Rider Diary: Steve James
Interview featuring Steve James
Road To 2012 Part One - July 2009
The racing development phenomenon of 2009, the first-year Junior mixing it with Elite racers in March; a selection for the World Championships and multiple nominations in the XCRacer annual awards - there's little denying Steve James made a massive impact on cross country racing last year. 2010 marks the start of his second season. Read about year one, following his British Cycling journey on Road To 2012 and follow Steve's personal account of racing right here.
January 1st kind of marks the start of the training season, you know mentally it's a new year, fresh legs to start working on. So to mark such a tremendous occasion and to help with my girlfriends' (Georgie for reference) new year's resolution to get fitter, I went out on a ride with Georgie, which for her is quite something not owning a bike. It was actually a pretty good ride, gentle pace (well for me) and plenty of stops and chats. I have to admit though the love of cycling is something reserved for me, as Georgie has yet to get back on a bike, nor do I think she has any intention of doing so!
Having been ill for 2 months before Christmas, I did find it pretty difficult to get back into riding 6 days a week, I almost got used to sitting on my back side in front of the TV all day! One good ride on my Giant XTC though and I'd been bitten by the riding bug again, couldn't wait to get back into my training for this season.
One thing I'm experimenting on this year is doing some road racing towards the beginning of the season, namely the Hillingdon Winter Series at the moment. Having never done a road race before I wasn't really sure what to expect or what I was supposed to do! I'm only a 4th cat at the moment, but even in that race I felt like a right amateur. I'm not looking for results in these races mind, it's all about 50ish minutes of good solid power work, no free-wheeling which is something I'm not at all used to!
Last weekend (January 31) was the first MTB event of the season for me, a Gorrick/Merida Brass Monkey 4-hour enduro. I was pretty excited for this race, it had been almost 4 months since I'd raced my XTC and I was itching to get back into it. I'll be honest I wasn't expecting much of a result having done a Hillingdon road race the day before. However as soon as I started warming up I felt it was going to be a good race. Being an enduro I was fairly far back on the grid, about 6th row, but I made a big effort up the first hill and got up to the leaders. After a few laps, me and Ben Thomas (Torq Elite) were pushing a pretty good pace at the front, working together to break well away from the other riders and pushing each other for most of the race. After 3:30 hours my legs had had it! After the twinge in the muscles you know you've had it, so to save totalling myself for the cross champs this weekend, I backed off with about 1 lap to go. I came second in the race, about 3:30mins down on winner Ben. It was a great race and I really enjoyed racing again, things I have to say are looking awesome for this season, cannot wait to get it started good and proper!
Sponsor wise, I'm staying with my fantastic sponsor/team PedalOn who started supporting me last year and have been nothing less than amazing, supporting me in any way they can and providing an amazing bike. This year I will be on two race bikes, I'm carrying through my Giant XTC from last year, with a few changes mind. But what I'm really excited about though is the new Giant Anthem X Advanced SL0 that's on order for me. I adored my alu Anthem last year and I can only imagine how good the carbon incarnation is going to be!
Will update on how the road racing and training is going next month,