I am very excited to say that I have some fantastic new sponsors backing me for this year. The biggest and without a doubt the most exciting of which is that I will be riding for Team Planet-X / On-one this year. They will be providing me with 3 fantastic bikes, as well as cycling clothing and racekit that I will have an input on designing. The guys at Planet-X have already been fantastically supportive having kited me out with my 3 bikes. It's only January for pete's sake.....surely I should have to wait at least until June to get my first bike! I am looking forward to getting to know the Planet-X gang as the year progresses - despite them having some crazy ideas up their sleeves (like me riding a 29inch single speed MTB, and racing in Hawaii!). To have a sneak peak at what I will start out the year riding have a look on there website. Their Time Trial bike, the Stealth Pro Carbon, which I will be doing most of my racing on is Sweeeeet. It will be kitted out with some Xentis wheels, which just look fast. And no I wont be riding a PINK one like Spencer Smith (I like to think I have a little more taste than that - no offense Spencer!).
I am also excited to welcome on board Schwable tyres, Oakley sunglasses, and Giro Helmets. All of these have fantastic products and I am very much looking forward to using them as I try to improve on my performances from last year. Talking of last year, it is interesting when I reflect on my season. I was happy with my most of my results, and was obviously delighted to win the Xterra world champs in Maui. However ending the year with my 4th place at 70.3 worlds has really given me the hunger to knuckle down to some good training this year. Out of all the races I wanted to win last year, that was the one that I wanted the most, and I am determined to go back this year better prepared for it.
For those of you wondering (and wanting to plan which races you will come and cheer me on!) I plan on racing a very similar schedule to last year, with the exception that I will start racing a little later, kicking of my race season in St Anthony's at the end of April. It means I won't fly out to Guam and Saipan to race some early season Xterra's, but having had some illness over the Christmas period I don't want to rush into racing before I am ready. It will be a long season and I will be looking to be going well in October and November.
Lastly some of you ole faithfuls will notice that I am now writing updates instead of Mike. While some of you will no doubt be disappointed, it had to be done or Brant at On-One would never stop talking about how "I" should be writing it. Let's hope I am as informative as Mike! I'll give it a go anyway.
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse
Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1)
T: W P MullinsJ: R Walsh
T: N J HendersonJ: Nico de Boinville
T: H de BromheadJ: D N Russell
Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1)
T: T R GeorgeJ: N D Fehily
T: Miss Amy MurphyJ: Jack Quinlan
T: G ElliottJ: J W Kennedy
Slovakian alpine skier narrowly beats Millie Knight to capture gold photo Getty Images