I started riding my bike because I wanted to be like my Dad.

Jack Dunne

Back in 2013 I witnessed what is arguably the worst bike crash I have ever seen. It was my Dad who hit the deck at around 50km/h during a mid-week summer chain gang. Flat out bunch riding is sketchy at the best of times and especially so on the pockmarked roads that are commonplace in the UK – which in this case was the cause of the crash. The impact from the crash meant that Dad suffered from what is known as a chronic subdural hematoma – a bleed on the brain – for which he needed emergency surgery.

After the crash I had serious doubts that he would survive let alone ride a bike again. However, by the grace of God he made a full recovery. Since then we have had some of our most memorable cycling adventures that have taken us to Australia, France, Belgium, all over the UK and across Europe.

My Dad got me into cycling back when I was a kid. Often, when I was a child I would wake up in the night with nosebleeds and to take my mind off it he and I would watch re-runs of the 1986 and 1989 Tour’s on VHS. As much as I loved watching Hinault, Lemond and Fignon I didn’t start riding my bike because I wanted to be like them. As cheesy as it may sound, I started riding my bike because I wanted to be like my Dad. Nobody was cooler than him.

Ever since I started riding my bike we have always ridden together. I can’t have been more than about four or five years old when I used to do time trials round the local park with my Dad acting as the time keeper. It’s been almost twenty years and we are still riding together now, which is one of the greatest blessings I could possibly ask for.

Recently took place in my first race for my new team for the 2019 season – the newly-formed N+1 Lindfield Coffee Works Team. This was a very special moment for me, being a part of such an exciting new team with a brilliant ethos and team spirit is a real privilege. It’s always an exciting moment to be able to show of the team kit for the first time! As special as this moment was it was made even better by the fact that – for the first time ever – my Dad was alongside me on the start grid. The LCCA Team Championships are unique as it is one of the few races on the Cyclocross calendar with mixed age groups, allowing veterans to race alongside senior and junior riders.

Being able to race alongside my Dad is not something I ever thought I would be able to do and I count myself exceptionally lucky. The whole day was brilliant and full of excellent racing. The course was excellently designed and having my fellow teammates and friends their cheering from the side-lines was a real motivating factor. In the end I managed to come away with 10th place, which I can’t wait to build on for the coming year. I look forward with great anticipation for what the next season has instore for both me and my fellow N+1 Lindfield Coffee Works teammates!

Hill climbing is a test of your ability to suffer, not just your power on the bike

Dan Neal

Every good cyclist is able to climb, but the best make climbing effortless. In truth it’s not. Even the best suffer, but it’s their ability to suffer more and dig deeper than anyone else, that makes them stand out about the rest. That’s what drew me to hill climbing in the first place.

Hill climbing is a very different challenge from your standard road race, or even a time trial. Even though time trials and hill climbs are similar in the fact that it is one rider racing against the clock, the two efforts are very different. A time trial is a steady, continuous effort that requires the rider to find that sweet spot and be able to sit at a steady power for ten miles or more, still a very draining effort. A time trial effort allows you time to get up to speed gradually, but in a hill climb, from the moment the start clock hits zero, you are giving 100 percent. Start too slow and your chances of victory are already very low. A hill climb rarely lasts longer than a few minutes, it’s a very brutal and unforgiving effort.

I can still remember the feeling after my first ever hill climb effort. From the very start of the effort you feel every last crank rotation, every last strain as the forces of gravity work against you. But once you hit the line and the effort is over, you feel nothing. All the feeling drains from your legs as the adrenaline that was driving you up that hill, wears off and you finally realise the effect of the effort. You give everything you can just for few minutes only to spend longer on the floor trying to regain the feeling in your legs and the air in your lungs.

Hill climbs are a hard discipline to train for as the training sessions are very similar to the races themselves, send yourself up a climb as hard as you can, but instead of giving everything in one effort, the sessions involve multiple hard efforts. Hopefully, by the time the hill climb seasons rolls into view, I will be in a position where I am able to compete with the many strong riders and I will be able to do the N+1 Lindfield team jersey proud.

That’s what made being a part of this team an easy decision. It allows me to learn from and ride with some incredibly strong riders, which will help me develop and give me many opportunities to prove myself as a rider. As well as riding with the team, I’m involved being the scenes as I will also be providing mechanical support to my teammates as I am the mechanic at our headline sponsor, N+1 Cycle Workshop.

Working at N+1 has also allowed me to gain a better understanding of our many incredible sponsors such as Lindfield Coffee Works, Breakaway Digital, Vittoria tyres and Veloforte as we offer these products in store. In order to offer and sell these products I need to know what makes them so great. As a rider I know that the products we are using are the best ones available to us which will in turn help the team succeed.

The thing about time trialing is it’s just you and the clock

James Cheeseman

When I first bought a bike I never dreamt that I would be spending 80% of my time training  in my dark, damp and cold garage staring at my time trial bike and pointy helmet for inspiration.

Having had a couple of nasty accidents 2 years running my relationship with my turbo has been one of love/hate. Having broken my collarbone I spent the entire summer of 2017 indoors trying to claw back fitness watching friends race and travel on a number of different trips.

After a solid 3 months confined to inside, the cross season of 2017/2018 was upon me. I tried my best to compete with the faces I had the year previous despite a serious lack of miles which was great fun.

By then end of the season I was back to where I was before the accident fitness wise with a bit of interest and looking to set myself a new challenge.

Time trialling always fascinated me as a number of friends raced and were really fast, it was only a matter of time before I was sucked in. The thing about time trialing is it’s just you and the clock, nowhere to hide, totally solitary and I have always enjoyed pushing myself to the maximum; I secretly love the pain getting there too.

Last year apart from the final 3 or 4 races I completed the whole season on my road bike.

Some races were brutal and to be fair no matter what bike you do a TT on it’s still the same effort. Empty the tank and get to the finish as fast as you can. I loved that.

Unfortunately I had yet another tumble and this time was more painful; opposite shoulder, different injury and I faced more time on the turbo; however this time was different I knew what to expect and also had the added bonus of Dan setting me targets and mini goals to get me through the rehab.

One of the biggest differences I’ve felt is having a power meter (or lie detector as some call it). I’m still learning how to utilise it to its full potential but Dan has been a massive help. It’s a great tool to have, most of us that ride know what you need to be doing and very often need reminding of it regularly too.

When Dan asked me to join the Team it seemed like a natural decision. Whenever I ride with Dan we seem to share the same attitude to riding and just get on with it wind, rain or shine. I think everyone in the Team are on the same page also which is always a bonus & the nice thing about being a part of this development team is there is such a wide range of experience and knowledge to be shared.

Everyone seems super keen and friendly and always willing to help.

I’m buzzing for this season to begin a full season Injury Free and on the tt bike. Will be interesting to see how far I can better last years performances

I have a feeling all of the lads are going to have a corker of a year too.