As we begin to introduce 'guest' ride leaders into our weekly group rides, we thought you deserved to know something about the people who are going to be leading you around the lanes, hills and descents of London.
First up is Oli, who is leading this Sunday's Surrey 100 training ride (details and sign up here). As someone who will complete his third Ride London this year, he is well placed to offer good advice on the ride and cycling in general!
Name: Oliver Crosby
Max Power Output: 750watts (probably)
Max Speed: 72kmph (on the decent of Wells hill in Kent)
Current Bike: Pinarello FP Due. He's called 'Frankel' after the undefeated race horse. He's a beauty - he does everything I ask of him. I think he probably gets a bit frustrated with me at times, but he doesn't show it. A pleasure to ride.
Dream bike: I love my own Pinarello, so it would have to be Froomey's Pinarello Dogma F8 Xlight
Notable Wins/Performances: none of note...
Notable Rides: London to Loire Valley (2013), London to Bordeaux (2014), Ride London Surrey 100 (2014, 2015, 2016) - I love riding ride London on the closed roads, but it's not quite cycling through vineyards for hours in the South of France in the blazing sunshine though!
Favourite London Climb: Toys Hill, Kent. A real climb - nice and long, starting off gently but kicking up to around 18% in the middle, before levelling out but not stopping! Really tests your legs and your lungs!
Favourite Ever Climb?: The Koppenberg, Belgium - I've only done it once but had to put my foot down. After riding all day on the pan flat roads of Belgium to get there, having forgotten what hills are, you come to a gradient which hikes up to around 23% in places...over cobbles...with moss all over the cobbles...and grass in-between the cobbles! That all means you can't get out your saddle or you lose all friction with your back wheel and the road. You just have to sit up, lean back into your seat to get the weight over your back wheel, and embrace the wheel spin as you climb. Bonkers! The pros make it look so easy...well, easier anyway.
Current Favourite Rider: Geraint Thomas - all round funny guy. Always got something witty to say and a loyal servant to Froomey. Rides hard!
Favourite All Time Rider: In 5 years time I'll say Sir Chris Froome (although 5 years ago I'd have said someone else...). Until then I'd have to go with Eddy Merckx based on his records....you don't fluke 11 grand tour victories.
What position would you take in a pro cycling team?: Super domestique/Sprinter. I'm loyal and heavy!
Who would be your perfect pro team (with you as team leader)?: Luke Rowe (he knows how to keep you up front in a peloton); Ian Stannard (can I have Rowe without Standard? I think they come as a pair); Jens Voigt (superman); David Miller (great bloke - knows how to stay out front); Steve Cummings (so strong and knows how to read a break); Geraint Thomas (been Froome's domestique for a few years now so knows what he's doing); Peter Sagan (just because he would make me laugh and he's so weird!); Rafael Majka (he's shown what a strong rider he is; he's polish so staying true to my roots); Directeur Sportif: Dave Brailsford (the marginal gains man - revolutionised cycling).
Why Do You Ride.
How and When did you get into cycling?: I used to cycle to school in the summer on my mountain bike, as fast as I could. I then didn't really cycle at all until I was about 21 and finished university, and started cycling to work. That progressed into touring holidays in France and started riding sportives when I was around 25. I'm definitely going to be riding long into my twilight years.
What's your favourite thing about cycling?: I love the summer and being outdoors in general, but I love the journeys you can make on a bike. It's like going for a walk but you can cover 50x the distance. I also love the feeling of the hum of the mechanics of a bike as you ride. There's no greater feeling than flying down a dead flat road at 40kmph tucked in behind your favourite domestique (in my case, my brother)! I also love the psychology of sport in general, and nowhere is that more apparent than in cycling. Being in a happy state of mind in the sun as you get to the top of a hill with the wind at your back, having just smashed your best time on Strava, versus riding up an impossible climb into a headwind in the driving rain on a freezing cold day - it could easily be considered two separate sports. I like that - I like the show of mental toughness that it takes to stay in your happy place on those dark, dark winter cycling days!
What's the best piece of advice you've given to new cyclists?: Eat before you're hungry, because there is no worse feeling than dropping off that cliff. Stick at it and be mentally tough; stay in your happy place, because it makes it a lot more fun to be out on the bike, and makes a big difference to your performance. Most of all when you start cycling don't expect to wake up in 6 weeks time and for cycling to suddenly be painless - "It never gets easier, you just get faster" - Greg LeMond
If you want to learn more about Oli then come along on Sunday and ask him everything you can think of about cycling over the 100km ride! Ride Details