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Kyle Gordon – “From start to finish, the Games were just sensational”

"The pursuit was always my main focus and all my training over the past few months had been aimed towards this event."

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Dreams can come true. Ask Highlander Kyle Gordon. When we spoke to him last December, he’d turned in some nifty performances on the track over the winter – his dream was to make it to The Games.

And he did…

I believe there was an element of ‘crowd funding’ in your selection, Kyle  – can you tell us about that please?

“Yeah , once I had been selected and I announced I was going to Oz I immediately had family, friends, neighbours and some local businesses  contact me offering financial support.

“I spoke to RT23 about it and they suggested setting up a crowd funding page was the best option, it was extremely touching and a feeling of relief as the past six months leading up to this point had been very tough financially.

“I’d like to thank everyone that helped me out, without your help and support it would not have been possible.”

Some parties had negative opinions on that; are you happy you did enough to quieten them with your rides?

“Well, Ed you can’t please everybody.

“The lovely messages I got of support, before, during and after the games outweighed any negative opinions.”

Kyle Gordon
Kyle was happy with a top ten in the pursuit. Photo©Phil Walter/Getty Images

The pursuit, ninth – 4:18:494 – tell us about that.

“The pursuit was always my main focus and all my training over the past few months had been aimed towards this event.

“Leading up to the games I had been building strength in the gym and working on 108” gear which I was comfortable on, just seven days before the Individual Pursuit I picked up a really bad cold in Sydney and was forced to rest and get better.

“I was beginning to panic the closer we got to competition as I wasn’t feeling any better, thankfully by the Wednesday (two days prior) I was feeling healthy again. I went to the velodrome on the Thursday to do my pre-race activation and the sensations just weren’t right on the 108” gear.

“I spoke to SC Head Endurance coach Mark McKay and I made the decision to drop down to 106″ – a little anxious as all my testing and training for IP has been on the 108” leading up to this point.

“On race day I followed all my race day routines and was really excited for the first event. I got in that start gate looked down the track and couldn’t believe everything I had worked to wards was finally here. My biggest problem in the past was getting carried away in the first half by going far too fast, so to avoid this I made sure I was so focused in controlling my effort as I was so desperate for a top 10 finish and a PB , thankfully I got both.

“The decision to drop down my gear definitely paid off it felt so nice and controlled… until the last kilometer where serious pain and lactic kicked in. I was so happy for the five-second personal best and my final placing in top 10!

“That’s 18 seconds I shaved off my pursuiting time since going full time in September.”

Is there more speed to come in the pursuit for you?

“Yes for sure, looking back at my pursuiting video there’s still so much to improve on; my form, my starting, holding the line, etc. can all be made better.

“But also strength-wise, my strength coach Paul Coyle has told me there are still massive gains to be made in the gym, which is nice to be told.”

Scratch race  – 11th place, happy with that?

“A top 10 would have been nice of course but I’ve always said as long as I cross the finish line and have got everything out I’m always happy.

“With the very small amount of bunch racing experience I have I was delighted to get through the qualification heats in both scratch and points.”

Points race – 20th spot but with Mark winning that must have been a wonderful experience?

“This was always going to be a tough race and I’d been dreading it all week, it was fast and furious at times the pace was nuts!

“With 20 laps to go I got terrible cramp and had to swing up to spin it out I lost two laps and the little points I had gained but got stuck back in to finish.

“Seeing Mark do what he did was very special; I’ve watched the whole race over a few times and still find myself shouting “COME ON MARK!” He’s a great friend and fully deserved the win.”

Kyle Gordon
Kyle rode the time trial on less-than-optimum preparation. Photo©Phil Walter/Getty Images

The time trial – 27th but all your training would have been for the track?

“Aye, all my training was for the track but I had hoped I’d carry some kind of form over to the time trial and do better, but you can’t have it all.

“I’m sure if I’d spent more time training for the road events I’d do better but then my pursuit would have suffered and that was my main focus.

“We only had a day and a half between the points race and TT and I just wasn’t recovering.

“By the time I finished my power was down 50 watts on what it normally would be for similar distance.”

The road race – DNF; was your starting the event just because you were ‘there anyway’?

“Did you have to bring this up Ed? Haha, I’m not a road racer by any means but it was good to give it a go and we had amazing Scottish support at the road side.

“The DNF wasn’t by choice actually – the group I was in was pulled out by officials, otherwise I’d have kept plugging away if I had been allowed!”

I believe the conditions for the time trial and road race were pretty tough – with wind and heat?

“The conditions were tough yes the wind not too much of a problem as we’re used to it up north in Scotland but the heat I was never prepared for.

“I was cooking, especially on the climbs – they were outrageously steep!”

What was the highlight of The Games for you?

“Being there and experiencing the Games as a whole!

“From start to finish it was just sensational, to be part of such a great team of guys and gals who were all brilliant craic and always full of sound advice when I needed it.”

Any ‘lessons learned,’ preparation and equipment-wise from being around the English and Australian squads and their ‘marginal gains’?

“I learnt a lot from our own guys, lots of race preparation techniques, pre-race routines which I’ll continue to use going forward.

“I noticed Dan Bigham’s really nifty carbon extensions and I’ll need to speak to him nicely about them – they look fast!”

Kyle Gordon
Kyle suffered a puncture in the time trial but doesn’t blame his placing in losing time because of it. Photo©Phil Walter/Getty Images

You didn’t come straight back from The Games?

“No I stayed with Matt Rotherham for a week on the east coast before heading to see my friend who lives in Perth – you can’t turn down free accommodation, and with my flights all paid to come home I’d be daft not to enjoy the sun.”

Is it ‘back to work’ now?

“I’ll need to work this one out; go back offshore and plod away on the bike, or get a job back home and enjoy the British race scene this summer…”

How is it going to feel going from the cauldron of the Anna Meares Velodrome to riding mid-week ’10’s in the wilderness?

“Good question, and I’m not sure I know the answer… nothing can replace the buzz of the Anna Meares Velodrome, the atmosphere was electric in there but I’m sure I’ll adjust and be content with the odd crofter or farmer’s daughter hurling abuse at me from the road side to DIG IN!”

Are you still with RT 23? and what are the ambitions for the rest of the season?

“Yes for sure.  RT23 have been great to me and supported me the entire way. There’s always someone I’m able to call on the Team when I need friendly advice.

“I need to sit down and work out a few ambitions and targets.

“My training will need to change to focus on the time trials for now.

“I’ve just missed the Scottish ’10’ due to a chest infection but hopefully I can be fit enough for the Scottish ’25’, and the British champs also.

“The track season isn’t far away either so maybe I’ll just keep building for it starting in September with the Welsh Champs , Glasgow Sprint GP , then Scottish Champs… I did mention the Scottish Hour Record to you before – all work in progress!”

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and 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. 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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