We’re delighted to be sponsoring local cyclist Leon Mazzone. Leon has written about himself and his cycling below. Good luck with your competitive cycling this year Leon … and over to you.
“Cycling is in my blood. My dad use to race mountain bikes and was a the local Downhill Champion for three years running so myself and my elder brother (by 3 years) Tom, have always been around bikes and cycling. I got my first bike at the tender age of three and as soon as I was off the stabilizers, which wasn’t long, I wanted to go BMX racing with my brother.
Both myself and Tom did a bit of everything in cycling as we grew up, we raced BMX and competed in several British Championships and I finished 7th in the final in 2005. We also did a bit of mountain biking in the winter and Dot Tilbury’s Tuesday night league at the NSC in Douglas from April till September. My real love of road cycling started at the age of seven, when I got my first Droppie Racing bike ( an ex Peter Kennaugh one at that) soon I was on the top step of my first podium as Manx Under 8 champion and I have never looked back.
Being born in December always put me a bit of a disadvantage through the age groups when I was racing in the youth (under 16) categories and I seem to be perpetually second. This didn’t deter me, in fact it made me more focused and driven, so in my final season as a youth I won everything and as I progressed to the Junior ( under 19 ) races and the race distances went from 40 to 115km I started to shine.
Some of my best performances as a junior include an individual Mountain Bike Bronze medal at the Bermuda Island games in 2013 also top three race results at National Junior level races and a second place in Haaltert, Belgium last season.
The things that drive my passion for cycling include the fact that, when fellow Manxmen and Pro cyclists, Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh (and other top Manx riders) are home you can go out and train and race with them, they encourage you and this motivates me to push harder in my training and racing so that one day, hopefully, I can follow in their footsteps. Also it’s the rush you get when ride in a big race and win.
My plans for the future. My short term goals are jell with my new Team, Illi Bikes in Belgium, learning to race in 200 man fields in races up to 200km. In-between races I am also learning to fend for myself with my house/team mates.
I have been selected for the Road Team at the Island Games in Jersey and I would like to pick up a medal or two there. I am aiming to qualify and be selected for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia, but ultimately I want to become a professional cyclist. I have come so far throughout my cycling career, so nothing going to stop me pursuing my dream. ”