Adam Lewis and three other cyclists are keeping rider journals for The British Continental this season. Adam rides for the Dutch UCI Continental team BEAT Cycling Club, an innovative team that markets itself as a professional cycling team based on a club. This is Adam’s 9th journal entry…
This year has been full of learning moments for me
And just like that the 2019 road season has drawn to an end. I’m now back home to the madness that is the UK at the minute. It seems like only yesterday when we were raring to get the season underway in Rhodes. Now I sit here happy it’s over for a while.
After eleven months of hard training weeks, stressful pelotons and plenty of carbohydrates consumed, it’s finally time for the majority of the bunch to enjoy some downtime.
I’m no exception; I can safely say that in the last couple of weeks of the season, the battery was running on empty. I am now enjoying not having to do the pre race ‘carbo load’ for a while. So whilst I’m off the bike I thought I’d have a small look back on 2019, the highs and lows from the year.
Most enjoyable race?
For me the most enjoyable race of the year came right at the beginning. A ten-day excursion to Rhodes in March was the first race of BEAT Cycling Club’s year. Everyone eager to get the ball rolling, motivation high, form good and ten days in the sun. What more could you ask for in March?
It all began with the one day International Rhodes Grand Prix (UCI 1.2), where a 3rd place was a nice reward for some great teamwork. A good five days of training, reconning what was to come and general hotel chilling followed before we started the Tour of Rhodes (UCI 2.2). I think a race is always more enjoyable when you’re going well and are present in making the race. This was the template for the three day race: we came, we saw and we executed a great plan. Coming away from Greece with a stage win and the overall GC, it was a more than an ideal start to the season. Top that off with ten days of great weather, a decent hotel and a great bunch of mates, it was definitely up there with the more enjoyable races of the season.
Getting a bit more individualised now, looking back on my own performances in 2019 I can highlight two which stand out, where I can say ‘yes, I was making that race’. Racing at home is always special as it seems more of a luxury these days spending most of my time based overseas. So approaching the National Road Championships I was more than raring to go.
To be up there turn for turn with the World Tour riders was a great confidence booster
I knew my form was good coming out of a solid block racing with BEAT. Being a lone representative meant the race was always going to be a bit more of a lottery. And with the course being generally flat, the race was wide open. I went in with a plan and this almost came to fruition, putting myself into a winning move. Unfortunately lady luck wasn’t on my side as I was taken out 10km before the finish. Nevertheless, to be up there turn for turn with the World Tour riders was a great confidence booster in itself.
The second individual highlight was the Polynormande (UCI 1.1) in France, a notoriously grippy edition of the hotly contested French Cup series. I finished the race in 11th place, left feeling frustrated to not quite close in on that illustrious top ten position. On reflection I can take a lot from it going forward into 2020. With a bit more knowhow and self-belief, I should have been top ten, which only adds to the fire heading into the winter months.
This year has been full of learning moments for me. First time racing a full UCI programme is certainly a different ball game than racing the Belgium kermesse scene. However, it’s something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting stuck into and it really makes you be thankful of a solid team around you. Inevitably, with all sports, when you are competing at such a high level there are certain times where you question yourself, especially as living away from home means the times are that little bit tougher. Fortunately one good race and that is all forgotten again. Oh and crashing, never a pleasant experience, especially those couple of seconds where your aware its going to happen and there is simply nothing you can do about it.
Best/worst hotel buffets?
A hot topic whenever you turn up to a new hotel is the quality of the buffet on offer. I think I have been quite lucky this year in that I cannot pinpoint I really bad buffet that I had to endure. The best is a close call; ten days of a decent spread in Rhodes is certainly up there. However I have to say the best goes to a hotel I stayed in in West Flanders, Belgium. A quality array of options and a solid breakfast buffet to accompany it definitely appealed to me as a breakfast lover. Now, as I said, I have had the fortune to not really come across a bad hotel this year so I can only say the worst probably was to endure copious amounts of overcooked pasta somewhere in France.
- Kilometres ridden since 1st January: 24,162
- Hours on the bike: 711
- Elevation Gain: 191,865m (living in Belgium doesn’t do me any favours here!)
- Calories expended: 45,954
- Carbohydrates consumed: too many
For now I cannot say where I will be racing next year but all will be revealed soon
Big thanks goes to the team BEAT Cycling Club and all the partners for a great year, I’m enjoying a few weeks rest now before building up to what I hope to be a great 2020. For now I cannot say where I will be racing next year but all will be revealed soon. Stay tuned to British Continental to find out!
Featured photo: Pascal Vande Putte
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #8 – the season is still long
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #7 – the season, part 2
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #6 – success breeds success
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #5 – the behind the scenes work
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #4 – racing on home soil
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #3 – a winning start
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #2 – cycling to a new BEAT
Rider journals: Adam Lewis #1 – a postcard from Girona
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