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  • Writer's pictureIzzy Escalera

2021 Plans and Aspirations

As mentioned in previous blogs, I was really looking forward to race in juniors and compete in the UCI races on offer, so that I could show my potential to under 23 teams. I think second year junior is an important year to enable a smooth transition into under-23 and get into a good team, as without one, there may be less opportunities to race. Hence my main goal for 2021 is to get noticed by being a bold rider.

My hope for this year is that I am able to make it to at least one of these UCI races. It seems there may be opportunities for me to race in the Spanish UCI Bizkaikoloreak and also Watersley Ladies Challenge, and I will be keeping an open eye for any other opportunities. I find it difficult to target specific races as it is uncertain whether they will actually take place or may be postponed but I want to just do as many as I can to gain more exposure.

To me, my future seems more promising in Spain especially during this season, with racing continuing in greater durations and larger numbers even at this time.

With my team in Spain, Rio Miera, being essentially one of the best for junior girls in the country, I am fortunate that they will be doing all of the Copa España road series. These races are the equivalent to the British national series but there can be 150 plus riders starting and racing around 1.5 to 2 hours.

On the other hand I also am blessed to have my home club, VCL, who I would love to represent in some races this year, especially because they have stepped up to support us junior girls, and this possibly being my last year riding officially for them.

Last year with COVID restrictions and also the lessened opportunities to ride on inside velodromes as a junior in the UK, I turned my focus on the road; putting the track bike away, apart from the odd session at Herne Hill and Senior champs in January. I assumed youth may be the end of my track-racing career because other than the Junior and Senior championships, there are not many big races for those not on the British Cycling program. Coming to Spain I have realised track time is shared and juniors and under23 have the same opportunities as youth, which means I can get back racing. In Spain there are opportunities to compete in races such as the national track league or the Copa Españas that last all year round so I hope to get a few of these in my calendar.

I plan to spend the majority of this year in Spain training, racing and living. In the coming months I will have moved to Spain on a permanent basis, moving into a new apartment and starting a new chapter in my life. Thinking about it, I feel overwhelmed and in a way not ready to grow up and become an adult. Although the past few months I had been living in Spain, it was always on a temporary basis, as I knew I had to come back for exams, but living in an apartment on my own, being a full time cyclist, essentially with no structure of classes is scary in my eyes. However, despite my worries, moving to Spain will open so many new doors for me that would not be possible in the UK, such as the amazing training resources being with my coach and the racing opportunities there. In addition I am really excited to have my first home that I can personalise to my own liking!

While living in Spain, I plan to still keep busy. One thing I know that will keep me occupied while out there is improving my Spanish to hopefully become fluent. Furthermore, I feel a responsibility to help contribute to my expenses while living in Spain and not solely relying on my parents who have done so much already, so along with the amazing funding I receive from Pedal Potential, I will look for some part-time work that I can fit in around my training and racing schedule.

For the time being and in the next couple of weeks, I have entered two open meetings at Herne Hill which I am really looking forward to and also finishing off my studies before I head back to Spain and with any luck compete in my first Copa España of the season, in Calamocha, Teruel.

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