It takes a special mindset to leave everything behind and join one of the most prestigious development programs in France, AVC Aix-En-Provence. Harrison Wood’s story is one in a kind that started in football pitch before realizing his passion for cycling.
How and when did you start cycling?
From the age of 5 to 13 I was actually an academy footballer with the local professional football team. I only ever really rode for fun albeit regularly with a local cycling club called Mid Devon Cycling Club. When I was 13 years old the academy was closed and I found myself cycling more often which eventually led me into the pathway of racing locally whilst still continuing my studies. It then grew from there with more racing at national and international levels. In 2019 I then spent the year racing with AVC-AIX-en-Provence before now joining SEG Academy for 2020!
Which were the clubs/teams you were part of before joining the Academy?
As a youth and young rider, I was a part of Mid Devon Cycling club who is local to my area. I would do regular skill-based sessions with them. I also raced with them as 1st year junior but I had the incredible opportunity to be within the HMT Cycling Team set up run by Mark Barry and Tony Barrett. This offered me the chance to race abroad and gain a lot of experience. As a 2nd year junior, I also rode regularly for them in Poland, Spain, and Holland whilst also racing for a Belgian team in Soenens Boom. As a first-year U23 I made the move abroad permanently and raced with a DN1 French team in AVC-AIX-en-Provence.
What are the most valuable lessons that you have learned from those days?
My experiences within a football academy definitely taught me the importance of teamwork and how effective it can be when everyone works for each other. From racing as a junior abroad I also learned a lot about tactics and racecraft due to how high the standard of racing is on the continent and also how much love and passion I had for this sport .I’m also pretty proud that from racing in France in 2019 I’m able to hold a good conversation in French. It’s a cool asset to have for future life and a language I enjoyed learning. Living away from home also taught how to live for myself and become independent with shopping, cooking, cleaning and money management, all of which I feel have developed me as a person.