Chrissie Slot and nine other cyclists are keeping rider journals for The British Continental in 2021. Chrissie only started cycling three years ago and this season will be her first year racing at the national level, a big step in her fledgling career. She will ride for Brother UK – Team OnForm. In her first journal entry, she discusses maintaining a healthy mindset and sets her sights on 2021…
“So, tell me a bit about yourself”… after having a total mind-blank, the first thing that usually springs to mind is “I’m a cyclist”. I realise that on a platform like this, that’s probably not the most surprising fact. But as I’m sure most of you won’t have heard of me, I’ll do my best to introduce myself. Oh, I’m Chrissie by the way…
Coming into the sport later has been really refreshing
My route into the sport was pretty unconventional. I never rode a bike through youth, junior, and most of my under-23 years. So the last three years, going from learning to ride a bike to joining Team OnForm, has been an interesting journey!
For me though, coming into the sport later has been really refreshing. Before cycling, I had a few years on the GB table-tennis squad and found the intense regime really hard to cope with. Training became something I did, not something I enjoyed. But taking up cycling as an adult feels completely different. Although sometimes I’ve felt like I have to work harder at things, knowing I have lot to learn makes me more hungry, and the fact that I’ve chosen to do them makes the challenge more enjoyable.
Lockdown taught me that I don’t go best when training full-time. The ups and downs seem more extreme when it’s your only focus
Off the bike, I’ve just finished a psychology degree, and am now back at university this year training to be a physiotherapist. The course is pretty full on, but I’ve always found that studying compliments training really well. Lockdown taught me that I don’t go best when training full-time. The ups and downs seem more extreme when it’s your only focus. And with COVID-19 adding to the general instability and stress, I’ve found it beneficial to incorporate things into my life that provide a level of stability. Focusing on something academic gives me the balance and headspace I need to be at my best when on the bike. As the saying goes… ‘happy head, fast legs’!
Maintaining a happy head has been has been a big priority this winter. Last year, which was effectively a gap year, I put a lot of pressure on myself to capitalise on the extra time. But approaching it like that definitely backfired. So this year I’ve tried to be more patient and relaxed with it; not have any expectations or huge goals. In a way, the current situation has helped with that, as the lack of season start date has forced me to shift my focus to the present, not future races. I feel really lucky to live with cyclists who also train, both at university and at home. It’s good to be surrounded by positive influences – even if that means just having someone to rant at about how you were an “absolute shell” at the end of your ride, without them thinking you’re talking about the beach!
I’m trying my best to find motivation in the here and now
And so… 2021. In an ideal world, I’d be writing about how excited I am to be heading out to Mallorca in February for my first team training camp, racing the National Road Series for the first time, and getting a taste for UCI racing. But as I’m typing this now, news of lockdown 3.0 has just hit! Fortunately, however, I’ve still been able to meet lots of the team virtually; in times like these it’s so nice to feel part of something. So, rather than dreaming about the prospect of all the racing there might be in the next few months, for now I’m trying my best to find motivation in the here and now – appreciating still being able to train, keeping the head happy, and enjoying riding.
Featured photo: Darren Moore
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