My life moving to England

austin

About 6 months ago I was chilling back home in Auckland, New Zealand wondering what to do with myself. Where was I headed in life? I was a decent cyclist but nothing special. I had a good bunch of friends but was always away from them due to their University commitments. I worked a good job for a television company making highlights packages, but the hours were rough often working 10 pm to 7 am.

I had it all going for me, my family were very supporting, friends were close, but something was missing. I just wasn’t content with myself. I always strive to push myself more than I probably should and be the best possible version of myself. It was only when I sat down with the old man at the start of September that we formulated a rough plan of moving to the UK. So, we make a few calls, figure out if it’s possible and next thing I know I’m on a one-way ticket to the other side of the world.

I really didn’t have anything set in stone, all I knew was where I was staying and that I needed to find work ASAP. Luckily my dad’s good friend from when he was younger was able to get me part-time work for a local charity collecting and delivering furniture. It wasn’t a glamorous job by any stretch of the imagination but seeing how we positively effected so many people through what we did was very rewarding however I still needed to find full time work in order to afford life.

I ended up working at the Charity until Christmas and it was great. Some weeks were busier than others but working here enabled me to be able to get other aspects of my life in order. I didn’t know anyone other than Dan (The creator of our wonderful team) and I only met him through a weeklong trip in 2016. He introduced me to Jack, and I can’t thank them both enough for everything they’ve done for me so far. We got riding together and they welcomed me into their plans of creating this team.

They welcomed me into their friendship groups and now I’m very lucky to say I have a great bunch of mates. Trying to meet new people can be hard, especially in a new country in an unfamiliar city. I met a few people through social media, and we arranged to meet up for coffee’s or go explore the city. We would spend hours talking about ourselves, roaming the lanes of Brighton and I’ve learnt that the people are so welcoming and friendly. I would never have imagined before I came here, I would be swing dancing in some pub down in Brighton making an absolute fool of myself. It was amazing, experiencing all these new things and meeting all these people. I was riding the high.

I also managed to get in a good few hours on the bike as well when time allowed, and I’ve always used cycling as an escape from what’s happening in the so called “real world”. Exploring all the small country lanes and getting lost in some forest with no phone is a great time and I would definitely recommend it. I was getting fitter than ever, making new friends and living my best life. Cycling is special in the fact I can escape to my own little world, the sweat running down my face, the wind through my hair and just being able to stop thinking and enjoy the ride.

The team is essentially reflecting the whole reason I ride a bike. It’s a very close group of people all willing to help each other out in the pursuit of all our individual goals. Dan at N+1 welcomed me with open arms into the community and I can’t wait to repay him for that. I can’t wait to get stuck in with racing for the team and representing all our sponsors on such a great team. We want to show the community how much fun cycling can be and that it’s not all about results. It’s about enjoying the process and growing together as a team.
Through the team I was introduced to my now current work at I-ride. A mate suggested I apply because I of my passion for cycling so that’s exactly what I did. I turned up to my interview in an old classic retro Raleigh Jersey because I had no other way of getting there. It certainly made a statement. A couple weeks passed, and I found out I got the job and would start in the new year. I couldn’t be happier with my current set up. I now work with Jack as well and it’s awesome.

My goals for the season are all very team oriented. I understand for the first bit of my life in Europe I must bunker down and work hard in order to become comfortable. For this reason, I don’t have as much time to train so my goal for the season is to help everyone in the team achieve their goals. I’ll be sharing all my knowledge and experience with regards to racing to everyone so we can all enjoy the season ahead.

Again a special mention to Dan and Jack for both helping me out with so much since I’ve come over here. I wouldn’t be doing as nearly as well as I currently am without their support and help. Sure there are highs and lows but with the support of the team and the community feel to the team I can’t wait to get stuck in.

I started riding my bike because I wanted to be like my Dad.

Jack Dunne

Back in 2013 I witnessed what is arguably the worst bike crash I have ever seen. It was my Dad who hit the deck at around 50km/h during a mid-week summer chain gang. Flat out bunch riding is sketchy at the best of times and especially so on the pockmarked roads that are commonplace in the UK – which in this case was the cause of the crash. The impact from the crash meant that Dad suffered from what is known as a chronic subdural hematoma – a bleed on the brain – for which he needed emergency surgery.

After the crash I had serious doubts that he would survive let alone ride a bike again. However, by the grace of God he made a full recovery. Since then we have had some of our most memorable cycling adventures that have taken us to Australia, France, Belgium, all over the UK and across Europe.

My Dad got me into cycling back when I was a kid. Often, when I was a child I would wake up in the night with nosebleeds and to take my mind off it he and I would watch re-runs of the 1986 and 1989 Tour’s on VHS. As much as I loved watching Hinault, Lemond and Fignon I didn’t start riding my bike because I wanted to be like them. As cheesy as it may sound, I started riding my bike because I wanted to be like my Dad. Nobody was cooler than him.

Ever since I started riding my bike we have always ridden together. I can’t have been more than about four or five years old when I used to do time trials round the local park with my Dad acting as the time keeper. It’s been almost twenty years and we are still riding together now, which is one of the greatest blessings I could possibly ask for.

