Kim Baptista’s Dave Rayner Diary: Settling into life in Holland and juggling racing with A-levels

Since moving over to the Netherlands I have had to keep up with my college work online.

Still studying for my A-levels, I have to try and combine revision, training as well as trying to learn some Dutch.

Most days I will try and get my training done in the morning so that I have the rest of the day to do work.

This can be pretty hard sometimes especially after a hard training session when you get back home and just want to sleep but I have to keep up with college work as exams are just around the corner.

So basically, all I do is eat, sleep, train and work although making time to do other things is also a necessity every so often, like exploring the local area.

After a good hard training camp towards the end of February in Spain with Westland Wil Vooruit, where I got to know all the other girls on the team, I felt the coming season was going to be a good one.

We all get on so well and work well together which makes all the suffering in racing and training that little bit more bearable.

The season started slow as there were pretty long gaps in my race programme. My first race was the Omloop van Strijen, which got stopped and cancelled after one lap (10km) due to some crazy high winds which resulted in girls falling like dominoes, often into ditches.

I was somehow one of the lucky ones that managed to stay upright.

 So, with Strijen being cancelled this meant my first race would be Drentse Acht van Westerveld and my first UCI race of the season, a 1.2.

I didn’t really know what to expect but getting on the start line with some of the people you look up to was both exciting and nerve wracking.

Again, it was really windy and the race split to pieces but a DNF for me was made not so bad when only eight finished the full distance due to the time limit.

The day after Drentse, me and Gwenno (a fellow Dave Rayner funded rider on the same team) went to a local crit in Vossemeer.

The wind showed no sign of dying down so it was another tough race. The wind and tight circuit split the field. I managed to find myself in the second group and finished 15th.

Having started finding my race legs and there being a big gap until the next race I decided I would go home and fit in a few races before heading back to the Netherlands for the Healthy Ageing Tour, a UCI 2.1 and my first stage race of the season.

After having a hard time at Drentse I had very low expectations so I was pleasantly surprised to make it to stage 3 considering the fairly high number of DNF’s in the first stage.

Although I didn’t make it round the whole tour, I certainly learnt lots and stage one was actually the first time I had ridden in a fully working echelon and the experience has definitely left me wanting more.

This season Allez! Allez! CC is proud to support the Dave Rayner Fund. The fund was set up in memory of former British pro rider Dave Rayner and helps provide funding and support for young cyclists to kick-start their careers in Europe. For more information click here.

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