INTRODUCTION TO BEN WICKHAM


Ben is a regular in the triathlon scene, although we think he secretly likes cycling the most. He's taken part in many mixed length triathlons and is a regular cycling around London's Regents Park. we thought we would ask him a few questions.

What's your favourite type of racing?

TT or more specifically Triathlon. I love a fast, flat road course. The longer the better really. Never happier than on a 180k long distance stretch.

What happened in your worst ever race?

British Standard Distance Championships, Liverpool, 2013. I was on a flyer of a bike leg, after my fastest ever swim split. I was holding a really solid 40+ kmph, when I got distracted for a split second, and went through a coned off area. I probably would've been fine but I nailed the front brake and before I knew it I'd achieved a full front flip, landed on my head, and catapulted the bike down the road. I actually walked away from it, but pinched a nerve so had two numb fingers for weeks afterwards.

What happened in your best ever race?

Catastrophic when it comes to pace, but so much fun. Escape from Alcatraz, 2014. The bike course is a monster, and consists of 35km of savage climbs and terrifying descents (most of which end in blind corners). It was the most technical course I've ever ridden, but utterly beautiful. I also exploded my tyre 3km from the end but by that point I stood up, and rode hard to the finish, with a huge grin on my face. It's everything I hate in a cycle course, but with views to die for. Proof that your best races are necessarily your fastest. 

Whats your favourite bike?

Canyons Speedmax CF SLX. I'm a sucker for angular lines, and a wedge of a front end.

Whats your favourite ever team jersey?

I'm a cliche I know, but the Brooklyn Chewing Gum jersey of Roger De Valaeminck is pretty cool. America is kinda my second home.

Best place you have cycled?

Somewhere south of Dieppe, en route to Paris. I try and do a quick spin over to Paris once a year, getting the overnight ferry Friday night and doing the whole thing in around 20hrs. Just as the sun comes up, and you're in rolling northern French countryside, with a couple of hundred kms in front of you, and no one else in sight, it's epic. 

How are you finding training with power?

It's been a bit of a revelation really. I never quite got it until I saw the numbers in front of me. I had this idea that it was really complicated, when actually the reverse is true... it's the most simple way to train. 

Do you see the benefits of using a power meter as opposed to relying on your heart rate?

Heart rate is dependent on so many factors, and especially as a triathlete, fatigue and training load do odd things to it at times. Training with power means I have a consistent level to work towards, whether I'm on a flat circuit, or rolling hills. Which in turn means I can mix up the training more without having to rely on courses to benchmark to.

Are there any little surprises that you have found with the benefits of training in a power meter? 

The instant feedback has been incredible. I'm able to make subtle changes to my riding position and see the difference it makes to the numbers. That for me is a game-changer. 

Is there a scenario where, having a power meter you have been able to perform better in a race?

When I broke my chain 30km into Challenge Roth, the temptation to race back to the field after I fixed it was massive. I took the decision to lift the power numbers by 5% just to work back slowly, and as I came round to finish the 180km course, I started to recognise the guys I was with at 20km. I was very please with that. 

Do you focus on your power number whilst racing? Or is it more of a training tool?

When I'm racing it's a guide, much like I'd use heart-rate. I instantly know when I'm burning matches. Over the course of a five or ten hour race they come back to bite. And by the end of the bike leg of a long distance triathlon, my heart rate is not so much of an accurate guide any more!

What's your favourite type of jam?

Strawberry. With Peanut Butter on top.