#Blog9 2018 team training camp

Welcome back to my blog for 2018! I hope you enjoy reading all of my updates throughout the season and if you are a new reader then feel free to have a look at my posts from last year.

2018 will be my final year as a junior and I have decided to stick with team 22 for another season, meaning that I get the opportunity to go on an amazing team training camp in sunny spain with Ciclomagic.

Unlike last year I have two Scottish team mates who are also juniors therefore it was not so lonely travelling…although the flight was at 6am, so there wasnt much talking.

Day one

After a post flight spin the day before the real training started with a long ride in the spanish hills.

Firstly the infamous Col de Rates then over the rolling roads into Castells then through Murla, Orba, Benidoleig, Pedreguer and finally back into Jalon where we were based for the week.

We were only riding for around 20 minutes before we hit the Rates…I needed a bit more of a warm up than that. About half way up I began to die, didn’t get spat though, yas. Luckily as we continued to ride I began to feel better and better.

Todays ride was nothing special, no specifics just enjoying riding in temperatures above 0 degrees. Unfortunately not enough to get the leg warmers off though. But a significant improvement from the snow in Scotland.

After the ride it was time for probably the best part of the training camp, the food. Perfectly prepared by Frankie (from Ciclomagic) and waiting for you on arrival from the ride. Bliss

Day two

Unfortunately todays training plans had to be changed last-minute due to rain. Yes that’s right rain. Come to Spain they said it will be sunny they said.

So another day in the hills with some more specific efforts up the big ass climb that is Val de bo was changed to hill reps up the Benissa climb which is actually a lovely climb on a good day and perfect for efforts, although it’s a little hard to enjoy it when your going flat-out and your legs are falling off.

On the bright side though we did get to see Chantel Blakk (Elite female World Road Race champion). Total fan girl moment.

It’s about a 40 minute ride from Jalon to the bottom of the climb in Benissa so my wee legs were actually switched on for the first effort unlike yesterday. After completing the efforts I was cracked from giving it 100%. The team DS Colin saved my life with a cheeky can of coke to get me back to the villa.

Day three

Finally the sun came out and just in time for the cafe day!

We rode back down to the coast again today and stopped in Moraira for some much-needed ice cream. April, one of my team mates, really made the most of the ice cream stop…she got five scoops.

The ride back incorporated the Benissa climb that we did efforts up the day before. So I did get to enjoy the climb after all. No emergency coke was needed.

As we were back to the villa considerably earlier than the rest of the days Ciclomagic had arranged for a paella masterclass as a little team building exercise. It took about and hour and a half to make but it was totally worth it. So much fun and tasted amazing.

Dy four

Today’s ride plan was pretty flat but don’t be fooled it was not an easy day.

We rode over to Denia to the well-known drag strip style road that is great for doing leadouts. At first the road was empty so we had plenty of space to do our thing. However very quickly the road started to fill with teams doing the same. Even Canyon Sram arrived, fan girl moment number two.

I had done plenty of leadouts before but todays  conditions were a little different since it was a savage crosswind so we had to do leadouts in echelons.

Just to mix things up we all took turns in different positions in the lead outs. The final lead out I was the sprinter but my lead out rider was Chloe who has a serious background in track sprinting so trying to get round her was a bit f a challenge shall we say…the lunge got me past.

unfortunately  I began to develop a knee niggle  during today’s session still managed to nurse myself back to the villa and do an ice-cube massage that night and hoped for the best.

Day five

Today was back to a long ride into the mountains, over Val Debo and over some short but 15%  and above climbs.

I made it up and over Val Debo but the steep walls were too much for my knee, I did get to hold on to the team car for a bit. But it was really frustrating not being able to ride up there with the other girls.

That night Colin arranged for the whole team to get a leg flush massage. Which was ideal for my knee. If you talk to some of my team mates they’ll tell you that the massage was great but it was an experience to say the least as the masseuse spoke zero English and we all spoke zero spanish. The only communication exchanged was either a thumbs up or down from us and the only english word the masseuse knew was tension. He used it a lot.

Day 6

Technically another cafe day but it was certainly not a recovery one.

The ride was not for the strava art as it was an out and back to Denia to visit Johns Cafe Ciclesta. Top notch carrot cake and some cool signed pro jerseys and awesome photos. If you are ever out in spain would highly recommend making a visit.

In order to get to Denia we rode over the main climb of the day the Montgo climb. After not being able to ride hard over the steep climbs yesterday I managed to squeeze in some efforts over the climb and since it was the last ride, on the way back we had a smash-up on the final climb before arriving back at the villa. We caught and considerably dropped some male riders who were also at the cafe which was great for the moral.

That marks the end of the training camp for another year. Really looking forward to the season now as the team has really bonded over the week which I think will stand us in good stead for the season ahead.

I would like to say a big thanks to Ciclomagic for having us for the week, you exceeded my expectations yet again. Also thanks to Colin Batchelor for a great week of training.

