can’t do it.”

I’ve even wrestled an awkward bike bag half way around the World on three occasions just so that I could train during my time working in Sweden. Where I would refuse kind offers by colleagues to go on nights out. Or eat lunch of salad and chicken on my own whilst the rest of the team go out for Pasta or Pizza.

I could go on, but there’s no need. I’d rather keep this brief.

One Ride Isn’t The End Of The World

I can’t deny the fact I won’t be riding at the Nationals is a huge disappointment. No point dwelling on that though as it won’t change anything. Why should one four minute ride be allowed to ruin an entire year? Or even any enjoyment or satisfaction I’ve had from my riding and training. Instead I’ll use this as motivation to continue progressing and come back even stronger next time.

As I’ve mentioned in the past; 2015 has been a rollercoaster of a year on the bike. I’ve tackled many hurdles thrown in my path already; this is just the last one before the finish line.

On reflection, I’m happy to say that I can end the year knowing that I’m in the form of my life. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve made new friends, and I’ve set different, exciting goals and challenges already for 2016.

A disappointing end to a season that never really happened

With all the best intentions my 2015 season never really got started anyway. That’s not to say I’ve had a bad year. I’m stronger and lighter than ever. In fact according to a number of sources some of my power figures are borderline World Class and I’ve done some amazing things with one of my best mates too.

I’ve met a new coach and friend in Jody at Transition, and couldn’t be more excited to continue working with him on my cycling and diet. He’s helped me do a ton of soul-searching and guided me when I’ve lost my nerve or my head’s gone a bit wobbly. Along the way taking my riding to levels I could only dream of before.

Competitively things haven’t always gone to plan

(but they often did! I placed consistently well for the events I did take part in, and there are a number of wins scattered throughout the year too.)

I dabbled in Time Trials but the bike I built up took longer to put together than I imagined, which meant most of the TT season I rode a standard Road bike. Next year will be different. I’ve got the bike, I know the courses, and I’m a stronger rider. Time Trials are going to be a focus for early-season again in 2016.

I didn’t do any road racing. Mostly because I wanted to keep my powder dry for hill climb season. And partly because I wanted to race with a team. I like having a job to do and people to work with. I’ve joined a team now and will be racing a full calendar next season.

And finally, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work for an amazing company in Sweden. A job I simply couldn’t and never even considered refusing. The downside (for cycling) was that I started work at the same time as hill climb season kicked off. Meaning I was travelling and living in Stockholm instead of competing at the weekends. I didn’t ride as many open events as I would have liked, and this more than likely influenced selection for Nationals. (but being able to provide for my family beats taking part in a four minute bicycle event any day). I’m extremely proud of the work I’m doing in Sweden and absolutely love my role and the company I’m working for.

Here’s to next season, and good luck to everyone who did manage to get on the start sheet for Nationals (you jammy bastards).