Just over a year ago I decided that I wanted to get into cycling, I’d never done any sport before but loved all things fast. I joined Sotonia, starting with some of the skill sessions which were incredibly helpful, especially in the long term. Not long afterwards, I did my first club run. Things was going great until I had a puncture, but the other riders helped repair it. When we got to the café stop after 45 miles, I was dead, ate a large quantity of cake, then wondered how I would get home. Thankfully the others slowed down for me as the pace of 16 miles an hour was too much for my inexperienced, drained legs.

Fast-forward a bit, through many, many club runs and bonks, and I could confidently ride 60 miles without having to worry about destroying my legs, even if I did put in some efforts. After adding a few miles to my weekly total, then I did my first race, coming in 25th out of 80, which I was pretty chuffed about. That is, until I got 4th the following week, which was followed a couple of weeks later by a win! It was a great to win whilst representing a club to which I really felt I belonged.

After a short break from racing, following my rank up to category 3, I did a couple of club time trials, which I really enjoyed as it’s a more relaxed event where there is much less pressure. I finished second in one of the 10-mile TTs in 24:58, a time of which I was incredibly proud. Starting to do the fast club runs, I was gaining more confidence and signed on for some cat 3 races. In the last month, I’ve competed in 8 races and am 25 points into cat 3, with the hopes of getting to cat 2 by the end of the season.

Having joined Sotonia only in 2015, I have gone from a complete novice to a reasonably competent racer. All thanks to the club runs and support from the members. I can honestly say that I don’t know what I would do without cycling, and will always recommend Sotonia as the club to join.

Red Walters