TESTING TIMES WISHES ITS READER (WHEREVER AND WHOEVER YOU ARE) A HAPPY NEW YEAR From little acorns and all that … Testing Times leaps into the New Year with its 13th issue. The great British public is to be applauded for supporting a publication which, some say, has ‘been lucky to get away with what’s its been producing for this long’. Reports that things are to be improved appear to be completely unfounded as with absolutely zero chance of any financial backing in the future this is highly unlikely. This once hyped ‘completely trash and crap fanzine’ is therefore to rest solely on the shoulders of its contributors who have continued to persevere with highly entertaining pieces despite its Editors apparent desire to bring it into disrepute and bulldoze it into one big black hole as has happened with one of the time trial fraternity’s most beloved and long term publications [the Ed didn’t have a hand in that by the way ... he was well past his sell-
by date by then … Sportives and pages and pages and pages and pages of ads trying to sell DVDs, books etc and lack of coverage of time trials did that!!] . A major percentage of this publication’s budget (90% of not-a-lot = sod all) has been committed to identifying the type of reader likely to want to read the type of material produced over the last 12 months by the Ed and his team. Sadly the results of the survey haven’t confirmed a single solitary thing … although at a brief comfort stop at a motorway service station recently, someone was overheard to mention something about Testing Times ... so whoever you are … and wherever you are … Testing Times wishes you a Happy New Year and hope you continue supporting it [all you’ve got to do is read it for goodness sake].
Any day now … www.thetestingtimes.co.uk/ See it … believe it … even be part of it
January 2010 What’s in this issue: Meet the team The Skud Frankly Franklin meets Dave Lloyd Gambling on the BBAR More on the Exocet Peter Whitfield looks at the Gods of Time Gittins and Cammish ride tandem (though not together!) Gavin Goodman Hinxman talks to Richard Prebble The ballad of Mick Ballard Paul Hyde road tests Doughnuts Nob off … with Darryl Webster
You’ve never read anything like it before … or are you likely to want to read anything like it ever again. Testing Times “It’s incredible …” “Never ‘ad owt like it in my day ...” “Beats sittin’ on t’ soddin’ turbo dunnit?”
… and Testing Times wishes Time Trial Weekly all the best (not in as big a size font as our piece though!! ;-) S EE
Meet the team … and finally … maybe …. Paul Hyde’s ‘Head and Shoulders’ shot (left) ... Inclined to take things literally. Interests? Stalking All The Gear-No Idea (apparently!). Known to occasionally goad TT forum members into pages and pages and pages of non-sensical meaningless rantings and ravings. Certainly good entertainment for those not involved or incriminated in any way. :-) In a word … bonkers • adjective informal mad; crazy. — ORIGIN of unknown origin.
Ian Cammish (right) … Practically perfect in every way! You really couldn’t wish to meet a nicer chap. In a word … Marvellous • adjective 1 causing great wonder; extraordinary. 2 extremely good or pleasing.
Gavin ‘Goodman’ Hinxman (left) … can’t let go from the days of Barum G2s, Lyotard platforms and Wolber Profils. Often spotted riding his work of ‘Art de Velocipede’ in Planet X’s Old Skool series … in fact runner-up to the great ‘Power’ Parkinson in the overall standings. Vows to return next season to take top spot. Single handedly keeps Ebay in business with his acquisitions of Old Skool paraphernalia. In a word … good (man!) ...good • adjective (better, best) 1 to be desired or approved of. 2 having the required qualities; of a high standard. 3 morally right; virtuous. 4 well behaved. 5 enjoyable or satisfying. 6 appropriate. 7 (good for) beneficial to. 8 thorough. 9 at least. • noun 1 that which is morally right or beneficial. 2 (goods) merchandise or possessions. 3 (goods) Brit.freight. — PHRASES as good as & em; & em; very nearly & em; & em;. be & em; & em; to the good have a specified net profit or advantage. come up with (or deliver) the goods informal do what is expected or required. do good 1 act virtuously, especially by helping others. 2 be helpful or beneficial. for good forever. the Good Book the Bible. good for (or on) you! well done! the Good Shepherd a name for Jesus. a good wordwords in recommendation or defence of a person. — ORIGIN Old English.
Testing Times introduces...the Scud Planet X’s ‘reserve’ TT frame for 2010 Just in case Planet X’s Exocet never gets of the ground, Paul Hyde has been heading up a highly experienced (average age of 73) and vastly over-rated team developing (yet) another time trial frame for 2010. Leaked reports of a non-UCI approved no-holds-barred-sooper-doopa-we-canproduce-a-state-of-the-art-never-believedpossible-time-trial-frame-on-a-shoestring-budget appear to be true. Hyde has been seen by his butlers, chauffeurs and kitchen staff road-testing what is believed to be Planet X’s much hyped Skud frameset. the chambermaid’s bedroom on the third floor of the north wing and across to the chauffeur’s daughter’s bedroom on the second floor of the west wing down to his purpose-built cycling workshop in the basement without leaving any trace of his whereabouts. Mrs Hyde is reported to be sick to death of her husband’s skud-marks found elsewhere however – but has grown to accept that as a consequence of his advancing years.
time trialling. As a world exclusive, Testing Times is pleased to be able to introduce the world to ... the Skud! No doubt the designers and financial backers behind the project will be monitoring feedback on the TriTalk and time trial forums to see if their market researchers have done their homework and pitched this one right. Testing Times won’t be holding its breath.
The world’s cycling press has, until now, been unable to provide photographs of Planet X’s latest venture in to the high tech world of formula 1
To date, testing has not extended outside the confines of Hyde’s modest multi million pound mansion in the Kentish countryside. Handling characteristics have, so far, been proven to be exceptional. Hyde is reported to have been able to manoeuvre from his own bedroom on the fourth floor of the east wing to
Oh Lloydy Lloydy Lloydy! Testing Times corners the enigmatic Dave Lloyd for an exclusive, energetic and extremely frankly interview
all in! It put a real dampener on the games village. Terrible! I fell off in the road race at the feed when some tosser got his bag stuck in his wheel and brought about 20 riders off. Me being one. I was slightly concussed, chased for 4 laps, but had lost 3 to 4 minutes. It was a hopeless task! I wore a white hood . . . It was Pyne who copied me by wearing a black one.
Dave Lloyd, holder of numerous records, winner of dozens of races, former professional rider with the eponymous TI Raleigh team, bike builder extraordinary, creative innovator, hugely successful coach and a bloody nice bloke to boot, was cornered by the fearsome figure of Frankly Franklin and forced, yes forced, to answer fifteen questions. Here goes . . . Frankly Franklin: A lot of people have latched onto the news that you are making a racing comeback after dominating every sportive from here to the Kerguelen Islands. It has been greeted with some excitement out there in nosey wosey land. Are there any plans to emulate Malcolm Elliot in the Premier Series, or are you going to out-Hutch Hutch? Dave Lloyd: I had thought about racing again, but then realized that I didn’t want to ride the ‘Wobbly Wheelers Road Race’ after having ridden things like Paris-Roubaix and all the other classics and stage races. I have nothing against the Wobbly Wheelers Road Race, but I decided it wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had. However, if I can get the form, I may ride the veteran worlds next year. I’m going to try out a private time trial at some point using a ‘proper’ tt bike. The road race at the worlds is interesting, but may be far too short for me and normally ends in a sprint, which definitely won’t suit me. We’ll have to see how things go. In the meantime, I’ll be riding the usual sportives . . . especially la Marmotte! FF: I remember in 1976, long before I knew you, that you were sidelined with a heart ailment. I was devastated at the time, but you must have been even more so (after all it was your heart and your career). Can you tell us
FF: You appear to be one of those annoying people who is absolutely outstanding at everything you do, riding, frame building, racing, coaching and being irreverent and getting away with it. What is the secret of your success?
