• floraisabelperkins

The blog post where...we look forward.

Updated: Mar 2

This is the second instalment of my Father-Daughter interviews. It’s a brief look at what lies ahead in the coming year. Or at least what we hope lies ahead.

Dad: OK. In the past blog post we looked back, let's now look forward to this year. Let's start by saying who you're going to be riding for.

Me: I'm going to be riding for VCL this year. In 2020, they set up a Junior women's team in the hope that they might be able to give more opportunities to girls in VCL. So yes, I'll be riding for them.

Dad: That's good. So you've not left your current club. But the club has formed a team. Who else is riding for VCL?

Me: Izzy Escalera and Amber Junker will continue riding for VCL and then we've had some new riders come in, Ellen Bennet and Eleanor Bolton.

Dad: Great. Five good riders and then presumably opportunities for some other riders to guest if needs be. Is the hope that you’ll get invited to races that you wouldn't otherwise be able to get to?

Me: Yeah.

Dad: So why didn't you just join another team?

Me: I wanted to stay with VCL. It's the club that helped get me into cycling. And the community there is one in which people are always willing to help each other out. I've really benefited from that and I don't think I need to leave it just yet.

Dad: In the past, the Junior VCL boys have found it easier to stay as part of the club because they've been able to ride for the South East.

Me: Yeah, with John Barclay.

Dad: And until now there's been no female equivalent.

Me: No. And the hope is that the new Junior Girls setup has changed that.

Dad: Cool. Are they the only team you're riding for this year?

Me: No, so Alec Briggs recently asked if I’d like to ride for Tekkers in some Tour Series races later in the year. This is really exciting and definitely something to look forward to. Obviously, there are some big names on that team like Elinor Barker but also some other strong female riders. So it's definitely a good opportunity.

Dad: Cool so let's pray that racing goes ahead in August. In and around the lesser-known market towns of England. What could be more exciting than a Tuesday night in Kidderminster? What racing has been cancelled so far?

Me: Actually not so much of the Junior girls’ racing. Not as much as the boys anyway. So I think there was the Hatherleigh Road race. Then some of the Senior Women’s National Series.

Dad: Which you would have ridden as a Junior?

Me: Potentially, yeah.

Dad: Okay let's look at road racing, What are you looking forward to?

Me: National Series, hopefully, they can go ahead as normal. Junior and Senior.

Dad: OK, but is that different to the team stuff; the Team Series?

Me: Yes, I think for Senior Women there is the National Series, the Team Series, the Circuit Series and the Tour Series.

Dad: Right, so there are quite a few different things to get involved with. I guess that’s all Covid- dependent. So what are you most excited by?

Me: I think I'm most excited by the Junior National Road Series, just because I haven't yet had a chance to race as a Junior with the other Junior riders. And I’d like to see how I do against some of the people that I used to race with and haven't competed against in the past year. Also, I really hope we can get some invites to UCI Nations Cups.

Dad: That would be terrific because you've never raced overseas.

Me: To have the opportunity to race Junior Girls from other countries and race new races with arguably the best Junior fields in the world, that would be very cool. And also the experience of going away, with a team, that would be great. But obviously, it's not looking super likely. I still hold out hope.

Dad: I think I’m most looking forward to the Tour Series because there will be no expectations on you. You know, no one's expecting anything of you other than to find out what it looks like and what it feels like. How about track racing?

Me: Herne Hill Track League, of course. Then, Junior Track Nationals in July.

Dad: Riding indoors again will be odd because you won't have done that since the camp with the BC Junior Academy at Christmas.

Me: I definitely will be at a disadvantage for those who've been able to train on the track throughout this last year.

Dad: And who knows what Lee Valley will do, whether they will be allowed to put on Full Gas Track League.

Me: I’d hope so. It would be good to get some track time. We’ll have to wait and see.

Dad: Thirdly. Time trials. Your second season.

Me: Yeah. I’ll start doing some in April and May in the South. Some 10s and 25s, and then I'd like to do all the National TT's: the National 10, National 25, Circuit Champs. I can't remember all the names.

Dad: I know, there's so many. Ambitions?

Me: I'd like to get a solid sub-hour for 25 because I’ve not broken the hour yet. I've come close, but not close enough. And in a 10 mile TT, I'd like to get as close as 20 minutes as I can. That’s obviously slightly dependent on the courses I can do, but good to have a go.

Dad: A downhill 10 with the wind behind you.

Me: That would certainly help. I'd also like to get a better position. I'd like to work on that. It's not, and I said in my last blog post, something I find super easy. Looking into that and making some improvements, I think that would be quite rewarding.

Dad: Don’t you just push harder on the pedals and make them go faster, isn't that it?

Me: Ha. Very funny.

Dad: What would be a success for you by the end of the year? What would you look back on and think “yeah that was a good season”?

Me: I would really like a win in a time trial and a road race and...a track race. At national level.

Dad: Aim high. I mean, why not? OK, brilliant, and what would be ‘a fail’ for you?

Me: I think maybe if I just did what I did last year. I think there's something to be said for wanting to progress. Also, it would be good to have a better idea of what I'm going to do in my first year of U23. I’d like to have something to go onto, a next step.

Dad: A Levels. That's what you'll be doing.

Me: I am going to finish A Levels with plenty of time to ride. By June I’ll be done.

Dad: But you’ll have no fitness because of all that revision.

Me: I’ll spread all the revision out. I have it covered.

Dad: OK, how very sensible. Cool, I think we’re done.