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Trial run proves a success for cyclist Graham Moir

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: July 25, 2013

AGAINST THE CLOCK: Graham Moir, 40, has thrown himself into time-trial cycling.

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Mark Jenkin

IN HIS debut season as a time-trialling specialist, Graham Moir is defying the clock.

At the age of 40 and still a relative novice, the Atherington cyclist has wasted no time reaching national standard.

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The North Devon Wheelers-Southfork member shattered his personal best in a ten-mile test in Yorkshire on Saturday.

Moir finished fourth at the Wolds RT time trial near Hull, crossing the line in 19mins 7secs to beat his personal best by nearly 90 seconds.

When his former sporting passion of rock climbing was ended by a serious fall, Moir decided to aim for the top in a different field.

"I have just swapped one obsession for another," he said.

"I was into rock climbing and I had a bad accident and smashed my leg up.

"I tore my ligament away from the bone and the ankle was pointing the wrong way round.

"The doctor said, 'You should find a non-impactive sport'.

"As with anything I do, I always do it to excess. Within a few weeks I was doing a few hundred miles a week on the bike."

The switch from the rocks to the road was not a smooth process either. In one crash Moir wrote off a £5,000 carbon bike.

After the frustration of tactical racing in 2012, he found the most enjoyable challenge came against the clock.

"I tried road racing but I always wanted to go off at the front," said Moir. "In road racing it's not always the fastest rider who wins. It's generally the cleverest rider or the one who has done the least amount of work.

"Someone said, 'You should try time trialling'. It's called the race of truth because there's no hiding in the pack. You have just got to accept the pain all the way round."

Cycles Scuderia in Bideford, where Moir works, provided him with a £7,000 bike which he must return at the end of the season. Sponsorship is hard to come by and he holds down two jobs to pay for his sport.

Having committed to cycling he trained relentlessly to peak for the summer, even weighing his protein and carbohydrates and sticking to a strict diet.

The winter base training of long, steady mileage was designed to build up capillaries in the legs.

"Last winter I made my mind up that because I had turned 40 I was going to train properly," said Moir.

"I was doing about 500 miles a week on the bike.

"There were some mornings when it was minus 6C and I had to get out no matter what. I was wearing two pairs of gloves and two pairs of socks.

"Everyone was saying, 'What are you doing that for at 40 years of age? You should be sitting down'. That just made me even more angry and made me train even harder."

Those long training rides from his home in Atherington to Holsworthy and Bude have brought their rewards.

Moir is the North Devon Wheelers-Southfork champion at ten and twenty-five miles.

In the South West District Championships he set a personal best of 56-59, finishing second over 25 miles, and was third over 50 miles in 1-54-57.

At the Wolds race, only 20 seconds separated the top ten riders as a field of 169 competed on one of the UK's quickest courses.

Finishing as the leading veteran was the culmination of a season's dedication for Moir who plans to compete in the national championships next year.

"Regrettably I pulled out of the nationals this year because I thought I would make a fool of myself," he said. "When I looked at the times I think I would have been in the top ten."

After a well-earned rest, Moir can resume winter training confident of making his second season an even bigger success.

Alan Ward, the Plymouth triathlete, was fastest of 28 riders to tackle the weekly ten-mile time trial hosted by North Devon Wheelers-Southfork.

The former North Devon Tri member achieved an average speed of 26.73mph, finishing the Bishops Tawton to Umberleigh course in 22mins 27secs.

Sean Henderson, the Braunton teenager, was second in 22-50, pipping Joe Beer, the veteran, by just three seconds as both set personal bests.

Beer, a professional cycling and triathlon coach from Braunton, is now aiming to break 22-30.

Dave Rouse missed out on a podium place by five seconds, finishing fourth in 22-58.

There were category wins for Roger Sheridan, Dylan Smith, Zoe Betteridge, James Benning and Peggy Crome.

The next Wheelers-Southfork time trial takes place from Bishops Tawton Methodist Church this evening at 7pm. Newcomers are welcome.

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