I met Will and his Dad Richard, at Slipstreamers when I was coaching there six years ago. I could see immediately that he took a shine to the sport of cycling. He had already tried his hand at other sports such as rugby and rowing but had not found his passion. Will quickly progressed through Slipstreamers he then joined Hillingdon Cycling Club and I became his coach. He found the first two years challenging as he was a few years behind his competitors, but with that positive attitude of his it was only a matter time before he achieved his goals.
The first real goal was the club junior 10 and 25 mile record, and you guessed it, he smashed them. The 25 by 2 minutes with a superb 56:19 and then the 10 with a 21:15.
For me, the real turning point was the Epson Downs 100 mile at the end of the 2013 season. That Day Will and Greg went from being boys to men.
In heavy cold rain seven team riders set off on this punishing route. Twenty miles down and we lost two riders who decided to cut their ride short. Another team mate had a mechanical leaving Will, Greg, Ant and myself to try to battle on.
Will powered around the course flying up Leigh hill and Box hill. Soaked through, He came across the line in front of the rest of us with that grit and determination it takes to become a quality cyclist. Luckily we used my RV that weekend, which Will loved. We all had a hot shower followed by lentil soup and of course a few cups of tea.
From then on I knew Will had what it takes
As others fell by the way side Will went from strength to strength, getting his 3rd Cat. With some great rides like the Banbury Star road race and the Spring Chicken. Then after Greg’s win at Milton Keynes, Will followed coming in a very close 2nd and another 2nd the following week. But Will was not satisfied with that and in front of his family got the win a week later by breaking away with another rider leaving nothing to chance. This secured his 2nd Cat licence.
It was time to find a new team for Will, as he needed to race with like minded riders. I was approached by the RP racing team to coach the U23 squad and they were looking for a few more quality riders. The team is a real family outfit so Will and I were soon on board.
The only weakness in Will’s cycling, if you can call it a weakness, is Will was always riding and training at 110 %. His passion and determination was often very hard to control and looking at his last few training sessions he still put in too much effort to early, but as you all know that is Will.
Through his sport he was learning to control his efforts and I know like all of you he would have achieved his goal this year which was to become a 1st Cat.
On a personal note, It has been a privilege having Will in my life, we are all so proud of what he achieved throughout his life, from a boy to a wonderful young man.
I know you are looking down with those bright red cheeks, a bit embarrassed with all the fuss that we are making over you. But sorry Will, you deserve it. You can stop knocking yourself and praising others, it’s your time to shine and boy did you shine.
Scott Holmes Friend and Coach