At the moment both myself and Ed at TCC, along with some mega people who share our passion for everything we do, are currently organising something that is being launched over Christmas. We’re texting, emailing, calling hundreds of times a day, and all whilst doing full time jobs. Like proper people jobs- TCC is purely a passion to make things and share it with people who we hope like it.
I say that because during all these communications, Ed commented that when we look back at this year, our very first year, we’ve done some pretty cool things that we should be proud of. We spend our lives constantly looking to what is next, how we can do x,y and z and how to make things better, quicker, easier, more popular. But actually, sometimes you need to look back and be proud of what you’ve begun. We are under no illusions, what we have is purely just starting, however that makes it all very exciting when looking to 2019 and beyond…
The key value we started with when starting TCC was that we wanted to be personal and accessible. We felt that it could be something we bring to the market- and that’s why I started the blogs- to give an insight into someone who loves riding and racing bikes and is doing this because he loves it. I felt personally, that I would be into something with that sort of message. So at the risk of looking like a brand that isn’t super professional or business-like, we have gone for honesty and trying to involve our customers/readers with the journey we’re on.
So here we are- one year on. I wanted to write a blog about all the things that have happened in that year and give a bit of a review to it all, because there have been highs, lows and badgers. If you want to check back you can see all the blogs written this year so far in the blog section- there’s a range of them and they go into more detail.
The first photoshoot.
We designed our first kits, got them made, website was ready to go, everything was in place. We just needed a good day to shoot on. Perhaps a cold but sunny winter’s morning on Kidds Hill. No chance. Below freezing, driving rain so there was an actual stream going down the hill, sleet and mist. Luckily we were shooting spring/summer kit so had no protection from the elements- great! It is genuinly the coldest I’ve ever been, plus I fell off turning around on Kidds Hill as I couldn’t feel my feet or legs to know if I was unclipped or not. Regardless thought, we got the shots we wanted and needed, even if they are a bit wintery.
We decided on Roubaix in February, without much thought other than it’ll be ‘fun’. It was incredible, the atmopshere, the other riders, the other TCCers that did it all made for it to be a very special day. The weather was perfect- the first time I had felt actual warm sun that year- after all the snow and cancelled road races etc.
I had picked up a dodgy knee from somewhere and so went into it with no proper riding for a few weeks. Hitting the cobbles for the first time is a laugh out loud moment- the utter absurdity of it left me beside myself whilst also trying to ride them. I went for the ‘hammer it, float over’ approach which worked a treat until my legs decided that riding 90+ miles with 20 odd hard intervals being shaken over cobbles isn’t ideal. I cramped in every part of my legs and at one point was stuck to my bike with no way of pedalling or getting off, just free wheeling and screaming. The Belgians were not impressed. We completed it though and riding into the Velodrome was spectacular.
Watching the pros the day after was amazing. We had set off to the Koppenberg with the intent to ride 60 miles of Flandrian bergs however the weather was atrocious and cobble climbs and descents did not appeal.
Same again for 2019, but with more riders, better prepared and more gas…
First Road Race
Following Roubaix- my knee stopped hurting (shaken to freedom) and I hit some proper form. I was out all that week riding flat out in group rides and going great- I racked up a 591 TSS before I knew about TSS properly- bear in mind that the week before was also a 542 TSS week. From 0 TSS for a few weeks to those wasn’t going to end well. I had my first road race- a 2/3 cat on the Lingfield course a few weeks after and I was feeling confident. Due to that confidence, I went out on the Tuesday to see the course and went flat out and then a Saturday ‘easy’ ride that I inevnitably turned into a smashup. So, I rolled up to the line after two 550/600 TSS weeks and in that same week had already racked up 350 TSS. I didn’t know this, but the implosion was immenent.
I had only done 4th cat races and 3rd cat Goodwood crits. So what was to come was a very fast, brutal lesson in what road racing was all about. We line up, a car will drive along and we follow it to the course, easy! I’m lined up at the front, look across and see Jesse Yates, all the SouthDowns boys and Isaac Pucci (he was riding for BS and wearing my skinsuit- how he fitted his legs into I don’t know). Before my brain could process that these boys probably won’t be hanging around on the super-hilly course, the car set off- and everyone went for it. I was soon down to midpack after following the guidance of not crossing the middle of the road (oncoming cars are solid) however everyone else seemed to use this to move up- first lesson learned. I was sat in and feeling comfy after the initial frenzy. I worked my way back towards the front and followed anyone in black and green- a safe bet.
The next thing I learnt was that when people are overtaking on the other side of the road, if and when a car does approach, they need to get back in and would rather hit a cyclist going the same direction than a car going the opposite. So I quickly learnt that contact within the bunch was pretty standard and the more confident you are with that, the better.
