When we left Adrian Timmis at the end of Part One of the interview he’d taken a stage in the Midi Libere in 1987 and survived a gruelling Tour de France the same year but had just completed an unfulfilling 1988 season with Z-Peugeot who – despite having signed him for two years – cut him loose after just 12 months.
The 1989 season saw him ink a contract with the UK based Raleigh road team.
“When I look back, as a climber, I should have gone to live and train in the Alps to perfect my craft.
“But Raleigh was a good team, Jon Clay, Steve Douce, Tim Harris, Chris Lilywhite, Dave Mann and Chris Walker; I had a few decent results and won the Tour of Delyn, a tough race in Wales.
“But the Raleigh team folded at the end of the year as the company’s focus shifted to mountain biking.”
No sponsor for 1990 then?
“No, my head was down, I had no motivation and I missed the first pro race of the year.
“The Swinnerton family who own the bike shop in Stone-on-Trent helped me with a bike and clothing but I didn’t have a title sponsor.
“I used to train with David Baker the MTB rider, I enjoyed it and he suggested I try a race so I went with him down to a race in Wales, it was part of the National MTB Series and I finished second to Tim Gould [world class British mountain biker, ed.].
“That performance gave me a new lease of life.”
A contract with British Eagle for 1991 though?
“Yes, I mixed my racing up, road and MTB, I rode the Milk Race in a composite time but unfortunately crashed and broke my collarbone.”
Back to Raleigh for 1992?
“Yes, their mountain bike team.
“Again, I mixed my racing up and had some decent road results as well as finishing second overall in the National Mountain Bike Series.
“Mountain bike races were different back then, they were longer and would now fall into the ‘Endurance’ category.
“I rode for them in ’93 and ’94 too.”
Your last pro season was 1995?
“That was probably one of my best seasons and I was actually working part-time, three days each week.
“It was a nice little team with Dave Cook and Johnny Clay.
“I’d read somewhere about wheat intolerance and I thought; ‘I’m going to change my diet !’ I didn’t do any tests or anything, just something I thought I would try.
“I cut out all wheat, substituting rice and potatoes and within two to three weeks I was flying.
“I’d lost weight but hadn’t changed anything else in my diet and was doing the same training.
“I was training with Chris Walker (big sprinting prolific winner of criteriums and road races in the UK, ed.) and we were riding city centre TV criteriums and he said to me; ‘you’re going so well you can win one of these crits.’
“I went down to Rochester with Johnny Clay and I won it, solo with Chris second, I’d come down from 64 kilos to 61 and felt great – I’m sure the diet change made the difference.”
But you called a halt for 1996?
“Yes, I’d been training in Mallorca, I love it there; I must have been 20 times over the years but I just couldn’t find motivation to race, when I look back I was suffering from mental health issues.
“But I’d been racing for 20 years even though I was only in my early 30’s and had enough.
“After I quit I drifted in and out of jobs; I think many professional riders suffer from similar uncertainties when they stop – you should definitely have a plan for what you’re going to do after you stop.”
What do you do now, Adrian?
“I had a bike shop until about three years ago; I was always someone who was fussy about their position on the bike and before all the current positional gadgetry came in to use I helped riders sort their positions out.
“The fact that I was doing effective work spread by word of mouth and it was a good business for a few years.
“The shop was good too but it became hard to compete with the big ‘net outfits.
“Folks ask me if it was the internet made me close the shop, I say ‘no’ – it was smartphones.
“When folks had to go on the ‘net through the computer at work or get their laptop out and log-in with a password, that was one thing but with a smartphone you just tap a few buttons and you’re able to purchase what you will, 24 hours each day, seven days each week – you don’t even need your wallet.
“And at least 75% of people have one in their pocket these says.
“So now I bike fit from the house – not right now, obviously with the Covid-19 situation – and I do coaching, it’s good to be helping people.”
You raced a wee bit as a vet?
“Yes, I made a little comeback when I turned 40 years-age and made top 10 in the National Criterium Championships and a few other decent results but that was it.
“I ride the bike most days now and push myself but have no desire to race; I’m still in good shape, I rode l’Etape du Tour and finished 140th out of 11,000.
“My wife asks me if I’d like to race but like I said, I have no desire to compete.
“I love cycling in Mallorca and the Alps but Zwift is great too, a Godsend, it means you can ride every day whatever the weather.
“I get up early and get on the Turbo for an hour; it’s great for my state of mind.
“I’m 60 kilograms right now, the lightest I’ve been since I was a junior – the bike and Zwift provide me a wonderful outlet.”
There are no ‘what ifs’ from Timmis, he accepts the mistakes he made but it’s hard not to think that with the kind of management that’s available nowadays he could have gone so much further.