And as always a big thanks to Billy Bilsland Cycles for having my bike running smoothly and for the love of the bike box and of course to my parents for making all of the possible.

My first race is the Velo 29 criterium on the 24th of Feb. So look out for my next blog after that.

thanks for reading

Ellie Park , Team 22 , Whats Your M.E.T.A

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#Blog8 Winter training – Cyclocross

Over the winter I have opted not to endeavour in Track cycling despite living a mere 20 minutes from my local velodrome. Instead I have decided to partake in the wonderful winter sport that is cyclocross.

Round 1 – Callander Park Falkirk

Unfortunately I was suffering from the aftermath of a throat infection for this race and I had just taken my annual end of season break from cycling. However I decided to ride the race anyways as it didn’t really matter what the outcome was as its only winter, but a race is a race so it isn’t always that simple to think that way once you’re in the race.

Despite going into the race with low expectations I still managed to bag a podium. However during the race It was safe to say I was dying. Luckily the course was a mud bath which meant that I could use my technical skills to keep in front and pass riders because I was definitely not using my fitness!

Due to my low-level of fitness from lack of training the first half of the course I really struggles as it was tarmac and then a windy uphill, so this was where I was distanced but I managed to catch up when the course got tight twisty and technical, where most people were slipping and sliding I was motoring through and trying to get the biggest gap I could for the uphill.

In the end it came down to a sprint for 2nd place and evidently I lost. Still a great day on the bike considering the circumstances and It was great fun!

Thanks to David Lines for putting on a great event with a great course

Round 2 – Irvine Beach 

Ah the infamous Irvine beach course. As ever the sand was a nightmare for most yet the traditional Scottish weather was not, more like tropical for this round of the series. The warm, dry and dusty conditions made for a very fast and interesting race.

At the start I made the mistake of trying to hang on to a couple of ex pro road racers and about half a lap in I blew. Considering this race was only one week after the frist I should have been more smart and realised that training does not happen over night.

On the bright side I only slipped in the sand once and managed to pick off riders right u to the end which resulted in a respectable 4th for me, as an extra bonus I was able to beat some of the people who beat me the week before, yas.

Thanks to Walkers Cycling Club for putting on an outstanding race

Round 4 – Lochore Meadows

Unfortunately I missed round three as I was on holiday in sunny Turkey as part of my end of season break.

This round was by far my favourite of the series and was the best I felt form wise in the series aswell. The conditions were icy but by the end of the race the course began to become muddy which meant for some interesting racing.

After having a poor start and missing the split I begun to find my rhythm and managed to move my way up to third place and hold it till the end of the race comfortably which I hadn’t been able to do before.

There was a lot of criticism regarding the course at Lochore but in my opinion i thought it was great as much as there was no steep ups or steep downs i found the course was very interesting with some stairs to run up and technical tight corners aswell as some pretty massive hurdles, well massive for me only being 5 ft 1, and of course the infamous Lochore spiral which seemed bigger than ever.

Big thanks to the organisers for putting on such an amazing event!

Round 5 – Knockburn Loch ( National Championships)

Firstly a big thanks to the guys at Billy Bilsland cycles for lending me a sweet demo Kysrium Elite UST wheel set to ride from Mavic. They ran super smooth.

However despite some awesome kit today wasnt what I would have hoped for, even though I was only riding the cyclocross series as training its hard not to want the results, never the less i still finished the race in third place.

The conditions were very muddy, despite the course being covered in snow just one day prior to the race and freezing cold. I think that was my issue, I let myself get too cold before the start of the race therefor meaning that I felt very stiff and just generally rubbish for the first half of the race which mean I was distance by the leading riders at the beginning.

For the majority of the race I really wanted to quit my legs were screaming at me even though I felt like I wasn’t going very fast, I felt like I had nothing in my legs at all and it was frustrating me massively.

Although after driving three hours to get to the event and with the fear of letting people down I kept going and im glad i did.

Somehow the race timing was messed up and our race ended up being an hour-long instead of 40 minutes but that actually played into my favour. In those last 20 mins I started to come into my own and began to catch the rider in third place and in the last half lap I managed to overtake her and just hold on to the finish line.

This race was by far the hardest for me out of the series, it just wasn’t my day in the saddle but still enjoyed sliding around in the mud and sand to some extent.

Massive thank you to Deside Thistle and the Pryde family for running a really great race for another year.

That marks the end of the cyclocross season for me and the end of the 2017 race season. I have learnt a lot this year and enjoyed finally being out of the youth ranks and getting stuck into some racing on the open roads.

I would like to say a big thank you to my family for helping me get to races and with some of the funf=ding as I couldn’t do it with out you.

I would also like to thank my sponsors, Billy Bilsland Cycles for all the support with equipment and funds and also Sports aid for helping me with the funds for racing.

Finally I would like to say thank you to Colin Batchelor for being a great team manager at Team 22 and I cannot wait for next year.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Photos from Isabel Mcgorum, Barry Primrose, Paul Noble

#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