The CTT Hill Climb Championship is usually won by a specialist or if it’s a longer climb then the roadmen tend to come to the fore but when the CTT 10 Mile Champion wins the hill climb championship it merits further investigation; that’s why VeloVeritas just had to ‘have a word’ with Mr. Richard Bussell (RST-Aerocoach)…
The basics, how old are you, where are you from, what’s your occupation, Richard?
“I’m 27, live in Stourbridge and work as a Postman in Kidderminster.”
How did you get into cycling?
“I got into cycling as a way of losing weight when I turned 20 years-old.
“I started out just doing little loops on my mountain bike but quickly got a single speed road bike and started doing longer distances.”
You rather exploded on to the scene; what were your biggest results before you won the “10” Champs?
“I’ve a had a few wins a local crit races and a few podium places on longer road races.
“Leading up to the 10 champs I had a few wins in open TT’s and recorded an 18:17 on the V718.
“I did a few open hill climbs in 2014 and didn’t do too bad!”
Tell us about your training for the “10” – do you have a coach?
“My training for the “10” consisted mainly of four or five three minute efforts with about 10 minute rest in between each.
“These were done on my local training routes usually up hills. I made sure I recovered properly after each ride.
“I don’t have a coach, I plan all of my own training schedules.”
Your bike was the subject of a feature in the Cycling Weekly – what was that about?
“Cycling Weekly took an interest in the bike I used as the total cost of it was what most of the other competitors spent on their front wheel alone (under £1,000, ed.)
“It was very satisfying winning on such a budget!”
What about that ‘nose down’ saddle?
“Not sure about the saddle, my position was optimized by Xavier Disley of AeroCoach, he knows his stuff!
“Xavi has helped me out with positioning on the bike so I am more aerodynamic and with advice on equipment.
“Also, he’s generally quite knowledgeable all-round – so good to speak to about many different things, for example he had some good tips on pacing for the national 10 course.”
You ride on ‘feel’ – not power, unusual these days…
“I have never used a power meter so it wasn’t even something I was thinking about leading up to the event.
“A lot of people are really surprised but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, I have done enough 10 mile time trials to know how to pace it.
“I have been told I could of ridden faster if I was using one, but I don’t know about that…”
You had an accident early season – the ’10’ was only your fifth race of the year.
“Yes, it was a pretty serious accident.
“I ruptured my spleen at the end of February which hospitalized me for eight days and put me off work and off the bike, for eight weeks.
“Luckily before the accident I had a really good winter of training, so the forced break may have done me good.
“The “10” was my fifth open race, but I had been doing club events and I did a couple of grit races too.”
Do you ride “25’s” and “50’s” – what are your times like?
“I have never ridden a 50 and have done one open 25 event getting second place with a time of 50:36.”
From the “10” to the hill climb – very different efforts.
“They are quite different efforts yes but they are both something I am used to.
“I’ve lost count of the number club TTs and I love riding hills!”
What made you go for the hill climb?
“I have always felt strong riding uphill and I will always training on hilly routes, purposefully hitting the steeper climbs.”
What did you do training-wise prior to the hill climb?
“My training for the hill climb consisted mainly of hill repeats.
“I have a really good local climb I like to use that’s about 13% for a kilometre with a really steep section of over 25% in there.
“You can make a good loop of it, it’s about a three minute climb with a minute minute recovery until you are at the bottom again.
“I liked to do it five or six times.
“What was more important to me for the hill climb was recovery – and losing weight.
“I lost six kg. form the 10 champs to the hill climb.”
Tell us about your hill climb bike – it’s pretty special, isn’t it?
“My hill climb bike is quite niche; there is no other use for it apart from riding up a hill as fast as you can. It’s made up of an aluminium Giant track frame with carbon bullhorns, seatpost and a saddle (97g).
“I built the wheels myself with a Planet X carbon rim on a Novatech track hub.
“With tyres and quick release skewers the wheelset only weighed 1.5kg.
“I Used Shimano SPDSL pedals with leather toe straps cable tied on for extra power transfer and security.
“This meant having to be held up while strapping myself in and then wheeled to the start.”
Have you ever thought about the track – pursuiting?
“No, I have never thought about riding on the track.
“Xavi mentioned it to me a few weeks ago so I may be giving it a go next year, we’ll see.”