Pro Vision’s David Griffiths successfully defended his Scottish Hill Climb Championship on the tough Stow climb recently – VeloVeritas caught up with the bearded winner not long after his success to ‘have a word.’
Congratulations, David – you said you were heavier than last year…
“Yes, although only around a kilogram.
“But the fancy Tanita scales I’ve got were telling me I was on a lower percentage body fat.”
And the bike was heavier?
“Yes, this year I decided to use my year-round road race bike – a Canyon Aeroad which is an aero frame.
“I also used deeper section wheels.”
Tell us about your preparation for the race.
“Last year I really focused on losing weight for the race with long fasted commutes and short mealtimes.
“I could manage that as work was easier with 9:oo am to 6:oo pm four day weeks.
“This time I was back to hospital medicine and I found it just too tiring to manage – my build up consisted of 13 hour night shifts and 10 hour day shifts.
“I therefore took a different approach of not riding to work but doing specific six minute all out efforts on the turbo once home which appeared to pay off!”
What did you think of the course?
“I did a recce the previous Tuesday and was initially horrified whilst riding the first section – I’d noticed Joe Agnew had managed over 12 mph average and I was barely managing 9mph for this section.
“I was relieved when I saw that the second half of the course was significantly flatter and I was able to get over 20mph to bring the average up.
“I finished the recce 40 seconds faster than the best Strava time but didn’t upload it.”
What were your average/peak watts on the day?
“They were good!
“I was dismayed to discover that my power meter was reading 10% higher this year and I imagine it was the same for last year also.
“This year after a proper calibration I managed a real 450w for the 5:41; significantly higher than the year previously which I imagine was nearer to 420w.”
You seemed in a bad way immediately after the ride?
“I didn’t feel good on the day – perhaps a lack of sleep due to nerves.
“My power was down on the recce for the first section and I really had to dig deep for the final stretch where I got up to 26 mph and create the winning margin.
“I seem to be able to go exceptionally deep in a hill climb which I suppose is why I’m good at them!”
If you could ride the race again, what would you do differently?
“I am all about the aero when it comes to my riding and figured the deeper wheels and aero frame could play to my advantage.
“However the conditions on the day meant the tailwind was always faster than the riding speed – in hindsight I’d have ditched the silly overshoes and ridden my setup from last year which is around 700g lighter.
“I’d have also have found the time to give the beard a trim – it was looking a bit bushy.
“However it would have just been a trim.
“I’m forbidden by my girlfriend to remove it – I’ve been told I look like a teenage boy without it.
“She was perturbed by your comments in the report Ed and I had the message: ‘You are NOT allowed to shave your beard off just to make those VeloVeritas boys happy!'”
It’s been a long season for you – I recall you and John Archibald riding a 19 minute ‘10’ back in February…
“Yes it has been, although I’m not tired of it – perhaps because I’ve been doing well!
“I always start the season raring to go and was much more ‘up for it’ than most to ride up and down a dual carriageway at full pelt in the beginning of February.
“The fittest I’ve been this year was probably in March after a team training camp where John tore lumps off us.
“Unfortunately there were no races to make use of this and by the time the Tour of the North in Ireland came around I was feeling slightly ill.
“I still managed a decent performance though and it was incredible being part of John’s win, Rich McDonald’s third on GC and winning the team classification in a race we’ve struggled at before.”
Tell us about your team pursuit adventures?
“There’s not really much to say there.
“The first time I’d ridden the track since January was the actual race in the Sprint Grand Prix and it showed – I was keen to go full gas and a big gap opened up in the first run.
“The second time we went a bit faster with more controlled, longer turns but there’s no way we were going to get anywhere near the KGF boys.
“I’d love to give track a good go as I think I’m physiologically suited to it but it’s too difficult to get track time with the job I do at the moment.”
Is that the season over for you or are there still track events to come?
“We’re planning on giving the team pursuit a good go at the Scottish track champs with John and Rob Friel coming into the fold but again may not be able to ride as a full team before the race!
“I’m planning on carrying the hill climb form over for the individual pursuit.
“Before that though are the British Hill Climb champs which I’m about to leave for.
“I’m riding the lighter bike for that one.”
How do you rate your season?
“I’ve done well this year and come away with more national medals than ever before including an individual bronze in the ‘25.’
“The result I’m most proud of may be my fifth spot in the National Road Race.
“Endurance has always been my weak point and I built up to that well with road races the month before and forcing myself to commute to work.
“It was also great to do well with Ella (girlfriend) watching and to be on the attack all day.”
You’re a doctor, is that in General Practice or in a hospital – how do you fit in training?
“Hospital doctor currently – long term I might look to do something like GP to achieve a better work/life balance.
“From December I’ll be working in the Golden Jubilee Hospital with team captain and boss Mr Jason Roberts.
“I’m looking forwards to that if a little nervous!
“‘It’s very difficult’ is the answer – most of my training is just commuting to work and the fitness gained though racing.
“I think I’ve done well during a couple of years where many people’s hobbies fall by the wayside.
“There isn’t much more to my life than work and riding bicycles though!”
I’ve heard rumours Pro Vision is folding after this season – what are your plans for a team?
“News to me Ed!
“I’m not quite sure what the plans are for next year yet but it would be nice to have a setup with a little more support and several sponsors.
“The best thing about Pro Vision Scotland though is it’s just a group of friends that enjoy riding their bikes and we seem to do it pretty well.
“The phrase “success breeds success” couldn’t be more true and having a world-class athlete such as John Archibald in the Team really pushes all of us to be better.”
What are you looking for from season 2018?
“Faster, stronger lighter! If I can find the time to improve my endurance I’d love to win a National B road race and maybe do some Premier Calendar races.
“I’d like to go faster in the time trials and better that Bronze medal from this year.”