Andy Critchlow – From winning with Roger Hammond & Jeremy Hunt as a junior to working full time and racing as a Vet … here’s his Q & A ….
Q & A: Andy Critchlow
1. How did you get into cycle racing?
Andy: My best friend got me into bike racing when I was 16 and the following year I had won enough to make it onto the Great Britain junior team. But I fell out of the sport sadly and I hadn’t touched a racing bike much until a couple of years ago when Henry Furniss, founder of WyndyMilla persuaded me to make a comeback at 43.
2. What’s your Favourite discipline
Andy: I enjoy road racing the most and I am passionate about keeping the discipline going on the open highways in the UK. For a rider my age, I still think it offers the best chance to be competitive because you can take advantage tactical experience to compensate for old age.
When I was younger, time trialing was my strength and I won three national championship medals as a junior and was part of a winning GB team trial team with Jeremy Hunt, Roger Hammond and Ken Stewart. But I can’t TT for toffee these days as my recent poor showing in the East Surrey Hardriders proves.
3. Do you have to juggle racing whilst working full time?
Andy: I am a full time financial journalist with Reuters Breakingviews, husband and father of two, which makes fitting in time to train a real challenge. I am up at 5:30 a.m. through the week to get into work in London and get home around 7pm.
I have been working this season with Chris MacNamara at trainSharp and he has helped me organize my time and managed to increase my average weekly load to 10 hours including racing but it’s very tough to fit everything in. I have never been a full-time rider even when I raced Premier Calendars and was on the GB squad.
4. What was your first race of 2017?
Andy: My first big race in 2017 was the Kingston Wheelers Surrey League road race on March 4 at Dunsfold. I attacked too much and spent three laps up the road in a two man break, which came to nothing then missed the move.
But I sneaked some points with 14th. The next day I stepped up for the Severn Bridge National B in Bristol. A tough race, which split apart in cross winds. I was pleased to finish it in 30th with the bunch. This weekend is the Wally Gimber Trophy.
5. What race bike do you have?
Andy: I am lucky enough to be supported by WyndyMilla with a custom made Massive Attack. Over the years I have had some fantastic team bikes handed to me ranging from a Colnago Master to a Raleigh Dynatech, which literally fell apart in my first race when I rode for GB. But my current WyndyMilla is without doubt the best I have had and I am very grateful to Henry and the entire team over at Seale for supporting me.
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6. What is the best piece of racing equipment you have?
Andy: My best bit of racing kit is my Gabba. Cycling clothing is the one area of the sport which has advanced so much in recent years. I used it for the Severn Bridge which started in a downpour and I’m able to maintain a good temperature throughout at races affected by some very changeable weather.
7. What are the goals for 2017?
Andy: My goals for 2017 are all coming later in the year. I want to win the National Masters Crit champs in Milton Keynes and the support event at the London Nocturne. The five-day Tour of Sussex is another big target because it has a fantastic final stage around Beachy Head.
But at my age I am just glad to be back in the game and competing against kids half my age. As the great Ferris Bueller once said: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
8. Finally, how could racing on the roads be improved?
Andy: Race organizers deserve a medal for putting on events but need more help. Ultimately, that means riders at all levels giving something back by marshalling. If every rider with a license gave up just one weekend, or morning, in their season to hold a flag at a junction then we would have more racing on the roads and safer events.
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