So, this is my first time doing a blog, and, if I'm honest, I couldn't decide how to start it. I guess the best way is to introduce myself: my name is Elynor Backstedt and I'm 18 years old. I'm originally from Pontyclun in Wales and I've recently moved to Belgium with my boyfriend, Charley. I've signed for women's WorldTour team Trek-Segafredo and I've just started my first professional season... And what a year it's been so far!
Due to the current situation, I have only been able to ride in two races so far this season. The first was the Omloop van het Hageland and then Le Samyn, both on home soil in Belgium. It was a crazy experience and definitely not what I was expecting, but more on that one soon!
My season came to an abrupt halt, for now at least, due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe (and worldwide), as all races have been postponed for the foreseeable future.
My original plan this season included the Nations Cups, WorldTour and UCI races. I was particularly looking forward to the Tour of Yorkshire – a race I was lucky enough to ride last year as a junior.
We also had more training camps planned with my amazing teammates, so hopefully we can complete these later on in the year. I'm pretty gutted that I won't be able to spend any more time with these girls, on and off the bike, for the next few months. However, we have to respect the government and race organisers' decisions concerning public health and safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The time that I have been able to spend with my new team over the last few months has been incredible. The support has been amazing, and I've already learned so much! We've travelled to some unbelievable places: America, Sicily and Spain, just to name a few. I hope that when the season picks up again, we can end it like we started!
Due to the lockdown situation in Belgium, Charley and I have been stockpiling... Netflix films and TV series, not toilet paper rolls. We are currently re-watching The Big Bang Theory, so fingers crossed 11 seasons will last a few weeks! We had to make a few Ikea trips for our new house before the lockdown, but otherwise, apart from training, we are making sure that we stay inside at all times to protect the vulnerable people in our area. Our new neighbour breeds birds, so it's been pretty cool watching them come and go from our living room. It's definitely something different!
If you ask me, the most important thing in times like this is to be positive and help the people in your neighbourhood who might be struggling to get basic jobs like shopping done.
My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this virus: from those who are sick to those in the cycling industry now struggling with tough financial times. And a quick note to the people who are tirelessly helping others in emergency services all over the world: you guys rock!
That's all from me for now, but I'll be back soon. Until then, stay safe, wash yo' hands and keep smiling.
Elynor Backstedt has embarked on her first season with the professional Women's WorldTeam Trek-Segafredo in 2020. She is a two-time bronze medallist in the junior women's time trial at the UCI Road World Championships (2018 and 2019) and one of Great Britain's brightest talents.
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