Words: David Evans | Date:
Rapha-Condor-JLT’s Hugh Carthy on rituals, maintenance, support – and ending up at the bottom of large pile of bikes.
Hugh Carthy is 19 years old, 6ft2in and 63kg. In 2012, he was one of Britain’s most promising juniors, winning the overall at the Junior Tour of Wales and a stage of the Junior Tour of Ireland. His results and potential quickly brought him to the attention of John Herety and Rapha-Condor-JLT.
The team’s commitment to nurturing young talent likewise attracted Hugh who, as an 18-year-old neo-pro, put in promising showings at races as diverse as the Tour of Korea, kermesses, National Trophy races and the Mzansi Tour of South Africa.
Last September, Hugh found himself under a pile of bikes during the second stage of the Tour of Britain, bringing an end to his time as the youngest rider in the race.
I’m not superstitious but at this time of year I buy a new set of safety pins for my race numbers. I keep them in my race bag, in a stock-cube tin. It’s something I’ve done every year since before I was a junior, just a sign for myself that it’s a new year.
I clean my shoes and my helmet. You can’t turn up to a race without clean shoes and a clean helmet. I keep things simple. Less can go wrong that way.
It’s different now, different to being a junior.
All I can say is wash your kit as soon as you take it off. Don’t let it sit and stew, just get it in the machine or, if you have to, handwash it. It keeps things fresh.
I rotate all my kit. If you have three pairs of bibs, rotate them so you don’t just use the same pair over and over again. It keeps the wear even – each piece of kit will wear at the same rate. It keeps things consistent.
I also give my bike a little clean after every ride and I rarely have to give it a big clean or take anything apart. Keep a bucket with the bits you need by the back door. Then, when you get back, it’s easier to wash your bike than not wash your bike, you know?
We get looked after a lot by the team, but there are some things that are my responsibility to look after.
On his race-ending crash at the Tour of Britain
The whole thing was just a bit unfortunate. The conditions were terrible, torrential even, and we were just going through a dark and tree-lined section and, well, carbon rims and rain don’t really go together. I knew straight away my race was done.
On the year ahead
I’ve raced 10 or 11 times already this season. We started in Australia at the Sun Tour and now I’m back for local races before heading out to South Africa for the Mzansi Tour.
It’s a culture shock, sure, although you don’t get to taste too many local delicacies because the organisers put us in nice hotels and you don’t get a lot of spare time during a stage race, you know?
Am I looking forward to it? Of course. I have my eyes on a couple of stages, climbing stages, days I should be going well on. I’m going alright at the moment. I took 2nd at the CDNW [Cycling Development North West] race recently.
I weigh 63kg, at least I do most of the time. I’ve never really had any trouble keeping the weight off, really, and it’s only in the last couple of years I’ve shot up.