• floraisabelperkins

The blog post where… I tell you about my pre-Christmas surprise.

In November I received an email from Monica Greenwood, at that time the Women's Junior Academy Endurance Coach (She’s since been appointed Women’s Podium Programme Endurance Coach). I was invited to guest on the first two days of their week-long camp in Manchester. She mentioned that this was a result of the improvements I had shown in Time Trialling earlier in the year. I was really encouraged to hear this and I was looking forward to it.

I had a bit of deja vu when entering Manchester Velodrome. The last time I'd been at an indoor track was in January at the Senior National Track Champs. Then, it had been packed full of people. Now, it was somewhat quieter. And it felt a little surreal to be walking through the empty corridors.

Over the course of the weekend, we had two track sessions finishing with a road ride into the Peak District. Reflecting on the track, I was nervous and a bit out of the flow of things. But as the weekend went on I grew more confident. I was a bit off the pace on the track and my lap splits were slower than I’d hoped for in the team pursuit practice. But I wasn't too upset by that. I had not been on the boards for nearly a year. This camp was just a really great opportunity to get back on the track and back into the feel of things. And I really enjoyed it. It felt great to ride the banking and the bike felt so smooth. Although I wasn't quite so strong on the track, I was perfectly comfortable on the road ride. We did some hill efforts in the peaks and I was able to show off my strength a bit more. I've ridden around those parts at BC Youth Apprenticeship Camps in the past. It's lovely, if a little chilly. Nice to end the camp on a high.

In normal times I see the other girls at races throughout the season. Obviously, that hasn't happened as much this year. Though I managed to catch up with some of them at a few time trials. In a socially distanced way, of course! So it was fun to see them all at once. Everyone was very friendly and I appreciated the effort that was made to include me. For much of this year I have been training in solitude. I really love the social aspect of cycling. So to have the opportunity to ride with the other girls was something I really valued.

It was an enjoyably exhausting weekend. Thankfully the days were much less jam-packed than BC Youth Apprentice camps. More than anything, I was tired from needing to be switched on all the time. It was really nice to get home. This past year has made me much more attached to my home and to my family than I used to be. I missed my bed! So although I had had a good time, I was glad to be getting back to London. And to Tier 4...

A photo taken In January