Evan Oliphant isn’t the only Scotsman who’s been winning races in the US of A. – up-and-coming under 16 rider, Patrick Galbraith recently scored a criterium win in Rocky Balboa’s home town – Philadelphia (what do you mean “it’s just a movie!?)
So what were you doing in Phily, dude?
“It was a school exchange between my school, Merchiston Castle, Edinburgh and the German Town Friends School in Philadelphia. It’s a very traditional school, run on Quaker lines. I stayed with an American family for a month in Mount Airy, which is near Philadelphia. I decided to take my bike with me, to keep turning the pedals – I have a few big events coming up.”
How did you get to know what was going on with the local cycling scene?
“I posted on the local internet cycling forum – it’s a very active biking community there – I got around 20 replies about training runs and races that were happening in the area. The training runs tend to be shorter than we do here, but faster, there are quite a few pros live in the area – including guys who ride for Toyota United – so it’s fast.”
So what about your win?
“It was a memorial race at Lower Providence. There were crits for all levels of riders – right up to pro level. I would like to have raced before then, but it took a while to sort out my race insurance with British Cycling.
“Eventually my dad got it organised and he emailed me to let me know that it was OK to race. There was a big turnout across all the categories, people just accept that you have to travel big distances if you want to race and there were riders from a lot of different states there.
“I was originally going to ride the 13-14 category, but the riders who were in that all seemed really small and I thought I’d better ride in the 15-16’s to get a more competitive race. We started with the 17-18’s; so all told there were about 60 riders, half in my category, half the older guys. The gear restriction was 53 x 15, so it was pretty fast.
“The trouble was that I didn’t know who was who as far as the age groups went. I tried to get away, but it was hard to get a gap, with the speed. Eventually it came down to a sprint and I got third or fourth overall, but I won my category. The prizes weren’t bad either.”
So how about the US scene compared to Scotland?
“There are plenty of races, but they tend to be shorter and faster than here – that’s reflected in the training they do. It’s clearly a different sport over there, more middle class: even the youngest riders have the best of kit.”
What’s next on the agenda?
“I have the Isle of Man Youth Tour, which is four stages over three days; the Kerry Youth Tour in Ireland – which I won last year – then the British Track Champs at the end of July. My preference is the road though, particularly stage racing.”
What will you ride at Manchester?
“I’ll ride the under 16 points, scratch and pursuit; I was 11th in the under 14 pursuit last year, so I’d like to improve on that. I’ve also got the under 16 criterium championships coming up, they are at the end of June.”
Is the eventual goal a pro career?
“Ultimately, that’s what I’d like, but I wouldn’t like to be one of those guys who ‘almost makes it’ – I wouldn’t want to be racing in Belgium in the pouring rain and not getting any results!”
I wanted to conclude the interview by educating Patrick about the 70’s Philadelphia soul music scene; Harold Melvin, Teddy Prendergast, Billy Paul – but despite his obvious interest in the subject, he interrupted me to tell me that he had the chain gang at 6.00 pm and had to dash, ah well…
1. Patrick Galabraith (British Cycling)
2. Matthew Baranoski (Cycle Sports/Zaveta Construction)
3. Juan Carmona (Young Medalists Cycling Club/Team Dual Temp)
4. Charles Hanlon (Guys Racing)
5. Zachary Semian (Young Medalist)
6. Jeff Alpert Young (Medalists/Team Dual Temp)
7. Ryan Clune (Team Vortex/Vortex Cycling Club)
8. Nick Roeder (JVR Sports)
9. Charles Romanov (Human Zoom/Pabst Blue Ribbon)
10. Calan Farley (Young Medalist)