Typical aggression from Lloyd Photo from Bernard Thompson’s cycling archive what went on with you at the time? DL: It was a congenital condition my mother also had and I made it worse by training through a virus . . . I was suicidal at the time as all I wanted to do was to ride the Tour de France. If it hadn’t been for Chris [Dave’s long suffering wife – ed], I am convinced I’d have topped myself. I couldn’t see any future without the bike and the pro racing I loved so much! Thank goodness Chris was with me (as usual!). FF: In 1972 you were one of the 7170 competitors taking part in the ill-fated Munich Olympic Games. Did the massacres of the Israeli athletes affect you personally at the time? How come you didn’t finish the road race? Some years later you started time trialling in a black hood. Was there any connection? DL: Yes, we actually saw it all taking place. We saw the hostages being taken into the helicopters on our way back from our evening meal. We saw the terrorists with hoods and machine guns and hand grenades. It was like a movie. We couldn’t take it
DL: I just try harder than anyone else I know, I hate losing, and I have a fantastic work ethic. I will always go the extra mile . . . always! FF: Back in the days when you were with Peter Post’s TI Raleigh team, there were many riders taking substances more usually associated with mods in Brighton or hippies in Scarborough. Many potentially great British riders backed off from Euro-dope when they realized what was going on and didn’t want to know. How did you cope with the cheats around you? DL: It was desperate and 5 of my then team mates are now dead. I had huge peer and managerial pressure to take stuff, but always refused. I was treated like a leper because I wouldn’t ‘tow the line’! I just bloody trained harder and thought that if I did a good ride, I wanted to be proud of it, not that it came from some bloody syringe. FF: For one so small, you are known as a hard man who eats more miles in a week than the whole of the RaphaCondor squad put together. Is the secret of your success the hard work you put in or do you just have an outstanding (and unique) physiology? DL: I always have been a mile eater
and now is no different. I just love riding the bike and the feeling that riding it fast gives me. It’s a fabulous feeling when you are at one with the bike and you are flying along. Love it! I think I have great recovery and never seem to really get tired. When I get to hour number 5 or 6, I am going stronger and stronger . . .
producing lovely frames. Some small artisan companies in northern Italy and the like. FF: OK, some personal stuff now. I was coached by you for a few years. How come I didn’t make the National Team (like Wendy) or beat Mr Hutchinson on the F1 a couple of years back? Was I just plain lazy, had the wrong physiology or was my head in the wrong place? Or am I the first and only rider that you’ve ever coached that was just plain bloody useless?
FF: If you had not been chucked off the TI Raleigh team, do you think you would have gone on to greater things such as winning the Tour de France or the Folkestone and District Cycling Club’s evening ‘10’? DL: I didn’t get chucked off the team, I was forced to stop because of my heart condition . . . I was the last Brit standing! FF: You are known as a controversial old so-and-so, but one who has been proven right on so many occasions. Has this approach ever got you into trouble? DL: Many, many, many, many times (ask Chris) but I am never going to change. I don’t suffer fools gladly and I say what I feel. There’s no point in bull-shitting people. Tell the truth! FF: You are also known as the inventor of the skin suit, hidden brake cables, lo pro bars and many other innovations – have you any new tricks up your sleeve for your comeback and, hey, how come you haven’t made millions from your inspirational efforts? DL: I’ve got a new sportive bike for next year which is very different. I always look for new things to try . . . unlike the UCI, I like progress . . . I don’t want to go back to Merckx’s hour record. Bollox! Things should always progress and new materials and the like should always be tried. FF: I know that you absolutely LOVE the British Cycling hierarchy. What do you think about their foray into the Pro Tour and top class professional cycling? Are they likely to give you a ride in Team Sky, or is my head in the clouds?
‘Inventor’ of the skin-hat Photo from Bernard Thompson’s cycling archive DL: No Comment! FF: Talking about British Cycling, they have on the face of it been enormously successful. Yet you believe that they have mishandled some of the athletes in their care. If they had placed you at the epicenter of their operation, could they have achieved even more success? I’m thinking here of one of your former athletes who has constantly underachieved whilst with the national squad. How would you have changed things? DL: Yes, certainly, but who wants to know what I know? Certainly not British Cycling! FF: As a frame builder – an art that you learnt under the tutelage of Terry Dolan – you made some of the most beautiful bikes around. I have a time trial bike of yours here in Thailand and although it may be slightly old skool it is very much admired by all who see it. What do you think of the new breed of bicycle, made in Taiwan, badged and branded for every market and all getting a bit boring and samey. If you were in the business now, what would you do differently? What do you think of all this carbon /glass fibre mixed stuff drowning the market at 295 quid a pop? DL: Most of it is crap, but there are still some good builders out there
DL: You got the best out of what you had and you did have ME. I think we did a fantastic job and you did some great rides with the handicap you had. People have no idea how debilitating ME can be. FF: You’ve had a brilliant career Dave and have been an inspiration to many generations of cyclists – both the ordinary hacker such as myself and to riders who have achieved great things. These days the whole world and his dog write biographies – even Mark Cavendish had one out before he left school. When can we expect yours? DL: I keep starting to write it and then just get too busy to carry on with it. I am writing a sportive handbook though… FF: Finally Dave, do you read Testing Times? If not, why not? DL: Yes! Many thanks for this sterling interview Dave. I know it was all a bit of a pain - these things pass but are forever in print or on the web. So thanks for your help and cooperation. ●If any reader wants to join Dave’s coaching programme or simply have a power test and inspirational chat, go to www.davelloydcoaching.com It’s a great website even though it’s only ranked number 2,946,869 on the world search engine ranking system or some such nonsense.
Ian Frankly Franklin PAGE 5
Gambling on … the BBAR We may be on to something here. The trouble is that I detest yoghurt.
THE top twelve of the BBAR are pressing their trousers and trimming their sideburns (or is it sideboards?) ready for the Rainbow Room presentations. Some will be young blades, sharp dressers and with thick manes of hair, more settled than in the streamlining summer winds. Most of them will represent the youth of our sport and require little grooming, but some, those who haves felt the annual blow fall more often, will need some more strategic rejuvenation that evening. It will include a snappy, coloured shirt, the combing of strands across gleaming scalps, careful as flower arranging and even perhaps a little eyebrow clipping. As their time comes each will step briskly forward with a firm athlete’s stride. Everyone will admire them for their feats, but the mystery has gone, for we all know how it is done. They explained it in Cycling’s graphic feature in which they turned the spotlight back on themselves and told us all. You will remember the piece that put them in focus and supplied a self-analysis that highlighted their methods, physique and views. Probably those of us who claim to be racing men were particularly interested in the training programmes. Oddly enough they varied to an extraordinary degree, yet arrived at exactly the same result over seven months’ racing, give or take a mile an hour. Which of them can we emulate? Look at the champion Phil Griffiths’ set-up that starts with a complete lay-off until Christmas. Fine, I am right up with him so far. Then, suddenly, in two short, sharp wintry months, he has 3,000 miles on the board, all before my tubulars are pumped up and rust chipped off lamps. Mind you, it is “just a steady 20mph”. ‘Evens’ is steady? With fat where muscles used to be? With snow coming straight from the North Pole? Let’s look at another, Mick Potts, in ninth place, compiled 120-150 miles per week up to the end of the year and 250-350 onwards from January. Quick let’s find somebody else more human.
Anyway, I’m married. What’s that got to do with it? Well, Messrs. Griffiths, Roach and Francis are single, that’s what. When you are on your own you have to eat yoghurt. Probably eaten on the move. Ron Spencer will probably find something like that handy if he is up late in the morning and riding 15 miles to work. Mind you, he has a liking for egg and chips and they don’t come easily to the hand from a musette or saddlebag.
Pete Wood, two positions up, hardly touched his bike until March. Tries to go out whenever possible. Seems a sensible, well-formulated plan, not leaning towards too much hysterical mile-eating. Rather like my own campaign really. So what happened to me? Of course, I am not the same size. He is a chunky 5 foot 8 inches, and I stand another six inches taller, without my shoes plates. Vic Smith and Tom Mullins are also the wrong shape for me to copy. In fact, there isn’t anyone my size in the table, so things begin to look pretty hopeless. Martyn Roach is a little less in height but look at his weight – 12 stones of tough bone and fibre. Compare that with my stripped 13st 4lb that so excites the scales’ needle it quivers for ten minutes. Sometimes, if I stand near the front edge, draw my stomach in and hold my breath, a pound can seemingly shed. But what good is that if Potts, at 6 foot 4 inches has a stone less to drag up hills? Anyway, there doesn’t seem a common denominator in size with the motley crew. It’s in the food, that’s where it is. Runner-up Bob Porter has a diet of apples and cheese, Robin Buchan likes salads, Jeff Marshall prefers casseroles and Graham Mann is kinky about rhubarb. Did he manage a 12-hour on that? Nothing much to nibble on there. Hello, just a minute – Griffiths, Roach and Roger Francis are yoghurt people!
What’s the most important item on their bikes? Gears – that might be the key. Oh dear, the first six have gone all continental with that fancy 54 x 13 business. Translating that into the language that I understand, it is clear that Griffiths is using 112 down the hills. But what about the top gears of the others? Porter, Marshall and Mann with 56 x 14 and Buchan 52 x 13 are pushing 108 along with no-nonsense Pete, Big Mick and Yoghurt Roger, who tell us straight out. See I’ve looked at this chart so long I’m beginning to feel I know them well. Still nothing with which to connect them with any of my disordered arrangements that masquerade as a training plan. Look at their feet! Phil and Bob are in 10 ½ shoes and Martyn is only half a size less! However do I get by with my little 8½s stuck into minute clips? If you want to get ahead get some feet. Anyway, short of consulting a foot stretcher there is nothing for me there. It is well known that summer babies are the more healthy, so let’s have a look. Here we are again. Four of the 12 born in glacial March, among them Phil and Bob, only fives days apart, ignoring the years. Perhaps that is the missing link. Maybe it’s all in the stars. They define the character, aptitudes and abilities of everyone, so the BAR set must be included too. Griffiths is on the top end of Pisces and Porter at the bottom end of Aries. Anyone born under Leo? My birthday is July 25. Not one Leo. Ok I give up.
