Liam Phillips...An athlete's view
14 October 2015 / 17:46
Raised in Burnham-on-Sea, Liam Phillips is one of the world’s leading BMX riders, having appeared at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. His first European title arrived in 1999, while in 2013 he was crowned BMX World Champion. This year has again been a hugely successful one for the 26-year-old who became the first rider to win back-to-back BMX World Cup titles when he took a second series win in South Carolina in September.
In the first of his monthly blogs leading up to Rio, Liam looks back on 2015 before talking dentists, dog walking and helping to bring through the next generation of cyclists.
A lot of riders will be going off on holiday next week, but unfortunately I’ve got a trip to the dentist and the surgeon to look forward to. I’ve got my final competition of the season in Manchester this weekend and then on Monday I’m off to get my wisdom teeth removed so that’s not exactly a nice thing to look forward. Then later in the week I’m going to have surgery on my elbow; it’s only a minor procedure and one I’ve had before leading up to the 2012 World Championships. I’m getting a lock in my elbow when I’m riding which is not good so it’s about sorting that out in the off season.
I’ve got a few niggling injuries and things to address so it will be good for my body to get a bit of a rest.
I grew up in Burnham-on-Sea and went to King Alfred School but I’m now based up in Manchester, which is where the National Cycling Centre is, so the plan is to head home for a bit in the next couple of weeks. I don’t get to do it very often, I think I’ve only been home twice this year and I’m a bit of a home boy too so it’s great. It’s been a long year, we’ve had a lot of travelling so it’s good to get away from cycling for a bit. I’ve got a dog and my parents have a couple too so there’ll be a lot of walks with them.
It sounds like a glamorous lifestyle travelling around for competitions but you are away from home quite a lot. We had a six week period where we were in Argentina, then America and then down to Rio for the test event so it’s a lot of time spent on the road recently. I was really pleased with how my form was though and it was amazing to win the BMX Supercross World Cup again last month in America and become the first person to do that. I’ve really enjoyed racing on my bike lately.
At something like the World Championships, it’s a one-off competition and it’s all about how you do on the day. But in the World Cup series, it’s across five different stages so it’s good to show that you can maintain that form throughout. It’s really helped to keep my hunger going into the off season as I’ll be trying to replicate that next year. We’ve not set a date for getting back yet, we’re going to see how the surgery on my elbow goes, but I’ll be keeping my fitness ticking over. The first World Cup is not until March next year so it’s a long off season. The sport generally works that way in that it’s six months of competition and six months off.
I spend a lot of time up in Manchester and it’s really nice on a Saturday as we have a session where some of the guys off the British Cycling Programme get invited. It’s good to see how some of the up and coming riders are doing and offer my advice. I’m concentrating on my own riding in the run up to next year’s Olympics in Rio but any time I can offer my experience to others, I try and do. There’s definitely some fantastic talent coming through in the UK.
Make sure you tune in next month to find out how Liam’s post-surgery recovery is going and his plans for winter training.