A MINUTE WITH: ALEX PATON
Britain’s junior cyclo-cross champion and Olympic mountain bike hopeful Alex Paton has a busy time balancing his sport with studies and working on his car.
CW: You’ve had a great winter, retaining the British and the National Trophy title.
AP: Yes, it’s been really good. I had a steady start after a late finish to the mountain bike season, and it’s worked out well.
Are you able to have a rest now?
Not at the moment. I’m preparing for the Cyclo-Cross Worlds, and then it will be pretty much straight into the mountain bike season because the World Championships are early this year.
Is it hard to fit in school work?
It’s a struggle. I have to change priorities every now and then.
What are you studying?
PE, Travel and Tourism, and IT. I’m in my last year with not long to go now. Hopefully I can move on to the British Cycling Academy. That’s the plan.
How long have you been riding?
For about seven years. Of that time, maybe the last four or five have been competitive.
What got you started?
I saw people on a club session in a local park and thought it looked interesting. I just went along, tried it and enjoyed it more and more.
What about the future?
I want to go as far as I can. It’s going really well at the moment and I’m hoping that if I keep up the hard work, I’ll get the rewards.
How do you like to relax?
In my spare time I’ll be sorting out my bikes or fiddling around with my car, doing bits and pieces.
What car have you got?
A Peugeot 106. It’s good to be independent, but my mum and dad give me help too.
Music and film choices?
I tend not to listen to music when I’m training, and I’m not much into the cinema. I pretty much have just two focuses: cycling, and obviously I’ve got school.
Is it good to be part of the GB scene at the moment?
Yes, especially the cyclo-cross this winter. It’s been tough — the standard is high all round. I’m on the Olympic Development Programme for mtb’ing and that’s really good. I spent a lot of time last year preparing for the World Championships in Fort William where I finished 18th. For my first time I was happy with that.
What about track racing?
Track riders have put us in the shade a bit, but we’re catching them up. I’ve done track, but it’s not really my thing, especially living in Dover, miles from any track.
It would almost be quicker to go abroad.
Yes, it would. I spent quite a lot of time road racing in Belgium a few years ago, but being on the mountain bike ODP, that’s what I want to do.
So it’s mtbs ahead of the cyclo-cross now?
I started out with cross and that was my main focus for quite a few years, but recently I’ve turned my attention more to mtb’ing. I’m on the ODP so my career is progressing from there. Cross gave me a really good base — they complement each other.
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