On 1 March, I started a training programme with Cyclism Training to help with my development as a competitive cyclist. I recently attended the Little Bleeders (LB) fundraising event and one of the guests generously purchased the six month training package and gifted it to me to help me with my training. It was such lovely surprise and I am so excited to get started.
My first few weeks have been focused on building my strength, I have two gym sessions a week focusing developing my core as this will really make the difference in my form on the bicycle. We use a lot of weights and concentrate on legs which helps me with my sprinting as having the strength to sprint can mean the difference between winning or losing a race. In addition to the weights, I have what is called a Turbo Session that also strengthens my legs. This is resistance training and is done inside which has been good since the weather hasn’t been so great lately!
When the weather is better I get to go outside on the bike for road rides to help build my endurance for road races an prepare me for the upcoming season. It’s been a lot of hard work so far but once in a while I do get rest days which means I get to spend some time lying in bed and catching up on Netflix!
The hard work is paying off however and I’m really looking forward to finishing up these next few solid months of training and seeing the results of it all. I know I’m going to have some new personal bests and I am really excited to put my hard work to good use at the British Track Championship later this year. I will be joining the Glasgow Cycle Time and it will be good to have that team support…plus we have a good shot at winning some medals!!
With all of the excitement of training and my next racing season, I do have to be mindful of my haemophilia. While cycling is a relatively low impact sport, with racing there are a lot of risks of crashing and falling. I’m at a particular disadvantage because I have the same blood type as my Dad and only 5% of the population have the same blood type. This means that if I fall and need a transfusion, it would be very difficult to find a match. As a result, I have to be extremely careful and not take too many risks like others can. I have to be very careful that I don’t fall or crash and I need to make sure that I take my tablets that slow down the rate of my bleeds. I also ensure that I let people at my races know about my condition in case anything does happen
While I have to be careful, I definitely don’t let my haemophilia stop me. I still race, train, run and give it my all. I love cycling and I no longer have any fear that holds me back like I did when I was a child and was convinced I needed to be wrapped in cotton wool. I take care of myself and manage my treatment and medication so that I keep my risk of bleeds under control. I’m proud to be representing young people with haemophilia in sport and especially my fellow girls. I feel pretty special having haemophilia and being in the position I’m in with Little Bleeders, to be honest. I don’t know why, but knowing I inspire others not to fear living their lives and to participate in sports really brings out my confidence.
Working with Little Bleeders has also helped me with my confidence and seeing Alex and what he does with his cycling and with the charity really has inspired me. Before I even started cycling my Dad told me about Alex and how he was a professional cyclist winning races all over the world, this was part of the reason I got into cycling – seeing what Alex can do even with his haemophilia. I also wanted to help other like Alex does and so I contacted LB and before I knew it I was an ambassador.
This and my cycling are probably two of most rewarding things in my life. Knowing my story is helping people by showing other kids and their families that young people can still have normal lives even though they have haemophilia. To show kids that they don’t have to be afraid to do the sports and activities that they love, as long as they take the right precautions, makes me really happy. I really appreciate everything LB and Alex do for me and kids like me.