Sabrina Verjee

Name : Sabrina Verjee

Age : 25

Sabrina Verjee's is not one for ducking a challenge, a veterinary student at Cambridge - you probably won't find a harder degree - she's done modern pentathlon and now triathlon. In her first year spent cycling, she finished 11th in the Women's National 100 mile TT championships and won a triathlon a couple of weeks ago. Watch this space for more!

Date you joined the Club : July or August 2006.

Why did you join Kingston Wheelers : To get chat up by fit men ;)

What made you start cycling : Triathlon.

What bike do you ride : Eddy Merckx Titanium frame built by Litespeed now complete with a 9 speed Dura Ace compact chainset built up for me Chris Salt (thanks again!)in time for my win in the Accelerace Triatlon in August. The 34x27 gearing ratio was a godsend, I cruised up the multitude of inclines including two 25% gradient climbs! Leading me to victory - this bike's in a class of its own. And an Orbea Mitis 9 speed Shimano Ultegra.

Give us a brief cycling background : Not much background.... I used to cycle to the riding stables as a teenager. I started triathlon to keep fit over the summer 2005 once the Modern Pentathlon (Show jumping, shooting, fencing, running, swimming) season was over. I started it on my tourer but one of my chain rings started falling off mid-race so I had to cycle the hilly course all in one gear! I decided that I quite liked triathlons but needed a new bike! Eventually I got the Orbea .... which I think I literally rode 80 miles on from picking it up at the bike shop. Now I'm totally addicted to cycling...

What was your best performance : errr.... just cycling probably the National 100 mile Time Trial Champs in 4hrs 47mins,  11th place.

What was your worst day on the bike : Cycling all the way to Oxford (65 miles) then realising that I would get home quicker cycling back as the trains were being less than useful with replacement buses ... after 120 miles I was seriously regretting it! Although starting a TT mid-adventure race by cycling straight into the back of a van while being filmed by the BBC comes quite close....

What is your favourite race food : I prefer not to eat on the bike... then I can insist in a tea stop and stuff myself with cake, which incidentally was another reason to start cycling!

Where is your favourite cycling location : The Trossachs in Scotland.

Most likely to say : "It's time for a tea stop."

Least likely to say : "Let's go up that really steep hill!"

Will Meers

Name : Will Meers

Age : 21

Will Meers was inspired to take up cycling because it was a good way to get to the pub, it was the sight of a club member eating a "death burger" that convinced him he'd found the right club. Fuelled no doubt by burgers, ale, cakes and tea, he's now one of the club's fastest riders.

What made you start cycling : I always cycled to the pub and back as it was cheaper and the savings from not getting the bus allowed me to get another couple of pints in at closing time. When I got kicked out of university for a year I decided I needed a hobby other than drinking. I bought a second hand racing bike, joined the Kingston Wheelers and never looked back.

Why did you join Kingston Wheelers : I wanted to meet some like minded people and learn some more routes. Someone on the Cycling Plus forum recommended the Kingston Wheelers. I went along to the club run one Sunday in October and found myself doing the club hill climb champs. My mind was made up when, before the start someone (James McVey probably) bought a death burger from Ryka's Café and still did well.

Date you joined the Club : October 2004.

What bike do you ride : A steel Chas Roberts (debadged since it was repaired and resprayed) for training, a Cervelo P3 for TTs, a Holdsworth fixie for the pub and a carbon Mike Kowal for the summer.

Give us a brief cycling background : :I went on numerous cycling holidays when I was very little. I then rediscovered the bike as a cheap, reliable and fast mode of transport and eventually purchased a road bike back in September 2004.

What was your best performance or favourite ride : Best performance has to be getting 57.28 in a 25 in the last race of last season. Was a beautiful day and everything came together nicely.
My favourite ride was a 110 mile monster in the Pyrenees with club mate Naz Peralta. We rode from our B&B to the Col D’Aspin, down the other side, up the Col du Tourmalet stopping for a quick photo, down the Tourmalet and back over the Col D’Aspin. I’ve never felt so tired in my life when hauling myself over the third Col of the day and was all over the shop on the descent. We had a quick coffee then hammered it all the way home, doing the last 25 miles in just over an hour, making it back just before sunset. Then there was the legendary day when Naz and I had five café stops in 50 miles...