What’s in a name? The Exocet! The Exocet …the Flying Fish! That’s all. A recent email from Dave (the Boss) prompted me to take a look at TriTalk’s forum and a recent topic on the very subject. http://www.tritalk.co.uk/ forums/viewtopic.php? t=64758 It would seem we’ve upset a few people. An insight into how we arrived at the name might help! (Yet) another of Planet X’s crisis meetings had to be convened in early December when we realised we’d already missed the deadline for the 2010 CTT handbook ad. The team met at a plush design studio in Sheffield … a million miles away from Planet X’s HQ at Carcroft (not in distance but in it’s professional and organised attitude and approach to business … something neither Dave or I are familiar with, so we were taken by surprise and knocked a bit off balance straight away ... ok?). When we arrived, Planet X’s professional Ironman athlete Thomas Hellreigal from Germany was already there discussing a new clothing range with Tim Hubbard (the vastly overpaid … but very nice nonetheless!! ... design consultant). Managing to amalgamate a dozen different meetings into one is something Dave is a master at. To this day I still haven’t sussed out whether this is planned (because he is one of those annoying sods who can do a dozen things at once and still not miss a trick) or if he’s really as disorganised as it seems (unlikely … although it certainly keeps crossing my mind that that might be the case!), but within the space of 20 minutes we’d managed to sort out the new clothing range, draft out 12 pages for the CTT ad, discuss the possibility of doing some sort of deal with Paul and Kathy (take a look
What’s in a name? The Exocet … the Flying Fish … Dave’s favourite take-away down Ecclesall Road at this www.active-vacances.com) AND agree on the new TT frame’s name … which left plenty of time to grab a nice line in cream cheese salad baguettes and a few Guinness’s at the local hostelry before catching the train home. But I digress … the name of the frame! Thomas was sat with Nick (almost as overpaid as Tim) at a computer trying to agree on some colour-ways for his new bike, disc and deep rimmed wheels. It suddenly dawned on us that although we planned to ‘introduce’ the new frameset to the eagerly awaiting British time trialling community in the handbook ad we hadn’t actually decided on its name yet. Thomas suggested ‘Milram’ … (or something similar … a well known wind in the Canaries … apparently!). ‘Mistral’ … ‘Blowing like a hoolly’ … and a number of other possibilities were raised …and ... dismissed. Then someone said “Welcome to Planet X’s new frameset. Not just any old frameset but the XO set.” ( OK…it was me!). I honestly thought XO was the internationally recognised
abbreviation for aero (it’s CX … isn’t it?). Before we knew it, Nick and Tim had drafted the handbook ad and put Exocet … not XOset … CXset … get set go … train set … but Exocet! When we realised what had happened, our joint IQ in the teens figured it wasn’t as bad as it first appeared and Dave’s knowledge of aquatics quickly pointed out that an Exocet was a flying fish … which although not ideal would probably be ok for the new frame if time trialling and global warming continues into the next millennium. He also said he liked the name because it was the same as his favourite take-away down Ecclesall Road (see pic). In any event … we were ‘screwed’ because the ad had already been approved and passed to the printers! In view of the recent furore on the TriTalk forum, Dave has considered reviewing the name. Whether we resort to another of Thomas’s suggestions (wind related again) Father Time…erm…(schoolboy humour here!) Varter Zeit …
GODS OF TIME Sometime back in 2008, when Testing Times still lay in the future, Ian Cammish was writing a personal column for the Planet X website, and in one of them he gave us his list of the top five time-triallists of the last fifty years – names like Engers, Griffiths, Burton were on the list. Obviously Ian had set himself a ticklish problem here, since he could hardly put his own name up there without being accused of fixing or big-headedness. So I thought the first anniversary of Testing Times would be a suitable moment to pay tribute to our distinguished editor, and to assure him that he is definitely on that rollcall of greats. How do you make up that list? Is it personal and subjective, some champion you once saw or rode against and thought was terrific? I think there are more objective criteria, in fact essentially there are two requirements for joining the gods of this sport: first – obviously – you have to go faster than everyone else, you have to break records, not by a few seconds but by minutes, you have to open new horizons for other riders. But secondly you have to keep on winning: one season, one record or one championship isn’t enough, you have to come back year after year and demonstrate that you are the best. It’s like artists, writers or composers: you don’t place yourself among the greats by virtue of one picture, one book or one song, but through an entire body of work. It’s a lifetime’s achievement that only comes through a lifetime’s dedication. On both these counts, Cammish is up there among the gods. In 1983, having already won national championships and set competition records,
by Peter Whitfield
Cammish on his way to winning the silver medal in the 1981 ‘25’ championship. he scaled new heights by putting up times for the 50 and the 100 which no other rider could get near for more than a decade. His 1:39:51 was the first 30 mph 50, smashing Watson’s thirteenyear-old record, on a day when, as Ian recalled, he just seemed to get faster and faster, and when he left the allconquering Dave Lloyd a minute in arrears. That ride was the first strike in a miraculous two-month period, when every time he climbed on the bike amazing things happened – a national championship or a competition record – and none more amazing than the Goodmayes 100 in August. Already competition record holder at the distance, Ian proceeded to blast the 100 record into outer space with his 3:31:53, and this on a forward-sloping steel bike with the handlebars turned upside down. He rode at absolutely even pace, four 53minute 25’s. He doesn’t remember suffering, but he just couldn’t get the pedals round any faster. He broke his own record by almost seven minutes, and won the race by twenty-two minutes. Ordinary riders, mere mortals to whom a 21-minute 10 seemed like a distant dream, searched in vain for an explanation as to how any man could string ten of them together non-stop, one after the other. This was the high-point that won him his fourth BAR title, and although he never went as fast again, there was
so much more to come, and by 1989 he had amassed the unprecedented total of nine BAR’s. His victories in this competition were based firmly on his genius at 100-miling, in which he was unbeatable, taking nine national championships. Indeed there are a few purists who will argue that Cammish is still the 100-mile record holder, since his 1983 time was achieved on an old-style bike, and was only superseded after the aerodynamic revolution of the 1990’s. On both grounds – brilliant speed and long-term commitment – Cammish was in a class of his own. How did he do it ? What was the secret ? Was he made to a different biological formula from other people ? One of the interesting things about Ian is that he has always maintained that he had no special talent for cycling, that it took him several years and a huge amount of work to reach his full potential, and that he had no secret. It’s true that he was no child prodigy, no junior champion, and like all time-triallists, he had to find things out for himself. He had no coach and no family support, and at the age of seventeen he bought himself a second-hand moped to get out to races, riding with his bike strapped on behind. Like other young riders, he would gather around the result board looking at the names at the top of the
list, wondering what it felt like to be winning races or breaking records, and longing to be part of that elite group. He left school after taking Alevels, and trained as a cartographic draftsman, and he has always built his training around his ride to work – twenty miles or so each way every day, summer and winter. But this wasn’t enough for him, and he would often go out in his lunch-hour for a rapid 10 miles or so, or he would go out in the evenings after the ride home, or sometimes both – lunch-time and evenings. All this riding was fast and purposeful, he wasn’t pottering around, and in this way he did arrive – virtually by accident – at his training secret: he was doing repeated sessions, as many as four sessions in a day, regularly piling up 400 miles a week, but fast, much faster than he could have achieved if he’d ridden four 100-mile rides a week. This was his secret, this combination of speed and distance, this is what transformed him from a better-than-average rider into arguably the greatest 100-miler we have ever seen. So this was the physical side: through immense dedication and single-mindedness, Ian made himself the outstanding time-triallist of his era. But like many cyclists he was something of a loner, and he would have to discover that there is also a psychological dimension to being a champion. You become the object of people’s expectations or demands, people criticise you, you are no longer riding just for yourself, you become to some extent public property, you get involved in controversies, and the people who have built you up as a hero seem to take delight in tearing you down, in showing that the god has feet of clay. After his miracle year of 1983, all these things happened to Ian, and he found out that a champion may still be a vulnerable human being. A champion cannot survive without selfbelief, and he would find that all these knocks can hurt you, undermining your self-belief. The first big thing to go wrong was something that still haunts him: the 1984 Olympics at Los Angeles. Selected to ride in the team time trial, he found himself unable to adapt to
same old agony. And the criticism that had started after the Olympics continued: people started saying that his victories had become automatic, that he was killing interest in the BAR competition, that he was a limited rider, a mere time-trialling machine, that he should try road-racing, and so on. Anyone who seriously thought riding at this level was now easy for him should have been at the Poole Wheelers 12 in 1987 to see him battle through the wind and rain to see off his arch rival Glenn Longland, the only man to spoil Ian’s run of BAR victories in 1986.
