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World Cup Track Glory - A Winning Partnership

World Cup Track Glory - A Winning Partnership

Irish Track rider Felix English has been putting his Koichi San II to good use over the past few months. Though he's relatively new to Planet X he's an old hand on the boards and he's been racking up World Cup medals with his Madison partner Mark Downey, who's also been taking down the big names in the points race where he has two wins under his belt already this season.

Felix has shown promise from an early age. As a junior, he won 5 British national titles, before deciding to ride for Ireland, the land of his parents. Back in 2010 at the UEC European Track Championships he even knocked out Sir Chris Hoy in the first round of the sprint.

When asked about Felix's early season performance after the first event in the 2016 season, and a near medal miss in the Scratch race Cycling Ireland Technical Director Brian Nugent said “That was a great display from Felix! He was one of the fastest in the final sprint and just missed out on a bronze due to the way the sprint worked out for him. He was well placed throughout and very vigilant and active at every point. Felix is maturing as a rider and the big result will come naturally.”

Felix and Mark have been coming into great late season form. Taking silver in the Madison in Cali, Colombia and then surpassing that with a gold in the Madison in Los Angeles, USA. With the World Cup events done for the year, Felix and Mark have their sites firmly focused on the 2017 World Champs In Hong Kong this coming April.

Keen to learn a bit more about how he manages to stay competitive on the road circuit while focussing on his training and tapering for his track season we put a few quick questions to Felix.

Q. Felix, you've had a successful season on the track so far, are the World Champs your main focus for this season?

A. Thanks! It’s been nice seeing the whole Irish team progress over the last 2 years. Yeah, for me everything is building towards the Worlds - I really believe myself and Mark can walk away World Champions.

Q. Aerodynamics seems to play a large part in track cycling. How important do think it is. How do you go about testing and preparing your equipment? Do you polish your helmet?
A. Yeah, it’s pretty big! I’ve never really thought about it too much in the past but now we’re getting towards the top of the sport, you’re always looking for the little gains. The helmet is yet to be polished.

Q. How do you manage your road racing schedule with your training for the track?
A. In the past, it has been a bit tighter, with my road teams not really wanting to me ride the track. So, did what I thought was best for my Olympic build up and made my own track team!

Q. An average keen club cyclist is riding 100/150 miles when your building up how does your distance look when compared to this.
A. In a heavy week in Mallorca, we’re probably training 6 days a week with at least 2 of those days being triple days (either; 3-4 hours on the road, watt bike, gym or track). So we can sometimes clock up over 6 hours fairly intense riding each day.

Q. If you had to give one up would you stop road racing or track racing first? Which would you retain and why?
A. I’d keep up the track - two simple reasons; I’m better on the track and I enjoy it more!

Q. You’re on the road a lot, do you get stuck into any mini-series and binge watch? What are you doing to keep busy during your down time? A. Well, the last 6 months has been pretty busy setting up TrackProject.ie with Fintan but I recently started watching Vikings - highly recommended.

Q. Why did you make the jump to riding for Ireland, what opportunity does that afford you?
A. I first rode for Ireland as a junior - both my parents are from Dublin and the rest of my family are either in Wexford or Wicklow. I’ve been given a lot of great opportunities with the team and I’m glad now I can start repaying them with some medals.

Q. Who’s the hardest man you have ever ridden a bike with?

A. An old friend who used to do a triathlon - Jago Beckie. That guy would be out in any conditions doing 5/6 hours post run and swims. Madman!!

Q. What’s your favourite place to ride a bike and why?
A. My favourite place I’ve raced is Colombia and my favourite place to train has to be my new home in Mallorca.

Q. How are you finding the Koichi San, what set-up do you race on?
A. It’s honestly been great! I’ve even grown to really like the bright colours ha! I’m running the planet-x 5 spoke and disc combination, with Selcof 38cm handlebars and Selcof aero stem. All finished off with my unpolished Carnac aero lid.

2 March 2017