And with that 2022 drew to a close. We’ve been poor at keeping the blog up to date this year, but we’ve got some good plans for next year so watch this space - until then here’s what our riders have been getting up to in 2022...
Cameron has just finished his first season with FUNDACIÓN DE CICLISMO BENICADELL and has re-signed for 2023 which is brilliant in itself, but he’s also had some pretty memorable moments along the way. “My best things would have to be racing Vuelta Tenerife where we won overall - it’s really special knowing you helped your teammate win. Racing the first edition of the U23 Vuelta Hispania was also really amazing - it’s like the “Baby Giro” and attracted many of the same teams so was a big step up. And then, just generally be able to train on some of the best roads in the world all year with a whole bunch of World Tour Pros if that counts?” Yes, I reckon that counts! Nice One Cam and good luck in 2023.
Our friend Simon joined us for the odd #aeightescape in 2022 - here’s his take; “While not an official #aeightbikeco rider, it has inspired me to undertake some more adventurous riding this year making my top 3 as follows: 1 - Following the TdF from Dunkirk with a bike and a tent, witnessing Wout’s Calais stage and then riding over to meet Mark and Henry in a cloud of dust on the cobbles of the Arenberg stage. 2 - A wonderful ride with SDW friends up the Ayrshire coast and over to Arran with a superb distillery tour. This followed Chase The Sun North via Kielder and other stunning border scenery - the inspiration for signing up to Gralloch UCI race in 2023. 3 - Three trips to the Belgian Bergs and Cobbles including de Ronde - making some good local friends along the way that will keep me going back for more. Toying with opening weekend visit next year”... Sounds like a full #aeightbikeco rider to me!
Sheila best three rides include “All Points North and specifically Banburgh Castle. This ride is memorable because of the support that was offered from the organisers; I’d been off my bike for six months and was demotivated when they got in touch and suggested I take part in APN22. The best part was a bivi on the dunes at Banburgh Castle where I awoke to the sounds of crashing waves and the most amazing view. The SSX Mystery Tour and specifically the moment I got lost in a fucking corn field. I nearly lost it completely. This ride made me determined to get out of my comfort zone and either embrace gravel/cross or get off the saddle.” And the answer to that question... “ my first (but not last) ever Cyclo-cross race at Somerhill. This was a brilliant entry into the world of ‘Cross. Supportive, friendly and just good fun. Ok, that one was warm and sunny, but even as the weather has changed I’ve come to love cross as long as I have the right tyres and am running the right pressure. Still finding that Holy Grail.” Del’s riding has taken him all over the world this year, his top tips are Mallorca in January. Watching and then riding the Sportive at the Strade Bianche in March. And then Vätternrundan in May. His partner Julia featured in Cycling Weekly this year with a really in depth series of articles focusing on trraining and racing and the improvement of both of these. Vätternrundan was a big highlight alongside Mallorca but also climbing Mont Ventoux.
Henry has done a bit of everything this year - from racing Crits, TT and Hill Climb for the first time, to improving his XCO, gravel and Cyclo-cross racing he’s got thoroughly stuck in to determine exactly what kind of racing he likes best - the answer; all of it (apart from maybe windy crits)! He claimed his first national points in XCO and Cyclo-cross and also won the SDW Club Trophy for the best all round Junior. He says, “my three best moments would be the really muddy East Brighton ‘Cross race, riding up the Passo Stelvio with my Dad and riding the Hell of Ashdown with a group of much more experienced riders - feeling for the first time like one of the strong ones.
Pip’s race season was turned upside down before it really got going by a really big crash, but undeterred she got back into training and moved the calendar around to suit. “My favourite rides were the Sussex Mystery Tour, winning my first ‘Cross race at Round One of the London and SE League and riding with Glen through overgrown fields in Suffolk just 5 weeks after my crash. A bit of a different year for me but lots of good memories on two wheels!”
