I thought I’d get in a last blog before the end of the year and all the festivities start - not least because January promises to be a really busy month for me and who knows when I’ll find time to write again?

Christmas and New Year is a funny time for sportsmen and women because you still have to think about your job, the training, the diet and, to be honest, that doesn’t bother me at all. It’s a small price to pay.

Burt and Esme getting ready for Christmas

Burt and Esme getting ready for Christmas

I’m not a drinker at all and never have been although the few people who witnessed my performance on my stag do a couple of months ago will tell you how I can knock them back when I’m in the mood … (not really!)

So I’ll have the odd drink to be sociable over Christmas and on New Years Eve we will probably go round to some friends and the rest of my time will be taken up with a normal block of training.

That’s just as well because early in the new year we’re off to Majorca for a GB camp and the Challenge Majorca four-day road race, straight into the Berlin Six Day then back to Majorca for more training and the Majorca Six Day. So January is pretty much all going to be away from home in training and competition.

Sadly, that means I’ll miss the National Track Champs this year which is a shame because my house mate Phil Hindes and I were talking about it the other day and having one of our usual “endurance riders versus sprinters” arguments.

Phil, waiting for his coffee beans to roast!

Phil, waiting for his coffee beans to roast!

The upshot was an argument about what distance we could race that would be a fair test for both of us. As cycling fans will know, Phil is an amazing sprinter and the best man one in the world in the team sprint - he can do the opening lap in under 17 seconds which is unreal.

It’s also a little faster than I can do but, as I like to tell Phil, he’s done after one lap whereas us pursuiters have to do another 15.

So in the end, I reckoned a four-lap race - the kilo - would be about fair and I’ve laid the challenge down for the Nationals the year after next to take him on. He’s been called out now, so there’s no backing down. Put the date in your diary - Track Nationals 2018, Tennant v Hindes in the kilo.

Lauren and I have been back in Wilmslow for a few days this week because I’ve had some track sessions in Manchester, so it’s been great to catch up with Phil because I’ve not seen him since our wedding in October.

We walked back in the house to find Phil’s new hobby is roasting his own coffee so the place smelled fantastic. I’ve suggested “Fifi,” as we call him (it comes from “Phil”), should forget about track riding and concentrate on coffee roasting as a business. “Fifi and Co.” has a nice ring to it so if anyone would like to partner with Phil in his coffee import/export/roasting business, let us know.

Onto more serious matters and the Amsterdam Six Day was a bit of a write-off for me after my partner Chris Latham came down with a chest infection on the opening day. Once it because obvious he wasn’t going to recover in the 36 hour window you’re allowed, all I had left to do was enjoy Amsterdam and ride a few derny races - in which I did pretty well, getting a win and a couple of second places.

I also had the chance to do some commentating with Ned Boulting while I was there which was a great experience and, I have to say, a lot harder than it looks.

Like most people, I always criticise commentators when I’m watching sport, but I have a new-found respect for Ned and his kind. Even though I’d been racing against all these guys a day or two earlier, I found identifying a lot of them was really hard but thankfully Ned is the ultimate pro and helped me through it. Fortunately, I was there more for my technical expertise than my commentary skills.

With Ned in the booth

With Ned in the booth

Since getting back from there, it’s been a case of knuckling down in training and, the last few days, starting to plan for Christmas. Lauren and I braved the Trafford Centre the other day but, I must admit, after 10 minutes we gave up and went to Wagamama’s for lunch. So, while I’m a fan of spending time with family and friends at Christmas, it’s fair to say I’m not overly-keen on the commercialism and hours wasted shopping.

Anyway, whatever you like about the holidays, I hope you get everything you wish for and have a great 2017. 

Until the new year, take care

Andy