MICK IVES RIDES AGAIN

In fact, he has never really stopped; from a ninety-two mile daily commute to racing all over the World, but this Coventry cycling legend is about to become even more legendary. He told Steve Dyster about his latest plan.

Compared to Mick Ives most of us are puffing up the lower slopes of the Col de Télégraphe whilst he is scoffing a jam roll as he crests the Galibier. Mention Mick to many people and the say, “Cyclo-cross legend.” But, here’s but a taste of the real roll of honour;

 

  • Sixty years of cyclo-cross and road race competition.

  • Six UCI World Masters Cyclo-Cross Championships and an equal number of seconds and thirds. Too many British Veterans titles to recall. Professional title as well.

  • Sixteen years as a professional rider, eight on Road/Track/Cross and eight on MTB/Cross. Represented GB in the Milk Race. Three times runner up in the UCI World Masters Champs as a veteran; and a third in the UCI World Masters on the road.

  • Represented GB and The Rest of the World on the track. Was a non-travelling reserve (money was scarce) for the Tokyo Olympics.

  • World Cup Champion veteran Time-Trial racer

  • Mountain-bike record of 36 wins in a season, along with top place in races around the World.

  • Oh, he also managed GB teams in cyclo-cross and mountain-biking and was Stephen Roche’s manager, too, during the Tour of Ireland.

You get the picture? Well there is more, but let’s leave the past with a quick reference to a 2005 ride - Mick was 65 - solo completion of the Tour de France route for that year, taking one day less than the race. Mick is the first and only rider to have done this, as far as we are aware.

 

How do you get more legendary that that?

 

What you do is; you decide, at all-but 78, to annoy your wife by going to ride the centennial route of the Giro d’Italia.

 

During his Tour de France ride, a former team-mate of Mick’s, Phil Cooke died form cancer. Mick raised £20,000 on that ride, but the trip itself was run on a shoe-string budget. Things will be different this time.

Back in 2005 Mick was lucky to get four hours sleep in the campervan he had been loaned - and even slept under the stars, got his own food and did his own washing.

Mick says, “I learnt a lot —I knew how to suffer on a  bike, after all I had been a professional cyclist for 16 yrs  — but I knew if I did another Tour ride, I had to make changes.  For this years Giro ride I have sponsorship from  Jewson, Polypipe and McCann—the three main sponsors of my very successful Cycle Race Team—M.I.Racing.This will enable me and my back-up team to stay in hotels and eat-out. All I need do is ride the bike.”

 

Mick thought of his mate Phil everyday during the TdeF ride. This time Mick aims to raise £50,000 for four different UK charities. Though he hasn’t said this, you get the feeling that Mick is spurred on by his memories, but in his nature is a desire never to lose focus on the future and the next challenge.

Clocking up - Mick says - “Only 150 to 180 miles or so a week these days,” serious training will begin when the weather warms-up. When working in Bilston in the Black Country, he was churning-out a 92 mile daily round-trip commute. “Good old days!” Waiting for him are Sardinia, Sicilly, Appenines, Dolomites and Tyrolean Alps.

Club-mates have told him that he is mad, but as Mick says, “After 60 yrs of racing you get to know your body and you should listen to what it is telling you.” So he will ride and eat sensibly and stick to his personal preferences.  “I don’t like to have stops , better to just keep going.”

 

Italian coffee is not on the menu - “good old cup of tea, for me” - and Italian wine will have to wait for the end of the ride. Mick promises to drink lots of water, recalling that “I was often told off for not drinking enough water, but a lot of old-school road riders are like that.” Italian food is great, but nothing too lavish during the ride. Soft rolls with jam or tomato fillings are in, as is fresh fruit; energy bars are reserved for really bad days. Mick expects a number of those. Energy gels will be a last resort.

 

Mountains, especially the Stelvio Pass, will be treated with respect, but, as you’d expect from a man of Mick’s experience and frame of mind, no fear. Yet even for Mick there will be something new on this trip. Despite competing all over the World in so many different disciplines, he has never seen, let alone ridden the Stelvio. Mick says it will be the high point of his ride.

 

With a back up team and financial support Mick says that he “only has to ride the bike.” Some ride; some rider,” as Winston Churchill might nearly have said.

Details of the Giro route in the race’s 100th year can be found at http://www.giroditalia.it/eng/route-2017/ The race runs from May 5th to May 28th, covering 3572 kilometres. Mick will be mirroring  the race probably a few days ahead, including the rest days.

 

It is hoped that media manager Scot Whitlock will be writing about Mick’s Giro both during the ride and in a follow-up book, whilst there is talk of a documentary film.

There are two ways of donating money, either direct at the following Building Society or via Virgin Money Giving.

  1. Hinckley and Rugby Building Society—14 Church Street, Rugby, Warks , CV21 3PL Acc No 81228218  Sort Code 40-24-19 – Send cheques made out to Tour of Italy Challenge Ride

 

  1. Or online via Virgin Money Giving http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/micksitalianjob

We will be keeping up to date with Mick as he rides his Giro d'Italia.

PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2017

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