Journals Riders

Rider journals: introducing Ed Laverack

Welsh hill climbing champion and vlogger 'par excellence' on his best results to date and his goals for 2019

We’re pleased to reveal the final rider in rider journals series this season: 24-year-old Ed Laverack. 2019 promises to be a big season for Ed as he joins British Continental new-boys SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling after six years at the behemoth of the domestic scene, the now-defunct JLT Condor.

Ed has already shown himself to be a strong hill climber and stage racer. He was under-23 national road race champion in 2014. And achieved 10th overall in the 2016 Tour of Korea (2.1) and 12th overall in the same race the following year. Last season, he recovered from a painful crash in the Tour de Beauce to win the Welsh hill climb championships.

He’s already written his first journal entry, which will be published here soon, but in the meantime check out his considered thoughts below on his best results to date, what kind of rider he is and his goals for 2019.

You can also read John Smith’s interview with Ed about his hill climbing season last year. And if that still doesn’t sate your hunger for Ed Laverack content, he also has a very popular vlog, which we highly recommend.

Realteam Rhigos Hill Climb (Course RH/4, 7th October 2018). Photo: John Smith / Same Old Smith Photography

How would you describe yourself as a rider?

It takes years sometimes to find your niche. For me, almost 9 years. I know now that I have a very good ability to produce a high power to weight over the longer durations, and repeated. One thing that has suffered is my punch, anything less than 3 minutes I struggle to be a contender. I found my strength in stage racing, the deeper into a race I go the better I feel, this is true of the week-and-a-half long Volta a Portugal. 

Where will you be based in 2019?

I will be based in my hometown of Llanelli for the majority of the year. If you look on a map its right by the coast and there are miles and miles of cycle paths taking in woodlands and sea views. Possibly the best place for me to train as I can do a 5 hour ride without climbing more than 500 metres, or I can do 5 hour with 4000 metres of climbing in the Gwendreath Valley without being more than 20 kilometres away from home. The diversity is unreal.

Best result to date?

Initially I was going to say winning the national under-23 road race championships but it doesn’t have as much of a story as the Welsh Hill Climb win in October 2018. The reason for that is because its far more relatable to other people. Everyone has had set backs in their life and have overcome them to be a better person. The biggest crash of my career came in June 2018 while racing the Tour de Beauce in Canada. I had so much support from the team but I needed 6 weeks off the bike to recover. Returning to training 10kg over my hill climbing weight and very out of practice I set to work. I arrived at the Welsh Hill Climb, 58.2kg, and putting out more watts per kilo than I had done all year. I won that event with a time of 11min and something, but just 0.4sec faster than 2nd place. It was kind of one of those moments, you know you did everything, and hard work pays. 

Photo: Ed Laverack

What will your first race this season be?

Quite possibly the Primavera Road Race in the South West of England on 24th February. I’m still very big on racing and supporting the grassroots events and the bigger regional road races that get put on around the country. Travelling to them prepares you for the long transfers you generally have to endure as a professional and the more you race the more tactical situations you get exposed to. It’s all part of the game.

Main goal(s) for 2019?

I have both personal and professional goals for this year. In terms of pushing the envelope, I always want to see what’s possible with my fitness and that is through my 20-minute test. I want to be able to take my body to the point of 385 watts for 20 minutes at 59 kilograms (6.5w/kg), and if I can do this after a 4 hour ride that would be another aim. My weaknesses also need working on, so my 10-seconds to 3-minute power.

In terms of races, the National Hill Climb is an aim, and people will know the climb well;. it’s on Haytor in South West England, an 11-minute climb. I will actually take time to create a hill climb-specific bike for this too; it’s time to take that seriously.

The race calendar is still yet to be decided for me, but I’ve seen a lot of the world and I’ve tried lots of different races. I know I’m a stage racer, or a multi-day endurance athlete. So if I get a chance at stage racing this year I will be shooting for them.

Personally, I may ride Lands End to John O’Groats, or an endurance race of some kind, to give myself an aim outside of the peloton. 

Ed’s brilliant vlog is well worth checking out.

Featured photo: John Smith / Same Old Smith Photography

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