What was your worst day on the bike : :I’ve never really had a terrible day on the bike. There are numerous indifferent days when it rains all day and you get no enjoyment whatsoever from the bike, but you tend to blot them out. Flanders is always a tough one… the weather last year was awful, but at least it took my mind off the hangover. Doing a 100 mile TT on zero training last season was pretty fearsome – my longest ride in the preceding four months was only 30 miles. I was fine up until 60 miles, but then the course went onto rolling B roads and I just hung on for the last 40.

Who is your favourite pro or inspiration : I love all the stories of testers of old – Alf Engers doing a ‘49’ back in the 70s, the battles between Boardman and Obree (I’ve got the result sheet of when Boardman broke the 25 comp record). Of course, local hero Frank Cubis is a legend.

What is your favourite race food : I don’t really eat much on the bike. If I’m hungry I’ll stop and have tea and cake. The tea rooms in Seale are particularly good.

Where is your favourite cycling location : Mallorca – I’ve been in March/April for the last couple of years and absolutely love it. The climbs are steady and not too steep, the food is perfect for cycling and the weather’s great. I’m going again in early March next year and can’t wait.

Most likely to say : "Let’s have another one more for the road."

Least likely to say : "I'm not drinking; I’ve got a race tomorrow."

Tim Lawn

Name : Tim Lawn

Age : 36 (a master but not a vet!)

What made you start cycling : I always liked riding a bike, but having spent a long exchange holiday in France and watched daily coverage of the Tour, I was bitten by the racing bug.

Why did you join Kingston Wheelers : A friend of mine living in Ham wanted to join a Club and had heard about Kingston Wheelers. I agreed to join with him for company, he lasted a few weeks and I’m still here!

Date you joined the Club : 1984

Who is your favourite pro or inspiration : I always admired Laurent Fignon’s attacking approach to racing and we share the same birthday. When I first joined the Club, Des Borland was incredibly helpful and encouraging towards me offering advice, mechanical assistance and lifts to races.

What bike do you ride : My race bike is a Principia RSL frame with Campagnolo Chorus equipment.

Give us a brief cycling background : I have always preferred road racing and concentrated on it.I cut my teeth in Surrey League handicaps on the M25 at Leatherhead before it was open to the public and went on from there, achieving a 1st cat licence before there were Elites and now hold a 2nd cat licence. Once upon a time, I had a reputation for hill climbing and won the Catford Hill Climb 3 years in a row in the 1990’s, but it is a young man’s game so I have curtailed these activities. I have also ridden some mountainous randonees but never the Etape.

What was your best performance : I always feel that my best performance was 9th place in the 1995 National Hill Climb Championship. It was one of those very rare days when you feel totally in control and in good form.Plus it was on Ditchling Beacon with a great turn out of Club members cheering me all the way to the top.

What was your worst day on the bike : Riding the Louison Bobet Randonee in 1994, my brother and I had already been over the Galibier and Izoard and had to go back over the Galibier and descend to the finish. The last few kilometres of the climb were painfully slow with much hallucinatory zig zagging across the road.I was so tired I didn’t trust myself to make it down the descent and so we sat at the top like zombies for 15 minutes before heading down to the finish.We later found we had missed a gold medal ride by about 10 minutes, but we were better off than the guy that passed us and then disappeared off the edge of the next hairpin.

What is your favourite race food : Sliced up malt loaf, (not buttered).

Where is your favourite cycling location : I have great memories of trips to the Pyrenees.

Most likely to say : "No, Daddy didn’t win today."

Least likely to say : "I’d like to order a Colnago C50 please."

Will Horrocks

Name : Will Horrocks

Age : 14

Will Horrocks is yet another with a rowing background, there's a difference as Will is 14. But he's racked up 100 mile rides and will be racing soon too.

What made you start cycling : Used to cycle to school occasionally on a hybrid but around the time of the Tour de France last year I was interested in learning more about road cycling and had a go on my dad's 20 year old road bike and quite liked it, it sought of snowballed from there.

Why did you join Kingston Wheelers : I was really interested in joining a good cycling club to get going and Kingston Wheelers stood out from the rest.

Date you joined the Club : Some time in early January 2008.

What bike do you ride : A Python RX2, not many people have heard of them but it's my first road bike and it does everything it needs to.

Give us a brief cycling background : Used to cycle to school on a hybrid then moved up to road bikes and now I commute every day. I have done mainly done club runs but have tried my hand at a 100 miler sportive and hope to start racing soon.

