ONENINEONE/COLLECTIVERIDERBLOG – CAMERONSTEPSUP
Cameron’s been riding with us for a few years now and has risen from the SDW Youth ranks, progressed through Junior racing and has just finished his first season of Senior ‘Cross, competing in the U23/Espoir category. As he bids a fond fareware to his old club for a new team in 2019 we’re proud to continue to support him any way we can – Here’s his take on his breakthrough ‘Cross Season,…
Back in September 2018, my second ‘cross season started with the first round of the LDN and SE Cyclocross League at Stanmer dark in Brighton. It was a flat out race in scorching heat but a course that suited me and I was happy with my performance in what was my first race in the senior category, racing for an hour.
I missed Round Two through illness but I was back racing at Leeds Castle (Round 3), the following week. Earlier in the calendar than usual but the same tricky mud turned up making it a technical but fun course to race on. After some consistent results and getting my first top ten at Herne hill, the season was well underway – I had a great weeks training with my #aeightbikeco team-mates (Glen, Pip and a few others) in Girona, Spain at the end of October which gave the legs a boost for the next block of races and helped with the tan!
The next race on the list was at Preston Park in Brighton. This was my first race against Glen and we had a good battle for the first half of the race before I managed to get a gap and hold it to the finish – the perfect result for me a week before our club champs at Northbourne Park.
Part of the East Kent ‘Cross league, round 3 at Northbourne was the battleground for a brilliant fun race where Glen and I really pushed each other very close. I was riding to my limit through the woods on the techy bits where Glen was faster but we both knew I had the power from my road racing on the big open sections! I got the upper hand once before making a mistake and giving him 10/15 seconds and then slowly reeled him back in to eventually win by a handful of seconds.
[It’s the first time after we started our club chams four years ago that anyone else has won, so I’m very pleased and proud that it’s Cameron who’s deposed me!] – Glen
I raced my second National Trophy race (first of this year and first in the senior cat) at Ardingly in November. The mud played a huge part in the outcome, but I was lucky to have a spare bike in the pits thanks to Matt Williams who wasn’t racing and let me use it – I changed when I needed to and Mum, Glen and Pip took care of catching/washing/handing it back to me. I didn’t have the greatest race struggling in the conditions, but learned loads from lining up with the best quality riders from the UK and a few Belgians thrown in too!
In the lead up to the Christmas break I found some good form and grabbed 4th at Frylands Wood and 7th at Somerhill (our SDW promoted race). I then continued that form, finishing 6th at Hog Hill against some really strong competition. I felt good ahead of my first National Champs the following weekend.
Cyclopark National Champs was just such an experience – earlier that week and during Friday practice my bike was playing up and following a check from Glen the damage seemed terminal – luckily he had a solution! Whilst the welds were virtually still cooling down he swapped a load of his bike parts onto a brand new and unpainted custom frame so I could train and then race. Finished on the Saturdayy moring an hour before practice I headed out having never ridden a steel or Di2 bike before but this did not disappoint. We tweaked it on the Saturday and I raced it on the Sunday and although I didn’t have the best legs on the day the whole weekend was such an awesome learning experience – racing some of the best in the world on such an exciting course and the new bike got a good shakedown!
After the last couple of LDN and SE races I finished 7th overall in the League, a result I’m very happy with for my first year as a senior. I’m looking forward to building on this for next year. We finished the season with my last race for SDW – The LDN and SE Team Champs. Glen, Jack, Ed and I managed to beat some massive teams in the SE to finish 3rd which was the perfect way to bid a fond farewell to a club who’s helped nurture me, giving me the chances I’ve now been offered.
Around the time of the National Cyclocross Champs, I was asked to ride for the Southdowns Bikes/CASCO Pet race team for the 2019 road season and I am really looking forward to get racing for them. I’m relishing the new challenge and opportunity with Southdowns Bikes. My first race for them will be in March, after a training camp in Tenerife which will get my legs set for the road season.
Big thanks to #aeightbikeco, Trainsharp for their continued support and to SDW for all their support over the years and throughout the cyclocross season – I am excited to see what the new team 2019 brings!
#aeightbikeco #aeightescape #aeightmanufactory
Photos by Glen Whittington, Pip Jenkins, and Dave Haywood.
Cameron’s been riding with us since 2014 when Glen first built a tiny 650c Youth road bike for him – since then he’s worked hard and raced his first season of ‘Cross in 2017/18 finishing 10th overall in the Juniors and then following it up with a highly successful road season – he’ll be looking to improve on that in the 2018/19 season where he’s racing the Seniors/U23. He’s also racing road on a 2nd cat license and has moved to a new team, Southdowns Bikes/Casco Pet, which will help him make the step up to 1st cat and possibly some euro racing. If he can squeeze it in he’ll also be trying his hand at some mountain bike and TT.
GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO RACE WITH US?
We’re always looking for other riders to be on our collective. The #aeightbikeco is about doing things a little differently. We’re looking to kit our riders out with steel race frames made in Sussex. Whether that’s for ‘cross, road, crit, TT or mountain bike we’re offering the chance to have a custom steel bike made for you to race on – not just put together, but fully bespoke.
The best part is that we’re not asking you to leave your team or club – that includes racing in your club/team kit. We’ve got certain brands that we’d like to work with and that we’re adding to, but we’re open to suggestions and maybe you’ve got a sponsor or support that you could bring to the table?
We have some strict qualifying criteria but don’t be put off by this – if you’re interested in being part of the #aeightbikeco then please get in touch by emailing your racing CV to firstname.lastname@example.org