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Phil Trodden – From Rugby to Cycling to National Championship Medals in Two Seasons!

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Phil Trodden
Phil Trodden.

“Hey Ed, hope you are well?

“Just thought I’d let you know the Scottish guys are racing Ras Muhman this weekend, a four day over in Ireland. Phil Trodden in particular is riding for Scotland.

“I don’t know if you know Phil, but he is an absolute gent and a proper racer.

“I know you’re a busy man, but I thought that maybe in the future you could do an interview with him. He works full time and is still getting top five placings in UCI races on the track, was so close to qualifying for the Commie Games last year and is winning national B road races such as the Dick Longdragon.

“He’s only been riding road for a couple of years as well.

“Just thought I’d send you a message to see what you think, because I feel Phil has drifted under the radar of a lot of people and maybe needs some attention because he’s working pretty hard, ha ha!”

That was the message from British Points Race Champion, Mark Stewart – best not argue with those trackies, they can get very emotional – so we dropped Phil a line and here’s what he had to say to us …

The Ras Mumham, tell us about the race and how it went for you, Phil.

“It was my second year at the race so was looking to improve on last year’s result.

“I managed it by only the one place but had a much better performance in terms of being in the racing than last year- lots of attacking, lead-out duties and getting my 80kg rig over the climbs with the leaders – lost a bit of time on the last stage getting caught behind a crash which was the only downer.

“I was out with the Scottish Team so our main target was to get Grant Ferguson on the podium, which we narrowly missed out on.

“I really enjoy racing over in Ireland – great organisation, positive racing and pretty challenging courses made for a good trip.

“Plus, we got a few days of training in either side plus the weather was belting to top it off.”

And a stage win in the ‘Balfronde’ – tell us about that, please.

“The weather was miserable which made it a tough day – four seasons in one day.

“The second stage was four laps around a rolling circuit – I attacked across to a break in the headwind then we worked well together to get a good gap. I attacked the group just coming into the town and was able to hold it to the line.

“The legs were having none of it during the prologue and on the third stage so I was happy enough to get second overall.

“John Archibald looks like an interesting prospect- seems he has his sister’s genes so he’s probably be one to watch.”

Phil Trodden
Phil is a natural on the boards. Photo©theRacers

You’re from Perth, but are in Edinburgh now – how have you been welcomed into the Capital’s cycling fold?

“I came through to university in Edinburgh and have stayed ever since; I’d say that the cycling scene in Edinburgh is pretty good.

“I get out in the chain gangs through the summer and the Saturday morning World Champs are always good for a smash up.

“I started off mainly on the track down at Meadowbank getting help and advice from folk there and have transitioned across to the road scene a bit more in the last year.”

You were originally a rugby player; what about this leg shaving carry-on?

“Yeah, I used to play down at Raeburn Place for Edinburgh Accies – I played a few games at Premier One level so was a decent enough player.

“Cycling is definitely the harder sport though.

“The first time shaving the legs was a little weird – I looked in the mirror at these two white pipe cleaners hanging off my body and thought; ‘jeez, this looks daft!’

“I got a bit of stick from some of the lads when I was still playing the occasional game but it seems normal now.”

You work full time – how do you fit in your training?

“I work full time as a Community Sport Hub Coordinator for Edinburgh Leisure so just have to fit the training in around that – some early starts and late nights and lots of time on the turbo but unfortunately that’s the reality of it.

“There isn’t really any funding open to someone like me so although I would love to really focus on the cycling and see how far I could actually go in the sport I’ve got bills to pay that take priority, so the job’s a necessity.

“Edinburgh Leisure has been pretty supportive and allow me a bit of flexibility in working hours if I need to go through to the SC track sessions during the day.”

You’re with Rigmar Racers, how did that come about and what’s the set up like?

“I moved across to Rigmar last year. I originally started out with the City of Edinburgh Racing Club – really enjoyed riding there and it was cool to be involved with a club that has such a strong history in the sport.

“I wanted to do a bit more road as well as track and Rigmar had put together a pretty strong team with Fin Young, Jack Barrett, Ryan Fenwick, Steve Lawley and Ali Rutherford and others …

“I have also had a ton of help from the Watsons [Allister and his son Callum] since I started so I was happy to help them develop their new team.

“Last year the set up was pretty good – we worked well as a team and got some good results, ending up in a good position in the BC team rankings for such a small team.

“We got some great opportunities to ride the Edinburgh Tour Series round on the road and the Revolution Series on the track.

“Unfortunately this year Rigmar have pulled out so we are currently sponsor-less.

“We’re working hard to try and attract another sponsor but it is a competitive marketplace.

