Q&A with Kristian House
After being born in Kent, Kristian moved to Austin Texas as a child. It was here with the Violet Crown cycling team that he discovered his love for cycling. His ambition soon brought him back to Europe to race though and he has never looked back since.
Kristian has taken wins at the Lincoln Grand Prix, the Tour de Bretange, the Tour of Japan, the Premier Calendar and overall victory at the Ras in Ireland. His biggest moment though came in 2009, when riding for Rapha-Condor, he beat off possibly the strongest field ever assembled to take out the National Road Race Championships in Abergavenny.
As a racing cyclist, which results are you most proud of and why?
Thats a tough one, there's the Surrey 5 day where the GB 'B' team stuck it to the GB 'A' team and Tom Southam and I took all the jerseys. The Tour of South Africa where I won the first stage and I had an incredible team around me, that rode on the front for 8 days to help me defend it. When I look back at the way we did that, it really was something special. There's the national champs that will always be close to my heart as it's something I always wanted and dreamed about. But if I'm honest, the one I feel most proud of was my stage win in Japan. We went there with Lappers (Darren Lapthorne) for GC and myself to get in the breaks to assist him later on in stages, but on the uphill Mass start TT it all fell apart and GC hopes went out the window. I can remember sitting down with Lappers in the hotel room, both of us feeling down, and he turned to me and said "Fuck it, we're going to fucking win tomorrow. Both of us in the break and we are going to win!". We came up with a plan for the next stage, stuck to it, and both of is rode out of our skin... Either one of us could of won that day, didn't matter, but I ended up crossing the line first. The satisfaction we got from that day, I'll never forget.
Which are your favourite stretches of road to ride on locally and what is it that you like about them?
Local never really applies to me, I'm never sure where that is! One of my favourite UK roads is the road the turns off Long Hill coming out of Buxton and drops down to the reseviour, then after the dam turns right up what I think is Goyt Valley.
The same question for roads anywhere in the world?
All in Austin Texas. Either Fitzhugh Road, Nameless Road or the second half of 1431 into Marble Falls. Oh and... So many to choose from, it's my favourite place to ride in the world.
What is your most memorable moment on the bike or involved with cycling?
Winning the National Road Race. I remember that day every time I put on my jersey.
Has racing affected your relationship with the bike? If so, how?
Despite not starting out on the bike wanting to race I don't really think it has. Initially bikes were just a mode of transport, and when I was 14 I wanted to tour around the world on a bike. I knew nothing about racing till I was 16, but once I started I was hooked. My uncles and aunts do a yearly epic ride over a week, this year was Canterbury to Barcelona.... And even still I'd love to be able to join them... If they'd actually let me.
Do you agree with Mickey Goldmill's advice to Rocky that 'women weaken legs'?
Completely depends on the women. Haha.
We are in the midst of a well publicised boom in cycling in the UK atthe moment. Has it affected you? Do you have any thoughts about why it has happened and whether it will continue? Do you see any negatives to the increase in popularity?
Absolutely. In my opinion it's basically down to what Bradley and Cav have done in the Tour de France, Olympics and Worlds and the fact they are such characters. Obviously because the sports become more popular, things are changing for the ‘domestic pros’ as people are not just paying more attention to the Tour de France, but to the racing they can come see on a weekly basis. So things like the Tour Series, Nocturnes, and because of that you build more of a profile in the UK. The only negative to all this is that there are more people on bikes out on the roads, which is actually a great thing, but the infrastructure isn’t there, as well as the education for both cyclist and drivers on how to interact. Hopefully that will change though.
All cyclists, whether they race or not, seem to obsess over the weight of their bikes. Why do you think this is?
Honestly, I’ve no idea. I guess cause everyone believes its a quick fix to going faster. Plus everyone loves to have the newest and greatest and very often that's perceived as getting the lightest.
Do you approach riding, or ride your bike, differently now to when you first got into cycling?
I think there are times I do, where I feel like its going to ‘work’. But that's what I love about the winter… Less stress and you just go back to enjoying pedaling.
Who has been your favourite pro riders over the years and why?
I don’t know really… I don’t pay enough attention to it to pick one out.
What was you favourite era of professional bike racing?
Same as above! I've never been a massive follower of sports in general… I just love doing them.
Do you think Bradley Wiggins looks cool despite his long socks or because of them?
Never really took much notice!
Mudguards, mudguards and mudflaps or racing bike with clip on guards through winter?
I tend to go places where you don’t need any of them.
Do you enjoy a cafe stop or do you prefer to ride straight round?
Depends on what I’m doing… if I’m training properly then I just go straight round and get the job done. If I’m just out for a recovery ride or an easy one, then I don’t mind a cafe stop.
Assos, Rapha or neither?
Silly question. Rapha of course.
Do you prefer to get your head down on the main-roads, keep a good tempo going on the B roads or get onto the back wacks? What about the rough stuff on your road bike?
Again it really depends on the training, but both really. And I’ve no problem going down dirt roads or cobbles on the bike.
What do you think about Strava?
I think it can be a great tool to use, at the same time people take it way to seriously. But hey, each to their own.
What do you think about Sportive rides?
I think they are great. More of our Premier Calendars need to associate with them, in order to get better crowds at the races and it might help with councils and road closures by having more events that families can participate in. This will give the event more of an angle.
Do you have any cycling pet hates?
People not waving (saying 'Hi') when you pass each-other on the bike. Sometimes it's not possible i know, but in most situations I think it's good etiquette.
Cotton cap or helmet?
A little of both… But not a massive fan of the hat under the helmet. Obviously there are times it's called for I guess.
The benefits of spinning a low gear compared to mashing a high gear is often discussed. Putting aside the serious, physiological and mechanical aspects, what cadence you think looks right?
Probably about 85-95.
White, black or coloured socks?
I always race in white. Training it doesn’t matter.
Frame pump or mini pump?
What do you like to talk about when you are on a ride with friends/team/club mates? Do you prefer to keep the subjects lightweight or get your teeth into something contentious or controversial?
Really depends on the person I’m riding with. Sometimes nothing at all. Tom Southam and I used to go out for 6 hours and say 10 words… Other days we’d get in to the meaning of it all. Really just depends.
Who would be/is your perfect tandem partner? Would you ride captain or stoker?
I don’t think I'd ever ride a tandem. Ha!
Images thanks to Rapha Condor JLT
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