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1/ You’ve done some pretty full on races and challenges over the years, which was the hardest?

Difficult to choose the hardest event as they all present their own challenges whether that be temperature, distance or even altitude. I do believe though all my hardest races are those in which I haven’t fully committed and have gone without 110% confidence in my riding. Now if I decide I don’t want to do an event then starting is futile as you leave even more demotivated so I would rather save it for the days I want to ride or race.  You should start everything enthused otherwise it’s always going to be a negative experience.

2/ Hot or cold … which would you rather ride/race in?

Cold … always cold.  In the cold you can control your temperature .. layer up and all is well.  In the heat you suffer and its difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature.  When I raced the Dirty Kanza 200 I had good form but the heat on the day and coming up off the gravel really hurt and the last 100 miles were just surviving not racing.

3/ You’re not adverse to racing singlespeed … why?

I first took to singlespeeding as an economical means of mountain biking while I went back to Uni to do a masters course but really enjoyed the simplicity of just turning pedals and not constantly adjusting gears.  For longer events that simplicity translates to more reliability in your kit so it really is a good fit.

4/ At what distance do you find your mind takes over from your body and becomes the determining factor to a race outcome?

I’m not sure there is a distance but definitely riding starting in the dark then going in to the night again is a big mental barrier I find.  Riding in the dark is a very different experience as you are having to be much more focussed and can’t really switch off and enjoy the scenery letting the miles pass unnoticed.  Transitioning back to light however can be a huge mental boost and pick you back up and can be a real race changer.

5/ You’re only allowed one bike for the next 12 months, what would it be?

My Salsa Warbird.  I would want a bike that  could cope with most of the differing rides I like to do and I think that the Warbird is great for not only local fun trails but also loaded for much longer trips.  The geometry is race orientated but still comfortable and the disc brakes allow confident riding even when loaded.

6/ What’s in your jersey pocket on a days ride?

Always the same … pump, tube, phone, café money and a snack   I prefer to ride as light as possible.

7/ How did your sponsorship deal with Salsa come about?

I have always loved the diversity within Salsa’s range of bikes and as my riding changed from XC shorter events to longer their tag line ‘Adventure by Bike’ really called out to me and I wanted to be associated with the brand.  I had some good plans for interesting events and I thought they would see marketing benefit in them.  My initial approach to Salsa wasn’t successful as there just wasn’t the capacity there for an extra sponsored rider.   Before I went to Dirty Kanza, an event they sponsor, I approached them again and secured a frame through UK distributor ISON.  With ISON helping me out and managing Salsa’s UK interests a deal was sorted and I secured the sponsor I wanted to work with.  Never ride a sponsor bike that you wouldn’t buy at full retail yourself, I feel I am in that position. 

8/ You’re outside a petrol station at 2.00am. You’ve 100 miles to ride and a fiver in your pocket, what would you buy?

Pork pies, my absolute favourite petrol station fix … usually accompanied with a chocolate milkshake … it’s a good fix and a mental boost.

9/ Did you have any cycling ‘heros’ when you were younger, anyone that inspired you to race?

I guess most the cycling heroes of my younger years have now been identified as prolific dopers but even so I do remember being enthused by watching the Tour De France … watching a Marco Pantani attack on Duez or Miguel ‘Big Mig’ Indurain taking on the individual time trial on his outlandish pinarello time trial bike definitely are stand out memories.

10/ Are you cursed by any recurring injuries?

I think I have been relatively fortunate that though I have managed to pick up a lot of breaks over the years that these aren’t really hindering my riding.  Strange that most injuries I pick up still allow me to ride, even with a broken knee cap I was able to get back on my trainer within 2 weeks.

11/  You raced the Trans Iowa earlier this year, how was it?

Trans Iowa is just a crazy race and was one of the best race experiences I have ever had.  I love the Midwest of the US and have made so many good friends there, some of those friendships forged during the Trans Iowa race.  The event was the longest I had ever ridden in one sitting in terms of distance so was a total unknown.  The start was as fast as any race I had ridden and was fun to take the front of the leader’s paceline for a short while.  The last 150 miles or so I rode in a small group of great guys and we worked together and really helped each other out, that’s exactly why I go do these events to have these really positive experiences.

12/ Is there anyone you’d like to thank for helping you out along the way, sponsors, family, friends?

I have to thank my girlfriend Grace primarily as we have to schedule a lot of holidays around race events but not only that but the time I have to spend training … Grace is always very supportive no matter how stupid my plans sound.
I also have a great list of sponsors at the moment who help me out enormously;

Ison Distribution for putting together not only my Salsa deal but also helping me out with Halo wheels and other brand lines.
Salsa Cycles, the guys there have placed an enormous amount of faith in me so for that I am very grateful and will continue to go all out to keep that support.

Alpkit, for many years the guys at Alpkit have been there for me not only supplying me with off the shelf lines but often making me gear when events demanded something a little special.  I always want to be involved with the guys at Alpkit as they are so invested not only commercially but personally in the outdoors.
Keep up with Pauls Adventures past, present and future HERE


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