Blog: A New Start in Cyclesport: Oliver Wright

Everyone has to start somewhere and Oliver Wright tells us about his starting point in cycle sport and the drawbacks to working with children!

Now that Christmas and New Year have both been and gone, many people are thinking about a fresh start. New Year’s resolutions loom pretty large in our minds, although for a cyclist the new beginning sometimes comes somewhat earlier. I can trace a couple of fresh starts already and the season for real hasn’t even started yet. I’m what some would refer to as a weekend warrior or whatever a watered down version of that is; weekend whimper sounds a bit too tame, but I’m not sure I’d quite qualify as warrior!

I ride regularly with the Common Lane Occasionals in Sheffield. We meet at Common Lane on Saturday’s for a morning ride and originally it was an Occasional thing. It’s gradually got a bit more serious though. Most of us are riding regularly now and have done a handful of sportives. We’ve even had jerseys made and to all intents and purposes look like a proper club.

Fresh start number one came for me during the summer when I realized that I was becoming a bit too occasional and starting to struggle on group rides. I needed something to aim for in order to make sure I was getting out regularly and work/family commitments meant that aiming for a long summer sportive might not be the best option.

So I decided I was going to race. I’ve been amazed by the reaction I’ve had from people, most thinking that racing is way beyond them. My first fresh start was just to make sure that I was riding regularly (3 or 4 times a week – mostly on the turbo to fit in with the rest of life.)

Fresh start number two was to actually do a couple of races and I was amazed. Firstly, that I didn’t get laughed out of the changing rooms and didn’t even look too out of place. Somehow I’d become a real cyclist. Secondly, that I didn’t totally disgrace myself (and even more importantly didn’t crash or bring anyone else down). So with a couple of circuit races and a handful of hill climbs under my belt, the idea of racing didn’t seem too silly.

My next planned fresh start was supposed to be the beginning of November. That’s when all the real cyclists are supposed to start training for the new season. My only problem was that working with children means I spend most of the autumn snowed under with more than my fair share of coughs and colds.

November 1st came and went and true to form I was ill. (If I ever decide to give cyclo cross a go I could probably miss the entire season, such is my ability to suffer with coughs, colds and sore throats.) Not only did 1st November come round, but also so did the week after and the week after that… In fact it was nearly the end of the month before I was able to really feel healthy again and start getting some riding done.

Now that New Year is here, I’m managing to stay healthy and ride regularly. So far it’s all base work. Nothing too strenuous, but I’m getting used to regular Sufferfest session on the turbo. My only resolution of sorts is to keep doing the same. Then I’ll be ready for the handful of races I’ve already entered. Wish me luck!

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