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 his latest blog, Liam Phillips talks winter training, travel plans and chilling out with his beloved pet Hugo
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I know a lot of athletes dread winter training but to be honest, I actually really enjoy it – it’s one of my favourite periods of the year in fact!
I see it as I spend six months of the year racing and the other six months building that foundation that allows me to race all over the world.
It’s nice right now to get a load of work done and not really have too much emphasis on measuring my performance or how things are going with times.
Normally I take all of Christmas and New Year off but because we’re going into an Olympic year, I continued working and it was enjoyable.
I do get a little bit of time away from the track though and I’ve got a dog called Hugo, who I love walking.
He doesn’t mind going out for a walk but when it’s cold, he’d much rather be curled up in front of the log fire – that’s his idea of heaven.
I also love my food, which makes Christmas great, so I prefer to stay at home and have people over for dinner.
I think like any job, you become close with the people that you work with. I actually spend a vast amount of time with the other lads on the programme and there is good camaraderie between all of us.
We still spend time together outside of training, so naturally you become close because you’re all working towards the same goal.
To be honest, I thoroughly enjoy what I do so I never feel the need to completely switch off from it.
It’s a very busy start to the season but to do everything on the calendar doesn’t make any sense for me with the huge amount of travel and racing.
Building up to Rio, it’s not that important that I’m out there every week scoring points because we’re very comfortable in terms of Olympic qualification.
There’s quite a lot in South America so I’ll be going to Colombia on March 8 and spend some time there on the track that the World Championships will be held on.
From there it’s to Rio to ride the track the Olympics will be on, then I’ll come home and race the second World Cup which will be in Manchester after skipping the first one in Argentina.
Obviously I suffered a nasty collarbone injury in the lead up to London 2012 but there’s no danger of me taking it easy this time around.
Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that injuries are part of the sport I do. The way in which the sport has progressed and the tracks have changed, I need to push boundaries in training and competition to perform at the top of the sport.
There’s certainly no element of me wrapping myself in cotton wool – if I were to get injured before the Olympics then so be it.
I just want to give myself the best chance possible of going to Rio and being successful. The only way to do that is by laying it all on the line, which I will continue to do.
Tune back in next month to find out how Liam plans to spend Valentine’s Day