Andy is a cyclist who is looking to get into competitive racing this year. He talks to Sundried about the thrills and spills of cycling.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, I have always been involved in sport in some way. I played rugby at school followed by general training and weight training within my local gym as due to work I was unable to commit to a team sport. Since taking up cycling a couple of years ago, I have been consistent with training and look forward to racing this season.
What made you decide to enter the world of cycling?
I started to miss the competitive aspect of sport, which is something that's hard to come by when you just train in the gym 5 days a week. Someone told me about road cycling and I thought I would give it a go on my brother's old road bike. As soon as I went on my first ride, I was hooked. From that point on I have followed all aspects of the cycling world.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
I have yet to compete in an official race, but my best competitive stage would have to be the Dromara Cycling Club Hilly 125, which is classed as one of the toughest sportives in Northern Ireland. It consists of around 10,000ft (3,000m) of climbing over 75 miles. This was something that was challenging but at the same time very rewarding and encouraged my thoughts towards racing the following year.
And your proudest achievement?
My biggest achievement so far in the cycling world is completing my first 100-mile ride at 19mph average speed. It was a difficult day in the saddle but once completed I still felt like I had some more in the tank. To complete that challenge was a great achievement for me.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
When out on a club ride, we were navigating a steep descent. The roads were very greasy and wet, which led to my back tire skidding and sending me straight over the handlebars into a field. Luckily I came away uninjured and was able to ride my bike home. It is a constant reminder that no matter how much control you think you have on the bike, there is always something that can happen in a split second to change that.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I am currently overcoming a sickness setback so I am trying to adapt my training. I have had to stop training for the moment, but I will attempt to ease back into it and incorporate small amounts of interval training until my overall bike fitness reaches a satisfactory level. From that point I will start to push harder each week to then get back to racing fitness.
What are your goals for 2020?
My main goal for 2020 is to progress from A4 racing level to A3. This is my main target and I hope to have completed it before the middle/end of season. Other than this I want to enjoy my season and make sure I get through it safely.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
There isn't one person in particular who inspires me, instead all athletes inspire me. The fact that people are willing to give up nearly all aspects of their life to fulfil a purpose in the sport world is crazy in my eyes and that inspires me greatly.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I feel the best thing about Sundried is the fact that they are one of the most environmentally friendly in regards to producing and supplying fitness clothing. Alongside this, the fact the Sundried produces high quality products at the most reasonable prices to me is the best. I don't see why you have to pay premium prices to get the 'best' products when Sundried's products are of professional quality at affordable prices.
For me, the standout product is the cycling bib shorts. It is hard to get bib shorts that tick all the boxes in regards to comfort, sweat wicking, staying in the same place and gel padding for long days. One product that I can't wait to get my hands on is the waterproof jacket for cycling. It looks like it has been produced to very high quality and I can't wait to test it out on the great Northern Irish weather.