I’ve been living in the Basque Country for the last month. The team I will be riding for next year have a flat in Durango, a small town not far from Bilbao, where I am staying. After my weekend in Tenerife I spent some time at home before moving out here to start my winter training.

I knew I couldn’t spend the winter in London, last year the traffic and roads made the training a nightmare. So, when negotiating my deal with my new team back in June, being able to use their flat was something I pushed for. I am paying rent this winter, but at a price I can cover with my prize money from this season. I will go over my plans for next season and my reasons for changing teams in my next post. I am very grateful for the support from Escribano this season and for the confidence my new team have shown in me.

In Durango I can ride almost all of the important climbs in the Lehendakari U23 series which I am targeting next season. This week for example I went up the La Subida Gorla then did an effort up Asensio, the hill that proved decisive in Bergara this June. As well as riding the roads I’ll be racing on, I have been able to get to know my teammates ahead of next year. A few lads from the team introduced me to the Basque tradition of Pintxo Pote, where, on a Thursday night you get a free tapas style bite to eat with every drink in the local bars. A great excuse for a few drinks midweek, something to make the most of in the off season!

At the end of the month I am going back to the England for the annual Dave Rayner Fund dinner. The Dave Rayner Fund has supported me along with 35 other riders this season and their annual dinner is an important fundraising event. This year the dinner is being held on the 4th of November in the New Doc Hall in Leeds. Guests announced so far include Ben Swift, Joanna Rowsell Shand and Russell Downing.

Check out this video of last year’s event:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJTd5ucdR1g

There are still tickets available, if you want to come along.

Tickets and accommodation info can be found on the Dave Rayner Fund website:

http://www.daveraynerfund.co.uk/dinner/

Photos:

Oskar Maxin

http://simonwilkinson.photoshelter.com/search?I_DSC=dave+Rayner+fund+&I_SORT=DATE&I_DSC_AND=t&_ACT=search

http://pedaleandoporcanarias.com/