Journals Riders

Rider journals 2021: introducing Charliiy Berry

A member of the new Finish Line Racing squad, the full-time physiotherapist is the third of ten riders keeping a journal for The British Continental in 2021

We are lucky enough to be welcoming a new batch of riders to our rider journal series in 2021. We have picked ten riders to give us an insight into life at the Continental and elite-levels of racing, both at home and abroad. We’ll be introducing each rider through December. After revealing Abi Smith and Red Walters as our first two journal contributors, next up is Charliiy Berry…

Charliiy Berry is one of six riders who will be racing for Rick Lister’s new elite women’s team, Finish Line Racing, in 2021. A fast finisher, she moves over from Campinense – Velo Performance, a team for whom she put together some impressive results. Third in the Curlew Cup and sixth in the Stockton Grand Prix in 2019 – her first year riding at the national level – suggests she’ll be a rider to keep an eye on in the National Road Series next year.

As a full-time physiotherapist based in Cirencester, Charliiy will be combining work, racing and training in 2021. So expect her journal entries to bring insights into the everyday challenges that elite riders face when juggling the demands of riding in the UK’s top races whilst working a ‘regular’ job. She’s certainly keeping herself grounded, emphasising that enjoying herself on the bike is as important a measure of success as any results-based indicator.

A successful 2021 would be a year I have enjoyed alongside my team. If you’re not enjoying it then what’s the point?

Before her first journal entry arrives in the new year, we asked her a few questions to help introduce her to our readers…

Photo: Bob MacGregor

How would you describe yourself as a rider?

I’m a punchy rider with a good kick and an alright sprint. I’m also a big team player; a lot of people don’t understand that about cycling. You often sacrifice your own race for your team, it’s a pretty special feeling when that works out. 

How would you sum up your 2020 season?

The year started in Portugal on team camp with VeloPeformance – so really good. I was excited about the upcoming year and to see where I was at compared to the previous season. I had a pretty horrendous crash at the Ras at the end of last year with a fairly extensive list of injuries. So I was hungry to come back and to see where I was at. 

Then Covid changed the world’s plans. I was certainly able to fit in a lot of training. Like many riders, my coach and I decided to move my focus onto time trialling, which I surprisingly enjoyed. I found it interesting getting nerdy about the whole process – the bike, the kit, the technique. Seeing how little changes, combined with becoming accustomed to a time trial effort, shaved off time each week. It’s a dark art and the bug has bitten.

Are you a full-time rider, or will you be combining work alongside your racing and training?

I wish! I’m a full-time physiotherapist, so I juggle work, racing and training. I also have two horses thrown in for good measure!

Charliiy Berry (right). Photo: Bob MacGregor

What can you tell us about your team for next season?

Next year I will race for Finish Line Racing. It’s a new start-up by Rick Lister, who was my DS at Campinense – Velo Performance. 2019 was my first season racing at the national level. We had an awesome year, I loved it. Rick was a huge part of that. He knows exactly how to handle me as a rider and always gets the best from me.

When [Rick] spoke to me about joining his new team, it was a no brainer

I know rider welfare is highest on his priority list. In Ireland, he sat with me in the road until the ambulance came. Then he and my teammate Jo changed their ferry to stay with me longer in hospital. So when he spoke to me about joining his new team, it was a no brainer. 

What might your race programme look like?

Hopefully we’ll race the Tour Series, as that’s one of my big favourites along with all of the women’s National Road Series and National Circuit Series races. A trip or two to Belgium, if possible, would be great. I also plan to continue to fit time trialling in around my road calendar when possible, with things like the RTTC National 10 Mile Championship, the RTTC National Closed Circuit Championship and maybe even try my first 25. 

What would a successful 2021 look like for you?

I think its important to have internal motivators as well as external ones, such as races. So for me, a successful 2021 would be a year I have enjoyed alongside my team. If you’re not enjoying it then what’s the point? Secondly, if I can say I have tried my best in every situation then that’s a large part of all I can control. I think that’s especially important in a sport like cycling, where so many factors beyond your control can affect a race. You may have the best race of your life and still not win. If you are solely focused on results, it will become sour pretty quickly. If there’s anything I have learnt in recent years, life is too short for that. There’s a really cheesy saying: ‘happy head, fast legs’ and the results are sure to follow.

Featured photo: Bob MacGregor

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