May 8th 2016


We are driving to Hamerstones cycle circuit. It's early, up at 6.45am. I am nervous - really nervous.. I keep sighing. Dad laughs and says 'butterflies'? 'Yes Dad, awwww.. What if I don't win'? 'You probably won't win' so I ask why? he says that. 'Because you didn't win last time and you haven't done anything different since then'

We arrive at the race. I've been trying to think of the people who maybe will be there, boys I've raced with before. I park up, spot 2 bikes I recognise. Mckenzie and Seth, both good riders from the Kirklees Cycling Academy.

Start the routine of bike out, gear check, sign on. The butterflies are getting worse - Dads telling me 'to calm down its just a bike race, just throw some wheel and have a laugh'.but I can't calm down I want to WIN a bike race! This ones mine!!! Dad points out to me that it appears most of the other riders are about my age, doesn't look like there's any of the older boys here (upto 10 years old can ride in my age group) that's it now I HAVE to win.

We are on the grid. Dads words 'of clip in and drill it from the gun' are ringing in my ears. Whistle goes, foot clips in first time and its full gas!! But not just for me everyone's at full gas. 4 of us hit the first corner together. Mckenzie, Seth, Taylor and me. Nobody brakes. Out the saddle flat out into the next turn. This is fast - faster than any other race's I've done. I am struggling to hold the wheels, Seth notices and comes round me. The gap opens, shi# I can't hold it. More of Dads words ring in my ears 'hold that wheel at all costs - once its gone its gone bud' and its going and I can do nothing about it! That's 3 up the road, I am out of gas and there's still 10 laps to go! Another rider catches and drops me. 5th I am in 5th. This wasn't the plan. 5th is where I finish.

1st - Mackenzie
2nd - Tyler
3rd - Seth

Gutted - gutted.. Ride back to the car, take off my helmet and shoes and shut the door. A tear leaks out, I am trying not to look upset but I am. Dad spots the tear and smiles. 'Son that's bike racing, have a minute, get yourself together go and hand your number in, get your license, thank the organiser and congratulate the other boys on a great race'...I do just that but I don't really want to, I want the ground to swallow me up.

NB *obviously I've typed this up but the words are from him taken from his perspective during our chat on the drive home - it confirms my fear that competitive kids this age struggle with failure -  is this a good thing? Is it a grounding that helps in future life? I don't know. What I do know is, I asked him if he wants to race next week. It's the Yorkshire Champs. 'YES deffo Dad' was the response.. Ok, off we go ;-)* Martin Dainty    

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Team Cystic Fibrosis is a charity cycling team riding and racing in a broad section of cycling disciplines.