Alpine Challenge Ride Captains 2013

We are pleased to introduce you to the 2013 Ride Captains.  The role of the HotChillee Ride Captain is to mentor and motivate you during the ride, provide assistance for the smooth running of the event, such as but not limited to, directions, peloton etiquette, drink breaks and advice.

The Ride Captains will also be leading the Training Rides so if you are able to make some of these you will get the chance to ask questions and get advice before September.  Dates for the Training Rides can be found on the Alpine Challenge 2013 Calendar by clicking here.


David Bryant

(aka 'The Bull')

David Bryant

I've been part of the HotChillee family as a Ride Captain for a few years now after having done The London-Paris as part of a team, an individual and Ride Captain.  I've also been in the Ride Captain squad for The Alpine Challenge and I am looking forward to doing the Cape Rouleur for the first time this year.

I'm an Aussie but moved to Europe 15 years ago for the skiing, mountains and the big bike races.  Now living in Kingston in Surrey, married with 3 little kids and training is mostly just commuting miles into London.

I've been riding bikes for years.  Rode to school when I was a lad, now I ride to work - maybe I haven't really grown up.  Ride on road and off road and occasionally on the track.

The challenge of the multi-day and endurance type events is really where my heart is now (criterium and TT racing just hurt too much).

It is a fantastic privilege to be a Ride Captain and support riders in their journey through the UK winter all the way to Paris in June after 3 days in the saddle.  Sharing that few minutes with my journeymen when the Arc de Triomphe comes into view and we roll over the cobbles to the Eiffel Tower for that champagne is a great reason for being a cyclist and especially a Ride Captain.


Juliette Clark

Michael Blann

It is a pleasure to be returning in 2013 as a Ride Captain. As an individual, I participated in The London-Paris in 2010 and 2011 and competed at the inaugural Alpine Challenge in 2010 where I won the pink jersey. 2012 saw my first outing as a Ride Captain, when I was extraordinarily privileged to work with the hand cyclists and support team from Stoke Mandeville and witnessed their incredible journey to Paris. Capping that was a fantastic trip to Annecy on the Alpine Challenge with Group 4; they were truly inspirational. Bring on 2013!

My sporting life began on the cross-country trails as a 'skinny-runner' kid and that endurance base has stood me in good stead in later life. In 1998 I got involved in triathlon through Cancer Research UK after my best friend tragically died aged only 28. Having satiated my need to mark her memory, I found I was hooked and spent a frenetic five years racing triathlon & duathlon all over the world while holding down a full-time job in the City. I represented GB at elite level duathlon and dabbled in longer distance events, including New York and London marathons and Hawaii Ironman. A break from competition followed for a few years thereafter, some of which was forced by injury, but eventually I was drawn back to cycling in 2008 and I'm glad to say I have lost none of my passion for the sport. A move away from London to the East Sussex coast has provided scenic new routes through the countryside and over the South Downs. Having returned to marathon running in 2012, I've ventured this winter into a new challenge, the 'Human Race Off-Road Duathlon Series', where I've been sporting my HotChillee Racing colours with pride and eating a whole lot of mud too!

The atmosphere at HotChillee events is second to none. Friendships are made, dreams are realised and the indomitable spirit of every participant is truly amazing. It will be an honour to share this for another year.


Ian Holmes

Ian Holmes

Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist from Milton Keynes and father of teenage twin boys. Starting my third year as a Ride Captain, with two L2Ps and three Alpine Challenges behind me, I'm looking forward to 2013 and what lies ahead. With the knowledge of what challenges await me I keep motivated to train even when the weather makes it a bit tricky! Thank you Wattbike!

Looking forward to catching up with HotChillee regulars and meeting new faces as we begin the training rides that help to prepare everyone for the ride to Paris.

As with all the Ride Captains I am here to make your challenge as enjoyable as possible. See you all soon.


David Kirkby

(aka 'Capt')

Daniel Lawrence

This will be David's 2nd Alpine Challenge and 8th London-Paris event, some as a competitor and the last 5 years as a Ride Captain.

His enthusiasm for cycling and enjoyment have never diminished over 30+ years riding and competing. However the greatest satisfaction is now assisting other riders to achieve their goals of completing the ride.

Just as happy riding a road or mountain bike, David is the old man of the Ride Captain squad, but can still keep up with the young bucks when required. He enjoys the long events and has some experience about epic days in the saddle so please ask for his advice if you're new to long rides.

Australian by nationality and now settled in Surrey.  His eldest son Jack (Junior Ride Captain in training) will be riding the London-Paris this year which will be fantastic.

David also started a charity cycling event in Australia called Tour de Kids which has now been running for over 13 years.


