Many of you will know club volunteer Dylan Hicks who has been a member of PPYCC for over 8 years. Always an enthusiastic rider, Dylan has also displayed increasing talent in recent seasons and was selected to join British Cycling Team GB Apprentice programme for 2020. Clearly this season has not been what Dylan and all riders expected. In his blog Dylan provides a great, honest insight into his 2020 season…..
I’ve put together a short blog on how I have used my time during the COVID pandemic and to give fellow PPYCC members an insight into my cycle training and development. It’s been a very tough time for everyone over the last 6 months and I know life has certainly changed for us cyclists!
Before this all started my season was going really well with some race wins and podium finishes. I was hoping to race all of the national series and the national champs across road and track. I was also hoping for some racing abroad in Belgium and Holland. This was exciting for me because I had recently been selected as a Great British Cycling Team Apprentice, which meant training and racing increased, as did the travel and commitment.
So… no racing. What do we do now? At first I was not in a good place motivation wise. I just couldn’t process the fact that my last year as a youth racer and my last year of secondary school had been derailed due to the pandemic. Luckily I had a number of great coaches from British Cycling helping me from the start. Straight away the training was racked up – longer rides, longer weeks, more sessions but nobody to do it with. Heading out on that Sunday morning in the rain to do a 5 hours tempo ride on my own was tough. We were told to treat it as if we were a full time athletes , so have a routine and stick to it, but as a 16 year old that’s easier said than done! I remember the first couple of weeks were just hard. Not training wise but mentally. I couldn’t compute the fact that I was training with no competition goals. My coach was really helpful, as a team we would be set challenges and every week and have a Facetime call to talk about how our challenges went. For example, one of them was who could get the best picture out on a ride and things like that. This would really help because I would have something else in mind other than the idea that I had to go flat out up the Beacon 5 times that day. I would also get the chance to chat with other people higher up in Team GB and I got to learn how even though they are pro cyclists they are still finding it very hard to keep that same motivation when all of your coaching is done via a screen and all of your training is done on your own and you are in your own head.
A few weeks into lockdown and knowing that there would be no racing I started to feel better about things. Training was going well and I was feeling motivated. Unfortunately I was then told my British Cycling coach was being furloughed. This was hard because we had a good relationship and this turned out to be his last week as my coach. My motivation took a dent because my coach was changing and my new training plan had a slightly different layout. Initially I didn’t have the same relationship with my new coach but we worked things out soon enough and everything got back on track.
Thankfully, as lockdown eased, I began riding and training with mates. This included a week in the French Alps with a friend who rides with VC Londres and a further two weeks with my family when I also had the opportunity to train with other GB apprentice riders in the Alps. I was also really pleased to know that the club sessions started again on Saturday mornings.
Since returning from France we have been told that selection for the next level of the British Cycling Team GB Talent Programme, Junior Academy, has been postponed until the end of January. This means we have a further 5 months of monitored training but sadly little racing to prove our form and fitness. However, I have recently attended a great weekend apprentice training camp at Herne Hill Velodrome in London where we had a welcome return to the track plus a road ride and workshops. It was great to finally meet up again with the other riders and coaches and I was really pleased with my performances across all the training sessions.
As well as continuing to train hard I am now looking for a junior team to join ready for the 2021 season and getting ready to start at sixth form college in Brighton next week.
Fingers crossed for some competitive racing soon!
Thanks for reading this and if any PPYCC members would like to know more about the British Cycling talent development pathway or how to get into regional and national youth racing then I’d be really happy to help out.
Keep cycling !