Rider Chat: Chris Opie (Saint Piran)

There might not be any racing but Saint Piran’s new signing for 2020 Chris Opie is keeping busy promoting his home part of the country – we have a chat on what he’s up to

Rider Chat: Chris Opie (Saint Piran)

I started off the chat with Chris by asking him what his best memories are in cycling in the UK. Chris replied “There are lots of memories that stand out from the years and the more time I spend thinking about them, the more that I can think of.

Two highlights that are really special to me though are both from the Tour Series. Winning at Canary Wharf in 2013 was something that I had been wanting to do for a long time, so to finally do that really was a huge moment for me. And to go on and win the team overall competition really was special. And the same in 2017, winning my first round back in the Tour Series, in Redditch after not racing the series the year before, was a very happy moment!

Canary Wharf, 2013

2017, Redditch

Chris, who was a very popular presenter on GCN’s cycling channel, is also using that experience in doing his own videos on YouTube like this one below:

I asked Chris to tell us about them and he says “… in this bizarre time for all of us, I really felt that the sponsors, partners and supporters of the team aren’t getting much coverage. There’s no story to follow, and very little media out there at the moment. My goal is to try and create videos that showcase the products and equipment we use, and to keep people up to date with access to something they weren’t previously able to have. That could be anything, from behind the scenes training, thoughts from myself and the riders, life away from bikes. It’s a growing list as it evolves. The goal is to create three distinctly different videos each week.”

Riding for Saint Piran which is all about promoting Cornwall and the businesses there, I asked Chris where in Cornwall are the best places to head to on a bike? His top 5!

Chris replied “The Bissoe Trail, the mines and minerals trails from Bike Chain Bissoe Cafe has to be top of my list. Steve Lampier and I have spent more hours than is healthy, riding up and down the trails there. It’s like a feeling of being at home riding there! And you have to visit Mars and Poldice Valley!

The North Coast. All of it. If you were to ride any stretch of the north Cornish coast (ideally avoiding Newquay) you’d have a very nice ride indeed! Bodmin Moor and the St Austell Clay Pits. I used to train on both of these quite a lot, the roads are quiet, the climbs are tough and the views are spectacular. What more do you need from a bike ride?

Penwith Peninsula. Ideally mid winter! It’s a lovely stretch of coastline, that was set to host this years Tour of Britain. It is very unspoilt, again it’s quiet and it’s hillsides are steeped in history. It feels special when riding there.

The Camel Trail. It’s road bike friendly and it’s family friendly. And it is situated on an old railway between two lovely towns, alongside a beautiful estuary. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to refreshments on either end, too!

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Before you can explore all that, you need a bike and Saint Piran are known for their Colnago’s which for many riders, especially those who have been in the sport for many a year, the Colnago brand is a very prestigous one. So I asked Chris about his Colnago team bike. “I am currently riding a Colnago Concept, size 50s. It has Rotor InPower 172.5mm cranks, 53/39 chain rings with a 11-28 cassette. It’s equipped with Shimano Ultegra groupset, Ceramic speed OSPW, Hutchinson Fusion 5 28mm tubeless tyres, RSP Calavera CC35mm wheels and FSA finishing kit. It is a thing of beauty!

When asked what is your most used item of Saint Piran product he says “Ha!, that’ll be our own coffee, which we also sell. Hint, hint. Wink, wink. No day starts without three cups of coffee! Double espresso with an equal measure of water on top. After a couple of those I’m ready for the day ahead. The third is my insurance policy to get me through the homeschooling, which mainly consists of PE for our little ones.”

The final question for Chris was to ask what is his training routine at the moment – more fun than structured and is he e-racing? “I immediately took two weeks off when we went into lockdown. It made sense as at that point, we were always going to be as far away from normality as was possible. And I enjoyed it. Put on about 6kgs and really relaxed. It was as close to a holiday as I’m likely to get”.

“As a family, we really needed that time together without me focusing on training or anything else, so I’m very pleased that happened. Since then, I’ve been rebuilding slowly whilst including lots of different types of training. Running, gym work, more specific stretching. I’ve not stressed, just let it happen. Completed each session and I feel good. I’m slowly increasing volume but nowhere near what I could be doing, that wouldn’t be sensible right now”.

“It could be hard to stay motivated, I’m not going to lie. But the reality is 12 months ago I would have given anything to be in the position I currently find myself. So I am really making the most of it. Virtual racing doesn’t do it for me really. In September, I did four races on Zwift, won three and finished 2nd or 3rd in another. It just doesn’t excite me massively. If we as a team decide to race, that would be different and I would take part. Then there would be a sense of occasion.”

“I’ll also be really honest. There’s still a massive gulf between racing online and racing in real life. Online racing is fairly one dimensional. Real life is anything but that. So it’s all a bit false, in my mind. Or perhaps I am showing my age?!”

You can follow Chris on social media
* Twitter: twitter.com/chrisopie87
* Facebook: facebook.com/Chris-Opie-702371866457941
* Strava: strava.com/pros/9055
* Instagram: instagram.com/chrisopie87

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