the joint training sessions, his confidence ebbed away, and at his own request he was dropped from the squad, and flew home demoralised. Everyone in the cycling world was bemused by this, because on paper he looked capable of taking a medal on his own; no one could understand what had gone wrong, and they didn’t spare their criticism. His Olympic selection meant he had missed the 100 championship, thus spoiling his potential run of ten straight victories. Setting about his BAR campaign, he rode a reasonable 12 and then a fast 100 before disaster struck: he was knocked off his bike by a lorry and badly injured. His season was over and he had to lie in a hospital bed waiting to see if someone else would take his title. No one did, but it had been a difficult year: no more records, no easy victories, a lot of criticism and a lot of searching questions. Before that accident, Ian had thought that he would like to take six BAR’s, thus beating the record of his friend and mentor Phil Griffiths, and then ease off his racing. But it was while he was lying injured, wondering if he would ever ride again, that he admitted to himself that he could not imagine his life without racing. He determined then to keep on with it as long as he could, and the record books show that he took his six titles plus three more. But it definitely got tougher, physically and mentally. At 100 miles he was still unbeatable, but he hadn’t quite the old speed that had brought him the 30 mph 50, and the 12 was the
Nevertheless by 1989, after his ninth BAR, he decided to look for new targets, and a pro contract with Raleigh gave him the chance to attack straight-out RRA records, which he did with breathtaking success. His two most sensational times still stand: 1:24:32 for the 50 and 3:11:11 for the 100. Anyone who imagines that these records are unreal in some way should try – even with the help of a big tailwind – averaging 35 mph for 50 miles or 31 mph for 100 miles: even Tour de France peletons don’t move any faster than that. Cammish’s racing career has now lasted an astonishing 35 years. These days he is not unbeatable, but he is still a force to be reckoned with, and in 2008 he finally grasped a prize that had eluded him even in his greatest days in the 1980s: he won the national 12-hour championship. His has been a lifelong obsession with speed that has made him one of the dominant figures in the history of the sport. He is up there with very greatest figures in time-trialling, the gods who have the power to do things that ordinary mortals cannot – to shrink space or stretch time. Sport is essentially ephemeral, but its map is defined by landmarks that are permanent – the championships and the records set up by the greats of any sport, by those who redefine what is possible, who inspire the rest of us, and who will never be forgotten. Anyone can draw up his own list of the greats of time-trialling, but whatever other names appear there, that of Ian Cammish has to be among them.
WHO (goes on the front?) Alfie, Alfie, give me your answer do, Will you ride tandem with me, On the E72? (This could be translated into Welsh but the only bit I can manage is E72) Tandems eh? Do you love ‘em or hate ‘em? I suppose I’ve had a love/ hate relationship with them over the years but I reckon it’s really a question of who your partner is that matters. When you’re going well with a smooth partner it can be the best feeling in the world, knowing that whatever happens you’re going to give your individual times a right trouncing. But, if you’ve got someone who is a bit ‘jerky’, who ‘shoves’ the pedals rather than strokes them and who pulls and pushes on the ‘bars then it can be purgatory. The trouble is that you won’t know until you’ve tried and if they really enjoy the experience it can be very difficult to say that you don’t want to ride with them again. Whatever, my experience of tandems started when I was in the High Wycombe CC around the very late 60’s. One of my clubmates at the time was one Richard Oddy (no relation of the bearded twitcher) who was a colonial (South African I think) and into oddball biking. With various partners ‘Dick’ had ridden quite successfully over the season (and in 1973 established a ‘25’ competition record with R. H. Bennett). Despite this, even though they were happy to have the club’s name associated with the prowess of Dick and his partners, some of my clubmates seemed to consider it all a bit ‘left field’. I, on the other hand, was impressed and when Dick offered me the opportunity to ‘have a go’ in a club 25 I enthusiastically agreed. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for. I remember that the event chosen for the inaugural ride of this newly hatched partnership was based on 2
Eric and Paul riding tandem in 1984 laps of a circuit around the Winkfield area in Berkshire with plenty of corners, hills and narrow roads. Not a DC in sight. No problem I thought. I’m an experienced bike rider, what can possibly happen? Oh, the naivety of it all! As he was the owner of our lengthy short wheelbase steed – and the one practised in the Lore of Tandemology – Dick took the front position. I was delegated to the rear and soon discovered that the ‘Stoker’, as the rear position is jokingly referred to in Tandem circles, does not have a lot of room in which to practice their art. In fact, it was decidedly cramped. However, thinking that it was ‘only’ 25 miles and would be over quickly, I would put up with it and persuaded my then flexible torso to fit. “Just rest your head on my back – and shut your eyes!” Dick laughingly shouted. After a short (to short!!) practice/warm up we were off, down a hill! This meant that I was going at a considerable rate of knots before I’d even managed to familiarise myself with the concept of not being in control of my own destiny. Dick, of course, was in his comfort zone and, with him having all the
controls – including the brakes – I was not! If you think that this was bad enough (and, dear readers, it was, it was!) it started to rain. No, it wasn’t rain, it was a monsoon! It absolutely hammered down. And not only did it rain – it thundered and lightninged!! Lightning was striking the fields on either side of us as we carved our wet and hazardous way through the flooded roads and the smell of Ozone was hanging in the air (in fact a young lad was struck by lightening and killed not 2 miles away. The lightening hit a pen in his jacket pocket – and we were on a tandem!). After the first lap I was starting to feel a bit ‘peculiar’. It was almost akin to seasickness and I realised why. Dick – although being a smooth pedaller – also had a ‘roll’ through his upper body as he pedalled and this transmitted through the frame – and into me. I eventually had to ask him to stop for me to recover my equilibrium and we walked for a couple of hundred yards until I felt good enough to restart. We eventually finished and did a time not far from the hour which, considering
the conditions and our walk, was reasonable and enough to convince me that tandeming was a potentially appealing element of the sport. However, I never rode with Dick again. He didn’t ask me and I didn’t ask him so I suppose it was mutual! Fast forward 15 or so years to when I was now settled in Wakefield. Around the mid-‘80’s tandems seemed to make a resurgence and became very fashionable. Several ‘pairs’ in the club were regular performers and one pair decided to ‘upgrade’ their ride. The machine they had been using was therefore available and, along with my protégé Eric, I purchased it. It was very cheap. The reason for this was that it was a ‘bitza’ – bitza two solos in fact! It was around 22.5/21” size and the frame used for the ‘back half’ had the head tube removed, the lugs split and rewelded around the seat tube of the front frame, and a fat tube welded between the two bottom brackets. Now this in itself would seem to be fine but – it had not been welded up absolutely straight. Viewed from the rear there was a distinct kink at the junction between the two ‘halves’. This made the handling ‘interesting’, especially on fast left hand corners. Right handers were better as this was the way the ‘kink’ went! Chain tension between the front and back chainsets was by means of bits taken from an old rear mech hanging from the big tube and in mentioning the chainsets – none of the cranks matched (apart from length). However, we got on with it and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, even riding a ‘50’ on ‘Boro and finishing with stiff backs and sore backsides from not being able to get out of the saddle, a feat we never mastered together. Did I mention that I made sure I was always at the front? I wanted full control in my hands and anyway, Eric was to young to drive! We enjoyed ourselves so much, not only with riding the machine but with the camaraderie that seems to surround the art of tandeming, that we decided to go for broke and order a new machine. This was built for us by M&B in Dronfield and was terrific. I don’t think I have ever had so much pleasure in my racing than what I did on this
Eric and Paul (or is it Paul and Eric) riding tandem in glorious Technicolor machine. When Eric ‘outgrew’ me and went on to greater things (like Star Trophy road races etc.) I rode with a couple of other clubmates who were also immediately hooked on this facet of the sport. Between us we won a few prizes and generally went several minutes faster than we would have ever hoped to do as solos. Technically there was a bit of a learning curve too. Gearing was up quite a few inches from solo machines. The ‘bitza’ had a 56-tooth ring but for the new machine we ordered a 62 which, with the then new 12-tooth sprockets, made a humungous sized top gear. One of the local ‘10’ courses went up a long steep hill to turn at a roundabout at the top. Going up on 62 x 17 was good training (to say the least!) but coming down we often spun out on the 62 x 12 so we must have being going at quite a lick. I tried to banish from my mind all thoughts of what would happen in the event of a front wheel puncture! We were using Clement 10’s which I was told were designed for tandem use and seemed quite durable. For braking we had Dura-Ace side pulls. Very efficient brakes in their day on a solo and ‘adequate’ on a tandem in the dry – but the next best thing to useless in the wet! I remember riding an event near Derby (before the new road was built) when it poured down and, due to a minor road accident involving a lorry that had overshot a junction, a copper
tried to get us to stop by holding up his hand. Needless to say we were quite incapable of stopping and shot under his outstretched arm with the brake levers squeezed tight against the bars shouting “Sorry!” and hoping he wouldn’t remember us on the way back. In the event we punctured just after the turn so by the time we made our way back to his position he’d gone. He was probably soaked to the skin and wanted to get home at that time on a Sunday morning. Sadly my tandeming days ended in early ’88 due to my illness at the time. The last event I rode before being ill was a tandem ‘10’ near Lincoln which we won. Eric, who was still part owner of the M&B, didn’t want it so, along with virtually all my other kit, it was sold. As it happens, my illness was not as debilitating as originally thought and I needn’t have sold anything but it was to late. What is irritating is that it is still hanging in the garage of the person that bought it, virtually unchanged, and I would be quite happy to buy it back - but they won’t sell. Anyway, I haven’t really got the room now, too many other bikes in my stable, ready for the ‘Old Skool’ series next year. Mind you, even after over 20 years, I still have the urge to ‘have a go’ again if the opportunity should arise – but I’d have to be at the front!
