It’s been a brilliant first season for you – how would you sum it up?
In a few words…a very surprising one (in the positive sense). We started with ambition, but to achieve what we did in the first season was amazing and I believe everyone has achieved more than the riders and I expected at the start of this venture!
: It has exceeded all expectations. None of us ever imagined the success the team would achieve in this first year. The camaraderie and spirit within the team inspires all of the riders and that is a magic recipe for success.
The names “Verulam” and “reallymoving” have really made a mark in the racing world now.
What have been some of the high points/memorable moments?
: Highlights for me have been seeing the spirit and support between the riders at the races. Memories of seeing young Beth (age 11) at the Fete du Velo races, refusing to go home because she wanted to stay to support all of our riders. Hearing the commentators saying “This is becoming a Verulam reallymoving domination.” Seeing the youth riders idolising the senior riders. I could go on all day!
: Michael Parry getting 7th in the National Road Race Championship was impressive, as well as getting 3rd in stage during the Junior Tour of Wales! Out of the whole team we had over 15 wins from 9 different riders, which shows we have developed into a winning team and we don’t rely on one rider. We have strength in size and we work together fantastically during the races. That’s great to see and gives me a feeling of pride in the team.
This was your debut season – has it been everything you expected? Were there any surprises?
: It was everything we expected and much more! It was fantastic to just see all the hard work that we put into the team leading up to 2018 paid off so well.
: Everything we expected and much more. The surprises have been a) the amazing racing success, b) the camaraderie and team spirit and, c) where did all of these talented riders come from?!
What are the differences in ages on the team and what dynamic does that bring?
We have from 8 years up to 60+! It’s great to see, and for the youth they can learn and gain much needed experience from the established riders as they make their way through the youth ranks. It’s a great system and keeps the oldies feeling young!
We have riders in youths (under 16s), juniors (16-18), seniors (18-39) and veterans (40+). What I’ve enjoyed seeing is how the senior riders make a big effort to involve the youth riders and support them. e.g. riding down to Welwyn Track on Friday evenings to support the youths racing in the League. The youths clearly idolise the senior riders and that helps motivate them to emulate their heroes.
The veterans also play a big part representing the team. Cycling has an amazing veteran racing scene – more than I’ve seen in any other sport, with riders racing into their 70s. These guys have just as much enthusiasm as riders half their age and it is great to see the team covering all categories.
A special mention for the ladies too. We have some strong new signings for 2018 and I suspect they will be stealing some of the headlines from the boys in 2018!
What does an average training schedule look like?
: These guys are out on their bikes most days of the week. During the summer they might be racing 2-3 times per week, hence the racing itself is a big part of their training. Outside of the racing, there will be a mix of recovery rides and various specialised training efforts, like high intensity interval sessions. It is different for everybody!
What would you say to those contemplating starting to race – how can they get involved, and what level do they need to be at?
: At the youth end, we have a youth development programme to help get riders ready for racing. From there we can identify riders that have the potential for riding with the team.
In general, riders basically need to prove their commitment with some race experience (which they can do as a standard VCC member) and approach us. We are always happy to talk to newcomers to the sport and are happy to offer advice.
: Get in touch!
We are always on the lookout for a rough diamond! The best way is for them to start by riding local events see how they like it. If they catch the bug and have signs of talent we will push them all the way so they can become the best possible rider they can be!
What are your goals for next season?
: We will aim high and raise the bar considerably for the 2018 season without doubt!
: Expectations will be high after the success we’ve had this year! We would like to see our top riders getting every opportunity possible to progress their racing careers. This will mean bigger races and some more focused planning and organisation.
Personal goals for me are to see the youth and ladies racing teams making the same dizzying headlines that the senior riders have been making this year. With the riders we now have in place, I have high hopes that we’ll be needing some more press space!
How has the involvement of reallymoving affected the team?
: It is thanks to the involvement of reallymoving that we have been able to raise a sensational racing team from nowhere. Two driving factors from the start were to give the riders an elite identity and profile, and recognise their achievements. Our racers wear their kit with genuine pride, both in the team and pride in the support from the sponsors.
: Massively! Thanks to the support we’ve managed to go up in levels and the team now can target National and European top events, giving all our riders the best possible chance to make it or put themselves out there and showcase their talents!
We cannot thank reallymoving enough for their loyal support.