What was your best performance or ride : Possibly this was also one of my worst days on a bike, completing the Circuit of the Cotswolds on the 22 of June was a fantastic feeling but I also felt a lot of pain at the time. I hope to have some good racing results soon as well once time allows.

What was your worst day on the bike : Either training on Easter Monday this year where it was freezing and I was not sufficiently clothed, it was snowing/raining/hailing/sleeting all day in a ferocious wind and it was the first time that I broke the 60 mile barrier, ended up packing it in when we got to Dorking and decided to get a train back to civilisation. It could also be the pain I felt during the Circuit of the Cotswolds, also on a ferociously windy day the distance really got to me and the climbs are not worth going into detail.

Who is your favourite pro or inspiration : As a newbie I am fantastically impressed with Mark Cavendish and what he has acheived in such a small space of time.

What is your favourite bike food : Jelly Belly Sports Beans or good old flapjack.

Where is your favourite cycling location : Only the Surrey lanes at the moment but on the day the Cotswolds was a stunning place to be.

Most likely to say : "On my day off I'm going to get in a few really good laps of Richmond Park today".

Least likely to say : "I really enjoyed my five laps of Richmond Park today".

Thorsten Klassen

Name : Thorsten Klassen

Age : 39

Thorsten Klassen is a Teddington-based German joined the club earlier this year and started racing within weeks, racking up an impressive number of placings with his sprinting abilities. The club's very own Erik Zabel - a nice guy who can sprint - he's been a past member of the German national cyclo-cross squad.

What made you start cycling : At the age of 12 watched a local race in my hometown with a friend and we both decided that this would be a cool sport.

Why did you join Kingston Wheelers : Because the Wheelers are a bunch of nice guys! Seriously, coming to the area I checked out Twickenham (to posh) and Dynamo (somewhat weird). The Kingston Wheelers seem (and are) serious about cycling but beside the passion for cycling they have other interests too.

Date you joined the Club : February 2005

What bike do you ride : A Point aluminum frame with carbon fork and Campagnolo Chorus group for road racing; A Gazelle Alu Pro with an old Shimano Dura Ace group for training; A Kona "Jake the Snake" with Shimano Dura Ace, FSA parts and a Kuwahara C-Pacer carbon bike with Shimano Dura Ace components both for cyclo-cross and an old Gitane for track.

Give us a brief cycling background : Brief :Started competitive cycling at age of 12-13; several road, cyclo-cross, track championship titles on district and top-10 spots on state level. One call for the junior national team in cyclo-cross. As senior moved up into highest categories in road and cyclo-cross and again several road, cyclo-cross, track championship title on disrict and top-10 places at state level. Two calls for the senior national team in cyclo-cross. Retired from cyclo-cross racing in 1994 and 1995 from road racing. I started road racing again in 1996 in the USA and after leaving the USA in 1998 made it to second category in Germany again during 1999. From 2000-2004 I rode mostly "sportive" cycling and managed only a few races. Restarted with racing in 2004 again, because the sportive became a bit boring ...

What was your best performance : Road :a 175km breakaway with a couple of other second category riders chased by the elite of German and Dutch race and finally taken ninth place. cyclo-cross :leading a very competitive race in Tetange, Luxembourg, in front of Danny de Bie (at that time word champion pro(, Ondrej Glaza (likewise in the amateurs), Erwin Verwecken and others but unfortunately I crashed at the last hurdle of a running section with only 500 meters to go. Still 10th place, but...

What was your worst day on the bike : Crashing in the North German junior championship race in a lead group of three riders, which were three and a half minutes ahead of the next group, with only 2.5km to the finish. The crash took place in a turn of a longer downhill section when both tyres (tubulars) rolled off. The mechanic from the service car brought only the rear wheel and didn't see that I needed a front one as well, which took quite some time. I finished way back in the main field and retrieving my original wheels I found out that they were stolen from the service car.

Who is your favourite pro or inspiration : Roger de Vlaeminck, because he was good at the classics as well as having been a cyclo-cross world champion; Marco Pantani, the "Pirate", for his impressive accelaration on the mountain stages; no particular sprinter though.

What is your favourite race food : Muesli bars or vanilla smoothy.

Where is your favourite cycling location : I believe, still the area around my hometown, Münster, is very nice :lots a little lanes, all flat, no traffic and some hills within reach. However, County Galway in Ireland was very nice too and Cyprus for really hilly rides in warm weather is brilliant.

Most likely to say : "Great, a mass galop!"

Least likely to say : "Let's do that hill again!"