During my time as a sixth form student we would often spend our morning registration filling out UCAS applications, personal statements, and talking about what we wanted to study at which universities. And at this time I was convincing myself that I wanted to go to uni and study engineering. However, during a week of dreadful mock exams in the freezing January weather I realised that I didn’t want to study for another 4 years at uni. Instead I decided that I wanted to chase my dream of being a professional cyclist, racing in the world tour against world class talent!
I spent the next few months doing a bit of revision, but mostly planning and thinking about the next stage in my life; trying to figure out how I can get from where I was, to competing in the highest level in my sport.
In October 2018 I moved to the Basque Country in north Spain. Here, the level of competition is exceedingly high, even at an amateur level. The terrain is very mountainous because if it’s location in the foothills of the pyrenees. This has produced some of the biggest names in the sport like Mikel Landa, Igor Anton and the Izaguirre brothers.
Here, I train for at least 14 hours a week and spend a lot of time focusing on the other aspects of being a high performance athlete; stuff like getting enough good quality sleep, eating healthy, stretching, massaging fatigued legs and reading up on training trends and professionals autobiographies. I will start racing here in the Basque Country at the end of February and also plan on racing in other regions of Spain and back home in England later on in the year.
My goals for the 2019 season are to be competitive at the front of the races in Spain, score some top 10s, and win a race back in England while I visit in the summer. It is difficult to say how I’ll get on because at the moment I don’t have a team to race for so will be racing unattached. I think this has its pros and cons because I’ll ride with only my interests in mind, however not having a team will prove testing from a support standing. I want to find a team for next season that I can represent.
So far I have met some great people and have received a whole load of help from the Basque cyclists, even when my Spanish is limited! Poca y poco! Only time will tell where I’ll end up in a year but hopefully I’ll be writing an update detailing that I have reached my goals and that my path to becoming a professional is a lot clearer.
Fiona Carter, trustee