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I would like to start with how I came to join the Sutton Cycling Club. After many years of cycling and racing with various clubs, I decided a few years ago that the club scene had very little to offer me in terms of advise, coaching, motivation etc. So I decided to investigate training skills and techniques on my own back via books, magazines, other sports coaches etc. Over the years I have been advising people (on a volunteer basis) on cycle specific training based on my own experiences and also keeping on eye on any new methods I though would be useful. Then it occurred to me that it would be very satisfying to become part of an organisation with similar goals to mine i.e. imparting knowledge and experience onto the next generations of cyclists. But where.....?

I enrolled on the British Cycling Club Coach Award to learn more about coaching techniques and in particular how to apply this knowledge within the sport of cycling. It was whilst doing the aforementioned course that I met up with Steve Wright. I guess what initially drew me to Steve was the fact that his team "bus" had the 'DeVer Cycles' logo emblazoned on it. I have known Maurice Burton for quite a few years and vaguely recalled seeing an article in the "Comic" about sponsorship of a club in Sutton but it didn't fully register until I met Steve. During the course I was intrigued to find out about Steve's involvement in Sutton CC and in particular the fact that he was working with some keen young racers. I saw this as a great opportunity to get involved at the grass roots level.

So here I am, roughly six months on, and enjoying every minute of it. I've had a very warm welcome by most (I've not met them all yet) of the committee members, which is always an encouraging sign. I have also met with the majority of the Racing Academy members and I'm very impressed with the level of commitment shown by the riders but also by the level of support and encouragement they receive from their parents and coaches. I am also impressed at the organisation of the club i.e. Starters, Touring and Racing groups and it is my aim to get to know all the young members of the club because I could be coaching some of them in the very near future.

This may sound corny, but I'm really looking forward to coaching talented and dedicated young racers and hopefully we can all achieve our goals together working as a consolidated unit. One of my objectives for the oncoming year is to understand fully the different categories for all the young racers as this will help me with understanding the training needs for individual riders as well as trying to get everybody (i.e. the young racers) to work together as a team but also understanding the individual goals that have been set for each rider. Having seen our young riders race in Eastway, Hillingdon and Crystal Palace, I have been thinking about a return to racing myself (no promises at the moment - it’s just a thought!). I have also enjoyed the occasions when we have been out on a training ride - although I've not particularly enjoyed being dropped on the hills. So perhaps my return racing is still quite a way off.

To sum up, I have learnt more about cycling in the last year than I have picked up over the last ten years in the sport and I can honestly say that this is largely due to the experience and dedication of both Steve and Peter Fordham and also the committee members such as Rob Zeitz, Catherine Mahé and Keith Penfold. However, I am learning a hell of a lot from the young racers I have come into contact with so far and long may that continue.

Good luck to the Sutton Cycling Club and I hope it continues with the success of bringing young people into the world of cycling (in all disciplines) and the best of luck to all our young racers in the coming seasons. I hope to share in your successes.

Ron Thompson

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