Andrew Harvey

Name : Andrew Harvey, AKA Harve

Age : 31

Andrew "Harve" Harvey is a strong rider in the Flandrian mould, he avoids flash bikes to "free up plenty of beer money" but still races hard. In fact, this year's Ardechoise trip wasn't hard enough for him, he's thinking about Thailand.

What made you start cycling : Touring trip from England to the south of France via the alps over three weeks. Camped all over the place, not always in camp sites and not always where we should be. Upset a few characters on the way. Finally got to a villa in St. Cyprien where we stayed for a while and switched from fitness to day and night partying, crashing a beach party at 3 am at one point. Made a few enemies there I think. Blagged a lift with this Frenchman in his knackered Renault 5. He insisted on driving at full whack down the beach steps nose-diving it into the sand. Well, you've got to make an entrance haven't you( : !!) Anyway, took to eating all those miles quite well but blissfully unaware of what real racing was like.

Why did you join Kingston Wheelers : Moved to Surbiton and after looking around a bit I got enthusiastic support straight away from this club. Also lifts to races from "mad as a brush" Coco (a select lucky few will know who I mean). Since then there's been even more riders to team up with for trips and races.

Date you joined the Club : February - three years back I think.

Who is your favourite pro or inspiration : : Never sure about this one. Roubaix and Flanders favourites from a few years back perhaps :Tchmil maybe as he's nails hard, Yates, Tafi :Also, the likes of Pantani and Cipo were perfect for entertainment value. Who these days :I guess McEwen likes a bit of a fight, anything to make it all a bit riled up. I often watch for the mad heroic attacks and crazy stories rather than whose up for the overall in the tours.

What bike do you ride : Cheapest race worthy option off-the-peg to free up plenty of beer money. Giant OCR 1 at present.

Give us a brief cycling background : After the touring trip previously discussed I joined a club and unwisely chose a town centre race as my first event. I think twice about town centre races even now as you have to be a bit of a specialist and very aggressive. So a no-no for a first race. This one was a short circuit around a hill, all 90 degree bends and barriers to avoid. So it was about 30 hill sprints with no recovery in-between. I didn't realize how much kick you needed in those races just to hold wheels right from the line. You need to be fired up and position is everything. If you can get going in those events though they're well worth it as you get a crowd, a commentator on a mic and cheesy finish line music. Can't win :At least attack through the start/finish line and get a mention to the crowd. Tried Maidstone and Dartford since and got a bit more involved in the thick of it but out of that game now. Also, a bit of Kent League but before I got going in all that there was nearly a sniff of glory when they introduced the fourth cat. Lost a sprint for a win by half a wheel but got a prime and still got more cash than the winner. Rode from the race finish to a party in Essex and spent the winnings on beer and fags. Then it was mediocrity all the way as a third cat. Nudge into the top 10 here and there and one rare top 5 and 6th overall in the third cat Lewes crit series but never in danger of 2nd cat. Not much to note since - just a bit of nudging the top 10 so it's worth mentioning racing with Yves in France as that was a change from the norm. If I was just fitter it would have been up there in best ever experiences. Felt like a pro at 30-40mph on the valley roads for an hour or so in that bunch with support cars and motorbikes everywhere - then the usual disaster at the first mountain.

What was your best performance : No win I'm afraid, so fifth and sixtth overall in Lewes crit series which probably rates over the second in the fourth cat race.

What was your worst day on the bike : Not sure, I've had plenty to choose from :Sunstroke only 3 miles from home but took me an hour to get back. That old mistake of climbing a mountain (Galibier) in warm weather kit then descending though icy, rainy clouds shivering and a bit sleepy. I could feel the comparative warmth from the eventual town's houses and shops hit me like a wall. I bonked in L'Etape and had a crap hour or so but you kind of get used to those kind of experiences don't you :Well you keep going back for more. The French race is also up there too as I was thinking I've come hundreds of miles to get screwed over on the first climb each day. Riding over the limit up to max chasing that group just dropped from and knowing the exact same thing will happen the next day, can't go home and feeling like an idiot for traveling hundreds of miles to be so out of place. Strange as parts of that race were up with the best experiences too. That's racing I guess.

What is your favourite race food : Favourite suggests enjoyment and race food is hardly like tucking into a fish supper or a big pie. Basically it's whatever gets down quick and easy. Quickest I found were gels that came in a small squeezable bottle rather than a packet. Made by Squeezy but I don't see them now. I guess I'm thinking of bunch racing where you feel like you really have to pick your moment to start rummaging around in pockets and smearing energy gel all over your face or choking on a slab of power bar.

Where is your favourite cycling location : Probably the alps if I felt a bit smaller and nimble. I enjoy our spring blasts up the Koppenberg but the surrounding area is a bit grim. I guess just forget performance and go for this climb up from Collioure in the south of France. It's straight up from the sea pretty much and kicks at about 20% for a good few hairpins. The longest 20% section of road I've seen. Crumbling tiny road with warning signs about getting blown off the top in high winds. I've ridden it un-fit in a non-racing year and had to stop at nearly every hairpin in the top section. I haven't really travelled enough as I'm sure it would be somewhere else exotic and traffic free - probably off-road as I hate always feeling in the way with traffic. Suggestions for adventures maybe. Mark picked up a mountain biking in Thailand brochure at the Ardechoise for example. Time for something different I think.

Most likely to say : "Shit I've got one of those nasty fear ridden, jittery hangovers again." Is it only me who gets them :

Least likely to say : "This year I'm going to concentrate on time trials."