Pearl Izumi Tour Series blog: George Pym in Torquay
Cycling Weekly will have a rider blogging from every round of this year's Tour Series, offering insight, comment and humour from the fast-paced proceedings.
This week, George Pym (Spin Rotor-Primal C-Originals) talks about how the Tour Series inspired him to start racing, and what the event is like for newcomers.
It was because of the Tour Series that I got into cycling. I went to see the Exeter round in 2009 - the first year of the series - with my dad and it was fascinated by how quick the racing was. From there I bought my first bike (a Raleigh Quadra), joined the Exeter Wheelers and progressed from there.
It's pretty incredible to be competing alongside a lot of the riders who inspired me to begin racing. Because Spin Rotor-Primal C-Originals are new to the series, it took us a couple of rounds to find our feet but I think we're improving week on week now.
Last night in Torquay we finished ninth for the second round in succession, which is a good result for us. Considering there are nine other teams in the series - six of whom are professional - competing in the event is always going to be tough.
One of our biggest lessons so far has been learning how to race. Despite what it may appear like when UK Youth are winning three races in a row, the action so uncontrollable.
Then there's the team element of the event; you're always looking out for your team-mates, but in the Tour Series, you try and work out where the team's first three riders are. In some events it can be difficult to earn the respect of the other riders and teams, too, but I think we're getting there on that, too.
One of the biggest things I've learnt is that you need to have a hard ride the day before the race, too, even if it doesn't sound like the right thing to do. The racing is always full on, so I find a good training ride 24 hours before the action begins is beneficial.
Because last night was my local round, I had a lot of friends and family in attendance. That only added to the atmosphere at the race, which is everything I thought it would be and better. I could get used to being treated like a celebrity for an hour or two twice a week, and having people coming up to ask me for an autograph.
I finished in 25th, which I was happy with. I crashed hard in Aberystwyth on Friday and didn't know how well I'd do last night. I felt dreadful in the warm-up, yet come the race my legs felt good! It's weird how that happens at times.
Aside from Torquay, I'm really looking forward to the Canary Wharf round. Having watched the highlights of the series on TV for the past few years, it's the race that really stands out. My experience as a fan has come in useful so far - I find myself remembering a lot of the courses!