My life racing bikes has been a chequered one. There are times that I have fallen in and out of love with racing and all that goes with it. As much as it looks like people are riding bicycles for pleasure, this can be the most distant of emotions felt on a racing bike.

It is the pursuit of speed that comes before anything else, the competitive streak within me that I must satisfy and the all-out war that ensues from that first pedal stroke that keeps me in limbo as to whether I will race again next season or sit a year out, put on some weight and get cake every time I fancy it.

Competitive cycling and the types that are drawn to it are far away from the cyclist that rides for pleasure, we are a breed all of our own and one that to the outside world may cause confusion. 

I shave my legs as a sign of respect and heritage, as well as for comfort and the very slight chance it may give me the tiniest of advantages. I wear clothes that my wife shudders to think of me wearing out of the house. I have spent more on my bike this past season than I have on holidays, gifts for my children and considerably more than any of my others hobbies. It’s hard to explain to the friends I have that don’t race, but then even they are starting to yearn for a decent bike.

Last week I rode a solid 200-300 miles which is nowhere near enough if I'm going to shave off the time I need to stay competitive, but this is my obsession, my passion and my reason for working as hard as I do. It gives me immense satisfaction, peace and freedom and without it I don’t know what I would do with my time and money. I am a competitive cyclist, always have been and always will be.

Over the years I have owned many bikes, each one has had its time as my favourite yet each time this favourite has made room for the next. Currently, I ride a Di2 equipped Eddie Merckx 525 and I must say it is fantastic. I held off getting electronic shifting last year as I thought I didn’t need it. I was wrong, it is a revelation and something I hadn’t expected was how pleasing I find the noise that it makes, every shift makes me smile.

The evolution of technology and design has pushed me to higher and higher levels of personal achievement. It has taken me riding in foreign lands and inspired me to do battle at the velodrome.  Some of my best friends are made at race meets. 

During the race they are simply competition that I must beat, but the times shared after are very special to me. It is for this reason that I will indeed be putting the cakes down, dropping some weight this winter on the turbo trainer and certainly racing again next season!

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