At the beginning of this year, we partnered up with Team B38 / Cycles in Motion, a Sheffield-based race team who've been competing in Road, Time Trials, and Hill Climbs since 2016. Over the years, the team has continuously punched above its weight, particularly in the world of hill climbing, where they secured the title of 1st National Hill Climb Mens Team at the end of last season, with a staggering 21 wins and 7 course records.
So, on a nice, sunny day in March, we decided to jump in the Stique van and see the team in action. Upon arrival outside Sheffield, we were welcomed with a slice of cake, a cuppa Yorkshire Gold, and a front-row seat on what can only be described as a mercilessly hilly course. For the next couple of hours, we'd be waving fists, flags, and carbon-fibre tyre levers in support of an increasingly depleted peloton of two-wheeled zombies. By the end of the final lap, only a few remained. Leading the charge was one particularly cool customer, who actually looked a bit sad it was all coming to an end.
That man was Archie Cross, one of B38 / CiM's own. So impressed we were with his seemingly effortless victory, we decided to pin him down for a chat.
So, Archie, how long have you been racing?
I started with hill climbs in 2013. After being battered by everyone on a family holiday to the Alps, I decided I should probably get fit, so joined by brother (and now teammate) Eugene for some rides once we got home. After not being dropped by him as badly as when we were in the Alps, I thought I would give some racing against other people a go. From there, I did the end-of-year hill climbs and then started road racing the following year. My lack of experience and ability to sprint made the first year a steep learning curve.
What would be your advice to anyone wishing to get into racing?
Find a local cycling club with people who race. Not only will you learn from them, but it makes going to races far more enjoyable. I joined Sheffield University just after I started to race and the cycling club there is probably the reason I’m still racing 6 years later.
And, when you’re not on two wheels, how do you like to keep busy?
I have recently finished university and had to join the real world with getting a job, so that now takes up my time. Outside of that, I do impressively little, watch a lot of football and travel back up north as much as possible.
Last month, we saw you take gold on a very hilly course up in Sheffield. Would you say you’re a hill man through and through?
My body shape makes hill climbing far easier than chugging along at 30mph, so I’d say so. Unfortunately the UK doesn’t quite have the 30-minute climbs I’d like it to so I have to try improve elsewhere.
What’s the secret to successful hill climbing?
I’ve been told it’s mainly drilling all parts of your bike to save 100g; something I haven’t tried yet but have been assured by teammates it is the way forward.
And do you accompany all that with a specific diet or is it carbs as and when desired?
I got through university on a diet mainly consisting of pizza and cookies. The pizza consumption has probably decreased but I still can’t turn down a reduced pack of Sainsbury’s cookies.
What’s your weapon of choice on the bike front?
Orbea Orca, which we got when Big Ian started the team in 2016. I have bought a time trial bike but then realised I’m not very good at time trialling so it has been shelved for now.
And your dream bike?
Any decent bike which requires as little maintenance as possible. Nothing worse than random squeaks and creaks which I can’t sort. Luckily Cycles in Motion have been a sponsor for us since the start and have managed to stop me breaking anything for 3 years!
Finally, what are you hoping to achieve with the rest of the team this season?
I think everyone in the team wants to retain our team prize at the National Hill Climb and, personally, I would like to get into the top 3 riders from the team! On top of that, it would be nice to win some races and not get sacked for moving down south!