Terence McMahon


First things first, introduce yourself to our readers.

I'm Terence McMahon, 34 years old and from Glasgow.

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Born and raised in Milngavie, 7 miles north of Glasgow.

Where is your current home?


How did you get into riding a bike?

I guess it all started when watching the 2003 Tour de France. That was the famous Tour where Armstrong was pushed close by Jan Ullrich who was riding for Bianchi. Ullrich took close to 2 minutes out of Armstrong in the first TT which Armstrong obviously clawed back. Going into the final TT Armstrong only had a minute cushion, Ullrich was up on him slightly but then crashed on a roundabout. It was the most exciting thing I had ever seen. That tour had everything. Anyway, I wasn’t riding and only had a dusty y-frame mountain bike that weighed a ton. Inspired by the Tour, I got on it and attempted to climb up Mugdock Road, a climb I’d ridden up loads as an 11 year old kid, but I came to a halt half way up on the 20%+ grade. I was so unfit and weak that I couldn’t pedal. From then I knew I had to change something and get fit. I got my first road bike the next year, a Giant OCR 3.

What is your local climb? The climb you do the most out of any other.

The same climb, Mugdock Road in Milngavie.

What is it like? Can you describe it? (for the readers)

It isn’t really a continuous climb, it goes up in a series of 4 steps by the reservoirs that serve Glasgow, with the 3rd section being the most difficult at around 22% on the hairpin. There are two flat sections that give some opportunity to recover. The official end of the climb is Mugdock village, but I take it all the way to the entrance of the Mugdock Country Park visitor centre car park, so there is a small dip where you can get some speed before the push to “the finish”.

What kind of training efforts is it suited to?

I guess the climb itself mimics a race simulation session on the turbo. I use it to gauge where I’m at physically. If it’s a calm day and I get under 10 minutes then I’m happy.


Is the Strava KOM for the climb ever in your thoughts, or do you strictly focus on the goals of the current effort?

I had it for a while but a rider I know called Andrew Ramsay put down a time I would struggle to beat without some dedicated focus.

Any other climbs in the area you prefer, or is this climb your favourite?

This is my favourite local climb simply because it was really close to where I stayed and it is in effect the reason I took up the sport.

What about favourite climb overall? Any reason?

Col d’Aubisque from Argelès-Gazost. It is majestic. Damp unlit tunnels & the cliffs of the Cirque du Litor. A stunning place to ride a bike.

What is the hardest climb you’ve summited by bike?

Either Mount Teide from Los Cristianos or Col du Tourmalet from Saint Marie de Campan side. Both were challenges for different reasons.

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?

Probably the last stage on the Ballater “Gairnsheil” Stage Race in May 2016. It was a horrific day with sleet/snow and strong head wind on the hills we were doing in the Cairngorms. I stayed in the bunch and spent the first 3rd of the stage attempting to get food out of my pocket which I’d stupidly shut when hastily pinning my number over an extra jersey I put on at the last minute to combat the weather. I wasn’t stopping to fix it, as I wouldn’t have made it back on, so I did without food. On the second climb it was exposed and riders were coming to a halt due to the combo of 20% grade and 60 mph wind with sleet. Most were resorting to the zig-zag technique up the climb. I had no energy and that was where I lost contact, only a pocket of around 8 riders survived to stay in the group behind the break.

Did you get back to the group you were with?

Some of them. It just blew to pieces and we regrouped off the descent. Back at the finish riders were hypothermic. A lot of foil blankets were required

Gruelling turbo session or climbing the worst climb you can imagine in wind and rain?

Climb, every day of the week.

On to more current matters. Which team/club are you riding for this year, and what do you aim to achieve in 2018?

Riding with my club, Glasgow Ivy. I’ve not raced since my son was born in April 2016 and I have another on the way. I’ve been managing to get 30 minute sessions a few times a week so I’ve been thinking about riding a few shorter time trials & hill climbs.

What are your interests away from the bike?

Photograpghy, I started shooting film late last year and I’ve caught the bug. I’m forever trying to find great music and movies. Spending time with my son.

Quick fire questions

Tell me your…

Go to summer road bike? Canyon Aeroad Ultimate CF SLX.
Dream bike? Bianchi Specialissima in Celeste with Campag Record (mechanical, of course) with low profile carbon rims & lightweight tubs.
One climb to ride said dream bike up? Never been up the Stelvio, so got to be…
Favourite cycling book? The Rider by Tim Krabbe or The Escape Artist by Matt Seaton.. can’t choose between them.
Favourite cycling movie? Overcoming (Team CSC documentary from 2004 season).
Favourite pro rider? Sylvain Chavanel.
Why? He is a racer, always about the win for him.
Favourite piece of cycle clothing you’ve owned? CSC skull cap by Descente, got that in 2005!