Scottish cycling’s super fan and grass track aficionado, Harry Tweed posted some pics of a gentleman named Cedric Sachet racing on the grass track with a bottle cage and Garmin at Ceres Highland Games, the other week.
Purists like me were horrified.
The plot thickened when we discovered that said ‘gress man’ was French and has the bottle cage and Garmin because he cycles to the Games – sometimes riding four hours to the venue before racing.
The next thing, the ‘French boy’ wins the Sam Robinson.
Upon checking said Frenchman out it transpires he was also seventh in the Corsica Bikingman event, a mere 700 kilometres in 37 hours around that mountainous island.
“We best have a word with this fellow, Monsieur Sachet” we thought to ourselves…
A little information about yourself s’il vous plaît, Cedric?
“I’m in Glasgow to do my PhD in Geophysics at the University of Strathclyde which will finish in October.
“I’m single, 26 years-old, and have lived in Glasgow – The New Gorbals – for three years; in France I lived in various places, including Nantes, Strasbourg and Aix.
“It’s a complicated subject but my side of it, among other things, involves the safety of harbours, jetties and piers.
“I don’t know what comes next, right now my focus is on completing my PhD; I have applied for jobs but it’s uncertain what I will be doing after October.”
You’re a Johnstone Wheelers man; how does Scottish club life compare to the French equivalent?
“I joined the Johnstone when I first came to Scotland and have seen no reason to change although I rode the criterium series with the Dooleys club – that was a nice experience.
“Scottish club life is scarcely comparable to French – there are more youngsters in France, the rules are less complicated and it’s easier to enter races which are on closed roads and have much bigger fields – 150/200 riders – and there are more of them.
“There’s also a lot more sponsorship, even a small club will have several sponsors.”
How did you get into grass track racing at the Highland games?
“I heard about it, saw some pictures, became interested and spoke to Harry Tweed who gave me all the information I needed.
“I rode on the track and in cyclo-cross at a decent level in France so thought that it might suit me.
“The first time I rode I was on road tyres, it was raining and I was skidding a lot, despite lowering my tyre pressures, the other guys thought I was crazy but I enjoy when it’s ‘skiddy’ – it’s a lot of fun.
“The Highland Games are something new for me and a good way to understand and integrate with Scottish Culture.
“I have better tyres now too!”
And I believe you cycle to the grass meets?
“Yes, I ride tubeless gravel tyres, it’s fun; not just the racing but getting there, seeing parts Scotland I perhaps wouldn’t otherwise – and I’m training for endurance so it’s good preparation for me.
“It’s been good riding in Glasgow, understanding the city and riding around Scotland to understand the place and the culture – as long as you have good tyres and a good saddle!”
The Sam Robinson victory?
“I’m in pretty good shape on the bike; because I have to finish my PhD on time I decided I had to be more efficient with my time and now I have a good way of life, using my time correctly to get good sleep, train and work on my PhD.
“Previously I had a girlfriend in the south of France and wasn’t using my time to best advantage, when we split up I decided to get a personal coach to help me get organised and get the best from myself.
“I got in touch with Matt Hill, his philosophy is very simple but effective – good food, plenty of sleep, train well and pace yourself.
“We’re all human and have weaknesses but this year I have more maturity and stability which is showing in my results.”
Have you ridden any time trials?
“A friend in the Johnstone lent me a time trial bike but it’s not something I’m into – I’m more of a sprinter/climber who likes tactical racing and hills.
“I don’t have the kind of sustained strength you need to be a good time trial rider.
“I’ll be riding the Scottish Road Championships and enjoy the track too; I was leading the Scottish Omnium Championship until the last discipline where my disc wheel broke.”
Tell us about The Bikingman Corsica.
“I rode at Division Two level in France and wanted to get back into road racing but there are not so many road races in Scotland.
“I wanted something to motivate me, heard about endurance races and decided I wanted to do one – I discovered the one in Corsica, which is 700 kilometres, and began to prepare for it.
“I began to train in earnest for it and went to Tenerife to train but broke a rib some four weeks before the event, which curtailed my training, I had to have three weeks off the bike so I was only on the bike for one week before the race.
“This meant that physically I wasn’t at my best but mentally I felt very strong.
“I had great support during those 37 hours which were the toughest but perhaps best 37 hours of my life.
“I’ve entered Bikingman Portugal in September, that’s 952 kilometres with 11,620 metres of climbing.
“I’m getting myself ready for that, mentally.
“In cycling and in life I want variety and to test myself, see how far I can go…”
Having spoken to the man, Cedric has been forgiven for the ‘Garmin and bottle cage’ incident at Ceres; we rode a couple of 12 hours ‘back in the day’ so anyone who can race for 37 hours straight gets our respect.