Amateur racers. 
Tactics complicated, but surroundings simple. Aero clothing but a car park dressing room. 
Jumping from the pain in the peloton to the peace of achieving. 
Constantly putting themselves in uncomfortable places, week after week.
You may say it's superhuman. Or you might call them the crazy ones. 
Either way, it's hard not to be inspired and intrigued by their mindset.
A mindset that is forever wandering to the next challenge but exceptionally focused when the next corner calls. 


Straight from the Saddle with Rob Saunders
Photography: Gem Atkinson
Race: ERRL Ken Wright Memorial Road Race
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What do you hope to find during a race?

The ability to reach the upper limits of my physical threshold and mental capacity within the stressful environment of amateur racing. A fiercely competitive field of like minded riders helps too. For the most part, every race has personal success criteria which in my case like others is a deeply private affair. However, often winning isn't the prize. Racing a National B as a Cat 3 or just finishing a specific race can offer that challenge outside of one's comfort zone in the greater scheme of racing. 

What do you hope to lose during a race?

Ideally, the competition behind me and the ability to overcome any real-time self doubt tinged thoughts which inevitably creep in at various moments of every race. 

What is so endearing about the pain and fear of a race?

The intensity and fact that both emotions constantly ebb and flow over the entire course of a race. It continually bemuses me that the feeling of pain and fear produces highs and lows in equal measure. Processing the kaleidoscope of decisions and judgements means the brain is constantly in transaction mode whilst travelling at 40kph+. Rest bite, none.

What emotion can you only get from racing?

I'm not sure racing uniquely owns any one single emotion. However, the combination of diminishing your physical and mental demeanour whilst picking your wits against the 'enemy' is a highly potent and addictive mix. 

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Addictive. A word often used within the sport of cycling. 
Whether the next hit is a crit or another dose of morning laps, enjoy your next high.