2014 Round Up – What a year!
Time for another blog update, and I’ll pick up where I left off at the end of June. As is to be expected, much has happened in the last five months so I’ll try to keep things as brief as possible.
Last time I had just arrived home from the Tour of Korea and had a busy few weeks ahead of me. First up was the Changing Diabetes Cycle, which was a great event and a huge success. All who turned up to take on either the 25km, 60km or 100km routes were greeted with glorious sunshine and a great atmosphere. It was fantastic to get the opportunity to speak with everyone on the day and thanks for coming along and supporting the event.
I have to thank Diabetes Ireland for their support in arranging it along with the sponsors of the event, and I’m hoping we can come back next year even bigger and better.
Three days later, I was back in Dublin again to race on Irish roads for the first time in a year at the Stephen Roche GP. It is a criterium style race that takes place on a 1-km circuit around the housing estate where the Irish cycling legend grew up. It was an exciting race with rain making the sharp corners a nervous affair. I ended up with fifth place on the night and was happy to get away without crashing and feeling strong just four days before the Irish National Championships. I made an early breakaway on the 170-km race and stayed away until the finish. I faded a bit towards the end to finish up in fourth place in the under 23 category, just meters off the podium, but I was pleased!
Four days later and I was in the air again. This time flying to Canada for B.C. Superweek, a series consisting of nine races in 10 days, which had gone very well for me the previous year, so I had high hopes. It was a successful trip, as I was feeling strong and was able to break into the top 10’s. I have to thank my teammates on Team Novo Nordisk for their efforts helping me achieve those results. I carried this strong form into our mid-season training camp in Montebelluna, Italy where we focused on preparing for the upcoming Tour of Denmark. First, we travelled directly to two prestigious one-day races in Italy as our final race tune-up.
After a week at home recovering, I was ready for one of the biggest events of the year, the Post Danmark Rundt, a 5-day, 6-stage race near the headquarters of global healthcare company, Novo Nordisk. The Post Danmark Rundt was a nice race for our team, with huge support for us all over the country. We raced very actively in the breakaways and came very close to winning Stage 4 when my teammate Chris Williams was caught just meters before the finish line!
I traveled to Belgium for three weeks by myself to race and train, so I would be ready for the last events of the season. It was fantastic to race in Belgium and experience the cycle mecca that exists there. After Belgium, I went to Milano-Torino in Italy at the start of October.
At this prestigious race, I lined up against the likes of Alberto Contador, this year’s Vuelta a España winner. Just four days later, I raced at the Tour of Almaty in Kazakhstan against this year’s Tour de France winner, Vincenzo Nibali. These races seemed a bit surreal at first, but competing against the best in the world helps Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, show what may be possible with diabetes.
The last race on the calendar was the Tour of Hainan in China, a 9-day stage race and the longest of the year at 1,467-km. Thankfully I was feeling good, and the highlight was making it into the breakaway on the 182-km Stage 6, but unfortunately we were caught just 4km before the finish line!
I was happy to finish the racing season, yet I still had plenty of traveling to do because we had a training camp starting in Mexico just four days after my last race. So 87 hours of traveling later, which included six flights, three bus journeys, 17 hours in Limerick and 14 hours in Atlanta, I arrived on the island of Cozumel for our team get-together. It was an amazing trip. A beautiful island, lovely weather, lots of fun activities and many good stories, but I’ve already written too much so I’ll leave it there.
Now, I’m back at home and getting back into training after attending a few events surrounding World Diabetes Day. I’m already looking forward to 2015 and what will hopefully be an even more exciting and successful year.
Thanks to everyone for their support and making this amazing adventure possible so far, and to Team Novo Nordisk for the once in a lifetime opportunity to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes worldwide.
Until next time!
Merry Christmas to you all!!