It was hard to know if we should ask Ritchie to do a ‘Merchants of Speed’ profile or if he would be more a ‘Peloton People’ candidate. He is of course a very capable Time Trialist but would be the first to say racing is his core discipline.
How long have you been racing?
What ya riding?
Canyon Ultimate. Ritchie goes on to say or at least it is something that formally was a Canyon Ultimate until it was subjected to his maintenance skills. (As a specialist engineer working in the aerospace industry Ritchies approach to bike maintenance is a world away from this and is, how shall we put it, a bit more agricultural!)
What type of racer are you? Climber, Sprinter, Rouleur? And what category of racing licence do you hold?
I like hilly races especially ones that finish on a climb. (Having witnessed first-hand his ability to climb cols in Mallorca this answer does not surprise me).
We are blessed with fantastic roads and have a healthy club racing scene. What is your favourite club circuit and why?
I do like the Annaclone circuit as its local and the kids come down and watch when I race there, but probably my favourite race to date was the last stage of the Newry Wheelers Cycling Club promoted 3 day event which finished at the top of Spelga Dam. A brilliant finish to a classic 3-day race.
What races or events are on your bucket list that you’d like to ride?
There are so many. Not a race as such but I’d love to ride the length of Ireland. I also, naively, want to enter the Donegal Ultra 555 (but definitely not solo though). And the final challenge would be to ‘Everest’ someday. For those that don’t know this involves choosing a hill and cycling up and down it enough times to gain enough vertical height gain to make a grand total of 8,848m – the height of Mount Everest.
Racing accolades / achievements to date.
Biggest achievement to date was dropping clubmate Fitzy (Stephen Fitzsimmons) on Day 2 of this year’s trip in Mallorca. (Editor comment:- Sorry Fitzy I can only write what is put in front of me).
Which cyclist inspires you – past or present? And why?
Probably Julian Alaphilippe – his riding style is ‘all out’ which I love.
What does your training regime consist of? What are your goals for 2023
No structure at all when it comes to training. I just try to ride the bike as much as family life and work permits.
When it comes to goals the main aim will be tackling the Mondello 24 again with Erwin McKee. We’ve won the pairs title the last two years and I would love to get the hat trick.
If you could combine three strengths from other riders in the club to make you the complete rider – what would they be (you must name the riders).
The is the hardest question by far as giving any of these lads credit does not sit well with me but here goes, guard lowered!
Having thought about it I now need 4.
- The flat power/speed of Erwin McKee (having experienced this on many weekend spins it’s something I’ve learned to fear)
- The sprint speed of Fitzy (having sat behind him on the fast road in Mallorca this year I was blown away by his 30-60 second sprint power.
- The competitive edge and finishing ability of Aaron Parks – easily the most competitive man I know and one who knows how to close a race like no other)
- The love of pain that Mark Stewart has – this man is never happy unless he turns himself inside out every time, he’s on the bike.
Cycling is always evolving as is racing. Tell me one thing you would change in relation to Open racing to make it better.
The races to be spread out more and run later in the summer, literally come July the season is over.
Thanks for taking part in this series Ritchie. Your honesty in answering the questions is refreshing although I do get the feeling Fitzy may have something to say about you dropping him! Best of luck for the coming season especially with the Mondello event. If any two-man team can smash it then it’s you and Erwin.