Monday, June 17, 2024

Hamish Haynes – Letters from Belgium #1


HomeDiariesHamish Haynes - Letters from Belgium #1

Hi folks, Hamish Haynes here. Let’s bring you up to speed with my season so far… In mid-February, just before returning from winter training in Spain I picked up a hamstring strain; at that moment it wasn’t clear what had exactly happened.

I assumed it was a minor niggle that would quickly recede, within a few days I realized a scan was necessary, fortunately it revealed only a minor muscle elongation.

However even with regular physiotherapy treatment and a rehabilitation training regime it took six weeks before I was really able to train fully, racing has been out of the question until late March. As you can imagine this was a very disappointing state of affairs. Having been in mid-January suddenly without a team I was determined to make a fight back.

Hamish Haynes
Hamish Haynes in casual kit trim.

My Spanish training had gone very well, I had worked hard and rested carefully, with the advice of my coach Marc Hemeryck a great deal of progress had been made, not least of which was to become very lean; 5kg lighter than in 2007.

I knew I was going to be in my best ever condition and wanted to start the season with a bang.

One has to play the cards as they are dealt, I knew so much good work was already done; my motivation is always very strong, so it was simply a question of remaining relaxed and focused.

With all European pro-team options closed I joined Team Yawadoo — ABM, which would enable me to compete in the best Belgian ‘amateur’ programme available.

Hamish Haynes
Hamish Haynes looking fit in riding kit at the team presentation.

It would remain difficult to build up a set of results sufficient to secure the interest of a professional team but I had resolved to do just that.
It means that when I ride the most prestigious races nothing short of my best will do.

The last few weeks have been sometimes frustrating but also a lot of fun, luckily for me I love racing and training with a passion.

To begin with the first goal was to finish races without causing more problems with my hamstrings.

By early April the risk of further injury had diminished, an acid test would be the Twee Daagse (two days) van de Gaverstreek, the first time I would do two hard days one after the other.

I had already begun doing substantial training before and after each race, making totals of 200 kilometers or more.

The TDvdG was no exception, I was stronger than I expected, finishing 26th overall.

I like to think that had I not punctured in Saint Sauveur and chased without cars from group to group for 20k the result could have been better.

After the Sunday afternoon stage I rode with my team mate Stevie Christiaens to Ninove, total 430k, another good weekends’ work.

The fact is that I am out of the loop; the riders who I must compete against are racing for 170-220k at a relatively high level, so it is essential to develop my condition fully, its not just a question of distance, my races are only 120-180k, when I race I have to go full gas too, the other guys will know I am there!

Above all it’s about results and I’m pleased to say I scored my first win on Sunday 20th April in Beauvechain.

Hamish Haynes
Hamish Haynes winning a kermis as British Champion in Brussels, 2007.

It was ‘only’ a Kermis but there were still 150 guys to beat, and I wanted to give them a good beating!

Apart from anything else the race rhythm and ‘finale’ practice are vital to attain. Of course there were 80 training kilometers to do as well, I enjoyed every one.

It was also the first time I had used my new Shimano Dura-ace pedals in anger, which has certainly inspired my confidence in them, very stiff and stable feeling with no wasted power. I had received them the week before thanks to the support of Madison – Shimano UK.

Next up two interclubs, Ster van Zuidwest Vlaanderen in Anzegem and 89th Grote Prijs Affligem, 26th and 27th April, then its 1st Meiprijs Hoboken 1st of May. There’s plenty more after that, not least Puivelde Pro Kermis and the Tryptique Ardennaise, so I’m going to enjoy it without too much pressure but really there’s only one result that will do.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Cheers, Hamish.

Check out Hamish’s piece on nutrition.

Hamish Haynes
Hamish Haynes setting off for a chilly training ride.