Wednesday 9 November 2011

Harrison Fielding "Field of Dreams"

Harrison Fielding’s rapid improvement over the summer has made more than a few people sit up and take notice. The fifteen year old from Corfe Mullen joined the Poole Wheelers back in June and is helping to breathe new life into the sport in Dorset. Whether it’s riding in the Bunch at Moreton, racing against the clock in club time trials or on the new Bournemouth track, Fielding enjoys it all. Club coach, Graham Hurst, has arranged for Harrison to attend two weekends of regional racing at Newport Velodrome in Wales.(Nov 12th & 19th) Organised by British Cycling, the weekends are invitation only; a mark of how far fielding has come.

“E D” grabbed a few words with the rising young star on top of a windswept Whiteways Hill high up in the Purbeck Hills. Fielding had just finished in 6th place in the final round of the Inter-club hill climb. We started off by talking about the future, what did he want to achieve in cycling? “My ambition is to be a professional cyclist but if that does not happen then I would be very happy to be involved in a Premier Calendar team or even a personal trainer” After just a few months in the sport, Harrison looked comfortable in the peloton at the Moreton Road race series, I wondered how he found it, was he nervous? Did he enjoy it? “ I absolutely loved the Moreton races, I was a bit nervous riding in a bunch the first time around but the second and third time I felt really at home, taking turns on the front and then the big sprint at the finish!”

Which discipline does he prefer, road? Track, Time trials, / MTB? “I like it all to be honest. If I could I would try to be the best in all but that isn’t possible. I like doing TTs and road racing over track but when I get on the track I forget everything else and just enjoy what I am doing and then start to love it! But the moment I get back on my road bike I definitely prefer riding on the road.

Harrison is home educated, studying English, Maths, Science, ICT, General Studies & Geography, “I know it’s not a lot (sounds like a lot to E D) but they are the only options I had because of lack of facilities at home. What about other sports? “I do a bit of everything to be honest, most outdoor sports, rock climbing, kayaking and I like fishing during the winter months, when I can’t get out on the bike”. Fielding was a national age group champion in Tae Kwon Do but a broken ankle in training ended his ambitions “I started training again but I didn’t have what I had before so I decided to quit”
Since a kid he loved being out and about on his bike, “We lived in Wareham and we used to do a 7 mile ride around the forest on Sundays.” Tae Kwon Do took up most of his time till the broken ankle forced a rethink; “I got a job in a bike shop in Poole in 2010 and in my first week I got a road bike. It was then that the fire started again inside me” I did a couple of sportives and just some leisure cycling, going out on my own for 30-40 miles on a Sunday. My mum was always encouraging me to join a club, so I got in contact with the Poole Wheelers and it just went from there”. Mum and all the family provide great support “ I ride out to the club time trials but need a lift for other events” Harrison refers to his family as “Rent-a- Crowd, you can’t miss them at races” he laughs. He does appreciate the support, “I really like relaxing with the family around the fire after a couple of hard days training”

Now that the season has ended what are his plans for the winter? “Well I plan to keep it steady until January, doing 12-14 hours a week. Then really start to pick it up in the new year, doing specific speed and sprint training. I plan on doing more road training than time trial as I would like to do British Cycling events next year and try to get noticed”. What about heroes? Does he have any?
“Mark Cavendish and Sir Chris Hoy, but most of all Lance Armstrong. I just think what they have all done so far in their careers is just amazing. Especially Armstrong, I believe if it was not for his books I wouldn’t be where I am now.
The wind on top of Whiteways was getting stronger, it was time to go, a few last words? “Yes, a massive thank you to my club coach, Graham Hurst, my family who turn out to all my events and everyone who has given me advice and believe that I could go somewhere. I want to be a professional Cyclist but if that does not come I will be happy doing whatever I do. Dreams can come true but it does not always happen”

There is no doubt he can apply himself but he has a lot to learn and as yet, has achieved little.Chasing dreams? Perhaps, but if you cannot chase your dreams at 15 when can you? The optimism of youth takes us back and at the same time moves us forward. It inspires us all. Good luck to Fielding, he will need it, along with resilience and self- belief, essential tools for sport & life maybe. Ten years ago I spoke to a nervous Daniel Lloyd on the eve of his departure to France. Lloyd also chased a dream, not blindly but with determination and purpose, why not Fielding? Why not any youngster who dares to dream.

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