Cycling Column by aspiring professional rider Toby Miles - Ready to race
PUBLISHED: 14:11 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:24 31 January 2018
Toby Miles from Codicote will be writing a brand new cycling column at CometSport in 2018. Toby is an aspiring professional cyclist who will aim to give you the inside track on his attempts to become a top-level rider. He will also offer advice and share his racing experiences in the UK and the continent
It’s January, the very early season road races are underway and some results are in. Cyclists typically enter their first race of the season between early January and mid-March, so excitement is building for most of us. My first race will be in mid-February.
Racing cyclists are particularly delusional people. It is the nature of the sport to entirely forget previous seasons and form overly ambitious goals during the off-season, unrealistically imagining yourself storming to victory by five minutes in your first race of the year.
That’s my routine every season at this time of year, but I’m anticipating the coming season more than ever.
For over two years I have been held back by something unidentified until now. Due to differing leg lengths, I had been stretching down to my left pedal and my body over compensated, causing tightness in the right leg, stiff hips and ultimately a twisted position when I sit on my saddle.
A crooked seat position might not sound like much but my pedalling efficiency was terrible. At its worst I was almost pedalling with one leg while continuing to compete against some of the best bike racers in the country and the world of my age group.
It was only in the new year period that all this became clear. I now know which areas I need to target with stretching, I’ve been using a foam roller, visiting a chiropractor and going to yoga classes while keeping my cadence (pedal revolutions per minute) low while training, allowing my body to adapt to the recovery.
The progress has given reason for optimism, after two years of morale killing results and humiliating performances. I’ve learnt a lot from this period, and I’m looking forward to putting it all into practise come my first race of the season.
Racing is what I ride a bike for. What outsiders often don’t realise about bike racing is the constant calculations we have do. Plotting ways to save energy, when to move forward in the pack, which attacks to follow, sizing up opponents and ultimately how to win.
If you’re feeling a competitive itch this winter and you’re not already, I’d suggest joining a cycling club. Joining your club mates for a few weekend rides is essential before you race, as getting used to riding close behind and beside riders is an essential skill for racing, and advice will be readily available from current or former racers.
You’ll be competing in the fourth category, the beginners category, in your first race, which can be entered on the British Cycling website.
Racing is an art that takes time to grasp, any beginner will be lucky to finish their first race but it is a massively enjoyable experience and you should feel a buzz just to have lined up.
If you decide to give racing a go, I wish you the best of luck. Maybe I’ll see you out on the roads of North Herts, all the best, Toby.