Kyle Petrie – bursting with enthusiasm

Kyle Petrie, a 16 year old 1st year junior this season gives me his thoughts on cycling. One thing that depresses and delights me in equal measure is how fast the young’uns come up and overtake the middle aged triers like me. It’s enjoyable to be in and around their success and enthusiasm for the sport, keeps you young I say.

Out on the club run this weekend, Kyle a mechanical with his freehub, which wasn’t engaging, meaning he had to ride fixed for a while. Then he spotted a crack in his frame, which luckily turned out to be just a defect in the paint/lacquer. But it made me think- if I struggle with the price of bikes and kit at times, what must it like for a kid in school?

So in the background to this interview is a bit of a pitch for sponsorship– if any generous benefactors out there like the cut of young Kyle’s jib, get in touch. He is a great kid to have around our club but we also look forward to the day he moves up a level and takes the next step towards his cycling dreams.

How long have you been cycling?
I’ve been cycling for almost a year and a half now and I’ve been racing since April last year when I was a youth doing crits left right and centre which I loved and really took a firm grasp on to my passion for cycling. From there things have just gone completely turbo rocket paced and I’m loving every minute of it!
I can confirm this- Kyle was ripping my legs off on last week’s chaingang

Kyle in a 2-up TT with vet Graeme Hay, image by Stuart Easton

What do you enjoy the best?
Well there’s a rather lengthy list of things that I enjoy about cycling but one of the things that still fascinates me is the incredible speeds you can pedal at with only your legs and maybe a little gravity to make you go! Yes you can go faster in a car but that costs you money and doesn’t do your body much good. However with cycling you’re getting a wicked workout and there’s nothing powering you but you – no motors or engines or expensive fuel (unless you use the expensive gels that is!) it’s just you and your legs going fast!
–a lad that loves to go fast, he will go far I think

What’s your best result this year, and so far in cycling?
Up until now in 2012 so far I’ve only had five races and I’ve been a little unlucky however I’ve had a couple of good results so far: I got fourth in the Fenwick APR when I got away in a move with some skinny dudes and sprinted it out for fourth which I was really pleased and excited about considering there was some mighty hills and I’m more of a flats and drags domestique type rider rather than big hefty hills!

I still have a whole bunch of races coming up that I’m super excited to destroy myself at and see the results roll in and get my first taste of road race victory!

Loudoun RC Fenwick APR 24/3/2012
Kyle Petrie in the Fenwick APR, pic Ian Henderson

You’ve been selected for Scotland before, yes?
Yes I have indeed at last year’s youth Inter Regional Road Race Championships which I was over the moon with. It was my first ever season racing never mind year of riding a bike so it was really special and a huge experience that I learned a barrel load from. I think it really made me see what kind of rider I was in the mix with– the UK’s finest youth riders. Now as a junior I currently have a secure spot on the Scotland Junior Squad which is completely amazing and I’m really in my element about as it is giving me loads of opportunities to learn a lot of skills and be part of a team which for me personally is a really amazing feeling and I know that we will be up for an amazing season with a really strong bunch of lads and hopefully I’ll have many opportunities to pull on that blue jersey and hurt some legs!
–confidence, teamwork, skills, pride for the jersey: all important things in a young rider’s development

Nick Hardy Memorial Road Race 2012
Nick Hardy memorial road race, image Rachel Martin

What are the main targets for this year?
Well I’m packing my bags to race in the Basque Country from 29th June – 31st July. I’d like to get right in about and do well with the squad and I think I could be in with a good shout of a win in one of the stages and work well with the rest of the junior squad in the hills! Also I’m looking to get selected to wear the Scotland jersey as much as possible in national series races. Another main goal is to really get my name known in amongst the big boys of Scottish Cycling and in all the big road races around my area such as The Battle of the Braes road race that my club organises – a win in that would really be something as it’s based on my training grounds!
– Battle of the Braes: a tough hilly 2/3/4 race won by Neil Taylor (ERC) in 2011 and Ali McNicol in 2010

Ali McNicol wins on the ‘mini Braes’, near Thornhill, in 2010

What bike do you ride?
Currently I’m riding a Ribble Gran Fondo which is a good bike and I’ve looked after it well since I got it last year although with cycling being cycling it is causing some dents in the ol’ pocket. In the winter I like to ride my ancient old Raleigh on the roads which is 23 years old (aka 7 years older than me!) but I’ve maintained both bikes very well and they’ve both served me well despite not being the lightest or flashiest!
– Kyle’s winter bike was a great sight: the old-style big frame/short seatpost, with narrow steel tubes, quill stem, traditional bars. He’s a tall lad looked the part on it!

How do you manage to buy bikes and kit? It can get quite expensive.
With great difficulty is the most honest answer I can give you really here – I spend a lot of time looking after my kit and equipment but bad things happen and that’s part of bike racing and it’s costly when things need replaced or needed! At the moment I’m living with my Dad and he has been helping me out a LOT with buying parts and essential pieces of kit as I don’t have a job because I have no time as I’m studying towards highers at school for this year and next, and training combined are very time consuming. But I feel that I cannot ask my Dad to buy me all this kit as we all know money doesn’t really grow on trees but if it did, I’d plant some! I make small amounts of cash when I get good race results and that money usually goes towards small essentials or my lunch the following week! But times are tough and there’s only so much the Bank of Dad can do to help me with the financial demands of my cycling career that is what allows me to excel.

Fenwick APR 2012
Kyle is already comfortable pinning a number on

A bit of sponsorship would really help- so go on, sell yourself. What is the USP (unique selling point) of Kyle Petrie, bike racer?
I really hate the sound of my own trumpet but here we go: when I commit to something, it’s 100% and dedication is no a question. I am a very, very hard worker and I can keep going even when the going gets really relentlessly hard. I’m a really honest and genuine guy – you really do get what you see! I’m a very loyal and friendly person who is easy to get on with and I will stick to my guns, friends and team mates no matter what. I’m extremely passionate about cycling and I would do (and have) whatever it takes to reach goals and when I am motivated I will keep driving and driving until I get where I need to be. I like to think I have potential and a bright future in cycling and especially recently I’ve been working incredibly hard and I really do think I deserve it!

If I could pick up some sponsorship I couldn’t explain how much that would help me (and of course ease the pressure on my Dad). It would allow to maintain my bike well so that I can focus purely on making my legs go fast! It would allow me to travel to races in training sessions all over the UK i.e. trips down to Manchester velodrome and races further South in the country. It would enable me to take good care of my body as well with important nutrition and race foods that make all the difference. It would make my cycling career much more stress free and enjoyable as I wouldn’t need to ask Dad for money every week and I could really focus on riding the bike well. I also think that I could give solid publicity to a sponsor as I travel around the country a lot (and of course my Spain trip) and I would be proud to have some help on board to allow my adventure to continue!

Do you have a blog or anything like that?
Currently I don’t however as soon as my exams are over, I’m going to hop right on to that! I may even get it done sooner if I get the opportunity which would be good! I understand that now I am getting older it is becoming that I conduct myself and sell myself in the most effective way possible so I’m really keen to sort that out.

You’re quite active on twitter too.
Yes! I love a good bit of twitter. It’s the closest thing I have to a blog right now and I use it to promote myself a little but mainly just to tell my friends and club mates how things are going and have the occasional moan about how revision is numbing my brain! I also really LOVE reading Jens Voigt’s tweets as he is my all time hero and a top guy!

Kyle on twitter
Outdoor and winter sports equipment