One of the team’s new names for 2015 will be familiar to those of you who follow cyclo-cross. Twenty year-old Joe Moses took a brilliant third place in what is widely regarded as the hardest cyclo-cross race in the world, the Three Peaks. Joe is also the younger brother of one of the team’s top talents on the road, Tom who was the winner of the East Midlands CiCLE Classic in 2014.
We spoke to Joe about his performance at the Three Peaks, his future on the road, and giving up his work as a tree surgeon to focus 100% on racing in 2015.
Were you at Wheelbase all season in 2014?
Well I had intentions of doing a full season with Wheelbase, but I got about half way through and I just blew up massively. So that was when I decided that I would go and have a crack at Three Peaks instead.
So the focus on Three Peaks, was that something that you’ve thought about doing for a long time?
I’d had enough of road and I wanted to have a bit of fun, and I just came straight back to that. I’d done it before in 2012, and I wanted to have a proper go at it and train up for it to see how well I could do.
2012 was a pretty bad year for it.
It was absolutely awful. At one point I rode through water over my handlebars when I came down Pen-Y-Ghent. It was horrifically bad…
Third this year was a very impressive ride.
Oh yeah, I’m really happy with that. It was hard to tell where I was going to fit in. I mean, with the training that I’d been doing I knew that I would do well but I didn’t have anything to judge myself against. I’d been doing all the training off my own back and so I didn’t know what was going to happen until Ingelborough (the first of the three peaks). I knew when I got to the top of there in second that I had a chance for the podium then.
Rob Jebb [11 x winner] usually just takes off up there; did you attempt to stay with him at all?
No there is no staying with him up there, you’ve just got to do your own race and see how you go. I actually had him in sight at the bottom of the descent coming on to the next road section. We’d obviously come down the descent a lot quicker than him but once he jumps off his bike to start running he’s at a massive advantage.
How did you find the running? Most cyclists struggle adapting to it.
I went out running up a hill near us twice a week that is just as long as Simon’s Fell, but not quite as steep. So it didn’t take me too long to adapt, and I ended up getting into it. It’s not really running in a lot of the places where t is really steep, so you don’t have to stride out too much, which is what a lot of cyclists really suffer with because they don’t have long strides.
Just how did you manage to keep the bike upright when you snapped your steerer tube on the descent of Pen-Y-Ghent?
I landed on my feet! When I knew that the steerer had snapped I let go of the bars and grabbed hold of what was left of the steerer and rode it into the grass and jumped off! But I was seriously going, I must have been doing way over thirty and I went over a bump, and the front end came slamming down. It wasn’t a major slam but something wasn’t right, so I didn’t brake – otherwise I’d have flown forward, so I pulled the bars up and they were just in my hands, so I grabbed the steerer and rode it into the grass.
So what re-ignited your desire to go back on the road next season?
I had intentions of just doing a smaller year on the road and maybe working a bit more, but when the opportunity with John came along it was too good to turn down. Riding for a team like this has been what I’ve been working towards for the past two years anyway, so as soon as it came up I knew I had to take it.
So do you train with Tom much?
No, not really so much. I’ve been working and he obviously trains in the day. So I’ve not managed to get out with him as much as I’d like.
You’ve juggled training with work as a tree surgeon up until now, that must have been pretty tiring?
Well this is the thing; I’ve never really had more than a couple of hours or an hour after work and then training on the weekend. It’s kind of a handicap really, but when I started I never really thought of it. When I was a junior because the distance was that bit shorter I coped with it a lot better, because the most you race is three hours. I’ve been working for four and a half years now, and I’ve never really had more than two weeks off I don’t think. When I won the Isle of Man as a junior, I’d worked four days that week, then gone up on the Friday and raced that Friday night.
Have you enjoyed working as a tree surgeon?
Yeah I really have enjoyed it. I am going to miss it a bit as well, I think. I’ve worked with my uncle and it’s always been a laugh, and he’s always been supportive of my racing as well. But even though I do really enjoy it, really I just want to be a cyclist.
I think my biggest problem will be that I’ll find that I have way more time than I’ve ever had, and I’ll be way fresher than I ever have been, so I don’t want to go out and do too much and go mad at it.