Last World Cup season, United Kingdom’s Ian Field had raised the bar for expectations in major international races. While he has had a career full of good rides and some of his results in 2014-2015 shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, Field still performed in the clutch, especially under the pressure dictated by a domestic World Cup in Milton Keynes. There, he finished 12th overall, and was the first rider that didn’t hail from Continental Europe to cross the line.
The last time we caught up with Fields, he was still dreaming of doing well at Koppenberg Cross along with the World Cup events. Just after the World Cup in CrossVegas, Ted Sarmiento of the UK’s cxmagazine.com Racing Team was able to catch up with the current British Men’s Champion about season goals, his race at Vegas and what needs to be done in developing youth cyclocross in the United Kingdom.
by Ted Sarmiento
Cyclocross Magazine: How are things shaping up for this season’s cyclocross campaign?
Ian Field: Things are looking really good for the cyclocross season. Although Vegas didn’t quite go to plan, my legs and form were good and where I wanted them to be at this time of year seeing as the next World Cup is still a month away. It was a tricky one getting it right for Vegas without compromising the rest of the season.
CXM: Can you tell us about your racing equipment going into this season?
IF: I am on the same bikes pretty much as last year, Ridley X-Night SL with the British Championship paint job from Ridley, then full Dura-Ace 11-speed mechanical with Shimano CX 70 brakes; a finishing kit provided by PRO; wheels from Fast Forward and tubulars from Challenge. [note: Ian Field also noted that he is no longer running his old school single chainring setup that Cyclocross Magazine spotted in Milton Keynes and Tabor]
CXM: Looking back at last season, Milton Keynes was clearly a highlight for many reasons and you fought hard with the 14th place group at the Worlds, finishing 21st. Do you have any benchmark goals heading into this season as a result? And are there any other remaining goals/unfinished business you like to do?
IF: I have unfinished business with the Koppenberg Cross where I have been dogged by bad luck for a number of years, which has really frustrated me. It is a race which really suits me and I [should] ride well there. Hopefully that will make the big result I want there all that bit sweeter when it comes. My other goals [surround] the World Cup races and selected Belgian races, [along] with winning the British Championships and series are always in my head for the season.
CXM: Do you wish Milton Keynes ran for more than just one year? How important is it to keep the United Kingdom in the scope of the international stage?
IF: Absolutely it is a real loss not having it back on the calendar this year. It is important for the World Cup series to be around the world, or at the very least around Europe and not just in Belgium and Holland. It’s also great for the UK scene to have the big events on these shores. Milton Keynes showed the passion and simple numbers involved in the sport. It was brilliant. The fact I rode really well there on that course and in those conditions obviously means I would love to see it back!
CXM: What can you say about your noticeable improvements over the last few seasons, any coaching or specific training/racing you would attribute it to?
IF: Working with Dan Fleeman at Dig Deep Coaching has made a big difference, in general [he has offered] more specific training and [my results are the product of a] ton of hard work.
CXM: What has been your strategy with regard to road racing this season and have you been intentionally building for cyclocross? How has your offseason training been?
IF: Yes, my whole year is based around the cyclocross season, everything I do in the summer months is with cyclocross in mind, which is why you saw me doing a bit more road this summer along with the usual mountain bike racing, but I was never fresh for any of the racing and always using it to compliment my training. The training has gone really well but the season is long and staying healthy and fit is the main issue with cyclocross.
CXM: Last season you won the domestic National Trophy Series for the first time, will that be another goal for 2015-16?
IF: Yes with the backing of Madison [the UK importer for Shimano] it is really important to win the domestic series for the [Hargroves Cycles Racing] Team and I will be racing the series again with the intention of winning it for a second time.
CXM: Which World Cup events will you be targeting to peak at? Which ones do you anticipate play to your strengths this year?
IF: Valkenburg is a big goal of mine, [and is much] like Milton Keynes. It has big elevation changes and it’s quite technical which plays to my strengths so that will be a goal of mine along with the Koppenberg which I have ridden well at in the past. Namur is also a good track for me and last year I showed some real promise at the infamous Koksijde course so I will just take my opportunity when it arises.
CXM: What are your thoughts on development of cyclocross in the United Kingdom with U23 and Junior riders, male and female, and what are your opinion on current state and possibilities for further growth?
IF: I think things are limited by British Cycling with the budget given to the cyclocross side of things however the people helping to try and develop the youngsters are the right people and passionate about the sport which is great. More riders just need to take the leap of faith and ride abroad more to develop as riders and see where the sport takes them.
CXM: How has cyclocross changed in the time you’ve been racing and what changes if any would you like to see?
IF: Cyclocross has got more international and grown in each individual country, which is great.
CXM: What are your thoughts about the new kids on the block such as Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert?
IF: They are just phenomenal athletes and I hope they stay with the sport for as long as possible before a move to the road.
CXM: And the likes Marcel Wildhaber and David van der Poel, who also raced against you at the National Trophy in Milton Keynes?
IF: Good solid riders who are similar to myself in terms of results. I enjoy racing against them, beat both of them in Vegas so that bodes well for the rest of the season.
CXM: What are your experiences of racing in the US and how does it differ from the UK and Europe?
IF: It is like a mix of Europe and the UK in the US. [There is] passionate support and [spectators] get behind every rider. I really enjoy it.
CXM: Now you are living and training in Yorkshire. How that going and is it true you’ve been stopped locally for speeding on while our on your bike?
IF: Yorkshire is really great for training and certainly part of my development has been the training roads and other riders here who you can train with even if some of the local constabulary don’t like you travelling above 20mph.
CXM: Many thanks, Ian!