The cyclocross season always flies by so fast, making my winter months the most exciting yet hectic months of the year! This year I have travelled across the whole country as well as spending a fair few races out in Belgium, where the atmosphere at the races is unlike anything i've experienced before.
I started my season at my local Parentini-Wessex League then straight into the first National Trophy at Derby the next weekend. It's always so nice to see friends again yet quite nerve racking lining up to start your first race of the season as no one really knows what to expect of peoples form (a great low pressure environment). The course was fast and flat with a few techy areas where I could regain some lost time; my form was not there at all, I really suffered. However, I know that I never really start CX season feeling strong, the courses tend to be dry and fast- not my cuppa tea!
An early training camp in September with my team Montezuma’s Hargroves out in Belgium (Alsemberg and Patterncross) really helped to get into the swing of things. As well as racing different people and not knowing the competition allowed for a pressure free race, just me and the bike going as hard as I could.
As the season progressed the rain kept coming ,the courses got muddier and I started to find my legs. A few highlights for me were my first win of the season at the Parentini Wessex League, a well needed confidence booster, and Pembury National (5th senior/ 4th U23) where I proved to myself that I CAN actually ride up hill and run pretty fast.
The first weekend in November saw my dad and I travelling out to Belgium again for my first Elite women UCI/C1 race at the DVV Trofee Kortijk Urbancross. It was incredible to be lining up with the likes of Ceylin del Carmen Alverado and Sanne Cant on such a sick course that mixed up CX with a Crit race. I had a solid start (mum i’m on TV!!) which set me up for a decent race, finishing 26th overall, which I was chuffed with.
My favorite part of the season has to be the Christmas team camp where I raced at the Loenhout DVV Trofee, Telenet Superprestige Diegem and DVV Trofee GP Sven Nys Baal. It was a super intense week racing three elite womens UCI/C1’s in six days but the experiences were well worth it. I started strong at Loenhout where I avoided two massive crashes in the first minute, slid around in some deep ruts and finished 38th overall (1st Brit!!). Deigem night-race was possibly the maddest and most exciting race I've ever done, the crowds were mental and I left on such a high post-race. This race was my favorite of the season :)) Lastly the Sven Nys GP was a tough day out, a few mechanicals pushed me back at the start but on a techy course I quickly regained lost places finishing in 35th.
After some well needed R&R finally the most important race of the season came around, the National Championships, this year at Shrewsbury. I went into this race with a goal to just give it my all, I was still quite tired from my week in Belgium and kind of just wanted to finish off the season on a high. I really try not to think or set goals about what position i’d like to finish (although it's always lurking in the back of my mind) as it just causes me to put pressure on myself, I have found over the years that I perform best when i’m not super nervous or stressed about the end result.
The race started and I hit the first corner in 3rd this set a great mentality (a key part for me). I have always quite enjoyed this course, it plays to most my strengths and this year where I have worked on my running I wasn't "afraid" of the sticky running conditions so hit them hard. I battled with a few riders for the first 2 laps then rode the rest on my own, there were a few sections of the course where I made stupid mistakes but managed to remain composed and in a rhythm throughout the race. There were so many friends and family I had cheering and shouting for me, I've never had that much support on course before and wow it definitely helps!!
Coming into the final straight I knew I had gone 100%, when over the commentary I heard “Amy Perryman finishing in 3rd for the U23’s”, I couldn't believe it, I hadn't actually known what position I was in the entire race!! I remember seeing a load of teammates on the sideline cheering for me, I looked over and smiled at them, knowing that I had actually done it… i’d got on the podium!
This season has seen a gradual improvement through out and I couldn't be more chuffed with how It finished . I am so so glad to see things finally coming together after what feels like the longest 2 years ever with an ongoing illness and some proper tough luck. This years season has almost been like a fresh start i'm feeling so much stronger mentally and physically, it feels good to feel good! Going into 2020 with some decent motivation and ready to see what the next year brings...
Thanks for reading,