Xmas Feature – Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven)


Pedal Heaven’s young star Alex Paton takes the VeloUK question and answer challenge

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Xmas Feature – Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven)


1. With Pedal Heaven now a UCI Conti team, what races are you looking forward to most next season and why?
Alex: I’m looking forward to next season were there are so many exciting new challenges. Without a doubt the race I will be most excited about will be the Tour of Britain. This of course will be dependant of Pedal Heaven having a good season and gaining entry to the prestigious race. I have watched the race for the past years and it looks such a tough event and would be a whole new experience for me.

2. What were your highlights in 2015?
Alex: It’s tough to choose a certain event as I am still yet to win a major race. I really enjoyed the Rutland CiCLE Classic as it was my first time in this unique race and to be in the mix towards the end was exciting. Certainly one I am looking forward to for 2016.

3. You have been very loyal to the team after some great results the last few years, what does the team do to help you and keep you in their colours?
Alex: Pedal Heaven is such a great team to be involved with. Coming into my third year with the team is a nice feeling. I have been loyal to the team because they have been so good to me and I feel it’s a good environment to be in.

When I joined the team at the start of 2014, Tim and Craig took quite a gamble with me. I was still getting back into racing having had over four years away from the sport. I explained that I had been quite successful as a Junior rider and I convinced them I was committed to working towards becoming a top level Elite.

They have supported me as much as possible and always go the extra mile to help out. Some people may look at me staying with Pedal Heaven as taking the safe option and that little progress has been made. This couldn’t be further from the truth, both the team and I are progressing and developing and there are always new challenges and lessons to be learnt.

4. How much does it mean to you to return to the sport and now find yourself in a UCI Conti team – what have the challenges been in getting back up to this level after a break.
Alex: It means a huge amount to me having returned to cycling and for 2016 to be in a UCI Conti team. Having made a swift exit from cycling in 2008 and returning at the back end of 2012 without having ridden a bike and done minimal exercise in that time, was exceptionally tough to say the least.


Returning to the sport was a major challenge, everything had changed, I was no longer a fresh faced junior, equipment had changed, new races, the whole level of the sport had moved ahead and I was years behind. I had to almost start from scratch again. It was hard mentally and physically to deal with the fact that I used to be able to do so much on the bike and to start with I was simply awful again.

I remember starting training and being unable to ride up a climb that as I junior I used to do efforts up in the big ring. That was a depressing time to say the least. I had to climb off the bike half way unable to make it.

I think it’s very unique returning to cycling and progressing from a local level cyclist to an elite racer mixing it up at the sharp end of major British races. To have done this whilst remaining loyal to Pedal Heaven is a great feeling.


Winning at Durham National Trophy in 2014

5. You are just now returning to racing after an injury, tell us what happened, the injury and what you are looking forward to in the winter with the ‘cross racing?
Alex: Breaking my collarbone in September was somewhat annoying to say the least. I was racing the Dave Creasey Madison at London Velodrome, a combination of lapped riders on the finish line and some ambitious moves from other riders meant I came down while full gas. After eventually having surgery, I was on the mend and back to training.

I have always raced cyclo-cross and it was what got me into cycling as an Under 12. This winter I am taking a chilled out approach to it. I have a select few races I will do and look to try and find some good legs for the National Champs in January. I really enjoy racing cyclo-cross, but the focus for me is the road season.

6. How have you spent December on the bike – at home or abroad, long miles only or a mixture of intervals and miles and bike only or gym/cross training too? Who is your coach and what is the hardest work out you have to do?

Alex: December has been a good month with a whole variety of training and racing. I have spent some time away in Spain training with the team. I always try to get a good mix of rides and efforts in. I haven’t ventured into a gym, but do spend time exercising off the bike to compliment my on the bike training.

For the past year I have essentially coached myself with some help and support from Tim Elverson our DS. Throughout 2013/2014 I received a lot of help, advice and support from Phil Dixon who many years ago was my British Cycling coach as a Junior on the Olympic Development Program. Phil has played a crucial part to my progress, knowledge of training/racing and the sport as a whole, he has been a key part in my return to the sport.

Pedal Heaven also have a great link to Trainsharp coaching, they coach most of the riders and allow me access to their facilities which is a big help. One of the toughest training sessions I find are 20min max efforts having to really dig in to get the best out of myself.


7. Do you have a favourite race in Britain and if so, which one(s) is it?
Alex: I really enjoy circuit races and it’s something I seem to be quite good at. One of my favourite races has to be the Canary Wharf round of the Tour Series. It has such a great atmosphere with the location and crowds. Quite a basic circuit, but so fast it’s great fun.
My favourite road race by far is the Rutland Classic, combining road racing and off road sections, what’s not to love. Such a challenging and fun event.

8. Do you enjoy tinkering with your team bikes or do you leave it to the mechanics?
Alex: I almost always sort out my own bike, I like to know everything is how I want it and to know that if any problems were to occur, I only have myself to blame. The Pedal Heaven mechanics are great, but I just prefer to work on my own bike in general. Messy bikes are a pet hate of mine.

9. On your race bike, who makes the call on what wheels you use when? Ie, the size of the deep section and how many different choices do you have?
Alex: In 2015 we were supported by Edco Wheels and will be again for 2016. As a rider, I want the very best wheel and as a company they want their best product promoted and used, so the choice of wheel comes from a combination of their advice and my preference.

This season I used 45mm deep tubular carbon wheels and loved them. We have their new 2016 wheels and will be using their AeroSport range in various rim depths according to the race and conditions.

10. What was the hardest race you did in 2015?
Alex: A close call between Rutland and the Wales GP. I think Wales GP slightly more so because I was one of the few riders to get caught behind the big crash, get back to the lead group and then survive to the finish. I even tried a cheeky attack with 1km to go, but with not much left in the legs I hardly went anywhere!



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