Paul Gittins PAGE 11
My Diary … and my first national record Mr Gittins’ recollections of tandem racing prompted me, once again, to delve into my diaries to see what I wrote about my first ever national record … Saturday 29 May 1976 … Men’s Tandem 25 … 50-58. From what I remember we (Adrian Collard and I) saw the tandem outside a bike shop on Huntingdon Road, St Neots and went halves on it (can’t remember what we paid for it … but it wouldn’t have been much as I was shovelling concrete into moulds at Atcost’s at the time and they didn’t pay that well!). It was a dark metallic blue Dan Jenner, had 6 ½” Chater-Lea cranks and a couple of old saddles which Adrian swapped for two state of the art high-tech Brooks B17s he had in his garage. We got the wheels rebuilt at Les Young’s bike shop down Mill Road in Cambridge. They were large flange 32 / 40 Airlite hubs built into Fiamme sprint rims. Our choice of tubs were dimpled Barum G9 PBWs. We tried using gears once or twice but soon decided ‘fixed’ was the way to go (neither of us were brave enough to take our hands off the handlebars to change gear!). Adrian was the 1973 National Junior 25-mile champion and was now riding the road for Olympia Sport - Simtech with a view to gaining selection for the Montreal Olympics. I was a 20 year old second category road man (soon to gain my fist cat licence though … it was easy in those days) but with a 22 minute ‘10’ and 58 minute ‘25’ to my credit. We had a few try outs before actually racing … one I remember involved me trying to do a U turn on the B660 just south of Kimbolton (not recommended on a 94” fixed gear … big heap in the middle of the road … very funny at the time!). After that,
and a few other trial runs it was agreed that it would probably be best if I stoked … and Adrian steered. The first time trial try-out was a St Neots club ‘10’ on the F1 starting in Little Paxton Lane. We did 20-16 on a gear of 50x14 (96.4”). A week later we tried again, but upped the gear to 50x13. This time we tried two tens, one after the other, without stopping. The first ‘10’ took 19-58 … but we slowed over the second one to record 40-57 for the 20 miles … still on schedule for the 25-mile record which stood at the time to Rennie Stirling and K R McDonald of the Gladys All Stars with a 51-38. Four days later and it was the Century ‘25’ on the F1 … the event we had targeted for the record. In those days the course started in Blunham Lane, joined the A1 and went straight up the A1 to turn (13.1 miles) at Brampton Hut. Adrian’s Dad, Frank, was going to give us time-checks (no Avocets, Cat-Eyes or Garmins in those days) with a view to us doing a 51 dead. It was a cross-tail wind (ok … just a
breeze) out to the turn and we passed the 10-mile marker in 18-35 (this was on 103.9” fixed … on a tandem remember!). Comp Record was on! The return trip was a bit of a slog and I remember thinking that the record was slowly slipping away from us. We rallied though … and finished in 50-58 ... just 2 seconds off our schedule and 40 seconds inside the record. We were national record breakers! To this day, the record is still listed in the CTT handbook (although well and truly updated … several times over). To this day, it still reads A Collard / I Cammish VC Slough!!! (it should be A Collard Olympia Sport and I Cammish St Neots and District!). The tandem was subsequently sold to a certain D Harrison of the Cheshire RC (I think!) who promptly went on the break the tandem RRA 25-mile record on it with JWP West with a 41-24 … although it is believed they might have upped the gear a tad!!
Ian Cammish PAGE 12
An insight into … Richard Prebble surpass, my 2007 form which hopefully I will achieve with the help of Helen Carter at PB Science.
Full name: Richard Prebble Height? 1.94m Weight? 81kg
Current bike? Pinarello Prince (road), Pinarello Montello (TT), Pinarello Paris (training), Pinarello Sestriere (winter).
Place of residence? Farnham, Surrey Married or single? Married Current team? CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta
Campagnolo or Shimano? On Pinarello frames? - it's got to be Campagnolo.
Most memorable moment? No one particular moment stands out but some of the holidays we've had in exotic places are very memorable. Most embarrassing moment? Approx 19 years ago - having a directional misunderstanding with a friend at a roundabout which resulted in him falling off and breaking his pelvis. Who was your boyhood hero? Bernard Hinault Favourite musical group or singer? REM, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, John Frusciante Education? Mechanical Engineering degree What is the most trouble that you have got into? With my girlfriend (now wife), Jillian, when I neglected to tell my parents that she was moving in with me. They rang to speak to me mid-week and she answered the phone and had to explain why she was there. Current job? Engineering Consultant with Atkins Biggest influence on your career? Probably my father who was a key factor in my decision to go into engineering. Current make & model of car? BMW 5-series Best ever car owned? TVR Cerbera 4.2 - I owned it for 5 years and still think they look fantastic whenever I see and hear one on the road. Worst ever car owned? See above not the worst but sometimes the most frustrating. However, when the niggles were sorted out it was the best car in the world! Favourite TV show? Top Gear
Favourite piece of cycling kit you own? All my Assos wardrobe. Favourite piece of cycling kit you would like to own? The new Pinarello Dogma Carbon.
Richard Prebble, as stylish as ever, during a Ruby Reject round in 2009 Favourite Film? Pulp Fiction Favourite drink? Tea Favourite food? My homemade muesli or fresh homemade bread. Pet hates? Lack of attention to detail, spelling mistakes. When did you start cycling? My interest in bikes and cycling started at about the age of 12. At school there was a strong cycle touring club and we used to go on youth hostelling weekends in North Wales then progressed to a couple of week long tours in France at Easter. I didn't start competing until my final year at university. First race? I probably did a couple of club events that I can't remember but my first open race (and win) was the Severn RC 2-up '25' in March 1989 with Dave Redding on the A38. First race win? See above. We won with 58.27 and won £5 each. Best race win? My first National TT Championship ‘25’ in 1994, although the Jock Wadley Memorial road race in 2007 was also a very satisfying win.
Is there anything that you would change throughout your cycling career? I sometimes wonder how much better and successful I could have been if I had the knowledge and access to coaching facilities I have now when I was at my best in the mid to late 90s. I never did intervals or any structured training to speak of training just consisted of riding hard. What advice would you give upcoming cyclists? Don't worry about having all the latest kit, just enjoy riding a bike and be dedicated in your training. What couldn’t you live without? Muesli and a bike. What other interests do you have? The usual 'bloke' stuff - cars, music, DIY and having nice, relaxing holidays. Who would you share a desert island with if marooned & why? My wife, so she can do the cooking (which she is extremely good at!). 10 years from now you will be………? 52, and hopefully approaching retirement with good health.
