Perago Trust recipient Bennett Greenough provides an update on his training and competition.
Here is an update of how I am getting on here in Europe.
I have settled in really well here in France. The weather has been really hot and sunny which has been great for riding. I am currently training at the Saint Etienne BMX Club with their riders, including the current Junior World Champ and the 2016 Time Trial World Champ.
The group has a really positive training environment where everyone pushes each other to their limits and strives to be better than the day before. Over this short period of time that I have been here, I have made loads of connections and have been able to make some great relationships with the riders and coaches (despite the language barrier).
Last weekend, I competed in rounds 1 and 2 of the French Cup series (the French National Series). With over 1000 riders competing, this was one of the biggest and most significant races on the French and European calendar. Having not raced on the international stage for nearly 2 years, the past weekend was a great opportunity to see where I stood against some of Europe’s fastest riders. I raced in the Junior Elite Men category, where we had 75 riders.
During round 1 on Saturday, I felt really strong and felt that I rode to the best of my ability. However, I found that my race day strategies (such as energy preservation and lane choice) were a bit rusty after not having done a 7 race day in so long. Despite my struggles, I was able to finish in 3rd place after having to make my way through the pack in the final. I was happy with this result, however, I knew that I could do better on day 2.
Round 2 on Sunday was looking like it wasn’t going to be my day after waking up with food poisoning. Not being able to eat at all on Sunday meant that I really had to take a strategic approach towards every race in order to preserve as much energy as possible. However, after many vomits and tough races, I found myself in the final after just scraping through the semi-final. In the final, I had an amazing start and due to some aggressive race lines, I was able to win the race.
After finishing 3rd in round 1 and 1st in round 2, I am currently leading the French Cup Series. This was a really great confidence booster for me and a great measure of where I am at and what I need to work on for future races.