I am Charlie Quarterman, a 19 year old full-time road cyclist with Leopard Pro Cycling. 2018 is my second year with Leopard having first signed with them after coming up through the age categories with the Zappi Race Team.
I grew up in and around Oxford, attending Abingdon School from 2010-2017 and played a large number of different sports as a kid; rugby, hockey, football, cricket… This, I believe, is where a large amount of my discipline and work ethic come from. At Abingdon, the team sports were where the characters and friendships were made, and they really pushed the resilience and commitment side of things here along with forcing us to mature and look after ourselves, so I am really grateful for my time there. But really, the important move came in 2012 after watching the Olympic Road Race near to Box Hill in London. I had had a road bike kicking around the garage for a few years and had been on the odd ride with my dad but never more than every few weeks. In August 2012, I rode on my own with a big old map in my back pocket from Oxford to Enstone (35km down the road) and back. I count this as the real start to my cycling career.
2012 was also the year that I met Flavio Zappi, the man that has guided me through the cycling world ever since. I remember the first time I was introduced to him, that crazy Italian man was riding up alongside me during a local hill climb event, shouting encouragement in a funny version of English…
Growing up in the cycling world, I rode with Flavio and the Oxford-based club that he set up for a long time, racing in his colours and travelling more and more frequently to Belgium, Spain, Italy or France to race and through this I learned a lot of what I know of the trade…
After a successful 2016, my final year in the Junior ranks, I was unbelievably relieved and excited to sign for Leopard Pro Cycling.
2017 was a tough year for me in that I was finishing off my A-levels at school until late June, whilst racing in Europe with the team. I had just started to get the hang of these races by the time I could move out to Luxembourg to properly be a part of the team, but disaster struck when I crashed during a race in Belgium just 5 weeks after moving out there and broke my wrist and my collarbone (into about 5 large pieces..).
It was a challenging time coming back from this injury, as I wasn’t officially allowed to be riding again on the road until Christmas, but of course I took the surgeon’s advice with a pinch of salt… I was secretly back on the bike in October with some short, occasional rides, before picking things up more in November, when I had the second operation. After a couple of days of rest, I got back on the turbo and then 5 days post-op I was back out on the road. I headed out to Girona a week or two later to push hard into winter training.
After a very tough few months of work in Girona, I was ready to start racing! Unfortunately as soon as it came I was hit with a bad chest infection and an injury from a crash in a training race.. Consequently I had around 3 weeks without bike, and this led to a horrible start to the racing season, struggling to stay in the peloton on some hard days out and it felt like I was always playing catch up as the peloton around me was also building in form. It took until May for me to get a good feeling in the races, and after racking up a sufficient number of race-kilometres, I got some stability in my fitness, and started to be there to play the game at the end of these races… And that leads us to here!