When travelling I think it is only natural to compare new places to home. Our origins form a baseline from which we naturally compare and on occasion shift. However for a Londoner, this act of comparison can also be fraught with danger. As, in my albeit bias opinion, it is extremely difficult to find somewhere as diverse, as dynamic or, quite simply, as interesting as the big smoke.
And yet there is one rather large element of my life in which I constantly improve upon what London has to offer.
As a Cyclist there is nothing better than the feeling of craning ones neck for a look up at a huge mountain. It is mind boggling. Nothing beats watching a tiny road snake upward and disappear in to the sky. And seeing such a pass, brings a palpable, very real mix of fear, anticipation and mystique. From down below it feels completely unfathomable that you will ever reach the top. But of course, with some effort and perseverance, anything is possible. A lesson I love. And a lesson that we can all constantly apply to life both within and away from sport.
Home to just shy of 14 million people, the busy and chaotic streets of London certainly don't always make the best, or safest, training. And high rise flats aside, there certainly isn't a whole lot to look up at. No mountains that's for sure. Infact I think it is safe to say that being a competitive cyclist and living in London doesn't really go hand in hand. Something shown in the relatively small number of Professional Cyclists that have come from the Nations capital.
I grew up in Hackney, in the East of London. And although I now live in the north of Spain, in a small Catalan city called Girona, London still firmly holds my heart. For in spite of it's flat geography, it's crazy drivers and it's often dreary weather, I love riding my bike in the city. London is where I discovered my love for the sport I am now lucky enough to call a job. And when I do make it home, I still find great pleasure in escaping the sprawling reaches of the city. Heading north east, I soon find myself in to the countryside, venturing hours in to the lanes of Essex and Hertfordshire, before eventually returning to it all. The city. I always thought myself incredibly lucky during my years at school, that I could simply go training and escape the hustle and bustle of the a day in the big smoke.
But growing up London has given me one particular great asset in my chosen career - a real appreciation of amazing training roads. For instance the incredible Pyrenees that overlook my adopted home in Spain, and every day, without fail, leave me in awe. There is just something about their foreign and gigantic nature that is, for this city boy, incredibly inspiring. It is a feeling I hope I will never loose.
So to all those in the amazing and ever growing Cycling scene in London - I salute you for your endeavor. Riding in our capital is not easy. Ride safe, and if you ever have the chance, challenge yourself and ride for the mountains - you will be sure to find another gear.