Gavin ‘Goodman’ Hinxman
Most impressive EVER time trial? Ian Cammish’s 3-31-53 ‘100’. ;-) Aims for 2010? To get back to, or even
The ballad of Mick Ballard When your cycling career starts back in 1957 at the tender age of 14 with a '25' of just 1:13, you either stick with it or find another pastime. Mick Ballard stuck at it through the 1950s, 60s, 70s finally finishing in the 1980s. How many short distance time triallists can look back on a career like that? It all started with that 1:13:26 in 1957 on a 72” fixed with a couple of stops for a rest. Not the best of starts but, hey we all have to start somewhere! Mick carried on into 1958 using the same method: in an early season '50' he stopped in a transport cafe for some tea and toast, then came home with a 2:33:49. He had to leave his spare tub as a deposit for the tea. The thing is he had wintered well, having done more than 2500 miles in the company of Sid Phillips, a fine rider in his day who had finished well up in the BBAR. In addition he rode 24 miles a day to London, where he worked for a leather trading company, add that to the 200-mile weekends with Sid and the Kent Road Club as well as some cold winter rides in the evenings after work in January, and you can see where his fitness came from. Incidentally, the top tip in those days was to wear pyjamas under your cycling clothes to combat the cold. There was none of this warm-garageon-the-turbo lark in them days! He soon found out that this mileeating just didn’t work for him. All it did was to leave him shattered. He still tried to race without the success he had hoped for so he packed for a time. After a while he came back to the sport to do a few good ‘25s’ around the 1:1:00 mark. Mick had now realised he was never going to make it as a long distance cyclist. He greatly reduced his cycling, just riding to work some days with some evening rides on the others – there was nothing scientific to his approach. Then he cracked it while riding a ‘25’ on an 81” fixed. He beat the hour for the first time with a time of 59:51 but the next time out went four minutes slower! Again he packed up in disgust
A classic Ballard shot aboard his white Ken Bird. thus ending his 1958 season. Before he packed he had a crash that damaged his knee. His doctor said if it hurts, stop cycling but he didn’t and the knee is painful to this day. It caused him problems for the rest of his racing career. More improvements During the following season, 1959, he started to move towards the upper echelons of the sport, beating the hour on no less than 16 occasions with a best of 58:15 on the day that Alf Engers’ 55:11 broke competition record. He did these rides on a diet of riding to work and the traditional evening chaingang tear-ups. In 1960 he didn't disappoint either with another dozen or so rides under the hour. By now his best 25mile time was 57:37 and a good ride of 58:23, just a fraction slower than his best at the time, gave him 11th place in the national '25' championships, one place behind a certain Barry Hoban. In 1960 he also discovered grass track racing - there are not many time triallists who have won more than 60 events on the grass. If he thought it was looking good so far, it was about to get
a whole lot better as 1961 really was the breakthrough season. He had now joined the West Kent RC and was getting faster too. With five ‘56’s recorded and a best time of ‘55’ he was now moving towards the top of the short distance time trial scene. Mick rates his 10th place in that year’s ‘25’ championships as his best ever ride in the nationals. But it’s a placing that could have been even better given the circumstances surrounding the ride. He’d got a lift up to the event at Gailey near Birmingham but on the way the driver got lost! Arriving at the event HQ at 5-45am gave him no time for a warm up but luckily just enough time to put his bike together. He was off at number 5, 6-05am; 2 minutes in front of him was Peter Gordon, the legendary young international roadman, whom he caught at around 10 miles. He carried on at this rate to be the first rider to finish, ending up with a time of 57:13 for a final placing of 13th just a few seconds behind Robin Buchan, but in front of names such as Alf Engers, Barry Hoban and Dave Bonner.
That 1961 championship event proved to be a breakthrough in time trialling as it was won for the first time on gears by John Woodburn in a time of 56:01. Mick had used an 82" fixed, largely because his hero at the time, Ken Craven, used that very same gear. (He has a few heroes within the sport, his greatest being multiple Tour de France winner Jacques Anquetil - a rider he had the privilege of following in a continental time trial.)
planes and military history and equip- for the Tooting BC he finished 38th in ment. He has a library of more than the nationals with a time of 1:01:05. 1,500 books on these subjects and these days spends much time reading. 1972 saw Mick back in the West Kent RC, but the season got off to a bad start So we move into the 1970's. After 5 with knee problems again. He now years away from the sport he is en- worked for The Solicitors Law Society ticed to have another go while waiting in London selling computer systems to for a bus outside Bird Brothers’ shop solicitors and accountants which was a in Welling. He was approached by good career and gave him plenty to Ken Bird about yet another comeback think about. This career encouraged a and looking back over his past racing good social life which Mick enjoyed to the full - he would think nothing of having a lunchtime pint throughout his racing career in the 1970s and 80s. Due to his new job he could no longer ride to work but travelled by train or car. Another of Mick’s interests outside the sport was fast cars and he has a car history that would make even the presenters of Top Gear jealous. He has, at various times, owned a Mini Cooper, Lotus Cortina and an Escort Mexico but this kind of speed got him in trouble with the law and a succession of offences won him a disqualification. However the love of fast cars carried on into the 1980's when he drove an Escort XR3i, an Escort RS Turbo and, until it was stolen, a Sierra Cosworth. New training methods
Ballard’s starting effort at the 1981 ‘25’ Championship The following seasons produced a similar pattern with between 12 to 17 wins each year and some more good rides in the national championships with a best of 7th in 1962 behind Charlie McCoy. He was still hitting the ‘55’ mark time and time again, then finally in 1965, in a season that totalled 17 wins, he lowered his best to a 54:42. Although by now he was in the big league of short-distance time trialling, he had yet to win a title or even make the top three. In the winter of 65/66 he trained hard and had some new bikes ordered but come March he once more called it a day. Upon retiring he had a three year period in the Territorial Army serving in the Middle East and Germany, so cycling was forgotten for a time. One of Mick’s greatest disappointments was that he was denied a career in the Royal Navy but he has retained a great interest in ships, aero-
career - although many would have been proud to have Mick’s record the man himself saw little achievement. The decision was made to have another go and he obtained the best possible kit and embarked on some more hard training. The winter of 1970 was a cold one making base training difficult. However, he lost 14lbs in weight and regained some basic fitness. He put in more than 1,500 not always enjoyable miles, realising you only got out what you put in. Racing started again with a stark reminder of how hard it can be but then not everyone starts racing again in a 2-up partnered by Alf Engers! It made him realise how big the gap in ability was. He held Alf at a length throughout and Alf won with a 58:48 with Mick not even doing a turn in front. The year ended with a personal best of 54:18 and 4 wins. Riding
With the change in career so came a total change in training methods. He followed much the same programme as his friend and rival Alf Engers. Gone were the long rides. He had worked out that the only way to go fast was to train fast, only 1000 miles early season with no rides longer than 60 miles. During the season his training would consist of flat-out 10’s, some as a 2-up with whomever he could find to hang on, others were efforts of 5 to 7 miles mostly ridden on the A2. His speed training consisted of riding as fast as he could … for as long as he could and the maximum distance he ever lasted was about 8 miles. Most of these training rides were on a time trial bike using Clement No 3 tubulars. He didn't see the point of training for 2 hours for a ‘25’. In fact some of his rides were as short as 20 minutes and he never trained in the rain. He now had little interest in training anymore than was absolutely necessary. An article written by Bernard Thompson about Beryl Burton made him realise how little training he did - the thought of riding 100 miles scared him. In fact he proba-
bly only did that much training in a week and that was the way he could retain maximum enthusiasm. Not training in the rain also meant that Mick didn't race in the rain. He just didn't like the state you ended up in when riding in the wet. Then there was the bike. Mick always had the ultimate machine just like Alf. He rode as light a frame as possible, equipped with Campagnolo Super Record components, 24 spoked wheels fitted with Clement No 3s (at times even using No 1s, which was a track tub, resulting in a few DNFs due to punctures). He rode 177.5 cranks with a 57 tooth chainring and a 13-17 block. At times he would use only a 3-speed block leaving him 118"/110"/102" gearing. Mick would never contemplate starting a race with a dirty bike and would spend Friday or Saturday cleaning and polishing an already ultra clean machine. Mick was also a believer in the mental approach, he always felt people didn't build up to an event properly. His build up started on the Tuesday before the event where he would start to think about it at work. The problem that sometimes arose with this approach is that he could be put off for all sorts of reasons; he suddenly just didn't fancy the idea anymore; a change in the weather was forecast (ie: rain for example). He would get criticized a lot but he would simply point out that he paid his own entry fees and was an amateur racer with a full time job so he could do what he wanted - although he still laughs at his record of 20 DNSs in a season!
Ballard moving with the times and a 24” front wheel lo-pro lowed the ‘less is more’ training plan, Joe Mummery, he ran Phil Bayton and John Patston close in the Hainault 2-up with a ‘53’ and Mick doing 80% of the work.
