My plan for this segment and some future segments, along similar lines, is to interview some of the people around me in cycling, those I race with, and those who support me. Hopefully this will give you an insight into my life and allow you a degree of entertainment. These interviews will be in two parts. Firstly the Bergs; the short, punchier, sometimes hard to answer questions; and then the Cols; longer, more in-depth and searching questions.
To kick off the series I thought I would interview myself and introduce properly who I am and just tell you a bit more about my life.
Bergs or Cols?
Training or racing?
Favourite race you’ve raced?
School Games Road Race at Slawston
Track or road?
Bunch sprint or Solo finish?
Bunch sprint, though that question was like the Muur van Geraardsbergen, difficult to answer.
Goal for this year?
National Individual Pursuit Champs
What do you do to relax?
Listen and play music (I’m teaching myself the bass guitar)
Favourite ‘cheat’ meal?
Fish and Chips
Favourite subject at school?
Physics or Maths
When did you start racing and what got you into it?
I started racing when I was 12. I had started training at LVYCC and about 4 weeks after training I entered my first race, this was the March Hare Classic at the Velopark in London. I attacked on the last lap, but unfortunately got rolled on the line to take second place.
I got into cycling through my Dad, who got into it through watching GB’s success at the London Olympics and then buying a bike on the Cycle to Work Scheme. Mum and Dad both got bikes and my first bike was the one Mum had got! A friend of Dad’s told me about LVYCC and so that’s how I ended up there. I soon fell in love with racing, road and soon after Cyclocross!
What other sports have you been involved in?
My parents are both PE teachers, so sport has been a big part of my life growing up. The first sports I played were rugby and cricket. I have played these since I was four, though I’ve had to stop playing contact rugby to avoid the risk of injury, though fortunately injury avoided me in my years of playing. I still play a bit of Cricket but at a very Village level! When I was eleven, I also took up judo. My Grandad had done judo for many years but had stopped before I was born. He said I should go down to the local club and have a go. Little did he know I would go on to win the British Schools National competition the next year, and again two years later, just before lockdown.
I obviously also take part in cycling, and due to the fitness etc. I have taken part in cross-country running, athletics, swimming, and due to my height, basketball.
Away from cycling, tell me a bit about school and your academic interests.
I am currently in my GCSE year at school. I enjoy school a lot and particularly enjoy learning new things. My favourite subjects are Maths and Physics. I’ve always had a love for numbers, partially because they’re not subjective, and partially because I feel safe around them. It’s a weird concept to some people and it’s hard to explain, but they just feel right to me. I love Physics, especially Astrophysics, because I love learning how the world and the universe works, and what part we play in everything. (We are pretty insignificant really!) I wouldn’t say I have a least favourite subject at school. For my GCSEs I am taking: Statistics, French, Geography, and PE. For my A-Levels I’m taking: Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and PE.
Obviously cycling is a big part of your life, are all your family into it?
My Dad is the one who got me into cycling, and so he is definitely into it. Last year, I managed to get him to start racing Cyclocross, and that only increased his love for the sport. My brother also races road, track, and cyclocross. However, my Mum and Sister don’t mind watching the cycling, but they prefer to ride on sunny days (and a lot slower than we normally do).
Tell me about the hardest day you’ve spent on a bike.
The hardest day I’ve spent on a bike so far would be the first time I did the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad sportif, aged 13. The day before my Dad and I rode the shorter Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne sportif, a 60km warm up for the big day. We then watched the main race and managed to meet up with Ryan Gibbons who had got lost! We showed him the way back to Ninove. After this, we had to find the nearest Decathlon to buy some cold-weather gear, as this was when, ‘The Beast from the East’ hit us, causing the temperature to plummet. The next day we set out from Ninove in minus five-degree weather to complete the challenging course, including the Muur, Molenberg, Leberg, Ten Bosse, Valkenberg, and the final climb of the day, the Bosberg. That was my hardest day on a bike, a freezing 120km in Belgium and a mention from OJ Borg on the podcast about our adventures.
We finished the day with a massive portion of chips to revive us. Epic day, but loved every minute!
So that was the first in the series of Introducing…, and hopefully you now know more about me and my life. Thank you for reading.