Daniel Lawrence

Daniel Lawrence

I was fortunate enough to combine my love of sport with my work as a Sports Physiotherapist in Australia. When an overseas tour was cancelled in 1999 I decided to travel without the team and I am still "planning" my trip home. Once in the UK I found myself riding a bike again. Something I had left on the self-made tracks and roads of my BMX childhood and the torturous exercise bikes from the Rugby gym. I was soon clocking up the miles on my mountain bike and enjoying the challenges of the South Downs Way, 24 hour mountain bike races, and playing on the trails of the Surrey Hills, the French Alps, Peak District and Wales.

My first proper road bike was purchased after a friend suggested doing the Raid Pyrenean and 6 weeks later I was cycling iconic climbs such as Col de Tourmalet and Col D'Aubisque. Since then I have participated in a number of cyclosportives and ridden in the beautiful and imposing surrounds of the French and Italian Alps. I love climbing mountains although my frame is better suited to fast descents!

Now my riding is scheduled around time with my wife, a gorgeous 18 month old daughter and my work as a Clinician and Manager of a busy Physiotherapy Service in London.

This will be my 4th London-Paris and the 2nd as a Ride Captain. In my previous sporting incarnation as a rugby player I could not have imagined the camaraderie amongst cyclists, the friendships made through riding and the generosity of my much more experienced riding buddies.  The London-Paris epitomises all of these things and draws together a diverse group of people working towards an individual goal whilst supporting, encouraging, and challenging each other with the shared purpose of completing this great event. Needless to say, the satisfaction of riding down the Champs Elysees with a fantastic group of people who have tested their limits is very humbling.

I am delighted to be part of the 2013 HotChillee team and look forward to be catching up with old friends and welcoming new faces as we work together to get to Paris.


James Lees

Regular customers at Sigma Sport in Surrey will probably know me better as the small ginger chap. I started working for Sigma in 2001 part time whilst I was at university. I continued to work for Sigma Sport in shop sales and eventually became full time.  I'm now focused on running the web sales department based at the warehouse. I can still be found in the shop from time to time or when the boss lets me out.

I've been a ride captain for 5 years now and loved every minute. I've also dabbled in triathlon and eventually qualified for the world age group world champs in Hawaii in 2005.

In my spare time I spend a lot of time teaching spinning classes most mornings and evenings with classes up to 2 hours none stop. I love going to the cinema, X-BOX and my current restoration project of a BMW E30 convertible, which is my wife's pride and joy especially in the summer.

If you need any help or advice please don't hesitate to ask me.

Happy miles everyone.


Ian Lobley

(aka 'Goose')

Ian Lobley

Ian's cycling life began in the 1970's as a Saturday shop boy alongside Alpine Challenge Chief Mechanic Nigel Hill. Narrowly beating Nigel in a sprint up Eltham High Street led to many years of club riding in Kent and London and some success in 10 mile TT and cyclocross. A family (including 2 girls now aged 21 and 19) and a career in Private Equity ensured bike riding was sporadic and weight gain more reliable!

After getting fit to ride some of the famous Tour France Alpine climbs (including Alpe D'Huez), HotChillee events have been the cornerstone of Ian's cycling renaissance, both The Alpine Challenge, where he is one of a privileged handful of people who have ridden each year since in the inaugural event, as well as The London-Paris where 2013 will be his 4th.

As well as HotChillee events, Ian has ridden the 300km Vatternrundan in Sweden and the bike leg of the Henley Ironman. Always looking for an excuse to get dirty, Ian has returned to cyclocross racing after a layoff of 27 years where he competes in various regional league events and is looking forward to his first 50+ veteran race next winter or some new lungs!

At The Alpine Challenge 2013, Ian will be providing special encouragement to other riders who remember the 1960s and/or weigh a bit more than the mountain goats who are likely to be first to the top of the mountains.


Jay McStay

(aka 'Jedi')

Jay McStay

This will be my 2nd year as a Ride Captain for HotChillee. I feel privileged to be a part of this ever growing family and to ride alongside everyone involved in the events.

Known as Jedi Jay, due to my love for data and performance coaching, I am motivated by helping cyclists achieve their goals and dreams.  Driven by my background in Sport Science and as owner and founder of M1 Performance Coaching I have helped many London-Paris and Alpine Challenge riders improve and hit their goals or simply to finish with enough energy to celebrate!

Road Racing, MTB, Ironman, Duathlon, top 10's in 12/24hr MTB races I've found my calling where my lungs and legs are happiest.  My dream?... to one day complete the Tour Divide from Canada to Mexico.  Part of the first HotChillee crew to tackle the Cape Epic in 2012, the hardest to date, and in 2013 a big goal is tackling the Andalusian 6 day MTB race with my friend, fellow Ride Captain and race partner aka "Captain".

