He has a beard (but he’s not Fabio Baldato), he’s not a fan of disc wheels and would eventually like to cycle around the world; he also took victory in the Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championship – meet Whitley Bay and Paisley Velo’s Ben Peacock.
On a cold and blustery morning Peacock was fastest at all our time checks, hurtling around the Freuchie ‘sort-of-out-and-back’ course 15 seconds short of a 30mph average speed, only seven seconds quicker than regular championship winner Arthur Doyle (www.dooleyscycles.co.uk), with Arthur’s teammate bronze medallist Iain Grant a mere six seconds slower still, keeping Sandy Wallace Cycles’ Alan Thomson off the bronze by three seconds.
Despite having two riders on the podium, Dooleys Cycles ‘only’ finished third in the team competition, albeit a single second slower than Peacock’s Paisley Velo threesome, with Sandy Wallace Cycles riders Silas Goldsworthy and Kyle Gordon supporting Thomson and taking the top slot 10 seconds ahead. SWC also took the ladies’ team prize, with winner Anda-Jay Burgess backed up by Victoria Hunter who finished in fifth place.
Sunday wasn’t Peacock’s first Scottish medal, he won the bronze in the ‘10’ on Westferry last year behind Doyle and Grant, as he says,
“It was the same top three this year, just re-arranged. But there are also riders like Silas Goldsworthy and Alan Thomson – they can all win on their day.”
Peacock seems to have exploded on to the Scottish scene, he’s only been racing since 2010 but before that had gained strong endurance by doing lot of long distance riding. He completed Land’s End to John O’Groats and toured in Europe.
“It was 2010 when my sister-in-law sent me an email which she said I might find of interest – Scottish Cycling was having a recruitment drive, so I sent off the forms and they invited me in for a Wattbike test. I met the figures they were after.
“They said I should join a club, I met the folks from Johnstone Wheelers and they got me into stuff like turbo training. I got myself a bike and in 2011 I tried everything.
“But it was time trials that seemed best for me, and when Willie Cosh from the Johnstone Wheelers started up Paisley Velo, I joined.”
Peacock has been rattling out some rapid ’10’ times, doing 19:42 in the Rob Robertson Memorial last year, an evening event, but despite some great form he doesn’t have designs on the ’10’ record;
“I definitely favour evening events, I’m not a morning person!
“I don’t even know what the record is!” [It stands to the late, great Jason MacIntyre at 18:49]
The ’10’ wasn’t a particular target for Peacock, his training is concentrated on the track pursuit, but he did taper into the race, having his last hard training session on the Wednesday before – something he says he doesn’t normally do, finding that tapering isn’t usually the way to get the best out of himself. He mixes his training sessions, finding that he needs the stimulation of variety;
“I do a bit of everything; I find that if I do too much of the one type of training then I get bored. I ride the turbo once a week, I train and race on the track, I go out on the road and ride with the chain gang.
“I’ve also recently started riding the Wattbike; Ian Simm has put together a programme for me which is very effective.”
Despite initially thinking it would put him at a disadvantage, Peacock’s evening job – he’s a barman – works well for him as it allows training time during the day and his bosses are very supportive when it comes to time off for racing.
Fife’s Freuchie course isn’t really a drag-strip like the Westferry course near Greenock, but it is fast;
“That drop at the start helps – I really enjoyed the course, there’s a lot of variety with the technical sections and those stretches where you ride through the woods.
“I did 20:14 which is a similar time to what I’d do on Westferry; but the wind was a big factor today.
“For the first two miles I was getting so much turbulence around the back of the bike I thought maybe my rear skewer had slipped. I came up off the tri bars so I could look down to check – but there was nothing wrong, it was just the wind.”
Going south to chase drag strip times isn’t a priority for Peacock, but he admits to being curious to go down to England;
“It’s The Promised Land for time trialling, isn’t it? I mean there are a lot of guys doing 18 minute 10’s down there. In Scotland it’s so much harder to post the fast times with the cold weather – but that makes the times we do up here all the more credible.
“I’m not sure about the ‘50’ Champs – I’ve never ridden one, but I’ll ride the ‘25’ for sure, even though it clashes with the British ‘10’ – I missed the Scottish ‘25’ last year so I’d like to ride it this year.
We noticed that Peacock is a man for the big gears;
“Yes, I ride 54 x 11 up. In the championship with the wind in the last two miles I had to ride the 11 and 12 – when I looked down I had a twig jammed in the cassette and couldn’t get the 13 and 14.
“I had to laugh! I just had to grind it out in the 11 and 12 – that’s not easy when your legs are full of lactic.
“But maybe that’s how I found those seconds on Arthur Doyle?”
He’s not particularly into using the latest or lightest equipment, calling himself ‘old-school’, and has ridden the same Bianchi for the last couple of years with ZiPP 404 wired-on wheels. Peacock believes that getting bound up thinking about the equipment can be distracting; riding, training and racing hard is what it’s all about. Suspecting he ‘sounds controversial’, Peacock reckons disc wheels are overrated;
“But then I have a beard, don’t I?”
Peacock is obviously very strong, and has enjoyed some success in road racing, winning in his category, but doesn’t feel that bunch racing necessarily offers him more options; he ‘just likes time trials’;
“Road racing is a different animal. Coming from a touring background the time trials suit me – out there on my own!
“I’m good at gauging my effort, I don’t ride to a heart rate monitor or power meter.”
This year though, Peacock is clear on his targets, and they’re on the track.
The dual aims of a good result in the British Pursuit Championships and achieving the Scottish qualifying time in the discipline for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – which is 4:30 – are undoubtedly a challenge. At 32 years of age he feels it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to the Games.
“The ambition is to ride the pursuit – and hopefully team pursuit – for Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“After that I think I’ll go back to cycle touring – Mark Beaumont was a big inspiration to me when he did his round the world ride. I’m a bit of a traveller so I think that’s what I’ll end up going back to doing.”
Results - Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championship 2013
2 Jennifer Taylor Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers F 23.14
3 Christine McLean Shetland Wheelers FV 23.16