When we watched Tony cross the line at the finish of The 2010 Great Shakespeare Ride 100 Mile Sportive, it was clear that he was pleased with himself. Coming home 9 minutes clear in a time of 5.29.45 meant an average of about 19 mph, which over such a hilly course on a very warm day was no mean feat!
On speaking to Tony, we were surprised to find out he has only been riding seriously on the road for the past year. We asked Tony if he would tell us a little about his cycling career so far, his racing experience and his thoughts on the event.
Name: Tony Kiss
Club: Stratford CC
Bike: Raleigh Avanti
Best Results: Totnes Town Race 5th
L’etape de la Defonce (Stage 2) 4th
Southam Triathlon 1st
The Great Stratford Ride 100 mile Sportive 1st
National Hill Climb 39th
On his road career thus far:
“2010 was my first year road racing having been predominantly involved in mountain biking during my degree in Swansea. The move to Stratford and the lack of good mountain biking on my doorstep lead me to the roads. After a hard winters training I was looking forward to seeing how competitive I would be.
My first race was down in south Wales, the 12th Year of the Betty Pharaoh Memorial Leg-stretchers Road Race. The race was a 3rd and 4th category British Cycling road race with 80 riders competing over the hilly 52 mile course. Fairly early on a group of six riders broke away from the main field but their efforts came to nothing as the local Cardiff Jif riders, out in force, worked hard to catch them with 20 miles to go. The peloton then stayed together for the remainder of the race with all riders nervously keeping an eye on each other and not allowing further attacks to develop. The steep hill finish suited me and I was able to ride through the field to finish 6th overall, picking up some valuable points for my licence.
During the season I managed to collect enough British Cycling points to collect my third category licence, and was only a few away from my second. I also took part in the Stratford CC Club time trials where I’ve seen good improvement through the season coming second in the ‘aero’ competition, and winning the roadman’s and hill climb. This inspired me to have a go at the National Hill Climb which this year was a local one; Dovers Hill in the Cotswolds. After a compromised warm up I started fast powered by the adrenaline and the cheering crowd and beat my PB by a full 16 seconds, which is a lot on a hill that only takes four minutes to get to the top. I guess a testament to how much I have enjoyed my first year racing, I’ve also bought myself a Cyclo-cross bike to get my racing fix over the winter.”
On The Great Shakespeare Ride 100 Mile Sportive:
“The Shakespeare Hospice Ride was in fact my first Sportive. Being a local ride I had a lot of Stratford CC team mates in the peloton which was nice, however this didn’t stop me getting to know a few other riders along the way.
As a group we started towards the back of the field, but soon made our way through to the front. By the time we reached the bottom of the first hill just past Wellesbourne, I took it upon myself to do a turn on the front going up the climb. I must have gone a bit too hard as when I looked around at the top there was only about nine of us there, oops. We worked well as a group with everyone doing their bit on the front. In the group I still had two team mates in the form of Martin Millington and Pete Ward, both of whom are really strong riders.
As the miles rolled past our elite group got smaller and smaller until by the bottom of snows Hill there were only three; Martin, Bill (ex-iron man triathlete) and myself. By the top of snows hill which is a long steady climb I was on my own. At this point there was still thirty miles to go and I was tempted to sit up and wait for the other two but in the end decided to get my head down and ride on alone. I say alone, but soon after that point the 100 mile and 100 kilometre courses merge and as a result I was constantly weaving my way through hoards of fellow cyclists.
The atmosphere was great, it really kept me going. The optional Lark Stoke Hill wasn’t really an option for me- it had to be done. Lark Stoke is one of those hills that keeps on going, just when you think you’ve reached the summit another one appears in front of you. Having conquered the final climb it was just a case of keeping my legs spinning all the way home.
I know it’s not a race, but I was absolutely delighted to be the first home. It was 10 minutes before Bill rolled in and we could swap stories of the day. Despite the big lead it was not enough to take home a gold award on this very demanding course.
I’ll definitely be back next year to go one better.”