March 29, 2020

Ross – my headspace and coping mechanism

Hi I’m Ross, an Engineer living in the UK. Cycling has been a family relationship since I was old enough to get on a bike (of any sorts). My Dad was a racer before me and my brother came along and I secretly think he couldn’t wait to get us on bikes.

I’ve competed since I was 10 years old, starting out in traditional Cross Country (XC) mountain biking racing, I’ve travelled the UK racing in the National series but also took the time to compete in endurance events such as RedBull 24hr and Mountain Mayhem. As the XC racing became more serious I started to train and race on the road and in 2013 shifted my competitive ambitions to purely a road focus. They have remained there ever since. Although not my forte, the punchy sharp end of Crit racing always takes me back to my XC days, particularly those mass field starts racing for the first single track section. Likewise the attritional 80-100 miles road races are the sort of internal battle I relish and I draw on my experiences from off road endurance racing to help me through. I’ve used my cycling fitness to raise money for charity, completing some slightly mad challenges over the years (as an example, 900 miles through the Alps and Pyrenees in 6 days, including 27 Cols).

Away from racing I blend training and commuting to form a daily routine, which provides structure and escapism to my days. The morning commute provides time to plan the day ahead before most people are out of bed, it almost feels like you’re getting the upper hand. Mind chilling and day melting is how I would describe my evening commutes, by the time I’m home work no longer matters and that part of the day is put to bed.

2018 shook that routine and focus, despite a great winters training and feeling in good shape things weren’t quiet right. I suffered debilitating cramp in the first race of the season having never had cramp before, by mid May I had only 25% vision in both eyes and the list of health issues grew and grew, eventually in June I was taken to hospital and diagnosed as Type 1 diabetic at the age of 33. I was also suffering the effects of sever dehydration and it took several weeks for my body to come back into balance. My first bike goal was all of 5 minutes on the turbo and that felt mammoth at time, but as we all know it generated a great feeling of accomplishment.
Now fully back to training and racing alongside my condition, the bike and its ability to provide solitude is my headspace and coping mechanism.

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/rossmallen/
Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/18134719