Married to an ever loving and supportive wife with two kids under 4 years old, I'm well aware of how time crunched it can be getting the hours in, with an average of only 7 hours per week it is possible!  No junk miles and making all your training count.

See you at the training rides, come and say hello!


David Sidgwick

(aka 'Whisk')

David Sidgwick

This is my 2nd season on the HotChillee ride captain team and after four London-Paris, this will be my first experience of the Alpine Challenge. It's a pleasure to be a member of the HotChillee family and it's always good to see familiar faces at the regular training rides and watch their riding develop through the season and over the years so that they can progress through the groups.

I arrived in cycling from rowing via triathlon. After completing 7 Ironman races, including 3 times at Ironman Lanzarote, I've hung up my wetsuit and running shoes and I'm concentrating on cycling for this year. The years of rowing training mean that I'm a big unit and definitely a "rouleur" rather than a climber - I'm told I'm a good wheel to sit behind into a headwind! Hopefully my big diesel engine will be just as useful for the long Alpine climbs…

In case you were wondering, the nickname "Whisk" dates back to my rowing days, but anyone who's seen me riding my fixed wheel commuter would probably tell you it applies to my cycling too!

Alpine Challenge 2013 promises to be an awesome experience. See you all in Annecy!


David Thomas

David Thomas

I am delighted to be back as a Ride Captain for HotChillee for another season.  Over the last few years HotChillee events have made many vivid contributions to my cycling memories; desperately clinging on to the bunch in the race sections with Group 1, enjoying breath taking views across alpine valleys filled with cloud, being blown all over the road and lashed by the rain in northern France, the emotional arrival over the cobble stones in Paris.  The thing that really makes all of these memories special are the people that they were shared with and last year I had the enormous honour and pleasure of sharing my experiences with the Stoke Mandeville team including three extraordinary hand cyclists.

Ride Captains fulfil many roles and you will see from all the write-ups here, a huge wealth of cycling knowledge, combined with decades of competition experience within the ranks of the Ride Captains.  My cycling CV is somewhat shorter having found the sport later in life than many here.  My sporting youth was spent in various aquatic pursuits, mostly slalom canoeing and rowing.  This does mean that I'm well placed to provide help and encouragement to any of you who are, like me, older and larger than what would be considered ideal for a cyclist!

Away from the bike, I'm a full-time parent, looking after my two daughters while my very tolerant wife goes out to work.

I look forward to meeting you all on the road soon.


Will Watt

Will Watt

I have been part of the HotChillee family for 5 years as a Ride Captain on The London-Paris.

2013 will see my second outing as a Ride Captain on The Alpine Challenge, and it will be a great pleasure to work with the team again.

My day job is for Specialized, working on the design and role out of the bike brand's Concept Stores in this market.

I came to the company through XC mountain bike racing and have since broadened my church to the road as the body has got older and time more precious!

At a modest 64kg, climbing has long been my love; where better to share the pleasure than in the idyllic Alpine surroundings around Annecy as part of The Alpine Challenge.

With a great focus on organised training rides in 2013, I look forward to welcoming both newcomers and challenge veterans during their preparation.

The Ride Captains for 2013 have a broad base of experience, and will aim to help those entering this year's events at every standard to have a great riding experience and achieve their goals.


Gareth Wilson

Michael Blann

After riding London-Paris as part of the UK Youth Team in 2011, I was invited to join the Ride Captain Development Squad for the HotChillee calendar of events in 2012.  I was a Ride Captain in Group 5 for The London-Paris 2012, and thrilled to have been invited to join the HotChillee Ride Captain team again in 2013.

I grew up in Northern Ireland, studied in Birmingham and have lived and worked in London for the last 20 years.  I am a Managing Director, in Accenture's Financial Services practice.

After playing rugby and hockey at school and university, I came to cycling relatively late, and about 10 years ago started commuting from my home in Kew, South West London into the City, where I work.  I was hooked!

I have since graduated from commuting to cyclosportives, and onto multi-stage endurance road events, like The London-Paris and the Alpine Challenge.

In 2013, I plan to ride the Gran Fondo de Stelvio with 4 of my London-Paris buddies, primarily as preparation for The London-Paris 2013.  I also enjoy running in Richmond Park, and along the Thames, and try to combine my two passions, by racing Duathlons during the Summer months.

I am married, with 2 teenage daughters, who are now increasingly doing their 'own thing' … giving me more time to get out on my bike at the weekends.

It is a privilege and an honour to be a HotChillee Ride Captain.  I love the camaraderie that we build up as a group of riders throughout the year, from the first training ride in January, to the end of season ride in November, with the actual events obviously being a key highlight.

I look forward to seeing you all on the road.



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