Scottish cycling coach Mark Young interviews John Paul, who has had great success this year with gold medals at the National, European and World track championships.
John recounts how he beat a junior world record holder to win the European sprint title and then his route to taking the World championship.
What strikes me here is an articulate, intelligent and focused young man who is level headed and knows what he has to do to win. All that may sound like a cliché but it certainly feels like we will be seeing more of this Scottish World Champion in the future. Let’s say that again: a Scottish World Champion.
OK, so this is month-old news, but I thought it would be remiss not to tip the hat to young Scottish track sprinter John Paul, who won European and World U23 titles on the track back in August.
John is a Braveheart funded rider meaning that he gets support for travel and other expenses. The fund will be delighted this year as it has seen several funded athletes achieve real success at a world level- more on them to come.
Check out his Braveheart Fund Diary, where he recoutns his Junior/U23 European success in the Keirin and Sprint.
Then at the end of August he headed to the Worlds in Moscow where he beat Julien Palma of France to the Junior World Sprint title. Again his Braveheart diary provides a refreshing personal look back on how
Larry Hickmott’s VeloUK site also covers the jr Worlds with a victory picture, but I like the personal nature of the Braveheart diaries.
Steve McCaw has set a new VTTA outdoor hour record of 42.822km. That’s a UK-wide vets’ hour record- congratulations. This was set on Tuesday 9th August at a blustery Meadowbank Velodrome, breaking the previous outdoor age group record of 40.86km or 25.4 miles. Most readers will be familiar with the hour record, which holds something of a legendary or mythical status in the world of cycling. I spoke to Steve to find out more about this achievement.
Image Allister Watson
First, Steve gave me a bit of background on his cycling career:
I won my first ever time trial aged 15 and I was third in my first ever road race in a sprint finish a few weeks later so the die was pretty much cast then, “has good aerobic capacity but not much of a gallop!” I’ve won The Scottish 25tt and 50TT and ridden small stage races as well as a lot of different track events. I took to the track right away but have always tried to keep variety by riding road and TT too.
Steve had twice held a Scottish hour record as a junior:
I broke the Scottish hour record when I was still a junior in 1980 with 42km. I was the scottish junior TT champion that year and had used a track bike to set a number of junior TT records so having to spin a small fixed gear when riding TT’s was good practise for the track. After that I was selected for the British track Team squad and rode the Junior World track champs for GB. In 1982 I had another go at the Scottish hour record and raised it to 45km, and although that mark has been passed now it’s still the furthest ridden on traditional equipment of spoked wheels and dropped handlebars.
1980 – 1Hour- Steve McCaw Scotia Sports/Dales Cycles – 26 miles 98yds
1982 – 1hour- Steve McCaw Roiseal crt – 27miles 1681 yds Continue reading →
It’s part of his Beyond Human series of sporting portraits: A series of hyper-real paintings, portraying elite athletes as superhuman beings, endorsed with the creative input of each sportsperson, the athlete is perceived as a machine so perfectly engineered they become ‘Beyond Human’.
This is not new news, but it’s good news, and I felt it should get recognition on the blog after I first picked up on Chris’ battle for success without sponsorship last year. Chris has signed for Endura Racing and is their first track rider. This is great for Chris himself, who had been training and racing at an exceptionally high level, given his lack of sponsorship or funding.
It’s also great for Scottish cycling in general, as Endura puts its support into the track – an area with which the company had not previously been associated. As announced on the Endura Racing website:
Jim McFarlane of Endura said: After putting so much investment into the road team we were keen to ensure that the Endura and Equipe brand reach also extended into other cycling disciplines, so we were keen to back some athletes in MTB and track cycling. Chris’s involvement will be very useful in helping Endura make its first steps towards track specific Equipe product which is an interesting niche within cycling and we are delighted to have such high quality representation on the boards.
At first glance it might seem odd to be financing a sole track rider, and I also wondered what the value in developing a track range of clothing was: it’s a specialist area without a big market to sell into. However with the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome due to open in 2012, this is actually quite an astute move for Endura. With our weather, Scotland will doubtless see a big jump in track participation and racing at all levels, and Endura is wise to have a track-specific Equipe range of clothing ready for this.
Ironically, I blogged about Chris’ sponsorship situation a second time a few weeks ago, at which time Chris will have already talked with Endura, and was probably just waiting for the new year until announcing the move.
Below is Chris competing for Scotland at the Delhi Commonwealth games, in Endura kit- an omen perhaps?
Chris Pritchard rides track for Scotland and competed at the Commonwealth games this year. After a tweet today, I was re-alerted to his ongoing battle to compete at the highest level without much support or sponsorship.
I wrote a post about Chris earlier in the year, after hearing he was doing flying 200m laps that weren’t far off Olympic qualification, without even a sponsor.
Now track website Velodrome.org.uk has taken up his cause, publishing an interview about his battle to get into the British Cycling system.
There’s a bit of soul searching there, as Chris tries to get to the nub of why he is snubbed by the BC academy- talent, hard work, performances all seem to be up to scratch. The discipline and work ethic to get to a level where you can beat BC academy athletes on only a shoestring is pretty impressive. At 27, his age might be working against him, but as he tells Velodrome.org, there are far older athletes that look like they have several years left in them.
The picture above is a take on the Chris Hoy on Mons Meg shot for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As triumphant as that image was, and as positive as the future is for Stewart, looking to Glasgow 2014, the Dundee photo has a darker backstory.
The image was shot by David Martin as part of a series for a charity Dundee Cycling Calendar. It’s a really fantastic photograph, but to see it you’ll have to buy the Calendar. It is part of a bigger drive to raise funds for Steve Donnelly, who was paralysed after an innocuous fall while riding in June 2010. I’ll share more information about him in a future post.
Please please please buy a copy of the calendar – the chilling thing about Steve’s freak accident is that it could have happened to any cyclist. He will have to rebuild his life- find new accommodation and adjust to a future in a wheelchair. This must be a massive challenge mentally, but the financial pressure can’t be ignored either, so make a small contribution and buy the calendar.