2023 - Lights Out and Away We Go
I've had a solid winter and managed to stay mostly healthy which meant I got a number of solid winter blocks in. The preparation going in to Perfs was good but I’d had my second to last set of university exams just before which always increases the stress levels. Cycling and studying is a difficult balance to get right - ideally when you should be resting and recovering as an aspiring cyclist you are doing assignments or revising for end of term exams leading to suboptimal, early morning bedtimes. These exams count toward my final degree, so fitting it all in is both important and hard. And if you're not doing the study or revision you’re stressing about not doing it! But I just tell myself that if I can do all those extra hours a week of lectures, study, assignments and revision then full time cycling is going to be easy.
The good news is, I passed them all !!
Perfs Pedal Road Race
Typically cold, rainy and windy this years edition of Perfs was only some of those things as we took to the roads for the opening race on the UK calendar. I’d got my new team bike only 3 days before the race and so had to work on some adjustments prior. I got 1 training ride to get used to the handing and braking on it before heading down to Portsmouth for the race.
The bike itself is a Moda Finale with Mavic Carbon SL45 wheels and Goodyear tyres. The bike is stiff, aero and, due to its short wheelbase, responsive.
You can watch and interview I did with with Larry at VeloUK here (Youtube Link)
Perfs is not a race I’ve done before. I was down to do it last year but then got Covid and some associated heart issues (you can read about them in a previous blog from last year here ). To recce the course with Mark from Pedal Potential was really helpful to get my eye in on the important parts. Knowing the finish and working out where I would sprint from if I was in a position to do so in the final was key for me to have confidence in my preparation.
I knew it was going to be a fast and furious race with it only being 48 miles. As expected the start was quick as everyone is fresh and keen to get racing but it wasn't as mental as some of the early season nat b's from last year.
I bridged to the break on something like lap 3/5 but with a lap and a bit to go when the peloton were close enough, a couple of riders came across and drilled it up the hill. I didn’t quite have the legs to stay with the move over the top of the hill due to the hard bridge that put me at the front of the race just before we were joined by the attackers. I got away again with 3 others with about 8km remaining and we made it stick to the line. Having picked my spot of where to go in the finish I won the group sprint for 6th which I was ok with and it’s a solid start to the race season - just need to work on some things.
This year will be my last year supported by Pedal Potential and I’d like to thank Mark and the team for all the support over the last 3 years, it has made a big difference.
This year's team calendar is shaping up to be exciting with big races scattered through May, June and onwards. I'll be looking to be on top form through this period of racing in order to get results at the UCI and big domestic races that we have lined up. Just as with last year, we will be heading back to the Ras in Ireland which was a great experience last year. This year I'm planning on having some better legs so that I can compete rather than just get round.
Once again we were at the Advanced Well-being Research Centre for our team launch day just last week. We've got a good group of lads that are a load of fun to be with at races and a couple of new riders who are already getting on really well with the guys who were on the team last year. Welcome to team James #4 and Max.
Things are coming together for a really exciting next 8 months.
Eddie Soens - 11th March
Capernwray by Cold Dark North - 12th March
Peaks 2 day P/B Giant - 18th/19th March
Danum Trophy - 2nd April
Thanks to everyone that's making this season happen.