Sunday, October 17, 2021
HomeInterviewsGraham Kemp - National 24 Hour TT Champion 2019

Graham Kemp – National 24 Hour TT Champion 2019

"I just love riding my bike so didn’t have any bad spells. The race felt like five minutes, very weird!"


Men’s British time trial record holders? VeloVeritas has interviewed them all, granted Marcin Bialoblocki has five of them; 10, 15, 25, 50 and 100 – but we’ve also spoken to 30 mile record holder Stuart Travis and 12 hour record holder, Adam Duggleby. The one omission was the 24 hour; but we’ve sorted that out by speaking to Graham Kemp (Team Bottrill) who recorded 544.32 miles to win the national 24 hour championship, eclipsing Andy Wilkinson’s 2011 total of 541.17 miles.

Here’s what Graham had to say to us recently:

Congratulations Graham, the basics first – where are you from, how old are you, do you have a family and what’s your profession?

“I was born in North Wales and currently live in Ewloe with my wife Carolyn and two lovely daughters Isobel and Holly.

“Upon leaving school I took up an apprenticeship in Airbus and have now been there for over 20 years, I’m 40 years of age, this year.

“With living only a short distance from work I’m very lucky to be able to commute to and from work on my bike, and indeed this is where it all started for me riding my bike just over 10 years ago.” 

Graham Kemp

You’re pretty quick at short distance too with a ’19’ and a ’49’ for  ‘10’ and ’25.’

“I’ve seen significant improvements since starting training with Team Bottrill in 2016 and feel that I’m moved in the right direction with the gains I’ve achieved.”

Your best ’12’ is slower that your ’24’!

“Yeah, I raced the ‘12 back’ in 2015 and didn’t had little idea about pacing and gains which can be made with being more aero on the bike.

“Indeed I wasn’t even using a power meter back then.

“Again I made so many improvements when being coach by Team Bottrill and I haven’t looked back.”

Was this your first 24 hour?

“The first and definitely won’t be the last, I knew I’d love racing this event.

“I travelled out to watch the event last year and loved it and knew I wanted to be a part of it this year.

“I remember phoning my dad that day saying ‘we’re doing the National 24hr next year.‘”

Did you ride to a schedule and how did you pace judge?

“With it being my first 24 I rode to power for the first 12 hours, after that I was judging my effort on an hourly basis.”

Can we ask what your average watts were?

“I generally don’t divulge my data information so all I can say is;

“It was the longest Level 2 ride I’ve ever done!”

Graham Kemp

The old record was 541.7 miles, when did you realise that was ‘on’?

“I had no idea until I approached the finishing circuit when my support crew were parked up at the side of road….I shouted “22.9” which was my average mph at that point.

“They quickly passed me and confirmed I would be on for a ‘549’ if I maintained my pace.

“After that figure I really focused on the remaining hours of the 24.

“I knew the finishing circuit was slow but felt after one lap I could hold my advantage until the end.”

Tell us about your support crew.

“My support crew were amazing.

“My Dad supports every race I do, travels and takes me everywhere.

“He’s my mechanic and ensures my bike is ready for race days.

“On the day he was joined with Matt Welsh and Glyn Bramwell, great mates who also love cycling and I really couldn’t have completed this ride without them all.”

What about food and drink

“Food and drink is easy for me, I generally love to eat everything and anything so this was a perfect excuse to eat continuously.

“I consumed lots of Science in Sport products and I found these have been instrumental in producing results this year for me.”

What’s the course like – is there just one ’24’ each year now?

“I like the course. I race on these particular roads all the time so tend to know every pothole.

“I was losing count of the amount of circuits I was doing, to be fair…

“I was mentally driven to the end though.”

Graham Kemp

What about racing through the night?

“I loved this part, I bought the latest ‘Exposure’ lights which made all the difference.

“I recommend anyone riding at night to purchase these lights, they’re a great investment.”

Any ‘bad spells’?

“I just love riding my bike so didn’t have any bad spells.

“The race felt like five minutes, very weird!”

Were you in the aero crouch for most of the time?

“Yes, I was mostly in the aero crouch – it’s key in order to produce a great mileage.

It’s a massive part of being coached by Team Bottrill and we work on this element all the time.”

And you were wearing all the aero clothing for 24 hours?

“We were very lucky with the weather so I didn’t need to change my clothing.

“I wear the latest Endura D2Z Encapsulator skinsuit which really helps.

“I’m very fortunate to be sponsored by this brand of clothing.

“I had a change of helmet after the night section as I felt I needed a break from my aero helmet.”

Tell us about your bike.

“Again being part of Team Bottrill means we ride the fastest TT bikes – a Giant Trinity along with Zipp wheels.”

Does Matt Bottrill coach you and how did you prepare for the ride?

“I’m coached by Gareth Pymm, like all of Matt Bottrill coaches they really know how to prepare for all aspects of races.

“For me we didn’t know how my body would react after 16-18 hours with being my first 24.

“The result really shows I’ve found my event and moving towards endurance based events is now my major goal moving forward.”

How did you feel on Monday?

“Surprising I felt better than I thought I would.”

What’s next? LeJOG? RAAM?

“My coach and I haven’t confirmed anything yet but I’m sure something exciting will happen in the following years.”

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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