And finally me,... My normal off-road treads were largely replaced this year with some slicker, faster rubber as I spent most of the Summer Time Trialling. It was a step into the unknown and I’m pleased to still be learning new tricks after a relatively long time racing. It’s been brilliant to once again work with several #aeightbikeco riders to see and help them achieve their goals - it also takes me to new places and teaches me new things. I’ve ridden a fairly good ‘Cross season and we’ve grown our local group of racers well. But most of all I’ve enjoyed the days off racing, riding new trails and retracing old routes. I rode a route in the Lakes with Pip and a very wet loop in Dartmoor, both of which I’d last ridden maybe 20 years ago - I’m pleased to say that neither the feeling or the views have changed in that time! If 2023 is half as good, I can’t wait!
2022.RIDERS – PIPJENKINS
Pip races road locally and TT at National level. In the last six years she’s developed from a background in Triathlon to one of the best riders in her club (SDW), currently holding all female (and two outright) club records including the 24 hours and has collected more than 25 Open TT wins along the way. She races all distances including 12-hour (PB 268.7 miles), 24-hour (PB 463.8 miles). As a physiologist by trade, Pip is our resident Soigneur, coaching us on health and well-being.
2022.RIDERS – CAMERONPREECE
Cameron’s been riding with us since 2014 when Glen first built a tiny 650c Youth road bike for him – since then he’s raced his first season of ‘Cross in 2017/18 in the Juniors, followed it up with a highly successful road season, before a blinder of a 18/19 ‘cross season where he broke into the top 5 and raced the national champs on the ÆIGHT.MANUFACTØRY ØNE. This was enough to secure him a place on a new team, which then helped him make the step up to the Spainish Team he now rides for. He’s living the dream in 2023 as he starts his second season in Spain.
2022.RIDERS – SHEILAWOOLLAM
Sheila picked up a bicycle ten years ago and rode the Camino from Canterbury to Santiago de Compostella. That’s quite a first ride but since then she’s ridden unsupported around Iceland, from Tunbridge Wells to Budapest, completed the London-Edinburgh-London event and competed in the 2018 Transcontinental, riding 4,202km / 39,352m in 21 days. 2019 saw Sheila winning the long route in the Race around the Netherlands, and after a few weeks of rest, Sheila competed in the Pan Celtic Race around Scotland, Ireland and Wales placing 2nd Solo Female on the long route. What’s next? Watch this space for updates!
2022.RIDERS – GLENWHITTINGTON
#aeightracer – Glen’s an ex-racer who still finds time to ride mountain bikes, road bikes, TT and ‘cross bikes for #SDWRacing. He started building custom steel frames in 2013, designing his ØNE and AXE platforms in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Previously he worked in bike shops since 2002 and started racing in 1998. His most recent claim to fame is 13th in the British National XC Mountain bike rankings and 15th overall in the National Series whilst setting up the.æight.bicycle.cøllective – this is the racing pedigree that goes into every #aeightbikeco build, repair or precision service #aeightracer www.aeightbikeco.com
2022.RIDERS – HENRYWEAVER
In 2022 the mission was to race Crits, TT and Hill Climb for the first time, and continue to race XCO, gravel and Cyclo-cross to determine exactly what kind of racing Henry liked best - the answer; all of it (apart from maybe windy crits)! He claimed his first national points in XCO and Cyclo-cross and also won the SDW Club Trophy for the best all round Junior. Next year he plans to race more mountain bike, hill climb, TT and ‘Cross
GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO RACE WITH US?
We’re always looking for riders to be part of the.æight.bicycle.cøllective. The #aeightbikeco is about doing things a little differently - We’re looking to kit our riders out with custom carbon bikes and/or bespoke steel race frames made in Sussex. Whether that’s for ‘cross, road, crit, TT or mountain bike we’re offering the full #protectedriderprogram
The best part is that we’re not asking you to leave your team or club - that includes racing in your club/team kit. We’ve got certain brands that we work with but your own sponsors and clubs are welcome. We have some strict qualifying criteria but don’t be put off by this – if you’re interested in being part of the #aeightbikeco then please get in touch by emailing your racing CV to firstname.lastname@example.org BLOG.ÆIGHTRACER FACEBOOK.ÆIGHTBIKECO INSTAGRAM.ÆIGHTRACER