An hour in and a few hard hills later, I was in the bunch but just had nothing left and was soon spat out on the following hill- where at the top some friends had come to watch- PERFECT. My NP was over my FTP and I had tried my best and ridden pretty smart- I just didn’t have the legs. I took solace in that many others were in the same boat and it was great to see Isaac powering to the win at the end. Lessons were learnt- and what a buzz.
Goodwood Attack Squad
Goodwood was awesome this year. Brilliantly run by Tony and all the team, and with so many good people racing there- its such a good event to part of. I set out to race for fitness and fun rather than sitting in a bunch and sprinting at the end, so attacking was the aim. After a few races where nothing much happened, I eventually got away for most of a race with 3 others- to get caught with one corner to go. It was brilliant fun though, and I set my best 20 min power PB.
Quality weather yet again. IT WAS JUNE FFS. I killed Ed after making him ride up all the hills in Brighton and back home again .
Another road race. Another spat special.
Turns out the 3rd cat race was even faster and harder than the 2/3 I did. This is the moment I realied where I needed to improve- repeatability. So hopefully we’ll see that in 2019. An even madder race than the previous one, Barcombe is a crazy circuit and URDT did an awesome job at keeping it all running perfectly! Proper fun chasing an Ambulance car to get back on, but it was too little too late.
The absolute maddest thing I’ve done on a bike so far. What a buzz. Hitting 450w+ 28 times in barely 30mins was a shock to the system. I absolutely loved the course and especially the corners- where I managed to make up time lost through not being able to put loads of power through the pedals. It was a case of into the max straight away and then hanging on- it was over before I could even puke.
After all the road racing- I decided that the best way to boost the fitness and power numbers that I need to be more competitive was to jump on an MTB through winter. I used to ride and race as a kid and wanted that variety and fun- it meant a chance to improve my handling skills and rail those corners even faster.
So after 3 short rides, I entered and raced Big Dog as a soloist. What a race! For the first time in my riding and racing career- I actually thought and cared about nutrition and fuelling. It made such a difference- who would have thought! Maybe I’ll eat before a road race now. What an idiot.
Stanmer was such a good course and a real baptism of fire into XC racing- it definitely gave me the bug. And it definitely has had an impact on my road riding.
Our first proper event as TCC and what a weekend it was! The team we had were fantastic and everyone pulled it out the bag- even with some not training that much due to work, houses and crashes! It was a real test of mental fortitude- with it getting dark so early, you feel it’s really late and check the time and it’s only 8pm. That evening and night session needs real teamwork to get through- to keep everyone’s moral up and riding hard into the next day. Luckily we had the best garage and had a such a good time on and off the bikes. Loved it. 2019 multiple teams is a possibility…
After Revolve, much like Roubaix, I hit some great form and was really enjoying the MTB and road bike. Until I smashed into a badger and ruined my knee. After more antibiotics than i could shake a stick at, some surgery and not being able to walk for a month, I was back on it. It was the longest I’ve not ridden a bike since starting riding properly and was not fun. But the enforced break probably did some good and I’m really enjoying seeing my fitness and numbers keep improving- I can’t wait for spring!
Teaming up with SouthDowns Bikes CascoPet
After running our Spotlight feature, we managed to secure a fantastic partnership with the boys in Green and Black. We are super excited to see them riding and racing with TCC gear on their heads and bikes- as well as rocking some custom shirts off the bike. Watch this space!
Another miserable photoshoot- but we wanted that.
With the year nearly finished, we released our new Marine Winter kit and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. The quality is absolutely amazing and they look great. We needed a miserable day to show off the fabrics and that’s exactly what we got!
Roubaix 2019- big TCC crew going- there are always more spaces for people wanting to join us.
Special Roubaix kit release- summer kit plus gilet and a skinsuit- the design is amazing and they’re gonna look badass.
More spring/summer kits
Spring casual wear release
Road races, crits, MTB races, Endurance races, Enduros maybe
I’d love to have the time/form/fitness to do a stage race
Our own TCC event in July- it’s gonna be special
Whatever else comes up as we keep riding and chasing!
We want to say a huge thank you to everyone that has been involed with TCC in its first year- we’ve done a lot and learnt a ridiculous amount- so thanks for working with us and believing in us! We hope to have you along for the ride in 2019 and keep growing. What I do promise is that we’ll still be the same and I’ll keep writing these overly-long blogs that no one gets to the end of. I hope to re-read this one this time next year having had an amazing year with TCC and write the same thing!
The biggest thanks goes to this man, for putting up with my relentless requests for design changes, stupid ideas and making him ride up hills he doesn’t want to.