Last season, after the Scottish Kilometre Championship we said that not many 100 milers have become kilometre riders. We were talking about that man Kyle Gordon, of course, he holds the Scottish 100 mile record and had just won the Scottish kilometre title.
Well, he went and did it again, stepping up to the kilometre podium in the British Championship, narrowly ceding silver to team mate Dan Bigham with the third HUUB man, fellow Scot, Jonny Wale taking gold.
Best ‘have a word’ we thought – especially with that Bolivia gig on the horizon.
When we caught up with Kyle he was at last month’s first HUUB altitude camp in Tenerife on the famous Teide volcano where all those Sky/Ineos Tour wins were hatched.
A second camp follows this month* before the flights to Bolivia with the team pursuit record now a tad more difficult to break given the Danes’ – and Italians’ – recent demonstrations in the Worlds on the Berlin velodrome.
GB Kilometre bronze, nice ride Kyle.
“Yes, I’m happy with that. A few months ago we decided I’m more suited to man two in the Team Pursuit and the Kilometre – I have a sprinter’s physiology and I focused on the Kilometre.
“It was a personal best by a second and I was just 0.2 off silver and that was with a lot of mistakes – I was ragged so there’s massive room for improvement.
“I got feedback after the Scottish Champs from David Daniel from Scottish Cycling who told me that I was losing time on my opening lap so I contacted former National and Commonwealth Tandem Sprint Champion, Geoff Cooke for specialist coaching.
“Geoff has been a great help but there’s still room for improvement.”
Fifth in the Pursuit Champs with a 4:17 ride, happy?
“Yes and no.
“On the day during the training sessions on the track I felt that the track was running fast and I hummed and hawed about gearing up from 110” to 112” for the qualifying.
But I’d ridden a 112” for two K training session and found myself parking up on it – but that was on Derby which doesn’t run as fast as Manchester and I decided to stick with the 110” gear.
“Halfway through my ride I was thinking that I could have geared higher but I executed the ride as best I could and finished with a 4:18 ride which qualified me for the finals but with which I was disappointed.
“In the fifth/sixth ride-off I rode with 112” and everything felt better at the slightly lower cadence; I did a 4:17 ride which would have put me in the bronze medal ride off if I’d done it in qualifying.”
No team pursuit for you?
“I was originally planned to be in the line-up but when I got back from Australia, where I had 32 days of good training, my legs just weren’t working.
“With the benefit of hindsight I should have allowed more time between flying back and the Nationals and I should have stopped gym work sooner, too.
“Given how I felt I decided not to ride the Team Pursuit, I didn’t want to let the squad down – and by the time the Nationals came round I was feeling a lot better… but you have to go with what’s best for the team.
“I wasn’t at my best but still recorded a personal best Kilometre and made the podium.”
No bunch races either?
“No, because entries had to be in for the Nationals in December I thought I’d be riding the Team Pursuit so didn’t enter for the Scratch or the Points…”
Tenerife, you’re doing the driving there, are you in a managerial role?
“No, no, I’m here to train, I’m just doing the driving because I’m the oldest do that’s better for insuring the motor. We all have to do our bit, we’re not the national squad!
“The AirBnB place where we are staying is pretty basic; you have to get water from well, there’s a wee petrol generator for electricity and there’s an open fire.
“We have a rota for cooking, cleaning, keeping the fire going, fetching water…
“We’ve had a couple of nightmares with the toilet blocking and the shower stopping working but we’re getting things sorted out now!
“We had a videographer here with us filming what we’re doing here and I had to drive him down to the airport, and there’s the shopping to do… it’s an hour and twenty minutes down to the shops.”
How are you finding the altitude affecting you?
“So far, so good, my sleep quality has been good but I have prepared by sleeping in an altitude chamber back at Derby.
“You have to be careful though – your power drops by 10% so you train by heart rate rather than power and you have to lift the intensity of your training slowly.”
Have you spied any of them Ineos boys up there?
“No, but there are a few Lotto Jumbo, CCC and Trek guys. There aren’t many roads up here so it’s difficult to do big loops, you have to go back down to sea level then come back up.
“We do three or four hour runs maximum which isn’t too bad but if you were doing six or seven hour runs like the World Tour guys, it must get a bit boring.”
You’re back up there in March, what do you do in between?
“We’re back at Derby, honing our Team Pursuit skills, then back here, then on to Bolivia.”
Bolivia – exciting stuff…
“Yes but there’s a lot to organise and we don’t have a management team – much of it falls to Dan Bigham.
“We’ll have two teams, an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ team; there are six of us; John Archibald, Jonny Wale, Will Perret, Dan Bigham, Ashton Lambie and me – plus we’ll be recruiting another two riders to make the trip with us.”
What are the targets?
“We’re running it as a UCI Class 2 event and we’ll be having a crack at everything: Flying 200 metres, the Kilometre, 4,000 metres Individual Pursuit, 4,000 metres Team Pursuit and Hour Records.
“I’m keen to attempt the World 30-34 Masters Hour Record but don’t know how I stand for that with being a member of a trade team – I’ll need to check the small print.
“Then there’s the Scottish Hour Record too – but obviously you can’t train for all those disciplines so we’ll have to see how it goes when we get there.
“We’re up there for three to four weeks to acclimatise then we go for the records in the last week.”
‘Life after Huub?’
“I’ve spoken to Gary Coltman about that and he’s keen to retain me on the Scottish programme for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022.
“With Jonny, John and the young lads like Alfie George coming through we’d have a good squad.
“I might dip my toe back in the off-shore oil industry for six months to enable me to save some money then go back full time to prepare for the Games.”
Will we see you in the Scottish ‘10’ and ‘25’ Champs in 2020?
“Hopefully, after Bolivia I’ll be moving back to Alness and engaging in the Scottish time trial and road race scene – and having some fun!”
VeloVeritas will be keeping a close watch on those HUUB boys Andean Adventures – especially those of Kyle, John and Jonny. Watch this space…
Kyle asked us to pass on his thanks to his sponsors: HUUB Design, Wattbike, plus Argon, Bowmer + Kirkland, Derbyshire Institute of Sport, Durata UK, MEGGITT, Notio, Nottingham Trent University, PENTAXIA, PhisioLab, Project E2, Pyramid Cycle Design, Sporting Edge, The OHTEN Group, Vita CoCo, VORTEQ, Vulcan Smart Sportswear, WattShop, and WALKER Brothers.
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* We spoke to Kyle recently and because of the lockdown across Spain and its territories due to the Coronavirus, he’s isolated with his teammates at the top of Mount Tiede in Teneriffe. Those turbo trainers will be getting thrashed to pieces no doubt.