This blog post was written by Harrison Wood, a new rider funded by the Dave Rayner Fund for 2019. You can read the original post here.
I’m writing this first blog of 2019 sat in my new apartment. I’m now living in Aix en Provence, once the home of footballing hero Zinedane Zidane and famous artist Vincent Van Gogh but now the home of Torquay born Harrison Wood. The area is known for its culture and art, something that I didn’t have much interest in as proven with my lack of Art GCSE. It is a lovely area of the world. Since being here the weather has been incredible. 16 degrees plus most days and so far its been sunny everyday. The roads as well are perfect for training. You head North for quiet rolling roads, West for flat roads, East for harder cols/climbing but you don’t head South I have been informed. It is busy and takes you into Marseille and then into the ocean. However, as with all new areas I have been extremely reliant on maps and Alex Braybrooke, local tour guide and also fellow team mate, oh and café finder.
Now onto my 2019 plans. This season I’m riding for the French team AVC Aix en Provence. This is a great opportunity for me to race abroad in some good high quality races. Here is a small amount of information about the team. With 8 titles of Champion of France on the road, 3 world titles, 2 European titles and 7 titles of Champion of France on track, with more than 6000 victories accumulated in 90 years of existence, the team is recognized in France and abroad. The club is currently DN1. This division corresponds to the highest amateur level in the world.
This season I’m lucky to be supported by the Dave Rayner Fund. This is allowing me to race and live abroad. I simply would not be able to follow my dream without this incredible fund. Here is some information about who Dave Rayner was:
With his shock of blond hair, stork-like legs and hugely infectious personality, Dave Rayner was hard to miss even before he became one of Britain’s leading professional riders in the late 1980s and early 90s. National junior champion in 1984, he spent that season and the two that followed living and racing in Italy, sharing leadership of a team with future world champion Mario Cipollini. After two years in which he rode most of the major races on the international calendar, but unfortunately missed out on a Tour de France start due to injury, Dave moved on to race in the United States in 1993, before returning to the British scene in 1994. In November of that year, during a night out in Bradford with friends and his wife Serena, whom he had married just five weeks earlier, Dave was the victim of an assault that led to his death four days later. Almost immediately, Dave’s grief-stricken friends were working on plans to set up a fund in his memory. Its goal would be to support young British riders wanting to get experience of racing abroad, in just the same way that Dave had done in Italy in the mid-1980s.
I also have another sponsor who are heavily involved in cycling. Bay Cycles are a bike shop located in my home town of Torquay. This year they are supporting me alongside Madison and Bontrager. I will be using Bontrager XXX shoes and the same Aeolus wheels that I used and trusted in 2018. For training I have access to the Bontrager Flare lights. These are incredible and will keep me safe whilst training, also I have the new Bontrager Garmin 1030. This has been perfect for maps and also allowed me to stick to my training zones with ease. However, you will need to tune in and read my next blog on Saturday to learn more about this equipment!! In the meantime check out their brand new awesome website.
A business located in Torquay called Molyneux associates have also kindly supported me for this season!
That brings an end to my first blog post of this year. A small update on whats going on and who is involved for this year. My next post as mentioned will focus on my equipment. I’m going to try and make this a bit different with regular insights into racing, training, nutrition, equipment, general life and oh yeah some interviews with those guys involved in my team!