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.
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.
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.