“We want to create something sustainable that can support riders to develop and take the next step but at the moment we are just riding off our own backs in the same colours till we hopefully get something.”

You’ve notched up some nice track results – remind us of them, please. Which ones give you most satisfaction?

“I’ve had two BC Derny Champ Bronzes, twice been runner-up in the BC National Endurance League, fifth places at the BC track champs in madison, scratch and the omnium, and a bronze in the team pursuit.

“I’ve had Scottish medals in the points, kilo, scratch and pursuit too.

“I took five top ten finishes in the UCI races through the Revolution Series this winter as well so was really good to compete at that level – riding against some world class guys.

“I’m probably most satisfied with the series as a whole – just getting stuck in and being a part of the racing rather than hanging on. Plus it’s cool when you’re in a points race taking a lap with someone like [former World Champion] Kenny de Ketele.

“So I’ve fitted in quite a lot considering how long I’ve been racing.”

Phil Trodden
Phil has successfully made the switch from rugby to cycling. Photo©theRacers

You ride the Glasgow and Edinburgh Track Leagues …

“Yeah, I ride both the track leagues – Glasgow through the winter and Meadowbank in the summer.

“The standard is getting better in Glasgow, it was a bit dodgy to begin with. I use it for training so smash myself into the ground during the race and then try and contest at the end.

“I love racing at Meadowbank- no better place when the sun’s out and wind’s down. Unfortunately numbers have been falling over the past two seasons – it’s a shame because I learnt a lot from racing there but there doesn’t seem to be the interest anymore; but as long as Audrey and her team still run it, I’ll be there.”

Phil Trodden
Phil hammers over the cobbles at the Edinburgh Tour Series criterium. Photo©theRacers

Twice a Derny champs bronze medalist – how did you get into that niche?

“Mainly through training with David Urquhart at Meadowbank. He has helped me out a lot since I started so we were doing stuff down at the Meadowbank and I decided to give the National Champs a go.

“So that was my first race and got a bronze – not a bad return and repeated that last year. Derny racing is quality – I love the speed and the noise.

“I might have a tilt at the champs this year but Davey’s just had a knee op. so will have to see what his fitness is like.”

What were your best road results in 2014?

“I won the Dick Longdragon last year and got a few top ten’s in various National B’s and did a good ride at the Ràs Mumhan.

“I had only done about three or four road races before the start of last season so last year was about finding my feet on the road – learning the tactics and how to be efficient in the bunch.”

Phil Trodden
Phil loves the intensity of track racing. Photo©theRacers

Have you done many time trials?

“I’ve done one – it’s something that I would like to take a bash at as it would probably suit me.

“I’d want to do it properly though, with the right gear – I don’t have a TT bike at the moment but it’s definitely something I am keen to look into.”

What’s your preference, road or track – and why?

“I would say track but I love racing on the road now for the variety!

“I just like the intensity of the track and how it is stripped down – one gear and your legs!”

What are you looking for out of 2015?

“Just continue to develop as a rider both on the road and track – this will be my third proper season so hopefully will be a bit stronger – and clued up.

“I think the main goal will be the track championships in September – look to try and do well in the bunch races, team pursuit and give the individual pursuit a go to.

“Road-wise it will just be a case of continuing to try and be up there; I’ll try to get to a few of the Premier Calendar and Elite Series races.

“If I can get the time off work wouldn’t mind giving the Belgium kermises a go for a few weeks – although if I use all my holidays on cycling related activities I think the missus will hang me.”

Phil Trodden
Phil leads the string at the Revolution meeting in Manchester. Photo©theRacers

Will you be riding down south much in 2015?

“Yup, I will be heading down south as much as I can to race – trying to take that next step so have got to be exposed to the higher standard of racing you get there.

“The traveling sucks sometimes but it is what it is.”

You narrowly missed selection for the Games in 2014 – the 2018 Games must be a big goal?

“I was training with the development squad last year in the run up to the Games so I was kinda there or there abouts.

“I think if I had got the chances to ride the Revolution Track Meetings’s last year like I got this winter and got the same results I would have maybe been better placed to throw my hat into the ring for selection but to be honest I think the Games were a bit early for me. So I was always a bit of a long shot.

“It was really good to see Mark Stewart get there, and Ali Rutherford shows it can be done with a full-time job.

“It would be grand to make the squad for the 2018 Commonwealth Games – I am on the SC performance plan at the moment and they are putting a long-term plan in place to develop a pool of riders for the Games so hopefully if I can keep improving and working hard then I’ll be in with a shout when 2018 rolls around.”

Ed Hood
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 47 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, a team manager, and a sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days for some of the world's top riders. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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