This week's On The Drops features none other than BIKE Channel Canyon's Jack Pullar.
Jack enjoyed an impressive, although somewhat frustrating, campaign in 2016. He rattled up a series of top-10s and superb podium places in the highest tier of domestic racing but couldn’t get his wheel in front. He was second in the Ryedale Grand Prix, while also notching second and third in the Elite Circuit Series races in Skipton and Ilkley respectively. He racked up six top-10 finishes in a brilliant Tour Series campaign, with a best of second in Redditch.
Jack’s consistency was also underlined with ninth in the Wiltshire Grand Prix, ninth overall at the Tour of the Reservoir after finishing eighth and fifth on the two stages, 10th at Lincoln and 18th in the Velothon Wales. Jack represented Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and was crowned national hill climb champion in 2012. We caught up with him on all things climbing, and were thrilled to discover his prettiest bike was the same as Ollie's....
Name: Jack Pullar
Born and Bred: Lancaster
Ice breaker – describe yourself in three words.
Enthusiastic, energetic, Driven.
Cheers for taking the time to speak with us today. First thing’s first… what a year! It’s been a really exciting journey not just for us but for all involved parties for sure. How did the season go for you?
It was a great first season for the team. Its my 2nd year under the same management and the progression we have made has been great from all parts. Personally, I got the win I wanted at Tour series which was a highlight. I maybe haven’t been as consistent as the previous year but there are reasons behind that.
Any big/standout highlights for you?
Winning my first Tour Series in Aberdeen.
What’s your cycling story? When did it all start and why?
I started as a junior on the Mountain bike as many cyclists do. I bought a road bike for training for MTB but the MTB scene was dying around that time. I started road racing a year later and never really looked back. I have been a professional now for over 6 years and couldn’t think of doing anything else at the moment!
First bike you owned?
A kids Raleigh I think?! Pretty standard kids bike haha
Favourite bike you owned?
I'd have to be biased and say my current race bike which I've just given back to the team for peformance. Looks-wise, I had a Colnago C50 which was the dream.
If not a pro bike racer, what would you be doing?
God knows! Maybe something in marketing and events? Thats what my degree was in.
What was your biggest cycling accident/crash, and how much stuff did you break?
This season in Holland, 197KM into the race. I lost a lot of skin and wrote a lot of equipment off. I'd hate not to be sponsored with a bill like that!
Now. Hillclimbing. As with cyclocross, it’s a discipline that is quickly growing in popularity (particularly in the UK) but most average cyclists might not understand the nuances and quirks involved. What makes it so special?
It's a very British thing. Theres not much quite like it. Its kind of a spectacle more than anything. It gives people lower down the cycling world and experience into climbing with huge crowds watching. Madness really.
Being crowned Nat Champ in 2012 must be up there with your finest cycling achievements. Tell us how the day went? Did you come in as favourite?
I think I was favourite after winning the two biggest HC’s of the season, Monsal and Bec. The event was horrible, just like every HC I’ve done! The day couldn’t have been better with many friends on the hill watching and cheering.
Whilst aerodynamics are clearly becoming increasingly relevant for the average rider, the art of the Weight Weenie is evidently alive and kicking in HC. What’re your thoughts on the DIY culture of drilling holes out of componentry? Is this commonplace?
I’d like to think I’ve been a major influence with modener HC bikes. Before I stripped my 2012 bike, not many people had gone to the lengths I had. Looking round these days, many people do it. Maybe I wasn’t an influence but I like to think I was!
Are there any actual rules governing what you can and can’t do with your bike?
As long as you have two brakes, I'm pretty sure you go do as you wish!
What’s the furthest length you’ve seen someone go to shed weight from their bike? Any horror stories?!
Ive seen recently a guy snapped his cranks while doing a HC. That's common practice for me, as I've snapped two sets! I think my 2012 bike was pretty extreme, as I even stepped the grease from the bearings for maximum loss of friction!
Is there anything unique to hillclimbing about wheel/tyre setup choices?
Low profile and as light as possible without losing stiffness. The best HC wheels are the ones that feel the stiffest while still maintaining that zippy feel.
Back to you, what’re the plans for next season? Any major targets or aims, either personally or for the team, that you can share with us?
I've not thought a great deal, but Gold Coast 2018 is on the cards!! Let's wait and see...