My name is Rebecca but everyone calls me Becky, I'm 18 years old and this is my first year on the Scottish Cycling Senior Performance Programme and my second year in a Scottish Performance Programme. I started cycling in mid 2013 and have been hooked ever since.
This blog is meant to be about balancing college and training, but it's not as simple as that.
There are so many other things you have to balance as well as college and training, like your social life and family for example. The difference is made when you choose which one is more important, in most cases for athletes, education/ work and training always come first. Sometimes you can forget about your social life, especially in competition season! But having a good social life is a good way to unwind and relax from the pressure of college and training.
When you ask most people what they expect your average college student to do nine times out of ten they would say study and party.
It can sometimes wear you down and make you question what your doing when you see your friends out having fun at night while your on your bike or training in the gym.
This, I suppose, is where a lot of young athletes have to make a big decision. Do I give up on my dream and live a “normal” student life, or do I keep pushing for it? When you decide to keep pushing for your dream it fills you with extra determination.
It takes me one to one and a half hours to get to college every morning, and the same to get home at night. A lot of people ask why I don’t go to a college closer to home or why I don’t stay at college. If I went to one closer to home I couldn’t study agriculture and if I stayed closer to college then I wouldn't be able to train at the same level. I train six days a week with as many of the days as possible split into two training sessions, some lasting one hour and others lasting as long as three.
Being an agricultural student can be tiring, running round bringing in sheep, moving cattle or even moving heavy machinery. Sometimes when I come home at night the last thing I want to do after a day of being soaked in the rain, covered in oil or some less than desirable liquids is to go out again and get soaked on my bike.
But then you remember the buzz you get from racing, along with the heart break from not having that little bit extra energy left in your legs to keep pushing down the home straight. That’s when the determination to get better kicks in and convinces you to go out and push hard so next time you have the strength left in your legs to keep pushing.
So I'm not really selling this whole athlete thing am I?
What I am trying to say is that it is not all doom and gloom. All the missed nights out, all the hours of training, the tears and the dedication pays off when you get on your bike, strap in and put all those hours of training into that 30 second effort.
It all boils down to that moment when your sitting on your bike in the start gate, eyes closed, heart racing, listenting to those beeps.
You realise that all the hours of training have been for this moment.
Sometimes it hasn’t been enough and you might not get a personal best or a podium spot. However, when it has been enough, when you get to stand there on the podium, you realise all the hard effort and the tears were worth it.
Cycling, like any sport, helps you gain a strong network of friends who end up being more like family, always there for you. Always pushing you on and keeping you going when things get tough.
I know without my team mates I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. It's important to be supported and help support fellow athletes.
We all have a common goal and it's easier to reach that goal while pushing and sometimes pulling each other along.
You can read a previous #SCSquad by clicking on the link below: