March and April

Cycling is a strange sport. One rider crosses the line, taking the plaudits and the glory, and yet it is a ‘team sport’. For it is near impossible to win without support in the professional peloton. And so, despite the singular perceived success of road racing, we celebrate as a whole, sharing the pickings and amazing feeling of winning throughout our teams.

I have been racing for just under a month now, on both sides of the Atlantic. 2014 is my first year as an under23 and senior bike racer and below is a summary of the events thus far. I hope it provides some small insight that may otherwise be lost to those lucky and stupid enough to be inside the peloton…

Apologies for the lack of creativity, my brain is scrambled from training - as it is most days.

In every race there is one moment that defines your day above all else.

San Dimas – Bissell DT

James, frog and I (Roastbif) raced without the team in this ‘local’ Californian stage race. The field was made up of numerous American teams, including 4 UCI Continental squads. James spanked the opening uphill TT. I was fifth and Frenchie 8th. Clement then infiltrated the break on the second day, duly taking the malliot jaune from the kiwi. Oram and I then rode the front in the Crit a little and we won the overall. Nice.

Highlight – taking the win and putting all three of us in the top15 on GC, against squads of eight riders.

Redlands – Bissell DT

The first round of the ‘NRC’, or National Racing Calendar, the Redlands Classic. My legs were coming but not quite present at full race strength yet. I played a team role, leading out and fulfilling other duties. I ducked and dived to fuck for 5th in the bunch kick in the Crit. I suffered in the heat on the last day, my first hot hot hot day since last season.

Highlight – James killing the last day to take 2nd on GC, Nicholia the fast Dane taking the points jersey. The downtown crit, was good fun with a big crowd. Seeing Barnes at the race too.
Ronde Van Vlaanderen u23 – Great Britain

The first Nations Cup of the year and my first u23 race. Doull and I made selection after selection and avoided crash after crash to make the front group over the top of the last cobbled berg. I attacked 3km to go after getting Owains blessing. It lasted a short time, with a Belgian coming across for company, but most importantly forced some of the other teams to chase, allowing my Welsh (on form…) leader to sit in. I came back and then lead out Doull. He was inches from the podium finishing fourth. A pretty sound result for us but not quite the win we fancied. I avoided the huge crash with fifty meters to go, rolling across the line for 15th.

Highlight – My mom and brother watching. Racing around roads and climbs I once trained on with the late and great Alan Rosner as a youth rider. Pulling on the British jersey. Feeling bloody good. Racing with the lads again. Working with Keith Lambert for the first time and hearing some of his stories.
Cote De Picardie u23 – Great Britain

100km of very nervous almost-crosswind racing was followed by two laps around the finish town, with two small climbs per lap. Doull gave me the opportunity to go for myself, I declined and said we should all go for him and try to get a big sprint on the cards. Sid Davies and I went into the first climb of the last lap with Doull on our wheels, I ploughed up it and kept on through the crosswind over the top. I looked back twice and felt amazing seeing the bunch completely lined out behind with Doull sat pretty on my wheel. We swung off in the headwind to let someone else take it up, then someone wiped Owain out. The race winning move went moments later.

Highlight – Feeling strong in the last sprint, shame it was for 11th. I was 20th after choosing the wrong wheel to follow. Our organisation before the crash. Jon making the day long break. Good day but no result.
Liege Bastogne Liege u23 – Bissell DT

My first race in Europe with the team and first with Axel as DS. Special. It started off super cold and we lost three guys to the illness by the feed. Tanner, Geoff and I were wicked organised though. I attacked a few times on the climb after La Redoute to try and help Tanner get away. We all entered the last steep climb together, putting Putt in a real good place at the front. I followed the attacks over the top and got away in a group of three. They messed about a little and we almost got caught in the dying metres. Yet again I sprinted strong but had to go to early to avoid being caught, tying up just before the line. Third. Gutted.

Highlights – success against adversity. Racing. Loving it. Tanner grabbing 9th in the chaotic sprint behind. Standing on the podium. Being called ‘Hart Geoghegan’ on the podium by the commentator with no idea. My brilliant brother and Dad being there to cheer and hang out. Wicked.

My latest ProCycling article (click to enlarge). #outsideisfree - short recent interview in French and English.