Feature Q&A: Rupert Graham (Spirit Tifosi BSS Rotor)

More lockdown features – this one with Spirit Tifosi BSS Rotor rider Rupert Graham who lives in Woking (West of London)

Feature Q&A: Rupert Graham (Spirit Tifosi BSS Rotor)
Brought to you by Velotech Services (Rotor UK)

Q: What has been your career highlight in cycling so far?
Rupert: Top 10 in National TT 2019 – So many people chipped in and supported the project that it was great to offer some form of return. It was also the first time my Dad had been able to come and watch me race.

Winning the Victor Berlemont as I hadn’t had the most successful season and definitely felt the pressure to deliver for the team. Rus planned and set out the team to win it in his usual style. I just finished it off as I was told to. Another highlight was 3rd in National Circuit Champs Time Trial – the first time I had ever achieved on a national level.

And of course joining Spirit Tifosi BSS Rotor – it was a huge honour to join such a prestigious team with an incredible track record having been turned down by everyone else who could not see anything in a novice like me. Rus however has always had huge faith in me and constantly is there to mentor and guide us in all aspects of racing.

Q: Your last race was and how did it go?
Rupert: The Roy Thame Cup where I went surprisingly well considering my condition. I managed to grab 4th.

Q: With racing outdoors cancelled, what’s a typical week training wise for you?
Rupert: Trying to keep things as mixed as possible so I do not get bored. Long and short road rides, gravel and mtb as well as the occasional turbo session when the weather isn’t good or I’m pushed for time.

Q: Are you training with a power meter?
Rupert: Yes and I really feel this is a must for all cyclists. Obviously, it’s great for monitoring efforts, but for me it’s been great for ensuring I do include enough easy riding to recover properly.

Q: What sort of power meters’s do your team bikes use?
Rupert: This year we have been lucky enough to have been upgraded to the Rotor INSpider units which has been a great step up for accuracy and reliability. Also, because it’s a modular unit, I can switch it back and forth between road, gravel and mtb bikes as well as going from 1x to 2x all with one unit.

Q: Do ride/train to power on all rides or just specific efforts for training?
Rupert: Now we have Rotor INSpider I wouldn’t do any ride now without having the power metre on the bike. This means I can always track my riding efforts and ensure they are ridden at the correct intensity to ensure I get the most out of my training programme.

Q: What do you learn from races/training having a power meter on your bike?
Rupert: Everything! I’ve found it particularly useful for monitoring my efforts in breakaways and time trials when it’s all too easy to start of going too hard only to pay for it later.

Q: Does the power meter come in for use with the Turbo?
Rupert: It’s the perfect tool for turbo training. Using The Sufferfest, I can select that it takes the power readings from my Rotor INSpider, rather than the turbo trainer, which means I can then train at exactly the same watts as I would on the road with no guess work.

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Q: Where do you do the majority of your training outside?
Rupert: Across the Surrey Hills and Chilterns. Variety is the key for me and I try and never repeat a route, certainly not in the same week.

Q: What has been the best bike ride so far during lockdown?
Rupert: I did an all day Brighton and back loop almost entirely off road. The weather was gorgeous and it was great to be away from traffic all that time.

Q:. What’s the bike that gets the most use by you and what is the best thing about it?
Rupert: It’s hard to drag myself away from the Tifosi Auriga. Every time you swing a leg over, it’s exciting and just wants to fly! For an aero bike, I have been amazed at how comfortable it is, especially with tubeless Schwalbe tyres, so I never feel the need to ride anything else even for long training rides.

Q: Finally, what race will you miss the most if there’s no racing outside in 2020?
Rupert: At Spirit Tifosi we’re incredibly lucky to get to race abroad and have I believe one of the best UCI based race calendars, and certainly the best for the size of team and budget.

The UCI stage race trips are always amazing, fun and extremely competitive. The boss Rus makes the trips extremely good fun whilst also making sure he squeezes the most out of us as a team unit. It’s superb racing at the highest level so I will be very sad to not be able to build on the experiences in Poland and the Czech Republic from previous years in 2020 if lockdown goes on all year.

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