The season with Team Mechanic Alex Gidley

Tell us about your experience on VELO as team mechanic this season….

”This season has been a great experience for me.  It has been pretty full on since March with a race pretty much every weekend since then but has been a thoroughly enjoyable year.  I can honestly say ive enjoyed every minute of it.  We have a great set of riders, and from a mechanics point of view they have all been great to work with.”

What has been your most memorable experience?

”Without doubt The Ras in Ireland. It was my 1st experience of a Stage Race and also my 1st visit to Ireland.  Can honestly say it was one of the best weeks away I’ve done. The Country, the support of the local people, the camaraderie between the team itself was one that I will remember for a long time. It was also great to interact with other teams from all over the World which doesn’t happen so much on the one day races in the UK. I’m already looking forward to next year. It was hard work adjusting to the routine especially after the 1st day when I had a bike re build to do after a crash. I was dreading what the week had in store. But I soon adjusted and the rest of the week went relatively smoothly from my point of view.”

Favourite race?

”Any race where the bikes behave themselves really!!!! But apart from the Ras I would have to say The Nationals up in Stockton was a great event. Its always good to be involved at the highest level of the sport in this country and from a Team perspective we had Elliott Porter as the last non UCI rider left in the race and achieving a great result. This was even more impressive after a huge crash in the Ras which hospitalised him only a few weeks before.”

Any funny moments…

”To be honest there has been plenty; too many to mention. As mentioned before the camaraderie between the team is really good and this is fed down from our DS Gabby. Yeah we are here to race and we want to be successful but we are also supposed to all enjoy being together. Without banging on about the Ras again all you have to do is watch some of the videos on the team Facebook page and you will see how the atmosphere is within the team.

Although I have to say I’m glad our lads race bikes rather than mobility scooters!!!!!!!! (Inside joke)”

Anything you have learnt….

”Every weekend I have learnt something. Whether it be picking up on a particular riders needs or wants. A specific technical issue that I know how to resolve quickly or just getting things in order a little quicker to make race days run a bit smoother… There is always something to learn.”

”Also to get my haircut before I hang out of car windows so I don’t look like I should be in a shampoo advert!!” (See the Ras video for the hair shampoo advert!)

A typical race day…

”So typically we arrive at the hotel for the race the night before. The riders each bring their bikes from home and then notify me of any issues they have encountered over the week.  I will then rectify these faults the night before around dinner with the team.

We then make our way to Race HQ in the morning. As well as attaching race numbers and transponders I will give the bikes a quick run through to make sure everything is running as it should. Liaising with the riders I also ensure all the race wheels have the riders preferred pressure in them, this includes the spare wheels that I will have in the car with me for the race.  Then it is time to load the car up with spares, tools and race food and drink.

Once the riders are happy myself and Gabby roll out in the car to the race start to take our place in the convoy. Once the race is underway it is a busy time in the car.  We have race radio giving us updates on the race which I pay particular attention to. I will then assist the DS with ensuring we are on top of the race situation and where our riders are currently within the race. Driving a car in the convoy is a particularly stressful environment so I try and keep on top of everything so the DS can concentrate on the driving. This includes paying particular attention to any riders moving through the convoy ensuring Gabby is aware where riders are around the car.

Obviously I am listening out for race radio to notify us if any of our riders require attention. This could be for a mechanical such as a wheel change or they may require bottles or feeding which I will do from the car once the rider has dropped back to us.

Once the race is over its time to pack everything away, ensuring the riders have all they need before making the long journey South again as is often the case. I then return to my day job before carrying out the same routine again the following weekend.”

 

Alex has been a great addition to the Neon Velo team and we have been very happy having him working along side us. He is a great mechanic and is very thorough. The mechanics job is a tough one and Alex is one of the unsung heroes of the team! The last team race for the team is August 14th- Leicester Kermesse. If you are around Please Say Hi to the team and Alex.

 


6 days in Italy for Marc Potts

Marc has just come back from racing in Italy. The 6 days of  Fiorenzuola (6 giorni delle rose – in Italian).

Here is what Marc had to say about his trip:

”There were 20 Teams in total comprising of two riders each. The racing started around 8.30pm each night continuing until around midnight. The track was lit up by huge flood lights and the stands were stacked full of cycling fans, making the whole experience really enjoyable. There were thousands of people there watching it and they think the riders are all rock-stars asking for autographs and photos in the pits.
The aim going there was for myself and Felix to get some experience in the Madison event as we haven’t raced it before together. One of the events each night was a madison so we got plenty of experience out of the week and also gathered some UCI points that will hopefully contribute to qualify Ireland a madison spot in the World Championships next year.
We had a number of top 5 finishes over the six days and in the end finished up 9th overall against an incredibly strong field. The guys we were racing against have World Championship medals to their names and are going to Rio in less than two weeks to start their Olympic campaigns.
I’ve done a lot of different types of bike races in my time coming from a downhill mountain bike background, through road and now dabbling in the track side of things; I have to say that I rank the 6 days of Fiorenzuola right up there as one of the most enjoyable and memorable events to date. I’m already looking forward to going back again next year.”

Nice riding Marc!


‘Changalang’ ‘Chang’ or Tom Yiangou??!! Learn a little more about him here…

Home town: Chelmsford, Essex

Thai, Indian or Italian: I love them all but it has to be Thai, mostly because they’re the king of vegetarian options.

Savoury or Sweet: Sweet all the way. Fruit is my staple!