Much shorter winter rides of no more than 40-odd miles followed in the winter of 1972/73. He used the same training methods as in 1972, and a successful season saw him gain 21 wins over 10 and 25 miles but he saved one of his best rides for the national ‘25’. Here he finished in joint 4th place with Mike McNamara in 56:21 only beaten by Alf, Dave Holliday and Ian Hallam. During the season he clocked a best ‘25’ of 53:06 on the E72 from which he was disqualified for riding in the middle of the road. He successfully appealed and was reinstated but never The knee cleared up by August 1972 received the prize money! but it lost him most of the season. He still clocked a best ever ride in the Having met Frank Dickens at Herne Hill, Leeds Wellington event with a time of he now changed clubs to the Unity CC for 53:42 on the V134 one of his favour- the 1974 season. Over the year he won 16 ite courses along with the Q25/8 events and recorded a personal best of course in Chilham, Kent. The Kent 52:38. He also chalked up another two course produced his first ever win. It ‘52’s, eight ‘53’s and three 20-minute is a course that he feels is a true test of ‘10’s. However his ride in the national a rider, it is no dragstrip and he held ‘25’ was a bit of a disaster, especially afthe course record there for many ter starting as one of the favourites. He years. 1972 may have been a short finished 21st, some three minutes behind season but it resulted in 10 wins and Alf’s winning 54:50. 1975 was a bit of an the only race he lost was to Dave uneventful year after another late start, Holliday in a late season Campag Tro- again due to injury and illness. However, phy event. With fellow West Kent he did manage a total of 10 wins. teammate and another rider who fol-
1976 saw Mick riding for the Woolwich CC with Alf Engers as a team mate. He improved his ‘25’ time to 52:23, clocked up 14 open wins and rode four 52-minute ‘25’s, five ‘53’s and a handful of 20-minute ‘10’s. Alf won the '25' championships again, this time on the undulating Farnham-Alton course, proving that he was not just a dragstrip merchant. Mick gained a fine fourth place, but was left to rue as to what might have been have been had he not got held up by a herd of cows through which he had to push his way. The only saving grace was winning the team title with the Woolwich - but it was not the medal he wanted. The National ‘25’ champs in the following season didn't go to plan either with a DNF, but he still clocked up another 16 wins with a fastest ‘25’ of 52:33 and a few more ‘52’s to add to that, plus five ‘53’s and the same number of 20-minute ‘10’s. Magic moment Then came 1978 - the year of that magic day on August 5 when the ‘25’ record went on to another planet with that 49:24, a massive 1:26 beating of the record that Eddie Atkins had only just set with 50:50. Mick had finished
in 4th place 3 minutes adrift but it was only his third race of the year due to more knee trouble which had now been sorted with cortisone injections. He still finished the year with another 12 wins and a new personal best of 52:12 but he was always to look back on that magic day as another ‘what might have been’ episode. In 1979 Mick changed team to the CC Orpington - the club now being sponsored by Ken Birds’ Cycle Centre a shop where Mick would often hold court on his views on time trialling. These views included how the BBAR should be abolished; the maximum distance that should be raced is 100 miles by those who chose to do this; a time trial competition should be set up along the lines of the Campag Trophy and so on. His views of the RTTC in those days still can't be put into print! The season was not a good one as far as he was concerned, but he still scored 12 more wins, but achieved no personal bests at ‘10’ or ‘25’ miles and he was just outside the top ten in the national championships. [He finished equal 16th with John Woodburn in a time of 57:10 - Ed]. Too many people 12 wins would make a very good year, but we are talking here about a man who had great ambitions and wanted to progress. Mick was always convinced that he wasn't born with natural talent or speed but he believed that it can be trained and if he can get to the top so could many others. His view is that it has to do with just how much they want it and his theory is the harder you train, the easier racing becomes. This explains his way of training to condition himself to handle pain and gain the necessary speed. Mick stayed with the CC Orpington for the 1980 season, adding a couple more wins to the 1979 total but again finishing well down in the ‘25’ championships [He did a 56:10 for 29th place - Ed], but nearly won a medal in the 100km team time trial title race! Yes you are reading correctly, he actually rode 100kms or 62 miles! Of course, there is a story behind this. He was persuaded to ride to support his teammates Derek Cottington, John French and Paul Woodman. At half distance they were in third place at
...now complete with skin-hat which point Mick was thinking of dropping off but to his disappointment Woodman beat him to it. Knowing that the time is taken on the third man he had no alternative but to stick with it, not only racing the furthest he had done for years but with a heavier workload too. However it was not to be and the team lost the bronze medal to the Edgware RC, which included a certain Ian Cammish, by 7 seconds. Upon finishing, a totally shattered Mick gave one of his quotes “I always thought that after 30 miles you rode off the edge of the world”. There was a new kid on the block in 1981 in the shape of Martin Pyne who won the ‘25’ championship with Mick back to his best and in fifth place. He had now rejoined the Unity CC and with the new-fangled skinsuit came the essential new piece of kit: the skin hat. A good season was had with an increased total of wins to 17 and new personal bests of 51:48 and 20:24. At 40 years of age, Mick was now back in the groove. 1982 and 1983 followed a similar pattern too, with many ‘52’s and ‘53’s, some done on days when people showed total amazement how anyone could go that fast. He showed them how it was done in classy fields
in Essex and Cambridgeshire as well as his local Kent courses and by now he was also the king of the A2 courses where he was hardly ever beaten on roads he trained on, showing many a big name visitor his back wheel. Controversial As ever, Mick retained strong views about the sport. He was quoted as saying that despite racking up many wins “I've always been 60-90 seconds behind the best 25 milers”. These riders were people like Charlie McCoy, Dave Dungworth, Alf Engers and now in the early 1980s Martin Pyne but he felt that they were true amateurs, working a full week and then racing. He used to get wound up about racing against people who didn't work for a living which was becoming more prevalent in the late 1970s and even more so in the 80s. He even suggested in a letter to Cycling Weekly that these riders should have ‘DNW’ against their names. It caused quiet a stir at that time as it was in the era of the likes of Dave Lloyd and Darryl Webster – at that time Mick would tell you that
he was getting passed his best. Throughout his career he always got his points across with good coverage in Cycling back in the days when it was a real magazine with top articles by Mick Gambling and the late Bernard Thompson. Even back in the 1960s he would pop into Cycling’s office and have a word or two with the then editor Alan Gayfer. He was a colourful character who could always provide a good quote or two. As his racing career was nearing its end he did what he regards as his best ever ride, and it was not over his favourite 25-mile distance. On a hot August Saturday afternoon in the Sydenham Wheelers ‘10’ on the Q10/19 he became the first veteran to do a 19 minute 10-mile time trial with a 19:59 (on a traditional bike bike drop handlebars bars!) which at that time was
also the season’s fastest at the distance. He also became the fastest veteran over a ‘10’. He had previously held the record with a 20:22 until it was broken by Roger Iddles. He planned the record ride as you would expect of the man, scheduling to do every two and half miles in less than 5 minutes, but started too fast and when checked he completed the first quarter in 4:24 riding gears of 119”, 110” & 102”. He mostly used the 110” riding a low-profile machine and carried on with the rapid pace until up at the end. Yes, he stopped the clock with his own magic ride of 19:59 when only a handful of riders had dipped below 20 minutes, these being riders of the quality of Dave Lloyd, Sean Yates, Dave Akam and Martin Pyne to name a few. He followed this up with a win in the next morning’s Unity ‘25’.
He carried on for another few more seasons notching up between 6 and 15 wins a year to finally call it a day in 1988 having recorded some 259 wins between 1971 and 1988. This was by all accounts an impressive figure for someone who didn't really start racing until April each year and only rode an average of one event per weekend. In total he had 345 career wins which works out to around 13 a year - and don't forget he didn't do rain and liked to have a few DNS's to keep it real. In conclusion Mick Ballard was a cyclist who was, and still is, held in high esteem by many people despite never winning a national title. He is a true ‘25’ mile legend and. to quote the man himself, ‘I nearly made it’
Lee Turner aka Dr Assos
r e t t it Which team rider turned up at a club run on his winter bike complete with lights, mudguards, saddle bag and disc wheel? If he’s to be believed, he was told to test the new product to destruction by PX Boss Dave Loughran. Mr Loughran is not a popular chappy with the club-folk that found the going a bit on the fast side on that particular club run.
Which (very) fast 10 miler emailed Testing Times to ask if we could run an article on him? Which equally fast 10 miler (ok...it’s the same one) was told to write the article himself and we’d print it? Which 10 miler obviously can’t spel … becos we havn’t hurd from him sinc! We’ll print it if you write it :-)
Anybody else been finding the recent cold snap a bit hard to handle? After a pretty low key 2009, Ian Cammish (now a full-time time triallist believed to be stacking in 700 miles a week + evening weight training sessions to boot) had to pull out his turbo trainer when heavy snow put a stop to his relentless mile-eating. Take 1 … 5 minutes warm up. Then, two minutes into the hard 10 mile session and the Turbo’s ‘L’ bolt breaks. DNF! Take 2 … change of Turbo to older Tacx version. No need for warm up … still sweating with rage having to DNF first time around … switch bikes etc. Second 10 mile session gets underway. Less than a mile later it suddenly gets very hard going. A quick look down suggests something’s amiss. Broken rear hub axle. DNF … number two. It’s not meant to be. Showered … then sat down to drown his sorrows with a pint of Vodka and Orange with some Christmas chocs.
