The summer is pretty much coming to a close and that means only one thing for us trackies - the important part of our year is about to kick off with Revolutions, Europeans, World Cups and a whole load of other fun stuff.
First though, last weekend, I had time to take part in a sportif near my home in Stafford where around 400 riders took part over a 65-mile route.
I was helping out my friends from PedalSure, whom I rode for in last winter’s Revolutions, and it was a lot of fun. It was a nice route, bits of which I recognised from Tour of Britain stages, and I must admit I finished up thinking I must incorporate some of them into my regular training rides.
Events like this are enjoyable for pros. After all, it’s just another training ride and the company is welcome, instead of having to slog around on your own.
it’s also nice to revisit old friends and make new ones in the cycling community. I spent part of the day with the guys from Redrow Homes, who were one of the sponsors, and I also had a great catch-up with John Taylor, an old mate from Fred Williams Cycles in Wolverhampton - my local bike shop which sponsored me way back in my junior days.
“Ride Staffs” put on a number of great events over the year and they’re well worth checking out on twitter @ridestaffs if you want to join us for one of them.
This particular route had the added advantage of a stop at the Red Lion ice cream farm in Haughton, near Stafford, and the weather couldn’t really have been better after some of the torrential rain we’ve had to put up with.
To ruin my recent time on the bike, I’ve also suffered from an attack of shingles over the past month although, believe it or not, that was nowhere near as painful as a bee sting I got on my face in the garden one day while I was recovering! I looked like Bear Grylls on that famous YouTube video when his eye is swollen shut.
Those events cost me a good 7-10 days training which was annoying but, fortunately, road racing has not been a big part of my year this summer so, hopefully, that won’t prove too costly.
Instead, we’re now getting back onto the track more frequently with an eye on all the events coming up over the autumn and it’s something I’m really looking forward to.
On the subject of the track, I also noticed that it looks possible, if not likely, that the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham, not too far from where I grew up and where I now live.
I won a medal at Edinburgh in 2014 and, hopefully, will be in contention for next year’s team in Australia so, while it’s a long, long way off and a lot can happen, I’d love the chance to ride in a “home” games one last time though I'm not sure where the track cycling would take place ... maybe it's time Birmingham got its own velodrome!
Whatever happens, I think it would be a great boost for the Midlands, and for English sport in general, if we landed an event like that, so here’s hoping.
In the meantime, hope to catch some of you on the road or at the Manchester World Cup or one of the Revolutions over the next few months.
Until then, ride safe