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 second journal entry…
I recently came back from two weeks of training in sunny Calpe where I spent most rides either hanging on the back of a group of lads for four hours or in a café, devouring some form of cake. Which I wish I was doing now rather than riding in gale-force winds and torrential rain. I’m now styling a rather shocking helmet tan-line which non-cyclists will just think is a poor attempt at putting makeup on and attempting to get my ‘life’ in order before the season starts.
There is an element of growing up again – the past five months I’ve been used to coming home to a full fridge
This journal entry isn’t so much about cycling, it’s a little insight into the physical and mental preparations I need to do before heading over the channel next week. The ‘big move’ is imminent. This will be my second season out in Belgium and in all honesty, it’s nowhere near as daunting as last year. Being able to know what to expect and in general just knowing the roads and where everything is, is pretty comforting.
The perils of packing
Packing is something I feel most cyclists, and people in general, dread. I hate it. Packing for two weeks is difficult, nevermind for seven months. How much stuff does one person need? Luckily, I have a pretty small car which prevents me from going overboard. I try to utilise my car space with important stuff like food and my bikes. But the temptation to bring every jumper I own or six sets of trainers can be quite challenging. You’d have thought I’d have learned from last year but it’s still a struggle leaving a lot of it at home, especially when you’re packing for every weather condition – Belgium seems to fluctuate between freezing rain or extreme heat throughout the summer.
The home comforts, something I didn’t take into account last year. For me, it tends to be food items rather than materialistic things (I am rather easy to please). This year my cacti selection will be making the trip across, luckily they are pretty hard to kill so fingers crossed we all last the season! Another necessity for me is squash or cordial as I would say, sadly in Belgium, they only really sell the syrup stuff so I’ll be taking at least eight litres of that over.
Being away for Easter is also something that hits home, not because of the fluffy bunnies and the meaning of Easter, but the best thing about it for me: creme eggs. Luckily, I have been stocking up on them since they came out, so I’ve got a stash that should last a few weeks, as long as I keep it to only three a day.
Fitting it all in
Car Tetris is what springs to mind. Two suitcases, two bikes, two sets of wheels, a turbo, bedding, snacks and the rest. Trying to squeeze it all into a Ford Ka can be challenging especially if I want to be able to see out my back window. The key storage space, I’ve learnt, is the passenger seat, even though it is pretty rubbish travelling alone. That seat becomes the ideal place for the stuff you don’t want to get covered in oil or squashed. The main worry I have is the checks when arriving at the Ferry terminal after a 500km drive, it’s my worst nightmare that they would want me to empty the whole thing and attempt to repack!
This is something I’ve found pretty easy this year, besides the stress of money. I haven’t really thought about it yet. Living away isn’t so much a big deal now. I’m staying with really good friends in a really nice place which if anything has made me actually excited to go back. There is an element of growing up again – the past five months I’ve been used to coming home to a full fridge. Whereas from next week I’ll go back to the independent lifestyle, which is something I enjoy until I forget everywhere’s closed on a Sunday and I have no food in for after my race except some cereal if I’m lucky!
This winter seems to have gone by really quickly and it’s pretty unreal that in a week’s time I’ll have moved my little life over to Belgium
Goodbye. Adios. Tot Ziens
Goodbyes aren’t something that have ever really fazed me. I mean, it isn’t particularly difficult to contact loved ones these days, with everyone having FaceTime. I also quite like being away. At home, except for my relatively small family and a couple of friends, there isn’t much else. I actually have a better social life in Belgium. It can be pretty hard saying bye to my dog though, mainly because I know he won’t even miss me as he’d rather play with a stick than me! Luckily, it isn’t really the end of the world if you do get homesick. There are flights and ferries daily if you’re desperate for a little trip home.
This winter seems to have gone by really quickly and it’s pretty unreal that in a week’s time I’ll have moved my little life over to Belgium. I will have also done my first race of the season, Omloop Het Hageland, a pretty savage UCI race which should lead to an entertaining journal at least. Season 2020 is go!
Find out more
Savannah on Twitter
Savannah on Instagram