Q&A: Chris Fennell (Independent Pedaler)

Winner of the blue ribbon 25 mile championship, Chris had a great season on the TT bike – here’s a Q&A with him …

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Q&A: Chris Fennell (Independent Pedaler)
Winner of the blue ribbon 25 mile championship, Chris had a great season on the TT bike – here’s a Q&A with him …

1.Are you missing the racing yet?
Chris: Not yet! I have enjoyed some time away from the bike and I’m now beginning a focused winter training programme.

2. What was the big highlight for 2019 and why?
Chris: Winning the National Closed Circuit championships. The National 25 win was also a big highlight, but having finished 2nd three times at the closed circuit it was the one event I really wanted to win.

3. Do you concentrate on time trialling or other disciplines as well?
Chris: My sole focus is time trialling.

4. What is your favourite distance and why?
Chris: 25 miles. Personally, I think it’s the perfect distance where you can still race all guns blazing, but you have more time to enjoy the pain than when your racing a 10 mile TT.

5. Do you have a favourite type of course – circuit/dual carriage way etc.
Chris: I enjoy racing dual carriage ways and circuits. My favourite dual carriage way courses are the R25/3H and my local Q25/10. Both have little traffic and are great fun to race for various reasons. Unfortunately we only really have one closed circuit event (Thruxton) which I love to race. It’s a safe, traffic free environment which makes it the truest test of speed as there is no traffic assistance and you can’t get stuck at a roundabout.

6. What type of course do you find safer to ride on?
Chris: Of course you feel safest on a traffic free closed circuit. But I have never felt at risk on the dual carriageway courses I have ridden. However, there have been a number of single carriageway courses which have been sketchy, but in those situations, you ride within your limits and do not take unnecessary risks.

7. What event stands out for you to ride – ie, what is a must ride event for you?
Chris: The British National Time Trial Championships. It’s a brilliant event, and one of the only opportunities we have in the UK to ride a closed road event.

8. How often do you like to race?
Chris: In 2019, I did 24 races between April and October. I like to get a number of races under my belt before the Nationals begin in June, to make sure we have tested new equipment, positions etc.

9. Do you ride to power or feel or both?
Chris: Both. Power is a good guide but I always listen to my body and know if I am on a good or bad day physical.
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10. You’re about to catch your minute rival – do you keep the same effort or ease back and then surge past them?
Chris: Always keep the same pace. I am focused on my own race so I never let any external factors affect my strategy.

11. Gears are getting bigger and bigger – what is the set up on your TT bike gear wise?
Chris: 62T, although I think we could go bigger for a course like the R25/3H as I spent most of the race in the 62-11 when riding to a time of 44:58.

12. What are your favourite tyres to race on?
Chris: Vittoria Corsa speed, setup tubeless.

13. What have you done to make yourself as aero as you can be? (Wind tunnel/bike fit etc)
Chris: To date, my position has come about through trial and error. However, we plan to undertake aero testing in preparation for the 2020 season.

Second in the 10 champs for Chris

14. How have you got faster in time trials overall? Is it just natural progression or specific efforts in training to be able to ride at high speeds for the distance required?
Chris: There isn’t a simple answer to this question. However, we have taken a holistic approach to going faster on a time trial bike. Even though we are a small team, our programme leaves no stone unturned. We consider every aspect of what it is to be a time trial rider, an athlete and ultimately a human being.

15. Do you train on a TT bike or both a road bike and TT bike?
Chris: I undertake all my training on the TT bike.

16. How many hours a week are you able to dedicate to training?
Chris: 10 to 15 hours depending on the time of year.

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17. Have you ever motorpaced on a TT bike?
Chris: I haven’t. The roads of Kent are definitely not ideal for motorpacing on a TT bike.

18. Do you take a break from riding the bike during the season or after the racing is finished?
Chris: After the season has finished, I take a couple of weeks off across October and November.

19. Does your training in the winter go through phases like just riding the bike to maintain fitness and then structured efforts?
Chris: We have developed a winter programme specifically focused on time trial performance. Which involves a number of different phases targeted at bringing myself to a point physically where I can then begin the summer/race season training programme.

20. When do you expect to start your racing in 2020?
Chris: Late April, beginning of May I will start racing locally to test equipment and position changes from the winter. These will also be warm-up races for the nationals.

21. Finally, the team is one of the highest profile teams in time trialling – how does being part of such a strong team support you and does it help motivate you even more to bring the team more success?
Chris: Every time I pull on The Independent Pedaler skinsuit, I feel a huge sense of pride. I am racing for everyone who supports us as a team and that’s all the motivation I need to give 100% at every race.


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