Joe Nally and five other cyclists are keeping rider journals for The British Continental this season. The 21-year-old Scot, a former Great Britain Cycling Team Senior Academy rider, races for Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK. This is Joe’s fifth journal entry…
I’m at that stage of the movie where everyone believes the hero is dead but – spoiler alert – they survived
The other day I was riding along enjoying the fresh summer floods and a question popped into my head. In a few years when I’ve inevitably become super-rich and famous and they decide to make a film about my life, which actor will play me..?
The action begins on a typical rainy day – some time last week. The protagonist enters the shot pulling a pair of wheelie bins towards the driveway. It is a grey, desaturated atmosphere. A river of raindrops run down the bin lid and falls to the ground. A bag of compost and a bag of birdseed are slapped on top to act as a counter-balance for the weights bar which is placed across this budget squat rack. Eye of the Tiger slowly fades in. Cue totally original training montage.
In reality, this a familiar scene for most athletes trying to keep up their regular training routine throughout lockdown. Earlier this year I believed I was the only person put in a rocky situation when an Epstein Barr virus diagnosis put my season in question, but then the world one-upped me and started a full-blown apocalypse. Now, that’s the clearest example I’ve ever had to show that my own personal conflict is quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
I can’t complain mind you, it’s come at a handy time for me.
If you’d asked me when I was younger to plan my ideal gap year, there would’ve been more travelling involved than my all too popular journey of ‘bed to fridge and back’
When I finally get this journal edited and released, it will be almost exactly one year to the day since I last pinned a number on my back due to the series of unfortunate events that 2020 has been. If you’d asked me when I was younger to plan my ideal gap year, there would’ve been more travelling involved than my all too popular journey of ‘bed to fridge and back’. I would have pictured myself spending more time wearing those funny trousers while discovering myself sat by a campfire in Thailand. Or maybe spending a few weeks volunteering somewhere, simply so I could shove it down everybody’s throats for the next decade. Sadly my gap year was slightly less stereotypical and involved more Netflix binges and 4 pm breakfasts than the terminally unemployed.
Unfortunately, there won’t be much change in the next few months for me either. Even though I’m back to full health, and have been for a wee while, I’m still a lot less fit and strong than I’d like to be going into a race. So I am in no rush to get back into the peloton, I’m happy to keep my head down and grind away behind the scenes.
Training is progressing positively but steadily for me. I never expected to have such a hard time climbing out of the hole that I was dropped into earlier this year, so all of this extra time I was granted has been extremely helpful. Give me another six months and I’ll be stronger than ever.
In the next couple of weeks, I will be heading off to Tenerife to spend the winter building back all the fitness I lost. I’ll be splitting my time between training and helping out a local bike rental company, Bike Emotion Tenerife, run by Jorge who’s going to be looking after me. If anyone fancies some sunny bike rides, hit me up – I know a guy.
These past few months have been the longest period of time I’ve spent in one place since I was quite young so a change of scene will be a breath of fresh air. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve spent quite a while feeling sorry for myself during 2020 and it’s high time I sorted myself out.
I’m at that stage of the movie where everyone believes the hero is dead but – spoiler alert – they survived, and are silently preparing to show up at the final battle and save the day. Not the most original plot twist, but it sums up where I’m at.
All I can do now is try my best to get ready for next season and hopefully, I’ll be able to stand my ground and fight until the credits roll.
Featured photo: Dan Smith
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