'Being an army reservist has transformed my fitness and opened the door to cycling at an elite level'
JOINING the British Army reserves has been a life-changing experience for young soldier Johnathon Dorward.
The 21-year-old Gunner’s time with the reserves has given him the opportunity to compete in cycling at the highest level, as part of the British Army’s official cycling team.
Made up of 10 soldiers drawn from across the army, the Hilsea-based artilleryman is the only reservist to be part of the set up, which competes across the UK.
‘I was ecstatic when I became part of the team,’ said Gnr Dorward, who is part of 295 Battery Royal Artillery in Hilsea. ‘I am the only reservist in the army cycling set up and it’s an amazing opportunity.
‘To be in a pro-cycling set up isn’t really that common unless you’re extremely lucky or talented. So to be on a team that races at the highest level nationally is an opportunity I wouldn’t really have had before.’
And he said that his time in the saddle has taken his fitness to new heights.
He said: ‘I used to be massively overweight. I got into cycling at 18. I used to weigh 110kg. Now I’m 70kg. That’s all through cycling. It’s been a massive change in my life.’
Gnr Dorward, who is training to become a commercial pilot, now has his eyes set on his next competition, the army championships on June 30 before competing in the Beaumont Trophy road race against some of the best cyclists in Britain on September 26.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, with 70 per cent fewer adverts for less than 20p a day.