Brit Fields a Winner: An Interview with Great Britain’s National Champion
by John McComisky
Cyclocross Magazine always promises the best of ’cross from both sides of the pond, so I think we can do no better than to feature a rider who has really lit up the domestic scene in the United States, as well as flown the flag for Great Britain in UCI World Cups and Super-Prestige races in Europe.
Ian “Fieldy” Field is that man. Field is a two-time UK Cyclocross Champion and is on the brink of becoming a regular points scorer in Super-Prestige and UCI World Cup events. He has been a regular competitor, from the fields of Flanders to the sandpits of Zonhoven, as well as representing his country at the World Championships in Louisville this year.
When Cyclocross Magazine spoke to Ian initially, he was nursing a bad shoulder injury sustained at the Roubaix World Cup. This put him out of a lot of the European races on the run up to Louisville, but he showed real determination even lining up for the World Championships. He came home with a 29th place, only a few places short of his target of a top 25. 2014 will see him return stronger and no doubt faster after a summer of training and racing on the road.
Cyclocross Magazine: First up, a lot of us are glued to the live internet feeds from Europe, and you are instantly recognizable in the national champs jersey of Great Britain. How do the Belgian fans react to you being the sole British representative?
Ian Field: A lot of the fans took a while to get used to the jersey being in the races actually. It’s sad to say but the UK national jersey hasn’t been on show at World Cups and abroad for so many seasons now that the crowd didn’t really understand which jersey it was at first. But I think with me being over the for the whole of the end of last season and this season, its getting put back on the map, as it were. Hopefully this can only mean a good thing for ’cross in the UK.
CXM: For a lad from England, racing with the likes of Alberts, Nys, Pauwels, etc., must seem a bit surreal from your early national ’cross days in Britain. What inspired you to pack your gear and head over to the continent of Europe?
IF: I’m from Ashford in Kent (England), and it’s so easy to hop on the train and head over to Belgium for a weekend of racing, so that’s exactly what I did to get a gauge of where I was in terms of world level. I got to a point where I was winning a lot at the national level and was just looking for a new challenge, really. I have always had big ambition and goals so I guess it was inevitable for me to try and compete against the best in the sport.
CXM: What is your ultimate goal in the world of ’cross?
IF: The ultimate goal is the World Championships. So much hype surrounds the event and that one hour of racing — it’s crazy. Nys has been the best ’cross rider over the past 10 years, yet due to only winning one world title prior to this year, many people still question him on the big day.
CXM: You are very much a privateer in the sense of the word, tell us a bit about your setup and the people who help you take on the best in ’cross?
IF: I am very much a privateer racing against the world’s best, who have massive support around them, which is one of the things I am looking at to change to try and improve my results to move onto the next level. At the minute, I am supported by Hargroves Cycles-Specialized for money and equipment and while I am abroad, Stefan Wyman helps me out a lot at with pit work and general day-to-day living out in Belgium. But it is tough for me and probably one of the biggest areas where I could improve. I have a great team of people around me who help with the training part of things and Mark Walker, a sports scientist, is always on hand to help me out in terms of training.
CXM: One of the things we here enjoy about the ’cross scene is the variety of terrain and technical variety it can offer. What are your favorite courses and what do you like about them?
IF: I love the challenging courses like Koppenberg, Zonhoven and Koksijde. Hilly or sandy is good for me, so usually tough but fast is ideal. I’m quite a small rider in terms of the ’cross scene, so anywhere where power to weight is more of an issue, I do better. I have good technical skills from my MTB days on the British Cycling Academy team and really enjoy that element to racing. It’s not always the strongest who wins because you have to be able to handle a bike to win at ’cross as well.
CXM: How do you prepare for the fall/winter season, and what riding/racing do you do in summer?
IF: The summer for me is basically a roadie’s winter, so plenty of miles and hard training. The great thing is that I have half decent weather for it! I race mainly on the road but do the odd MTB race and trained a fair bit off-road last summer, coming fourth at the National MTB champs after not too much specific focus on it, which was a bit of a surprise. I’m looking at changing things slightly this summer with a more focused gym program, but it’s basically a gradual build up from April to September, getting myself ready for the upcoming season and working on weaknesses while maintaining my strengths.
CXM: Have you any tips for aspiring cyclocross racers with regard to training or motivation?
IF: Keep things fun and enjoy it! Happy bike riders win races.
CXM: Finally, Louisville 2013 was a great success for the sport of cyclocross, and one of your first races back after the shoulder injury. What result were you hoping for in the inaugural World Championship event in the US, and having raced previously over there, what do you make of the US scene?
IF: I really wanted to get a top 25 at the Worlds; it’s been my goal for a couple of seasons now. But this year I think I really had a good chance at it before my injury, but on the day, it was not to be. The US fans are really enthusiastic and really get into the racing, supporting everyone through the race, not just their favorite racer like the fans in Belgium. People go to watch just for the bike race as opposed to many Belgians who go just for the beer tent party atmosphere.
- NAME – Ian Field
- NICKNAME – ‘Janaka’, ‘Fieldy’, ‘Field de Brit’
- AGE – 26
- PLACE OF BIRTH – Ashford, Kent
- CURRENT HOME TOWN – Oudenaarde, Belgium
- HEIGHT – 178cm
- WEIGHT – 66KG
- EYES – Brown
- HAIR – Brown
- MARITAL STATUS – In a relationship
- FILM – Fight Club, Snatch
- WHAT CAR DO YOU DRIVE – Citroen
- TEAM – Hargroves Cycles-Specialized
- LIKES – Winning, racing hard and good food
- DISLIKES – Bad legs, Bad car drivers.
- FIRST RACE – Cyclocross, Aged 12
- FIRST WIN – Cyclocross, Aged 12
- FAVORITE COURSE – Zonhoven OR Namen, Belgium
- WHEN DID YOU START RIDING? – Age 3
- HOW DID YOU GET INTO RACING? – My Friend, Nick Herlihy.
- PHYSIOLOGICAL DATA-
Max heart rate:194
Resting heart rate:36
Max aerobic power:480-495W
Max sprint power: 1350W
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