Looking back down the 2017 road

Now that the road season is over I think it’s appropriate for me to have a look back on what I have managed to achieve this year. If you had told a thirteen-year-old Connie what I have done this year she would have laughed and not believed you at all.

This year has seen me step up from youth racing to being a junior racing mostly in adult events. I also had to sit my GCSE exams this summer which was challenging.

There have been many highlights, but one that will stay with me forever was my trip to Belgium in April. It was honestly a huge turning point for me. I will never forget the amazing crowd and that huge hill! It was a dream come true to race in an event like this, I honestly felt like I was doing what I have dreamed of doing since I was 12 years old, something I never thought I would do. 14th in a race like that was and still is a huge achievement for me, for this reason, it was definitely the main highlight of the year.

The National Crit Championships in Sheffield was by far my favourite race in the UK this year. The course was brilliant and it had such an astonishing atmosphere. I really enjoyed both this and Otley as I really felt that Hannah B and I were working as a unit, something that in races of this high standard I didn’t think we would be able to do.

Connie Hayes - racing for line Assen Crit (photo: Phil Moir)
Connie Hayes – racing for line Assen Crit (photo: Phil Moir)

The European Youth and Junior Tour of Assen was incredible yet again. I had such an enjoyable week. I loved every race, even the prologue! My 18th place in the time-trial was so unexpected. All those who saw me shortly afterward will be well aware that I thought I was way out the top 30, so to be in the top 20 was an amazing feeling. Finally getting to race on proper cobbles was wonderful as I got to put my short and square frame to good use. The second-day crit was also something I will never forget as I’ve been lapped every previous year, so to stay in the main group until the end was highly unexpected. 27th overall was also my highest GC finish by some way.

Of course, not every story is a fairytale, there have defiantly been some setbacks. I have had my fair share of bad races, going all the way to Belgium for me to decide to fall off cutting across the pavement on one of the first bends as well as me and the barrier making friends at the Nocturne are amongst many of these bad rides. Suffering from shingles at the beginning of the year left my immune system very drained causing me to suffer quite badly with every little bug for a number of months afterward. I also had GCSE’s which were quite stressful and this showed in some of my performances this year. The team has had a far from ideal season finale with Hannah B crashing at the Cycle Show Crits, something she really did not deserve after her totally amazing first season on the road (get better soon teamie). However, despite all these negatives, we have a lot more positives on which to build upon next road season, of which I can not wait for!

Now time for some thank you’s. Thank you to Hannah B, Lauren, Hannah G, Savannah, Rosie and Issy for being amazing teammates. Honestly, don’t think this year would be half as much fun as it has been if it wasn’t for you. Thank you to Epic Coaching for making my training so fun and enjoyable, I really cannot wait for the next few months of winter training under Mark’s guidance. Thanks to our Directuer Sportif, aka my dad, for giving us all so much advice and support even if the majority of it I ignored. Thank you to Liv, Giant Docklands and Awol London for the fabulous bikes and kit. Its been an absolute dream representing you all and I can not wait to carry on doing so. And the final thank you goes to everyone who’s reading this. I appreciate all the support so much. Whether that is on social media or at the roadside you have all played a part in keeping me going throughout this season so THANK YOU ALL!

So that’s road over and done with until 2018, but now its time to race around muddy fields on a cyclocross bike, yay!

Until next time
Connie Hayes

PS It would be really great if you clicked on some of the like and share buttons below, to help promote the team, our sponsors and women’s cycle racing. Thanks 🙂

Featured photo by John Orbea 

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