Written by Sam Burston
Same socks, different scenery. In 2016 I signed for my second year with Mobius Future Racing. Mobius proved themselves to truly be about development when they provided me with the opportunity to race in France despite the fickle and volatile environment of cycling. We decided this would be a good experience for me to gain some racing experience but also to do some personal growth. Some hard work by Scott Bradburn and Mobius General Manager, Tom Petty, meant I’d be able to turn my season around after the 2016 Oceana championships, in which I severely underperformed in the time trial and crashed out in the road race.
Just two days later I quit my job and moved to a tiny village in the region of Brittany, France. Racing in France has been an eye opening experience. I considered myself as a pretty good rider, regularly appearing just outside the top-10 on GC in National Road Series races here in Australia, but I never could have imagined the depth of talent France has in cycling. Regional races in France are as tough as NRS stages, but are held 3-4 times a week for 9 months of the year and that’s just the races within the Bretagne peninsula. I had some amazing highs and lows in France. From racing in crosswinds for hours, to being too cold to change gears, to breaking away in the final kilometers of a race to win and that’s all within just one of the 13 races I managed to get through in my short 8-week stint.
Life in my little 1950s apartment was also a different experience. Watching hours of French television including dubbed episodes of Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy and learning to cook for myself and stay healthy. It was a tough experience. Not only is the racing and training taxing, but learning a new language, searching the grocery store for peanut butter (to no avail) and lonely hours waiting for the weather to clear enough to go out riding all add to the exhaustion. The Internet meant Mum, Dad, my girlfriend and my dog Lucy were only a Skype call away offering solace amid an often lonely existence.