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Shouted at by Shane…

| Blog, Cycling Plus | 30/10/2013 16:37pm

“C’mon Rob, put it into the big ring and get the effort level up to around 60 per cent!” The Australian gent bellowing at me from the driver’s seat of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake may have overestimated my ability. Yes, I’m riding a Pinarello Rokh and yes I’m in full Team Sky Rapha kit with my surname down the side but 60 per cent? I’m well past that and already digging deep into my rapidly emptying “suitcase of courage”…

To be fair, I think Team Sky’s Performance Advisor Shane Sutton was simply humouring me as it made a nice photo. He might be taking a bit of a back seat at Team Sky nowadays but I’m pretty sure the affable Aussie coach might have suspected that chunky 41-year old ‘Spedding’ wasn’t one of Dave Brailsford new boys. And not just because I was wearing a Lotto Belisol helmet. Or riding really rather slowly compared to Sir Brad, or Froomedog, any semi-competent club time trial rider and quite a few of the other riders taking part in Jaguar’s Ride Like A Pro grand final.

“Hey Bradley…Oh sorry mate, thought you were someone else.”

I wasn’t the only one benefiting from Sutton’s DS experience – around 35 of us were circulating around a seven lap, 10-mile TT at a private test track in deepest Warwickshire. I, of course, was there on a press jolly – come on, it was my birthday – but everyone else had qualified from one of 18 rides held at Jaguar dealers up and down the country. And competition was fierce as the prize on offer was a trip to Majorca to train with Team Sky.

The Jaguar XF Sportbrake corners better than CP Editor.

By the time Shane rolled up beside us, we’d already been driven at a considerably higher speed around the circuit in a Jaguar XKR-S and an F-Type, taken part in an ‘autotest’ in the XF Sportbrake – i.e knocked over cones in a posh estate car – and slid an XJ around on a skid pan. Who says cars and cyclists can’t get along? That was the fun bit…

It was pretty obvious that some of the gathered riders really, really wanted that trip to Majorca. Combined times from the autotest and the TT would decide who got the prize so after witnessing some driving that’d put F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel to shame things got serious. Some proper TT weapons were taken out of cars and people started warming up on turbos and rollers. I simply blew on my hands and pootled around for a couple of minutes on CP’s Pinarello Rokh test bike before embarking on my first ever time trial.

Bloody hell it was painful! We hit a headwind on the home straight seven times. And I wish I’d at least popped some tri-bars on. And I should have worn an aero helmet. And… Actually I’ll stop making excuses. I’m just crap… When Shane caught up with me with two laps to go and started exhorting me on I was pedaling squares and blowing hard. In fact I was about to start soft-pedaling, but it was impossible with the man who’s helped guide Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and many others to glory breathing down my neck. (Before we started Shane’s advice for the last stage of the TT was “Hang on like s*** to a blanket.”) I pushed on and eventually, erm, finished. (You can see my time here on Strava, I’m not one for boasting…)

Overall winner Charlie Revell, plus Jeremy Wootton and Cathy Anderson all rode (and drove) fast enough to win a trip to Majorca to train with Team Sky.

I was a long way behind the eventual winner Charlie Revell from Taunton – he had a proper TT bike. And thighs. And might have done some training – but, oddly, kind of enjoyed it. I’ve actually threatened to ride a TT every year since I joined Cycling Plus but always found an excuse not to. Now that I’ve done one in a somewhat half-arsed manner I think I might actually like to try one properly. Jaguar is hoping to run more of its Ride Like A Pro events in 2014, so keep an eye out for them. And if you get to the grand final I’ll be the bloke riding a Pinarello Bolide in a Team Sky skinsuit, Kask aero lid and dipping under the magical 30 minutes…

Shane Sutton was driving the Jaguar XF Sportbrake at the Jaguar Ride Like a Pro event. The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is the official car of professional cycling squad Team Sky:



This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 at 4:37 pm and is filed under Blog, Cycling Plus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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