Q&A: TJ Key (Primera-Teamjobs)

Thomas Key, uni student studying to be a doctor, who’s really excited to be racing for Primera-Teamjobs in 2017 takes the VeloUK Q & A quiz

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Q&A: TJ Key (Primera-Teamjobs)

In yet another Q & A with a club team rider, Thomas Key (Primera-Teamjobs) says by way of an introduction “in 2017 I am really excited to be racing for the Primera-Teamjobs team, based in Dorset. Up to now I have raced for Southampton University and its great now to be part of a team that has its sole focus on racing”.

“It’s already apparent that we’ve got a great bunch of guys together to really race as a team in 2017 and I think we might surprise a few people. Team spirit goes a long way!”

1. How did you get into cycle racing?
TJ: I first bought a road bike after watching Mark Cavendish storm to victory multiple times at the Tour. I’m a bit of a fan. Following that, I got involved with the club at Uni and it all snowballed from there. Before long I was racing round in the cold and wet at Ludgershall in the 4th cats and I was hooked.

2. What’s your favourite discipline in cycling?
TJ: Definitely the team pursuit, but I don’t get to do it very often! In 2015 we broke the university record previously held by Sir Chris Hoy no less and this year I’ll be racing for BC South at the national champs. As well as that though, I love a good rolling road race course, where it’s hard enough to dislodge the sprinters but not so hard that I can’t get my 75 kilos over the lumps!

3. What is the best thing about bike racing?
TJ: Definitely the camaraderie. The friends you make from racing your bike are awesome. At Primera-Teamjobs we all get on unbelievably well and there’s nothing better than just smashing it round the lanes on a fast training ride with your mates.

4. What was the highlight of 2016 for you and why?
TJ: The Tour of Sussex that I took part in at the end of July. It was awesome to take part in a proper stage race with 3 road stages, a TT and a TTT. It was great fun and despite being just a few percent off my best and challenging for the win, it was a really good test of my fitness. It really gave me the bug to push on with road racing and hopefully get in few more stage races in 2017.

5. What was your favourite/most fun race of 2016
TJ: Pretty much as above, but also the end of season Downton 2-Day that is run by the legend Glenn Longland in the New Forest. It has a great low-key atmosphere and is more about having a bit of fun than the results but people still get competitive. I got 4th overall despite a fairly poor time trial by my standards and will hopefully go a couple better next year.

6. What was the toughest race of 2016 for you and why?
TJ: The university champs Points race. I took an early lap in the 120 lap race and spent the rest of it being leaned on by the Loughborough team. I gave it absolutely everything to hold onto my lead but eventually lost the race to my teammate in the final sprint, finishing level on points. It was agonisingly close and I could hardly get off my bike at the end, but at least the victory still went to the team!

7. If there was one thing you learned most in 2016 to help you go faster/better, what was that?
TJ: That coaching most definitely works. I started working with Bikestrong and whereas previously my training had little thought and I had no accountability if I did wimp out on a session, the coaches there have really pushed me on to another level this winter and my motivation is keeping high with someone to report back to. If you’re undecided on coaching, go for it, you won’t regret it!

8. What is the best piece of equipment (clothing/bike/gadget) to do with racing you are proud of most?
TJ: Definitely the new Endura speedsuits the team has got hold of for next year. You literally feel fast just putting them on, and they’ll be absolutely perfect for both time trialling and circuit racing. But as well as that we’re all in some super nice blue Sidi Wires, which gives us that extra bling factor!

9. What is your warm up routine for races – rollers or turbo? Music or no music?
TJ: Rollers and music for sure. I like to do 20 minutes on the rollers pre race, but quite often phaff around too much and end up doing just 10-15. I whack some headphones on to get in the zone and pretty much listen to anything thats in the top 40, but am partial to bit of grime that my girlfriend got me in to!

10. Will you stay in the UK to prepare for next season during the winter or get in a training camp or two abroad to get in some serious miles?
TJ: Yep I’ll be in the UK throughout the year. I’m in my last year training to be a doctor, so I don’t get a lot of time off and being in my last year, I’ve wracked up a fair bit of debt as well! But I live in the south so it rarely gets too cold to train and if it does, I’ll do a session on the rollers and just get on with it. It’s all good training for the season openers that will invariably be wet and cold!
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11. When will you start training for 2017 and what comes first – long steady miles or a mix of miles and efforts?
TJ: I started in October. I took a week or so off after the end of the season and got straight back in to it. I want to be hitting 2017 hard starting with some track racing and so I’ve been doing a mix of miles and efforts, mainly at the same time! In December, I managed 55 hours on the bike which is a fair bit for me, but with a good amount of intervals thrown in for good measure from my coach. It seems to be working!

12. What are the goals for 2017?
TJ: In 2017 I want to really take my road racing to the next level, being competitive in the Nat B road races and even giving the Nat A’s a go. Along with this I want to continue time trialling and get my 10 mile PB down into the 18s and improve on my 40th place at the national 10 this year.

13. Does winter training consist only of riding the bike or running/swimming/gym work (cross training)
TJ: 95% of it is riding my bike. I love riding and I’m pretty bad at getting core work done, and pretty much hate running unless I’m without my bike. I’ve been trying to add some strength work in with some squats and also keeping my core strong to prevent injuries and help put the power down, but it’s still a work in progress if I’m honest!

14. Finally, what have you learnt over the years to best deal with the winter months on a bike!
TJ: Just get on with it, but adapt and don’t be stupid. There’s nothing worse than going out in icy conditions, coming off and ruining your training for the rest of the week. Proper clothes make the cold and wet bearable and adding in efforts also keeps your warm. But the best thing to do is keep mixing it up, never doing the same session over and over again to keep it interesting whilst racing is still a fair way off!



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