Q & A: Alastair Hepworth

Alastair Hepworth who rides for KW Heist Cycling Team takes the VeloUK question and answer ahead of a season abroad

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Q & A: Alastair Hepworth

1. How did you get into cycle racing?
Alastair: Through my Dad and brother really. My dad was a good 1st cat back in the day and he’s always been cycling mad so it was only natural that my brother and I would follow in his footsteps. I spent a lot of weekends when I was young going to races with them both so its all I’ve known really.

2. What’s your favourite discipline in cycling?
Alastair: Road racing. I’ve never really done any other discipline but they don’t appeal to me that much. Nothing really excites me like a good road race, especially with some good weather and a good setting.

3. What is the best thing about bike racing?
Alastair: That’s a tough question. Winning is obviously quite nice, but aside from that I think its the unpredictable nature of it. The winner is just the rider who plays it best on the day, and that’s quite appealing.

4. What was the highlight of 2016 for you and why?
Alastair: 2016 wasn’t an easy year for me; finishing my final year of University was difficult and then an injury meant I was just happy to keep my license! The best highlight was probably graduating from university with a degree in electronics as its been a tough four years of my life.

5. What was your favourite/most fun race of 2016
Alastair: Beaumont Trophy was probably my favourite race in 2016. I’d been doing loads of motor pacing with my dad in the weeks leading up to it, and it was probably the only day of the year where I felt decent on the bike.

6. What was the toughest race of 2016 for you and why?
Alastair: Chorley GP was pretty gnarly, probably because its so early in the year and the weather is just grim. Add to that 150 riders that are mega keen coming out of winter and it makes for a tough race indeed.

7. If there was one thing you learned most in 2016 to help you go faster/better, what was that?
Alastair: Listen to your body and your instincts. Don’t just ignore little niggles, as they can develop into bigger things and affect your racing.
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8. What is the best piece of equipment (clothing/bike/gadget) to do with racing you are proud of most?
Alastair: My trusty Garmin Edge 500. That thing has taken some hammer! Its like the Nokia 3310 of the cycling world; indestructible and very reliable.

9. What is your warm up routine for races – rollers or turbo? Music or no music?
Alastair Hepworth: Rollers normally. Don’t really have a strict regime, its usually dictated by how much time there is before the race. Not really fussed about music; I’m usually a bit too nervous to really zone out. Also for crits I prefer to ride the course a bit and make sure I get a decent place on the start line otherwise that can be your race over before its started.

10. Where will you be racing in 2017?
Alastair: If all goes to plan, I’ll be racing in Belgium for a good proportion of 2017. This year will be my first season properly full time, so I want to come out swinging really and get some results and show what I can do. Especially after 2016, I’m looking forward to cracking on with it now, hopefully at 100% health and fitness.

11. Why Belgium?
Alastair:I’ve done most of the top races in the UK over the past 3/4 years now. Going full time for 2017, I’d really like to do some racing further afield and having done some kermesses before, I just fancied Belgium. Plus, my mate and coach Tom Murray did a few seasons over there when he was racing and has helped me out with it all.

12. What are the goals for 2017?
Alastair:I’ve not got any specific goals yet, but I’d say I want show people what I can do in a general sense. Someone said to me last year that they’d seen me at my best far too little, and they are dead right. I feel like I need to prove myself so this year I’m hoping I can do that.

13. When will you start training for 2017 and what comes first – long steady miles or a mix of miles and efforts?
Alastair:I started training at the start of November. I’m currently renting a villa with a few other lads down in Calpe for four months over winter and up to Christmas, I had just been doing long steady miles. Plenty of hours but not much intensity. I generally go better if I’ve got some solid 5-6hr rides in the bank so I’ve been concentrating on that. Now that we’re into 2017, I’ve increased my hours and intensity but also resting more too. Then in Feb I’ll get my Dad out on the moped and do some motor pacing just to sharpen up before getting into racing.

14. Finally, what have you learnt over the years to best deal with the winter months on a bike!
Alastair: Bugger off to somewhere warm! I don’t think you can train effectively enough through the winter in the UK (in Yorkshire anyway) as your training is just dictated by the weather. I know some guys say ‘oh it makes you hard etc’ riding over winter in the crap weather, which is true to an extent, but after a while it starts to crack you mentally and you just don’t need that.



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