I have been going through some pretty big changes in my life the last few weeks which is possibly the best and only excuse I can give for the lack of content up here.
2014 will see a change from the Black of CC Hackney I have sported all my Cycling life thus far, with a hugely exciting move to the Bissell Cycling Team, formerly known as the Bontrager Cycling Team. Riding for the team under Axel Merckx and Omer Kem will be a huge opportunity and provide a great chance for me to develop as a bike rider. I cannot wait to meet all of my new teammates and get stuck in to the racing season, one of whom, my good friend Nathan Van Hooydonck, came to visit last week in London!
More on the team at a later date, however in the meantime you can hear me yabber away a little about it all on the Humans Invent podcast here and also read some recent press in the links at the bottom of this post!
Being a part of a podcast was a new experience and something I really enjoyed doing, despite having to keep even more of an eye on my big mouth than usual with it being recorded! (Evidently since it's a podcast!) But on a more serious note it was really interesting listening to the pro journo's chat about next years Tour and see the process that goes into the finished piece. I guess it shows how big cycling is getting that there is stuff available almost daily in all sorts of formats now. The wonders of the internet or something like that...
Also discussed in the podcast was my then impending but now completed move to Girona. This is a luxury I can now afford thanks to finishing school, however also with the help I am receiving from Leigh Day and one of my closest sponsors over the last few years, Rapha. One part of all these changes is the slightly sad process of parting ways with my personal sponsors of the last few years, most especially Condor and Rapha who have become (and will remain!) friends as well as supporters. However come the 1st of January I will be a part of one of the most highly regarded development teams in the world, using some equally top notch kit, and this is all a part of the process!
So inspite of my dear love for Hackney, I will be based in currently buzzing fiesta-mad Catalunya for the winter. Alex Peters, fellow co-conspiritor and I will be taking advantage of the climbs and slightly better weather to hopefully get a solid few months training in. As you can see from the image above I already have a Trek Madone 7Series to train on for the winter, a really stunning new piece of kit. With thanks due to the Team and specifically our Mechanic Eric Fostvedt for getting it built so fast! On our first proper ride out here in Girona Alex and I rode the well known Rocacorba climb, with a pretty cool view from the top our reward. Nothing like that in Essex...
Which leads me nicely on to yet another big change, my new partnership with palmarès coaching and specifically Jon Baker, an Exercise Physiologist based at Aberystwyth University. After two brilliant years working with the amazing Matthew Winston on the British Cycling Olympic Development Programme, I am really confident this new partnership will continue to progress and develop my understanding of not only the demands of the sport, but also myself as an athlete. With lots of big climbs and testing roads now our playground in Spain, I am sure Jon is going to have plenty of pain lined up over the next few months, however this is all a part of a challenge and I am already relishing getting stuck in!