LOCKDOWN with Tom Portsmouth (Urbano Cycling Team)

The latest lockdown chat is with Tom Portsmouth of the Urbano Cycling Team who even has a video in his to watch!

LOCKDOWN with Tom Portsmouth (Urbano Cycling Team)

Tom rides for Urbano Cycling Team in Belgium for the 2020 season … or what’s left of it. He is coached by trainSharp and supported by The Rayner Foundation. At the moment, he is a part time rider balancing A levels with the Under 23 cycling scene and so is currently based at home in England due to the A level commitments. Tom will be going out to Belgium (all being well) for the summer months, July to end of September.

Q: Your Last Race was?
Tom: My last race was in fact a time trial in East Sussex. My last race of 2020 season mark 1 was also my best. I rode well to get 2nd place on a hard riders TT course. Hard riders is an appropriate name for it, as it was 24 kilometres in length, so over half an hour riding time.

For a time trial it was also remarkably hilly, around 400 metres elevation to be exact … ish. But this puts it on a par with Nationals, Euros and Worlds in terms of u23 time trial length and elevation gain.

So a good start to the season’s goals if you ask me. I was lucky enough to get one road race and one circuit race in before the cancellation of all races commenced, so I had ample experience to motivate myself for the season.

Q: With racing cancelled, what’s a typical week training wise for you?
Tom: Currently, and with over three weeks since the races were announced to be cancelled, I have no solid training as school is up in the air, and I still need to participate in online lessons still. That means I remain restricted on time to ride, and must fit it in around the clock.

So a typical week is non-existent for now. I am however, speaking with my coaches at trainSharp to work out a training plan that will both develop me and hold me back so I can be firing on all cylinders when the season finally starts again! The plan for the moment is to get some big rides in at the weekend with, some indoor sessions and road sessions mid-week. With an additional Zwift race, or core workout on Thursday.

Q: Enjoying turbo or avoiding it like the virus?
Tom: I am happy to have a mix in my training. I think for my mental health as well, you need to mix it up a bit! Like this weekend, 28th March, the winter chill and blustering winds returned for pretty much the 3rd straight month of windy weekends. So, to not get my mental state in a fix, I turned to the turbo and joined a few friends in Dubai for a virtual ride which turned out to be quite enjoyable.

Q: If on the turbo, what’s your favourite distraction – Zwift or some other entertainment?
Tom: The main source of entertainment has got to be Zwift! It’s got everything: racing, workouts and social rides. But especially for workouts it’s the best , especially for those on trainSharp as the software they use, Today’s Plan, works closely with Zwift so all my sessions are inputted & uploaded straight onto Zwift! I’ve also tried racing, 29th March recently, and I must say it is much more fun than I thought it would be to be honest.

Q: What’s the hardest thing for you about the Lock Down?
Tom: Hardest thing at the moment, is suffering the feeling of the loss of two years of hard work at school, and to not get the chance to prove yourself in the exams, is really tough to take! Especially the bit that we are will be one of the few years to never take the exams.

Another big loss is the immediate and surprising goodbye to a lot of my friends. So it has been a sudden step into adulthood and life, period. Especially where I originally had losing those last few months of school to mentally prepare and say my goodbyes. I am struggling, but so are many other people. So I am trying to get through it as best as I can and attempting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is riding full time with some awesome people and getting some racing under the belt.

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Q: Besides cycling, what’s your biggest distraction as lock down continues?
Tom: Honestly, I have dug my old Nintendo DS out. I am completing all the games that I previously couldn’t do. So my distractions at the moment is being very nostalgic, like looking back at race wins from last year, going through the house and , digging out stuff from my childhood. It’s quite a nice feeling.

The other distraction, at least for the next couple weeks, is wondering about what is going to come of my grades and A levels, which is said to be announced in the coming weeks, or maybe already released by the time you read this.

Q: What’s the bike that gets the most use by you and why, what is the best thing about it?
Tom: The Ridley bikes! The team bike (Ridley Noah SL Aero Disc) for on the road, because there is no point in saving it for the racing as there is and may be very reduced racing schedule. So I am enjoying riding the stiffest comfiest bike, and fastest bike (other than my TT bike) that I have every ridden.

Urbano Cycling Team have got a good gig with acquiring the support from Ridley Bike (provided by Bike Repair Bjarnes), and with a lovely paintjob as well!! Otherwise it is my spare Ridley for the turbo, as the turbo is said to ruin bikes, but we’ll see how that goes, for now.
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Q: What’s the weirdest thing you have seen since this crisis began?
Tom: Got to be everyone conjuring convening on Box Hill for an Early Easter holiday. This really infuriated me as my school had been cancelled and people saw it fit to go where a lot of other people were and go for a holiday day out!

Irresponsible in my books, and as I said, infuriating for the people who are giving up their livelihood and future careers to beat this virus. The least anyone can do for anyone else is stay at home, and go for a solo ride to enjoy yourself. Just don’t go where others are going.

Q: Finally, where you do you enjoy riding the most this country or abroad?
Tom: Britain is actually fairly pleasant in the summer, and I have a wide network of training routes and roads to ride around the Surrey hills and lanes. That whole learning process will need to start again when I go out to Belgium for the first time.

Thankfully though, there are riders in the house I am staying at in Tielt-Winge, who will have been training for months on those roads. The house I refer to is Tim Harris , and Joscelin Ryan’s house, where . I am lucky enough to stay there with the support of Dave The Rayner Foundation, who accepted me for their summer programme.

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