First things first, introduce yourself
I'm Aidan Quinn, 23 and live in Glasgow originally from Clydebank
Is that where you grew up?
Yes, I only moved out the family home in summer actually
Exciting times! How did you get into riding a bike?
I was quite late in learning to walk (born with bilateral talipes) and I was on a bike quickly after at the age of 3! Both my parents cycled a lot so it was encouraged, helped also by the fact my dad was a racer. I remember being upset at the age of 6 because my dad was going out training and I pleaded to go with him. I dabbled in quite a few sports and was a decent enough footballer but due to the afore mentioned talipes, I always had problems and pain when running. At 15 I got a road bike for my Christmas and was out with the Anniesland bunch 10 days later (under the careful supervision of my old man) and I've been hooked since...
What is your local climb? The climb you do the most out of any other.
It has changed from year to year, I use the Crow Road a lot, Glen Fruin, but I think consistently Carman Hill in Renton is the one I always come back to. I discovered it accidentally in search of what I thought would be a quiet single track road amongst the fairly busy built up areas. What I found was a wall of tarmac and an excellent way to find that metallic taste at the back of your throat
I know that one! It is brutal. Can you describe it for the readers?
You turn left off the main high street through Renton and the road goes under the A82 trunk road and when you come out the tunnel on the other side that is when the tarmac almost squares upto you, the sharp increase in gradient almost asking, "are you sure?" The gradient is relentless but after about 400m it bends to the left and some respite is found. The road snakes for another 150m at a more manageable grad, before a sharp right hairpin brings the final leg sapping rise into view. The final 300m are torture and drag on before the road plateaus at a local reservoir and you are finished. The total length is only 1km, but it is probably the slowest kilo you will do. The road does continue to rise up after a slight downhill and some cattle grids, but the hill climb purist need not concern themselves with that
Good detail, bringing back hurtful memories from the last time I rode up it. What kind of training efforts do you think it is suited to?
Between 4-5 minutes is a good time on this climb. One of my favourite training rides to do is 5 minute efforts and try and repeat 5 or 6 without too much tail off. With the climb being so steep it’s very unlikely you are going to race on anything steeper, so if you can pace a consistent effort over it, then you should be able to deal with whatever a road race course throws at you. There also isn't much hiding place, and its sheltered nature means it is not too effected by the elements reducing variable factors with times
Is the Strava KOM for the climb ever in your thoughts, or do you strictly focus on the goals of the current effort?
Every waking hour... I joke, but I did have the KOM for a while before someone I thought was a friend took it from me in a targeted attack. They took 15 seconds out of me as well with a 3.47, so I have my work cut out
Guess you’ve part answered this one, but any other climbs in the area you prefer, or is this climb your favourite?
Yes, Glen Fruin is up there, it’s a lot more gentle with only a couple of steep ramps. The Crow Road is a staple of the Glaswegian cyclist diet, a special mention to the quiet back lanes of Bishopton and Kilmacolm that have a number of climbs that range from 30 second power sprints to one that can give a good 10 minute effort. I think quietness is key no matter what. You’re travelling slow and working hard, so the less traffic the better
What about favourite climb overall? Any reason
A hard one. But for me the Colle delle Finestre should be on every cyclists bucket list. It’s just incredible
I had the pleasure of watching the Giro go up in 2018 and it was one of the best days on a bike I have had
That is definitely on my bucket list! Was going to ask what it was like when you rode up it, that was insane to watch on TV, could only imagine how good it must have been up close!
Mate, it’s unreal. Oh and I did pass Stuart O'Grady on the climb, and I had pannier bags on…nearly forgot about that
Haha... He must have been carrying his Roubaix cobblestone on the back of his bike, trophy always on display. Is that the hardest climb you’ve summited by bike?
It is a close run thing between that and the Col de Velefique in Spain, but I think the gravel aspect nudges the Finestre into the lead
What makes the Velefique hard?
The altitude, number of hairpins and the heat. Isn't much shade and to get there you’re riding through one of Europe's only deserts
That would do it! Touchy subject, but something that has happened to every bike rider at some point, getting dropped. When did you last get dropped in a race or ride? What was going on when you got dropped?
Scottish Road Champs 2018 doesn't sit well with me. In-fact any of the road race champs since 2015 are a bit tender, but in 2018 I went into a really tough circuit in excellent shape. 6 times up a 10 min climb was going to be the deciding factor and after the 1st time I knew I was in trouble. I should have calmed myself down but I lost the mental battle and started burning matches in a panic. 4th time up the climb and when some pace was injected into the bunch I lost contact about halfway up and the race was well gone by the time I finally got to the top. Day done.
So you didn’t get back to the group you were with?
No. I pulled out the race at the feed station. The climb took a lot of victims that day
One of those kind of days at the races. Gruelling turbo session or climbing the worst climb you can imagine in wind and rain?
Outside is better than inside. It’s the classic line about never regretting going out a ride after it but always regretting if you don't go; it’s so true. I also have a very strong dislike for the turbo...
I agree with that! Onto more current matters. Which team/club are you riding for this year, and what do you aim to achieve in 2019?
Riding Dooleys Cycles. I hope to being consistently competitive in Scottish road racing, and also venture to some of the bigger races down south and hopefully another trip to Belgium. I'd like to try and maintain an overall consistency with my riding, which hopefully will improve the consistency of my results. It'd be nice to get the hands in the air again
What are your interests away from the bike?
I still enjoy watching football and playing occasionally
Quick fire questions
Tell me your…
go to summer road bike? Trek Madone SLR
dream bike? Hmmm, tough one. A gios would be really cool though, knew a man that had one on his mantelpiece!
one climb to ride said dream bike up? keeping the Italian theme, the Poggio
favourite cycling book? Charly Wegelius's Domestique is a very good and down to earth read. Gives the perspective of a rider we don't hear much from in the sport
favourite cycling movie/documentary? I call it a tie between The Flying Scotsman and Road to Paris!
favourite pro rider? Philippe Gilbert
why? the guy is a racer pure and simple
favourite piece of cycle clothing you’ve owned?
South West Scotland Cycle Project (SWSCP) kit was proper cool, based on the ACBB kit of the 80's, sadly I lost the jersey at some point!