Savannah Morgan and five other cyclists are keeping rider journals for The British Continental this season. The 20-year-old embarks on her second season in Belgium this year, riding for the Isorex NoAqua team. This is Savannah’s first journal entry…
I was undecided about the topic of my first journal. At the moment I’m in a bit of an endless cycle between training and work which is starting to take its toll on me. Luckily, I will be finishing up with work soon.
I’ll never have this opportunity again to race my bike like this, so I have to make the most of it
Winter is always a hard one for me. I just love summer; these dark nights and the limited sunshine often make me feel a bit down. I also tend to go a bit ‘M.I.A’ on social media this time of year as I’m desperately trying to balance everything.
I get a lot of cycling questions in work, I mean a LOT. So many I feel I should have my own FAQ page attached to me. I usually just brush over the questions as I know they are mainly asking out of politeness and have lives to get on with. So here are the proper answers to some of my most frequently asked questions.
How did you get into cycling?
Well. It’s not a very cool story. I raced a few triathlons when I was younger and we quickly realised my bike times were pretty strong for someone who didn’t do much riding. In my first ‘proper’ race I got lapped twice which wasn’t a huge surprise.
Now, after a few up and down years, I’ve now ended up racing and living in Belgium. I never really thought this would be an option for me and without my parents help it wouldn’t have been.
Everyone just comes to race, there’s no faff; you turn up, sign on and race hard
I mean, why not? Cycling is huge there. Most of my races have between 60-120 riders starting. The most being a kermesse in April that reached the maximum limit of 150 riders, which was absolutely bonkers. Last year, the furthest race was only 2 hours away, which I’m grateful for, as in a hot Belgian summer spending any longer than that in a 2009 Ford kA with no air conditioning ain’t very pretty.
Everyone just comes to race, there’s no faff; you turn up, sign on and race hard. Plus race pictures are a given; I’ve never had so many pics of me even if it is just my elbow in the edge of the shot.
Don’t you miss home?
I miss the comforts of home. Especially my family, although I’ve been back for a few months now so we are all starting to annoy each other again.
I’m not embarrassed to admit I was the loneliest I’ve ever been
I was so confident before I left that I wouldn’t get homesick, but by May I was FaceTiming my parents constantly just for some company. I’m not embarrassed to admit I was the loneliest I’ve ever been. While I was there as I was pretty much living alone and about 30 minutes from other British riders. Being an only child I always thought I was fine in my own company but I’m hugely grateful for the friends I made otherwise I’d of struggled. Plus, I missed our snacks. I’ve never appreciated salt & vinegar crisps so much, the flavours over there aren’t really my cup of tea. I’ve been making the most of them since being back, so much I might start looking like a potato if I carry on.
Shouldn’t you be at university?
Not really. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to study (I still don’t). I do sometimes feel left out as so many say it’s the ‘time of their life’ but for me, I’ll never have this opportunity again to race my bike like this, so I have to make the most of it. I’m a bit of a lame 20-year-old anyway, I’m pretty wobbly after one Leffe so I’m not sure the uni life would have been for me.
Why don’t you just race at home?
My honest opinion. I think the women’s racing scene is pretty dire compared to Belgium and it’s not really worth me coming back for them. I’d love to come back for the National Road Series so my family could come and support me but the cost is just too much. I can do three races in Belgium for the price of one here. I understand riders have to support the races for them to go ahead. But there’s just very little attraction.
You rarely hear foreign riders wanting to come and do national races here, and why would they? There’s no incentive, prize money is limited and the racing isn’t very frequent, except for the few weeks the ‘chore’ series is on. The UK has amazing potential for races but as of yet, I don’t think it’s being utilised.
What will you do when you finish work?
I’ve mainly been working as a hospital receptionist and in comparison to last winter, I’ve been doing a lot more hours. So I’m really looking forward to more free time.
I’ll be doing a quick trip over to Belgium next weekend for my team presentation. Then finally next month I’ll be heading over to Calpe for some sun before I face the big challenge of packing my life into my little car and moving back for the season.
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