Recently took place in my first race for my new team for the 2019 season – the newly-formed N+1 Lindfield Coffee Works Team. This was a very special moment for me, being a part of such an exciting new team with a brilliant ethos and team spirit is a real privilege. It’s always an exciting moment to be able to show of the team kit for the first time! As special as this moment was it was made even better by the fact that – for the first time ever – my Dad was alongside me on the start grid. The LCCA Team Championships are unique as it is one of the few races on the Cyclocross calendar with mixed age groups, allowing veterans to race alongside senior and junior riders.

Being able to race alongside my Dad is not something I ever thought I would be able to do and I count myself exceptionally lucky. The whole day was brilliant and full of excellent racing. The course was excellently designed and having my fellow teammates and friends their cheering from the side-lines was a real motivating factor. In the end I managed to come away with 10th place, which I can’t wait to build on for the coming year. I look forward with great anticipation for what the next season has instore for both me and my fellow N+1 Lindfield Coffee Works teammates!

Hill climbing is a test of your ability to suffer, not just your power on the bike

Dan Neal

Every good cyclist is able to climb, but the best make climbing effortless. In truth it’s not. Even the best suffer, but it’s their ability to suffer more and dig deeper than anyone else, that makes them stand out about the rest. That’s what drew me to hill climbing in the first place.

Hill climbing is a very different challenge from your standard road race, or even a time trial. Even though time trials and hill climbs are similar in the fact that it is one rider racing against the clock, the two efforts are very different. A time trial is a steady, continuous effort that requires the rider to find that sweet spot and be able to sit at a steady power for ten miles or more, still a very draining effort. A time trial effort allows you time to get up to speed gradually, but in a hill climb, from the moment the start clock hits zero, you are giving 100 percent. Start too slow and your chances of victory are already very low. A hill climb rarely lasts longer than a few minutes, it’s a very brutal and unforgiving effort.

I can still remember the feeling after my first ever hill climb effort. From the very start of the effort you feel every last crank rotation, every last strain as the forces of gravity work against you. But once you hit the line and the effort is over, you feel nothing. All the feeling drains from your legs as the adrenaline that was driving you up that hill, wears off and you finally realise the effect of the effort. You give everything you can just for few minutes only to spend longer on the floor trying to regain the feeling in your legs and the air in your lungs.

Hill climbs are a hard discipline to train for as the training sessions are very similar to the races themselves, send yourself up a climb as hard as you can, but instead of giving everything in one effort, the sessions involve multiple hard efforts. Hopefully, by the time the hill climb seasons rolls into view, I will be in a position where I am able to compete with the many strong riders and I will be able to do the N+1 Lindfield team jersey proud.

That’s what made being a part of this team an easy decision. It allows me to learn from and ride with some incredibly strong riders, which will help me develop and give me many opportunities to prove myself as a rider. As well as riding with the team, I’m involved being the scenes as I will also be providing mechanical support to my teammates as I am the mechanic at our headline sponsor, N+1 Cycle Workshop.

Working at N+1 has also allowed me to gain a better understanding of our many incredible sponsors such as Lindfield Coffee Works, Breakaway Digital, Vittoria tyres and Veloforte as we offer these products in store. In order to offer and sell these products I need to know what makes them so great. As a rider I know that the products we are using are the best ones available to us which will in turn help the team succeed.

The thing about time trialing is it’s just you and the clock

James Cheeseman

When I first bought a bike I never dreamt that I would be spending 80% of my time training  in my dark, damp and cold garage staring at my time trial bike and pointy helmet for inspiration.

Having had a couple of nasty accidents 2 years running my relationship with my turbo has been one of love/hate. Having broken my collarbone I spent the entire summer of 2017 indoors trying to claw back fitness watching friends race and travel on a number of different trips.

After a solid 3 months confined to inside, the cross season of 2017/2018 was upon me. I tried my best to compete with the faces I had the year previous despite a serious lack of miles which was great fun.

By then end of the season I was back to where I was before the accident fitness wise with a bit of interest and looking to set myself a new challenge.

Time trialling always fascinated me as a number of friends raced and were really fast, it was only a matter of time before I was sucked in. The thing about time trialing is it’s just you and the clock, nowhere to hide, totally solitary and I have always enjoyed pushing myself to the maximum; I secretly love the pain getting there too.

Last year apart from the final 3 or 4 races I completed the whole season on my road bike.

Some races were brutal and to be fair no matter what bike you do a TT on it’s still the same effort. Empty the tank and get to the finish as fast as you can. I loved that.

Unfortunately I had yet another tumble and this time was more painful; opposite shoulder, different injury and I faced more time on the turbo; however this time was different I knew what to expect and also had the added bonus of Dan setting me targets and mini goals to get me through the rehab.

One of the biggest differences I’ve felt is having a power meter (or lie detector as some call it). I’m still learning how to utilise it to its full potential but Dan has been a massive help. It’s a great tool to have, most of us that ride know what you need to be doing and very often need reminding of it regularly too.

When Dan asked me to join the Team it seemed like a natural decision. Whenever I ride with Dan we seem to share the same attitude to riding and just get on with it wind, rain or shine. I think everyone in the Team are on the same page also which is always a bonus & the nice thing about being a part of this development team is there is such a wide range of experience and knowledge to be shared.

Everyone seems super keen and friendly and always willing to help.

I’m buzzing for this season to begin a full season Injury Free and on the tt bike. Will be interesting to see how far I can better last years performances

I have a feeling all of the lads are going to have a corker of a year too.