Another rider coming from the strong contingency of local talent in our area is Dean Downing. After seeing our recent Q&A session with Dave Coulson, Dean kindly offered to answer the questions himself.
It's Lincoln GP today and Dean will be looking to place high after winning the race back in 2007. He's been a professional for nearly a decade, riding first in Belgium then back to the UK to race for the Rapha-Condor outfit. Today he rides for another new team on the professional circuit, Madison-Genesis.
Here are Dean's answers...
As a racing cyclist, which results are you most proud of and why?
Becoming British Criterium Champion was a great moment for me and it came at a great time, the year after the Tour Series town centre races came around and i was in the limelight as British Champ on TV, that was cool.
Which are your favourite stretches of road to ride on locally and what is it that you like about them?
I don't particularly have a fave stretch of road, but when the sun shines in Yorkshire and the Peak District ( like this weekend ) i don't think you can beat the beautiful lanes we have.
The same question for roads anywhere in the world?
Some of the beach roads in Australia are pretty amazing, The Ocean Road. But some of the best roads in the world are the descents i have been down. How can you not love going fast down a long long descent with loads of hairpins in.
What is your most memorable moment on the bike or involved with cycling?
Winning the Lincoln Grand Prix 2007 and thinking of my Grand dad as i crossed the line. He came to watch me in the Junior version when i was 18 and passed away when i was 20.
Has racing affected your relationship with the bike? If so, how?
It has yeah, sometimes i hate my bike, but thats when I'm having a seriously bad day in a race for example. If i have had a bad day on my bike in a race, then i hit the chocolate, always makes me feel better...
Do you agree with Mickey Goldmill's advice to Rocky that 'women weaken legs'?
Mickey, what a legend. I absolutely love the Rocky films. Awesome motivation, but I'm not sure about the weakening of legs, I'm sure there are some ladies out there that have weakened some guys heads.
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?
Cycling has been on a Boom since Team GB won all the Gold Medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This is a direct result of all the lottery funding for the talented riders within the GB system that started way before this, back in 95 or so. It has definitely affected me yes, more sponsors have come into cycling within the UK scene and of course the wages went up too. That affected me in a good way. Also Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy have become stars in the British Public.
Negatives, yeah cars and cyclists are still looked at as not being allowed on the same roads. This has to change, but how, i have no idea.
All cyclists, whether they race or not, seem to obsess over the weight of their bikes. Why do you think this is?
I'm not sure really, i ride a new Genesis steel frame bike which is obviously never going to be as light as a carbon frame. But maybe some of these guys should take a bit more care of what they are eating and drop a kg that way.
Do you approach riding, or ride your bike, differently now to when you first got into cycling?
Yes and No. I still love to enjoy riding my bike, but on the other hand, i've been making my living out of riding my bike for the last 10 years or so. So i have to approach it differently in that sense, most days i am on my bike, i am going to be training and doing some form of structure to my riding. But it is great some days to just revert back to when i started cycling with my dad, cruise along and sprint for some village signs and have fun with the lads.
Who has been your favourite pro riders over the years and why?
Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche were my dads hero's when he was still racing and this transferred to me too. They won so many races between them back in the 80's when i was a kid. The best thing about these guys, is, i have had the pleasure to meet them both several times and have a beer with them. Dream Come true right there.
What was you favourite era of professional bike racing?
Back when i was growing up watching the Tour in the 90's, all riders were just attacking each other on most of the stages. Really smashing it up the Mountains etc.. It has become a bit clearer why they were all kicking each other heads in now, but it was exciting to watch. Doesn't make it right, but it was exciting.
Do you think Bradley Wiggins looks cool despite his long socks or because of them?
Despite. He has long legs so he can carry them off. But they are a bit too long i reckon. Not as long as Tim Rowsons thought...