Sean McFarlane is one of Scotland’s most successful long-distance triathletes and adventure racers. He finished runner up in last year’s KW cycle race. Sean also coached well known TV presenter Dougie Vipond for the BBC’s Adventure Show as Dougie took part in the 2016 Braveheart Triathlon. This year Dougie’s challenge is the KW cycle race; Sean and Dougie recently had a chat about how his preparation is going.
Sean McFarlane: So, Dougie, why this race?
Dougie Vipond: We filmed the running race at Kintyre last year for the Adventure Show and I was blown away by the whole thing. From the course, the location, the atmosphere. Plus, you’ve spent the last 6 months raving about the bike race, so I had to give it a go!
SM: How are you feeling about it?
DV: Nervous, seriously so, but also very excited and I think that’s a great combination of emotions.
SM: How’s training going?
DV: It’s not, so far. Have you looked outside?!! But I am going to get a lot done soon, especially now that I have decided on which bike I’m using.
SM: Ah yes, bike choice. Lots of debate last year about using a mountain bike or a cyclo cross/gravel bike. What are you going for and why?
DV: I’ll be using a cyclo cross. I have an Orange RX9 which is a cracking bike and perfect for the race so I’ve no excuse really.
SM: Orange do nice mountain bikes too you know?!
DV: Yes, and I did heavily consider using one. But I’m really a road biker with very little experience on a mountain bike so I think cyclo cross is best.
SM: Come to think of it Orange also do electric bikes! Ideal!
DV: Up yours.
SM: Fair enough. No one likes a cheat. Moving on, what type of training do you plan on doing?
DV: Firstly, lots of riding on mixed terrain for a decent length of time on the RX9. You always say there’s no substitute for practising what you need to do, plain and simple. I also plan on doing some basic strength and conditioning work. Last year I remember seeing finishers at end of the bike race looking pretty shaken up all over.
SM: Sounds good. What about a nutrition plan?
DV: Lots of steady grazing. I like my energy chews, but I’ll also take real food. So, plenty of filled sandwiches and rolls. I’ll try and keep off the emergency items like chocolate until later.
SM: How you carry nutrition and other bits and pieces is really important. I saw lots of people losing stuff from their bikes last year as they battered over the rougher terrain. I lost two water bottles and as a result was seriously dehydrated when I finished. Have you thought about that?
DV: Yup. I’ll be using a lightweight rucksack to carry all my nutrition, fluid, clothing and repair kit. Nothing on the bike as such and all on me. I’ve got a couple of options size wise so will let the weather gods decide.
SM: Last year there were quite a few punctures, especially for those using cyclo crossers. Big compromise here between high pressure tyres versus comfort. Any plans there?
DV: I’ll probably go for high pressure but am also using flat pedals as I’m fully prepared to get off and walk some of the rougher sections. Big day out stuff here so self-preservation is key.
SM: Talking of tyres, any thoughts?
DV: I’ve got a couple of sets with one having more tread than the other. I’ll make a call on the day. Would like to lose the one round my waist first.
SM: Any targets?
DV: Finishing is by far and away the main one, which frankly is far from guaranteed. It would be good to beat Rob Wainwright but he’s handy on the bike so that’s unlikely. I am meant to be presenting the prizes so do need to get back in time for that!
SM: Sounds like you’re all sorted Dougie, have a great race!