Which Planet X sponsored rider was summoned to help out man the switchboards in the lead up to Christmas and got overly excited talking saddles and shapes of bottoms with very lovely lady customers?
Which team rider out-psyches his team-mates by offering them lifts to events then secretly turns their heated seating up to gas mark 10 before turning the conversation round to the fever that’s recently been hitting the bunch?
NEW PRODUCTS … Paul Hyde road tests Planet X’s new for 2010 mega-deep tt wheels
Hyde road testing the Doughnuts around the appropriately banked sides of his impeccably enamelled bath. Photo by Phoebe Testing Times’ very own 23minman Paul Hyde’s dreams recently came true when a nice big box arrived on his doorstep. Having heard that Hyde had inadvertently shut his van’s door on his Corima disc, Testing Times’ Editor at heart, Ian ‘I’m all heart’ Cammish had arranged through his contacts at Planet X to make a pair of their new VERY deep section time trial wheels available for Hyde to road test. At (yet) another of the management’s liquid lunches, during which many suggestions for an appropriate name for the wheels were put forward (as is the case with any of Planet X’s new products … frames included!), the wheels were christened … Doughnut Discs. Many toasts to their future were made … probably a few more than was in the Company’s and customer’s interests are concerned if the amount of subsequent cock-ups in the picking, packing and dispatching department are anything to go by! And so the wheels eventually arrived in
Kent. “I can’t believe how lucky I am. I used to test products for that very nice man Ron Kitching in the early 90s you know. I was given one of his Lollipops to try [brightly coloured disc wheels called Lollipop discs because they looked like … well … lollipops. I never tried to blag one because I didn’t like their name. Honest! - Ed.]. Between you and me … they sucked! “Then there was the time I helped out Ian Cammish in another of those 12 hour races he starts but never finishes. While I was waiting for him to pack, I was working my way through his race food and came upon one of those PowerBar jelly thingies. It was lovely … so much better than the SIS ones. Anyway, Cammish put me on to Kevin Milnes at PowerBar and I was asked to test some of their products in return for feedback. To this day, me and the Mrs still breakfast on Frosties
“We make them because we can” was Planet X’s response to the question ‘why make a 101?’ Only just managing to scrape inside the CTT’s limits for front wheel use in domestic time trials, the 101 proved to be an unqualified success. Encouraged to produce something even more outrageous as a result of the incredible publicity emanating from Brad Wiggins’ use of something only marginally deeper, Planet X has decided to push the boundaries still further and go for something completely bonkers / useless / unrideable (delete where applicable) in the form of its new Doughnut Disc. Paul Hyde, Planet X’s 23minman from Kent has had some of the prototypes for testing ... covered with PowerBar vanilla jelly thingies … the product certainly speaks for itself if my performances in the world of domestic time trialling are anything to go by. Lovely!” A few weeks after receiving the wheels, Hyde, renowned for his good taste, was asked to comment on the Doughnuts. “A bit crunchy to start with and could maybe have done with a bit of jam in the middle. A lot better than the Lollipops though … but maybe not quite as nice as the PowerBar jelly thingies.” Next product heading for Hyde’s sweet-tooth will be Planet X’s Frog’s Bollx (getting a bit like ‘I’m a Celebrity’s Bush-Tucker trials this eh? … they’re Canti-lever brake stirrups BTW! ;-) )
A LEGEND TAKES TIME OUT WITH NOB’S BIOSHEET Another multi-champion who is on the come back trail is Darryl Webster. Darryl took time out to run through my questions. Love him or hate him, Darryl was forthright with his views and was a great talent to behold in the 80’s. We wish him well on the comeback trail and hope he will soon be winning events once he is back in the swing of things. Photos courtesy of Paul Ransom Full name? Darryl James Webster. Height? 5`10”. Weight? How rude! Currently a beefy 13 stone. Old race weight 10st. 4lbs. It was often reported I weighed 9st. I don’t know were that came from but at 7% body fat at 10st 4lbs me finks I’d be in a clinic at 9st! Place of residence? Ickle village called Pencader, nr Carmarthen in West Wales
Darryl late last season after a training ride preparing for his ‘come-back’ kids! Time trialling wise it’s probably the Manx Mountain TT when I beat Lloydy and took the record in 83. Gig wise: seeing Radiohead at Glastonbury in the 90`s at what has since been regularly voted the greatest rock gig ever...it was truly unforgettable! Most embarrassing moment? Leaning on a 12 foot long plate counter on the M5 motorway when with the PMS/ Dawes team in 1988, causing the whole thing to collapse and send literally hundred of pieces of crockery crashing to the floor. That made me blush!
Who was your boyhood hero?
Not currently in a club.
Merckx and George Orwell...not in that order.
Most memorable moment? Biggest influence on your career? Moment? Jesus, that’s a hard one!...I know it’s supposed to be ya wedding and kids etc but it isn’t! There’s so many. Memories, not weddings and
That’s a hard one. There’s a few peeps so in chronological order: my Granddad, Albert Norton, without
whom I’d never have ridden a bike. The members of the Leicestershire Photographic and loiterers section of the CTC, with whom I began cycle riding. Martin Cowling of the Wreake Valley Cycling Club, my first club. Janet and George Basset of the Zenith CC who gave me my first track coaching and remained supportive throughout my career. It was a shame I never got to ride with the Zenith. Bill Duffin, of the Ratae RC...for teaching me how to pedal fluidly. Graham Smith and Dave Edlin of the Bradgate RC, both talked tirelessly with me through my formative years to help me get my training right...and Graham gave me rather a lot of battering as a 16yr old trying to keep up with him. They also gave me casual employment building wheels to make ends meet. Janet and Ian Collins, Lincoln Wheelers, the ex`s parents, who gave me tremendous support from the age of 18 and through the rest of my career. Jack and Nora Fletcher, sponsors of the Manchester Wheelers, without whom I probably wouldn’t have ridden past 1983 and finally Eddie Soens for giving me a kick up the ass when I needed it. There are others to but this isn’t the Oscars … to those above and all those others: Thank You. Campagnolo or Shimano? Used both, pity they don’t work with each others’ gear system. I’ve no loyalty or preference to either; they both work as do many other makes. Favourite musical group or singer? Pink Floyd and Leonard Cohen...but not on the same stage! Educational attainment? Couple of O-levels and CSE`s and various counselling qualifications.
What’s the most trouble you have ever found yourself in? Arrested 3 times for various minor infractions. Convicted twice and charges dropped on a 3rd. That’s as much as I’m saying! Current job? Person Centred Counsellor.
Darryl (right) pictured on his way to winning one of his National 25 titles in the early 80s
Current make of car? R reg Mercedes E300 Turbo Diesel. Married or single? Living in sin with a Show jumping divorcee and her two teenagers. Best TV show? Any documentaries by John Pilger, and Have I got News for You.
Best film? Schindler’s List. Harrowing and deeply moving. Favourite actor or actress? Another very hard one, there’s so many fantastic actors. Vanessa Redgrave and Robin Williams, but another day I’d probably pick others.
International (I still owe the barsteward a punch on the nose) and I’d have forsaken the ‘25’ Champs in ‘85, ‘86 and ‘87 for a chance to have led a team in the Milk Race. Favourite bike you would like to own? Never really had one, in all honesty I can’t answer. Wet shave or dry shave? Wet, soap and water.
Favourite drink? Good cappuccino coffees and Southern Comfort with Ice.
Chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Can I have a scoop of each please Mr? Is there anyone thing you would change throughout your cycling career? Oh blimy, aint hindsight a wonderful thing! Firstly I’d have taken no notice of Albert Hitchin in the 1985 Sealink
Who would you share a desert island with if marooned & why? Jarred Diamond http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Jared_Diamond can’t imagine I’d ever tire of the chat with this world renowned anthropologist, though I wouldn’t want to shrug him.... even after sunset! Favourite clothing material (PVC, Lycra, wool etc...)
Most impressive EVER time trial? Ian Cammish’s 3-31-53 ‘100’. ;-)
Cotton for day wear, silk and lace (but not on me!) in the evenings.
What advice can you give to up & coming cyclists?
Thank you Darryl for your goddamned forthright answers and let’s hope you get to meet Mr Hitchen for that little chat one day. Best of luck for 2010.
Favourite food? Fillet Steak.
Sex, movies and music.
Mix it up … ride everything, road, track, TT, MTB and cyclo-cross & sportives?
Sir Nob of Two Ghiblis
10 years from now you will be…? Living in sin somewhere with no kids around our necks. What can’t you live without?