Well hello and g'day from the Southern Hemisphere! I'm currently in Australia and soon New Zealand for a spot of pre-season training and racing. As much as I'd like to harp on about the +30 temperatures, beautiful beaches and clear skies, I should probably start at the beginning...
I'm Ella Sadler-Andrews, I'm 19 and I would consider myself a cyclist. I'm also a keen bookworm, cat fanatic and the worst doodler you will ever meet. I've always ridden bikes; from my first day at Primary school, to touring round France aged nine.
As for racing, I started off in New Zealand through a club called Ramblers based in the beautiful Hawkes Bay where we had recently re-located to. I'd tried many sports and had been relatively good at anything I put my mind to. Cycling however sparked something else in me. A real passion, a career and most of all, enjoyment. I was also pretty damn good at it...I made my way though the club's grades until I was around 13 and kicking in the heads' of middle aged men in D Grade. I went on to win various National Races, but before I could really make my mark on the New Zealand race scene, my parents scooped me up and we moved back to England.
As angry I was at leaving my typical adolescent life, we were moving to Lancaster, 60 miles North of Manchester, the home of British Cycling and track racing. Things were looking good! I got onto the track pretty soon and started racing Monday night track league. Eastlands Velo were my first British team and they were awesome. Great advice and support, plus a bike to use.
I quickly went on to riding at the same level as my rivals, the Talent Team and before I knew it, I was invited to guest with them. This was around the time that the North West Talent Team was having a shake up; coaches were changing, riders were moving on etc. So the whole process of me getting on the TT seemed to take forever...However, I made it and started to progress pretty quick. Considering I'd only ridden the track for a few months, I was doing ok!
Second year U16 was my most successful year on the Talent Team. I got onto the Youth Endurance squad and went away to Assen Youth tour with them for two weeks. And what an awesome two weeks that was...I applied for the British Cycling Olympic Development Programme at the end of U16 and was unfortunately rejected. It was somewhat of a kick in the teeth. I don't think they even said why I didn't get on.
The next year was pretty bad for me. The rejection and then seeing my Youth Endurance mates getting on was extremely hard. In retrospect I should've used this energy to fight back, but my motivation dropped to an all time low. Something clicked late in the season though, and I started to train properly for Senior Nationals. I really buckled down, I knew that ODP selection could be based on these results. I got a Bronze in the Points and 4th in the Pursuit. How happy was I?! Yet again ODP didn't accept my application. This time however, I was angry! I wasn't going to give in...I deserved a place on that squad.
My efforts paid off and at a track meet in Newport, I impressed the coaches and was offered a place on the ODP. This was in 2009 but it seems like yesterday. So many good times. The highlights of the year were getting a 19th in the prologue at an UCI event in Holland, going to the Road and TT Euros in Belgium (even though a mechanical ruined the chance of me getting a medal...) and the Track Europeans in Belarus where we got a Gold in Team Pursuit.
My time with the ODP ended rather abruptly; but every cloud has a silver lining right? I knew I wouldn't get offered a place on the Academy, so I had to look for teams on the Continent. I think the first person I emailed was Stefan Wyman. Knowing that every year, without fail, he get's a decent womens' team going, this was the right way to go. I was invited to join the team and bobs your uncle, here I am now, a year later still riding for Horizon Fitness.
2010 was a right off year. In a nutshell, I got an injury in February (torn cartilage in my right knee) and getting an operation took donkey's years. I couldn't race until after my operation where I did some cyclocross throughout the winter.
Feeling miserable one cold, wet, wintery day, I started to plan a trip to Australia. I had finished my A Levels (what a relief) and was now working part-time. It had been such a bad year; miserable and out of the cycling loop, I felt I needed some rejuvenation and most of all, sun. We have friends all round the world, Australia included. They were more than happy to put me up! I bought my ticket, which also included a ticket to New Zealand to see old friends and for a spot of racing. The ticket cost a lot but I can safely say now that it was worth every penny.
This year is my first year racing full-time. No school, no job, just bikes! Fortunately, I have Dave Rayner funding meaning that I can race over on the continent with my team. Without Dave Rayner, I don't know what I would do...Just thinking about getting a job and racing at the same time makes me want to cry! I want to have an awesome 2011. I want to win things, to be injury free, for people to go "OOOO Ella's going well". I know I can do it, and without sounding too arrogant, I will.
I love writing blogs. Not only does it make me remember all the stuff I get up to, but it also gives me satisfaction knowing that people enjoy to read them. I hope that my new audience at Velonation will do too.
Thanks for reading,