British Cycling's Sportives Manager Ian Phillips walks the walk and talks the talk. Ian loves climbing hills and approaches them with a heroic 'pro-style' 39/23 bottom gear. He's also a staunch advocate of the humble fig roll.
Name: Ian J Phillips
Bottom Gear: 39/23
Current bike: Santa Cruz Roadster
What do you take with you on a ride? Essentials… Food, drink, phone - sometimes, photo card driving licence - (ID); credit card, pump, tube, mini-tool.
Why do you ride sportives? Because it’s usually an opportunity to ride in great locations that require little pre-planning as a participant; they’re sociable; and I enjoy a challenge, particularly of a hilly/climbing nature.
What was your last sportive? Etape Cymru
What’s your favourite event and why? White Rose Classic 2012, starting and finishing in Ilkley. Great route, albeit in relatively familiar territory. I rode with a group of friends and we didn’t stop laughing for the whole ride. Well supported, well signed on a long and pretty tough route, but just good fun.
What’s the longest sportive you’ve done? WRC – 112 miles over 3000+ metres of ascent.
What’s your most memorable sportive moment? Either the descent following climb over Fleet Moss, which is as straight as an arrow and drops like a stone; or the climb out of Settle in the sunshine, again at the White Rose Classic on the same day.
What’s your worst sportive moment? Not had one.. gratefully.
When was the last time you walked up a hill? Never. I refuse to. That goes for stopping too. Willpower and stubbornness prevails.
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you (or you’ve seen) on a sportive? A friend's battery dying on his ancient GPS, which was gaffer-taped to the bike and the size of a house brick, within the last few miles of the finish of an event losing a good chunk of his mission critical ‘data’.
How much training do you do before an event? I’m fortunate to commute most days on my bike to work, albeit 7 miles each way and don’t get much time to ride outside of this. So, my commute, along with participating in the events themselves count as preparation I guess. I have never really trained as such, but enjoy putting the effort in most days to get sufficient benefits to complete the events I take part in. If I didn’t ride regularly in this way, which I have done in previous years, I get out for a few hours early at the weekend and possibly run once or twice when time allowed too. Smart pacing and fuelling is key to these long events, so take it at your pace and eat smart and anyone will get round with some longish steady rides beforehand.
What’s your top sportive riding tip? Spin to win.. well to get round successfully, really. You see so many people pushing big gears who suffer late on.
Oh and talk to people too. It’s so easy to go along, ride and not talk to anyone, but crikey… shouldn’t these be sociable too. Once you engage, you can hack on about the most random interesting things. Just don’t start the I know a song that will get on your nerves conversation, because they will be cursing you later on ;-p
Favourite feed station fodder? I have to say I like savoury, but all round good guy is the fig roll, supermarket brand. The others are too dry. If these aren’t on offer, it’s banana every time. Easy to transport, hoover in and of course digest.
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