Going Long: Colin Philip’s journey to the Tour of Flanders


26.02.20 at 10:12 am

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Have you ever thought about doing a long, hard sportive but decided it was just impossible – physically, mentally and logistically? Well, it’s time to think again, because The Draft is following three people who are ‘going long’ this year.

Second up is…

Name: Colin Philip

Event: Tour of Flanders

Date: April 5 2020

Weeks to the event: 6

tour of flanders training

Tell us a bit about yourself. I live in North Berwick, Scotland, and have two children. I run my own business helping small companies with their marketing. I ride a Planet X Pro Carbon. I’m really a track sprinter so 174km on a bike is going to be interesting.

A sprinter? Like Usain Bolt you mean? Not quite – I ran a bit further than him and not so fast. But I was Scottish 400m champion in 2000!

Wow. Impressive. So why have you gone from 400m on foot to 174,000m in a saddle? I hurt my knee and couldn’t really do the running anymore. It swelled up even when I ran for the bus. But then I started to get into cycling – and I love it. It gives me some freedom and headspace from the rigours of life – family, work and so on. I feel great after a ride. And my knee seems to like the pace and consistency of the cycling I’m doing at the moment.

tour of flanders - collins bike

You’ve certainly chosen a great event to train for. Yes, it’s a classic isn’t it? There is a tradition and magic around it that I am really looking forward to. The people there are fanatical about their cycling. I love the idea that some of the course will be on roads that are really only designed for farm vehicles (I’m researching tyres and inner tubes fit for the job). And then there are cobbles [it’s one of two major ‘cobbled classics’] and the short sharp climbs – like the Koppenberg and the Paterberg – to look forward to as well.

How has the training gone so far? Well, I haven’t done any cobbled climbs but there are some decent ascents in the area here – like Redstone Rigg in the Lammermuir Hills (which the Tour of Britain 2017 race took in). Usually I am quite happy getting up a hill but I need to be careful not to overcook things – I’m usually the one on the ride that is gasping for gels after 50km. The whole point of doing this tour is to get around – and enjoy it.

Are you training with other people, then? I am doing the race with half a dozen others and we are all keeping in touch. Hopefully we can stay together during the event. It’s been tough to get out recently because of the wind, but I’ve managed to increase my time on the bike. In the first couple of months of the year I planned to do 100km a week, but it was quite irregular – life got in the way. However, the past three weeks have been consistent and I’m hoping to up the mileage to 15okm a week in March. I’ve got no aches or pains and feel pretty good.

And how about nutrition – are you overdosing on those gels? Not really. I haven’t thought much about what I’ll eat on the day yet, but one change I have made is to eat less meat. My wife’s vegetarian and – I’d never thought I’d say this – I don’t miss it. I thought I’d be after the ‘extra protein’ but I feel good. I even think that my diet and the regular cycling are helping my knee.


The Cobbled Classics can be dangerous events, so you should really consider taking out some form of travel insurance. Most are timed events so are considered bicycle races by insurers, meaning the vast majority of policies you get from your bank, employer, etc. will exclude cover.

We provide a travel insurance for cyclists which will automatically cover the costs of emergency medical care and repatriation if the worst should happen while riding or racing overseas.

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