Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Check out this Q&A interview with Isle of Islay cycling blogger, Brian Palmer. Brief excerpt below.

which side of the bike would you prefer to be on - riding or coaching/mechanic?
There is no reason why you can't do all of it; I've always tried to ride, even though I was forced to quit racing after I bust my knee up badly in a crash. I still love riding my bike but equally I have loved mechanicing, managing and coaching. Again, over the period of time I have been involved things change and people come and go, and whilst a few years ago I would be passionate about mechanicing for someone, or coaching a certain rider, as the riders move on or change teams and my own job changed then its only when you look back that you realise how it has evolved.

don't you get a bit fed up with all the mud, particularly in the uk?
Never! I get fed up in the winter when there is a dry spell and there isn't much mud! Mud makes it so much fun, its like being a kid having an excuse to go play in the dirt, get filthy, slide around... mud is the reason I love the sport.

given that we have endless amounts of mud and crap weather in the uk, why do you think the belgians are so much better?
Well its nothing to do with mud or the weather, thats for sure. Its the snowball effect that comes when a sport is popular with the people to point that they will go and pay to watch it, then television picks up on its popularity and televises the vast majority of the races, a high percentage on live broadcast. With regular television comes sponsorship for the events and the teams and riders. Riders become "personalities", teams fight to employ the best ones, riders can earn a living racing so they dont need to work and can train full-time, and because there is so much money to be made and such a lot of races available then the level rises.

and the americans?
The Americans have always been pretty crap, down there with the Brits for years and years, but in the last five years or so a few individuals with some vision have realised that its a discipline of the sport that actually Americans could promote very well in their own country and at the same time it has that historic traditional feel to it that Yanks love, so they get really excited about finding out about it and coming to deepest darkest Europe to find a hallowed race they have read about for years, and then they can actually race it. Its not like reading about Paris-Roubaix then finding out you need to be on a Pro Tour road team to compete in it. If you have an Elite American racing license and you want to come and race the Super Prestige in Overijse, which is a real classic, then suddenly you can find yourself on the start line. Americans are great at promotion and Cross fits well with a sport that benefits from a bit of effort and promotion. It doesn't need roads to be closed or Highway Patrol to look after it, its short enough to keepÊspectators interested, its relatievely cheap to promote and it ties in with a lot of Americans discovering cycling as a way to keep in shape, to follow the sport thanks to Lance Armstrong being a household name, and Cross is the next bit of it to move onto.

since you are the mountain bike and cyclo cross coach for british cycling, isn't it unusual that your book is published by velopress in colorado?
I'm targeting the American audience!

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