Journals Riders

Red Walters journal: my new team for 2021

Rider journals 2021: Red Walters #01

Red Walters is one of eight riders that will be keeping journals for The British Continental in 2021. In this first, early instalment, 21-year-old Red discusses his team search and reveals the team he’ll be riding for next season…

I can say with confidence that the majority of French, Belgian, Dutch, and North American teams have an email from me

For everyone who doesn’t know who I am, I’m Red, I live in Hampshire, and I’ve been cycling for about five years now, which at this point, just feels like my whole life. I love racing, road and track, and would definitely describe myself as a sprinter, although I try to keep myself versatile as a rider.

To summarise lockdown, as is the case for most riders, it wasn’t exactly fun. No real races made me realise pretty quickly just how much competing is part of who I am. Luckily, I managed to stay on the ball with all my training, as I always try to look at the long-term and really remember why I train. But there was definitely this slightly numb stage at the start of lockdown where I’d just train mindlessly following the plan and not much else. I’ve made some massive gains though which I’m super happy with and, in hindsight, I won’t complain about a whole season dedicated to training.

I’d actually finished writing a journal post about targeting the national hill climb championships, as with few races of significance and a short distance that suited me, it was a perfect race to target. However, with the years’ fatigue building, and looking at next year, I decided to take my winter break three weeks earlier, giving me that little bit extra time to prepare for next year.

That gives me the perfect segway to talk about teams for 2021! It’s definitely a tough process finding a team, made infinitely harder by the whole pandemic. Firstly because a lot of teams want to keep a lot of riders who didn’t get a chance to race, but also because a lot of teams are folding, leaving a huge imbalance in the rider market.

There are a lot of similarities between applying to teams and applying for jobs. If there’s one thing you need in either case, it’s perseverance

I’ve found there are a lot of similarities between applying to teams and applying for jobs. If there’s one thing you need in either case, it’s perseverance. I can say with confidence that the majority of French, Belgian, Dutch, and North American teams have an email from me, probably several in fact. I sent hundreds!

Just remember though, if your CV has something like “I’d love to be on a team like [XXXXXXXXX]” remember to change it before you send the message! I made that mistake a couple years ago and it’s a bit embarrassing I have to say.

It’s funny the way things work in the end though, because the team I’ve decided on has actually come from someone I know, who I’m very grateful towards, as opposed to my own search. For 2021, I’ll be racing in France for CC Plancoët, a club based in Brittany. Thinking about the long-term, and the best route to achieve my biggest goals, I’m really confident that they are a fantastic option for me. They are the feeder team for DN1 Côtes d’Armor Marie Morin, one of the best ‘division one’ teams in France [Ed: Stuart Balfour, Owen James and Sam Reed have ridden for Côtes d’Armor Marie Morin in the past two years. And our former journal contributor Adam Lewis will ride for the team in 2021].

I’m also really confident that the style of racing over there will suit me more, not to mention the extra certainty that there will be some racing there next year, compared with the UK. I’m really excited about the change away from the standard National B race, and can’t wait to get stuck into racing over there. I have to give a massive thanks to Mike Anderson who put me in touch and has made it all happen!

Photos: Matthew Downie, Red Walters

Find out more

Red Walters interview: on racing and racism

Red on Twitter

Red on Instagram

Red on YouTube

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