Wednesday, 9 March 2011
Meeting Andrew Tennant
Aswell as being a Pro-cyclist, you may not know that Andrew Tennant is a budding coffee barista!
Knocking me out one of the best looking flat whites I've ever seen before we did a ride out today, Andy is somewhat of a coffee perfectionist, approaching coffee with the same eye for detail as cycling.
An imposing figure, 6-4" inches in his socks with size 47 feet, Tennant looked every inch the Pro-cyclist, dressed head to foot in Rapha Condor clobber with matching bike as we set out on a 47 mile flat loop of Cheshire today.
During a windy, but very pleasant, ride out, Tennant talked to me about life as part of the GB pursuit team and life on the road as part of the Rapha Condor team. Open and honest, he was very courteous in riding at my pace and that allowed us to natter for the three or so hours we were out together.
It's easy to forget he's only twenty-four years old (it was actually his birthday today) as we bimbled along nattering, he's achieved a considerable amount in his cycling career to date, a combination of success on the track and the road. You can check his results here.
It wasn't a golden ticket by any means, he's had to make some opportunities happen in his career, grabbing the bull by the horns and showing some tenacity, which I like in a person.
Describing to me some of the highs and lows - including two years in Italy as part of the Olympic Development Programme which he didn't particularly enjoy - and some personal battles, you couldn't help but feel that those experiences have given Andy a certain resilience and resolve.
Arriving back in the UK from Italy, he joined the newly formed Halfords road race team in 2009 where he said he really felt at home, moving on to Motorpoint in 2010 and then onto his current team - Rapha Condor - this year. Those of you who attended the Tour of Britain this year and the Halfords Tour Series would have seen Andy putting the watts down.
His current ride, the Condor Leggero looked resplendent in a gloss black with pink accents, with a top of the range Shimano Di2 groupset on it. Posh indeed. I took my winter hack out today, which looked like the poor relation when we stopped for a coffee at Costa in Hale! I rode that as i thought it was going to chuck it down. Low point was getting a flat about half way round! Soon sorted though.
Seems Olympic plans are going well, with the four man team participating in the pursuit making good progress. He was positive about the current training programme and we actually passed some of the pursuit lads out and about, necking coffee in Wilmslow. He's been at the track the day before, so today's recovery ride was welcome.
He's just arrived back from the Tour of Sardinia, which he (and others) said was really tough, plenty of suffering going on in the Peloton it seemed. Good training for the season ahead according to Andy.
We had a talk about ability to suffer, a common trait amongst pro-cyclists and Andy recalled his teenage years, where -as one of the heavier juniors - he had to work hard on the road and track, harder than others, which almost meant that every race involved a big effort, so it kind of pre-programmed him for life as a pro.
Arriving back in Wilmslow, the morning seemed to have flown by and the legs felt OK as the ride pace was very amiable. Our large loop tooks us West of Wilmslow, dropping down near Northwich, up to Dunham Massey and then back via New Mills and Knolls Green. Route below. Ignore the average speed as my Garmin counted are 18min stop at Costa, actual average was 16.2mph, which - given the wind today and all our nattering - I thought was OK.
I'll certainly be keeping a closer eye out for Andy on the road and track in the future, here's hoping the team pick up Olympic gold in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter here.