#Blog1 Early 2017

January 2017 –

HSBCUK Senior National Track Championships in Manchester

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My first race as a junior cyclist and for my new team for 2017, Team 22.

I competed in the team pursuit competition in one of the two squads that were put in by the team. As always the first race of the season is filled with nerves and everyone is unsure of their form, luckily I had found some. Both teams made it to the ride offs, one for third and the other fifth. I was very surprised at this since it was a senior event containing professional teams such as Breast Cancer Care. I felt good during both rides and managed to put out some long turns for my team in a close race against VC Londres for fifth but unfortunately we were pipped at the line. Our team mates were against Breast Cancer Care for third and were beaten. All in all a very good first outing for the Team and I am happy with how my form is coming along.

February –

Team training camp in Calpe

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Hands down the best time I’ve had cycling abroad.

I had only ever been to Mallorca on a training holiday with my family so being away with my friends that are of similar ability to me was a totally different ball game, and I loved it. The friendly competitive nature between us all made the training harder yet more enjoyable.

We stayed in a villa courtesy of Ciclo Magic in Benissa just outside of Calpe itself.  The villa was on to of a reasonably sized hill, however nothing like climbs such as the Col des Rates which we rode a lot during the week. As much as I dreaded this hill at the end of the long rides, it was by far my favourite descent of the week. Fast, flowing and flawless. riding this for the first time in the first moments of the first ride I knew it was going to be an amazing week.

I was placed on the top floor of the villa with my room-mate Lizzie Catlow and our neighbouring room containing Rosa Martin and Flora Gilles. We had our own kitchen and sitting room to ourselves, Result. With the rest of the team staying on the ground floor.

Ciclo Magic did an amazing job of looking after us, especially having our lunch ready and waiting on the table for us when we got in from the rides. This was definitely one of the highlights of the week.

Another one of the highlights of the week was getting ride with professional women’s team Giant Sunweb on our recovery day! I’ll admit I was a little star struck. Nothing beats riding along side some of your cycling heroes such as Ellen Van Dijk!

Again my form was looking good and I was right up there in all the efforts we were doing all week. Mostly in the mountains however we did have one flat-ish day, ironically this was the hardest,team time trial efforts in strong cross winds, the dreaded hill climb back up to the villa was done in complete silence as a result of a lot of seriously tried legs. Even the most chatty girl in the team Lizzie Catlow was quiet, that’s a true sign of hard training.

To top off a truly amazing week of training in Calpe one of my supporters, Billy Bilsland cycles ,  provided me with my  new road bike for the 2017 season just in time for the camp. A custom painted Ridley Jane SL and it was sheer bliss to ride. So I would like to say a special thank you to them.

I would also like to say thank you to Ciclo Magic for having us for the week and also to Colin Batchelor, the DS ( director sportif) of Team 22 for organising this trip for us.

March –

The first win and the downhill spiral

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The Mad March hilly TT in Scotland.

As much as this was not quite the same as being on the smooth roads and in the basking sun of spain. There is nothing better than winning a bike race. Off the back of an amazing week in Calpe my form had really started to grow now and I managed to show this with a comfortable win in the Mad March time trial in the junior category which left me finishing 3rd in the women’s as well. Really excited to have my first win so early in the season.

Then it all came crashing down. Due to my excellent performance in Calpe I was selected by the DS to ride with the team at Gent Wevelgem Junior nations Cup in Belgium. However I had to pull out last-minute due to having an unfortunate accident in school which left me with torn ankle ligaments. I was devastated, this was supposed to be my first international race and all my great early season form went down the drain.

I had to have three weeks off the bike which meant I also missed the Gifford road race and crit on the campus in Scotland. Now I am starting to get back into training and racing again. Tomorrow I will be competing in the Jack Murray junior road race and then on Tuesday I will leave for Omloop Van Borsele Junior Nations Cup in Holland with the team. My next blog ,of many,  will cover both of these races.

Thank You for reading,

Ellie Park

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