Favourite TV show: We don’t have a TV at home, but I sometimes catch up on the good stuff on iPlayer etc. I was a huge fan of Luther and pretty upset when that finished. I’ve actually been watching Love Island recently, it’s strangely kinda gripping. (that is an extremely embarrassing confession)

Favourite movie: Zoolander

Favourite book: The Rider, by Tim Krabbe

Cats or Dogs: Cats! I have two.

Mountains or beach destinations: Beach, to get more tanning gains.

Climbs or descents: Climbs. I fear for my life descending on open roads.

Cav or Sagan: I love Sagan, but Cav is a local guy in Essex when he’s at home and he’s a really nice bloke – so I have to go with him there.

Fav race you have competed in?

Probably the 5-day European Junior Tour in Assen, Holland. It was the combination of amazingly organised and exciting point to point racing combined with some life-long memories off the bike between stages in the town of Assen and at the Wielerbaan campsite. Anyone who has done it will know how fun it is.

Fav race to watch?

It has to be the Tour De France, especially as it’s on now!

Most memorable moment on the bike?

That would have to be winning my first road race and trophy when I was a first year junior a couple years back at the Lea Valley Road Race in front of the family, and also guys that have helped me and coached me in the past. It felt good to do it with that company, instead of just my dad or my mum!

Night in or night out:

Night in. I’m a 10 hours of sleep kind of guy. Although a night out is vital every now and then.

Fav destination you have travelled to:

It’s the South of France, where half of my family live. Even though it’s not the most special sounding destination that I’ve ever travelled to, it’s always my favourite.

Where would you next like to travel to?

I would love to visit and ride in Adelaide, Australia.

A fun fact about you:

Basically everybody that knows me in the cycling community knows me as Chang, I often don’t even recognize or respond to Tom to certain people simply because some of my friends haven’t called me that for about 4 years. It all started with a mate not being able to pronounce Yiangou, so I was named Changalang, which eventually became Chang. Lucy Harper owns all copyright claims.

What is something that not everyone would know about you:

I spend my down time researching and reading up on the focus of my degree – environmental issues and climate change, as it’s something that continues to interest me more and more.

How has your transition to the ‘big boy’ races been? Your first prems?

It’s certainly been challenging and tough, but every one has been a learning curve and something to build on. I have already experienced the benefits or racing them and I really enjoy training for them as it means I can have an extra initiative for the longer, harder rides – unlike last year as a junior where the longest races were 120km. The style of them is unlike anything else – having ridden UCI level races abroad I can fully understand why the UK is notorious for having especially taxing racing!

What are your goals and aspirations?

My goal is to continue improving month by month and to take a big, meaningful victory, on home soil or abroad. You can spend so much time and exhaustive effort coming close in racing, hours and hours in training – and that all makes it so much sweeter when the hands go in the air.

What is your life moto/quote?

“If not free meal” – Lewis Bulley, 2014


A little insight into Jeremy Durrin’s UK racing season so far…

Jeremy moved to the UK for a year to experience the British race scene and to help further develop the team.

Jeremy has been part of the team since 2013 and is one of the driving forces behind the success of the team in the USA. Gabby and Jeremy successfully ran the team in Amercia and ran a professional cyclo cross team.

We talked to Jeremy about his season so far and his experience. But first here is a little quick fire Q&A!

Home town: Fitchburg, MA

Thai or Indian Food: Indian

Savoury or Sweet: Savoury

Baseball, American Football, Basketball or Ice Hockey: Ice Hockey

USA or UK: USA

Favourite TV show: Dexter

Cats or Dogs: Cats because I have a orange cat called ‘James’

Mountains or Beach destinations: Mountains

Climbs or descents: Descents

Cavendish or Sagan: Sagan

Favourite race you have competed in: Tour of Utah

Favourite race to watch: Tour of Flanders

Most memorable moment on the bike: Winning my first UCI cross race.

Night in or Night out: Night in

Favourite destination you have travelled to: India

Where you next like to travel to: South East Asia is on my list right now.

A fun fact about you: I grew up playing competitive golf and baseball. I competed for the Red Raiders baseball team in my home town.

What is something that not everyone would know about you: I have a finance and business operations degree from university and run a background screening business in the US.

Now for the more serious questions!

How has your transition to the UK race scene been so far?

It has been pretty good all be it quite challenging as the level of UK road racing is very high.

What are your main focuses this year? Is the road a focus?

No, I use the road season as preparation for the cyclo cross season. I like to ride for my team mates and help them gain success in the road events throughout the year. My main focus is in September and being on top form for the winter. I hope to make worlds selection and to race well in the National Trophy series here in the UK as well as UCI races in Europe and the world cups.

Tell us how you came about riding for Neon Velo:

I raced for Optum Pro Cycling in the US for 2 years and was lucky to race alongside some of the best riders in the world and do some big UCI races- like the Tour of Utah and Tour of Korea. I learnt a lot. In 2013 I moved to Neon Velo to ride on the same team as my wife, Gabby for the cyclo cross season. Gabby and myself managed the team for 2 seasons and so here I am now racing a full UK road season!! 

What is your life moto/quote:

”Create your own opportunities”

 

 

 

 


Photo Diary- Stafford Kermesse

A mini photo diary from the awesome Paul Wright- www.paulywright.co.uk

It was an eventful race. Young gun Kieran Simcox got in a strong breakaway and represented the team.

Marc, Ollie, and Elliot rode strongly in the main bunch and ultimately the team took 25th place with Ollie.


UCI Podium for Irish Star Marc Potts

On Sunday Marc Potts scored a 2nd place in the individual pursuit in the Dublin track International. This was a UCI event and is Marc’s 2nd UCI medal.

We are very proud of Marc’s performance.

CONGRATULATIONS Marc!

 

NB. Photo credit: Sean Rowe