When Jos Ryan of the Dave Rayner Fund gets in touch then we know it’s not just to ask how we are. ‘Have you been keeping up with our rider, Toby Perry’s performances in Spain, he’s just had his second win?’
[And he’s had another two wins since that call. ed]
Fortunately for us, we could reply in the affirmative, we interviewed Toby, who’s with Equipo La Tova – Asesoría Almudevar, back in April but with another win and a second place to his name against the best u23 opposition in Spain we thought another chat may be in order?
But before we get to that, here’s a wee summary of his results up to publication of this piece, pretty impressive:
- 30.05 – 1st, Vuelta a Alicante – Final GC
- 30.05 – 4th, Vuelta a Alicante – 3rd stage
- 29.05 – 2nd, Vuelta a Alicante – 2nd stage
- 28.05 – 1st, Vuelta a Alicante – 1st stage
- 23.05 – 2nd, GP Arroyo de la Encomienda
- 22.05 – 23rd, GP Villa de Mojados
- 16.05 – 1st, GP Vila-Real
- 09.05 – 13th, G.P. Odena
- 08.05 – 8th, Classica Isaac Galvez
- 18.04 – 13th, Clasica de Torredonjimeno
- 28.03 – 5th, Subida a Gorla-Bergara
- 21.03 – 1st, Memorial Zunzarren-Estella
- 13.03 – 2nd, Trofeo Joan Escola
- 27.02 – 24th, Zumaiako Saria-Zumaia
Many nice results, Toby – congratulations.
“I also won the Valencia National Championships but they wouldn’t give me the jersey because I’m not Spanish, that was a little disappointing.
“And I had second place in the GP Arroyo De La Encomienda.
“All the racing is at ‘national’ level – all the lower level races have been cancelled due to pandemic.”
It’ll be the same opposition for most races then?
“Yeah, the same few top guys that are competing in the Coppa España are there at every race, from strong teams like Caja Rural and Gomur Cantabria Infinita.”
Have you had any interest from Continental teams as a result of your successes?
“Nothing from anyone, no.
“I’ve had lots of nice messages of congratulation but nothing from higher level teams.
“I did get another Spanish team wanting me to guest for them in a race but it meant a lot of hassle with admin. – and I’ll probably be riding the race with my own team anyway.”
Tell us about your training.
“I don’t do anything special, just worked on my weaknesses and built endurance.
“I speak regularly to my coach, Dean Downing on WhatsApp – not FaceTime, I haven’t had a haircut in weeks so he doesn’t deserve to be looking at the mess that is my hair!
“Dean is very generous with his time, we were on the phone for 40 minutes, the other day.”
What’s the script with prize money in Spain?
“I haven’t seen any yet, it goes to the club and then they divide it up at the end of the season.”
How’s the programme looking?
“With all that’s going on with the pandemic it’s a bit unsure but I know we do have a stage race coming up this weekend, in Alicante.”
[Toby won a stage and the overall in Alicante. ed]
You were waiting on your new bike the last time we spoke?
“Yes, I broke my last frame but I’ve had the new machine for a few weeks now; it’s a blue Sabato carbon, lovely, light and stiff – we’re on rim brakes but think we’ll be moving onto discs for next season.”
Huesca, where you are now – if I remember my Spanish geography is rather ‘middle of nowhere?’
“Yeah, when you leave the city there’s nothing…
“There’s Zaragoza to the southwest about an hour away and Pamplona to the northwest a couple of hours away, but inbetween there’s very little.”
What’s the apartment like?
“It’s lovely, in the old part of the city with a view of the cathedral.
“It’s up a cobbled climb – that’s hard when you come back from training but you can pretend you’re riding the Classics.
“It was a bit of a struggle to get a place; the apartment is a little bit bigger than I really need but accommodation is at a premium in the city, a lot of new jobs have been created here.”
How’s the weather, you’re not so far from the Pyrenees there?
“It’s a nice climate, warm and sunny, it barely rains – but it’s very windy.
“I went out on a coffee run the other day, an hour-plus to go out and 20 minutes to get back.”
What’s the Covid situation like?
“It’s not bad at all; you have to wear a mask and are expected to observe social distancing.
“The older guys involved with the team are starting to get their vaccinations now and you can move freely between region, which you couldn’t do before, without the relevant documentation.
“I don’t know if the 10:00 pm curfew is still in effect because I’m never out at that time; it was something my team mates complained about because they eat very late in Spain.
“When I would say to them that I was going to have dinner at 7:00 pm they’d say ‘*that* early?’”
How’s the language coming along?
“I struggled with English and French at school but can order a coffee here, say a few things and just about understand what’s getting said on the race radio.”
Is cycling part of the Huesca culture?
“Not particularly as far as Spain goes but much more so than in England.
“There are ex-pros living here, just the other day a chap was pointed out to me that had won a Vuelta stage.
“There are good bike shops and local shops are supportive of the sport, sponsoring clubs – ours included.
“Down in Girona it’s a hotbed though, you’ll see a lot of EF and Israel guys, there are bike shops and coffee shops run by ex-pros, it’s very cycling oriented.”
Your first aim this year was to win a race, you’ve won two – what’s the goal now?
“To keep working at it and try to get a professional contract.
“I’d also like to do well in the British National Championships in October, it’s incorporated in the Lincoln Grand Prix, this year.
“My coach, Dean won the race in 2007 and his brother, Russell has won it on four occasions – so that’s a big goal for the end of the season.”
We’ll keep our eye on Toby’s performances as the year progresses and if we do miss anything then we’re sure Jos will keep us right…