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The most disappointing thing about Jason English's win...

Bikes's picture

By Bikes - Posted on 17 October 2014

The most disappointing thing about Jason English's 5th 24 hour world champs win was reading his post-race writeup. In it he writes that he finished work on the Thursday before the race and arrived at the race site on the Friday at 5pm, without having time to even do a lap of the course. Afterwards, following his win, he could hardly get through the presentation without having to dash to the airport to fly home so that he could get back to work on the following Tuesday.

Can you imagine a 5 times road world champ having to work a full time job on the side and fitting their training in around that?
Not knowing him at all, maybe Jason likes really his work and wants to keep doing it while he ride bikes, but if he had just won five road champs titles, I doubt he'd have to work another day for the rest of his life.

obmal's picture

Not taking away from his win, he's a dead set champion and will be remembered forever as a legend in MTB circles.

But I think that becoming a World Road Champion would be tough if not impossible unless you had 150% devotion to training, no way could you maintain a full time job (unless your job was cycling) and be world champion on the road.

MTB just doesn't draw the money required.

Perhaps if he entered something like a 24hour Red Bull Rampage event....? kaaacchhiinggg$

GAZZA's picture

Jason is a teacher and obviously couldn't take time off that's not in school holidays.
He's difinately doing it for the love of the sport as apart from limited sponsor help and prize money, he won't be making a fortune from being a mountain biker.
Neither do a lot of the roadies either though.
You've got to be pretty high up on a top team to be making good money.
It's a shame really as the pain and hours you have to put in to be a good cyclist really consumes people's lives

Discodan's picture

If you look at his strava profile he's logging 30 hrs a week on the bike, 21 thousand k's this year so putting in the time. It's just that MTB has less profile and $ than road and then 24 solo is then a very specific niche within MTB. It's never going to get the money of pro road.

I'd be really interested to see how he went if he moved to europe or, god forbid, moved to road

Antsonline's picture

Jason a is a great bloke and great competitor, and I have had the pleasure of racing with and against him on many occasions - what he does in 24hr racing is incredible.
BUT....he would be the first to agree that winning World MTB 24hr is nothing, no where, anywhere close, to winning World Road Champs.

He has an engine that is quite incredible, and an attitude that is even more impressive. Never, ever, loses calm - when all around him start flapping, and is polite no matter what...
Typical rider: "would come through a pull a turn for once?"
Jason: "wow, this race would be a lot faster and more fun if you came through and pulled a turn"

My only criticism - his wretched hairy legs. Eye-wink

Rob's picture

The support our riders get is pretty bad, huh? Why not buy him a beer? (and by this I mean paypal him a few bucks or send him some bitcoin via his contact page).

Someone could also start a kickstarter project that people can donate to and you give the cash to JE or and other deserving athletes? I reckon it would be interesting to see if that sort of thing would work.

Brian's picture

It is a shame there is no money in mtb in Australia for the top riders.

xmas's picture

to make some (decent) money this year has gone....

hopefully it will go ahead next year.

Dicko's picture

And from what i hear Jason has ended up with non flexible flights with no race to go to funded from his own kitty.

brakeburner's picture

It's really confusing how this man is not subsidised/sponsored by the Australian governing body, 5 times world champ in any form of cycling is a massive achievement. Does anyone know about the politics around this? Maybe a campaign would be in order to get him officially recognised? It's a shame when you see someone like this receive a bit of a snub, yet as I remember, the other year they had a group of guys that were at a BBQ, realised Australia didn't have a dodgeball team, registered and all got sent out to Las Vegas for the world champs! All paid for.

browny's picture

24 hr races aren't really a recognised format (eg UCI) though are they?

Plus most of the other enduring/marathon events that he does well in also aren't really recognised format (or even if they are, they aren't true xcm for example).

Not trying to play down his achievements at all (I'm a fan) but even though his efforts amaze me, it would seem like a pretty bold move for any of the sporting bodies to provide funding vs say putting money into Dan McConnel who is actually racing in an Olympic format.

Rob's picture

... pffft... soft! Eye-wink

brakeburner's picture

But still, bold? Nah I just don't see it, loads of disciplines of sports have come and gone, bmx for example, four cross? He's five times world champ, the fact they have a world champs that people travel internationally to surely contributes to the validity of that discipline, especially as cycling comes in a lot of styles. I think he definitley needs some sort of official recognition? Even if it was a world champs sponsorship for every time he wanted to enter?

browny's picture

The difference being that all the examples you mention are recognised by the UCI and 24 hr racing is not (not that I know of anyway). Until such time as it is, I can't see any funding regardless of how talented, successful or nice the guy is or how big and exciting the event is.

brakeburner's picture

And I think that's why it's bit of unfortunate for him.

ps's picture

I think if you check Jason does get a free airfare to the 24hr worlds for winning the Australian 24hr championships. At least that was the deal for winning a few years ago.

Ant Shippard can explain more but the main people at CORC have run the 24hr Championships and founded Wembo to keep the Solo 24hr scene alive so its not exactly thriving without a lot of volunteer support from the good people at CORC.

Jason did the XCM worlds a year or so ago when he was Australian XCM champion and was aiming for a top 20 result, I think he came 37th so didn't have a great day. So he can win the local XCM title every year or two but that is probably not good enough to get him a top 10 result at the XCM worlds.

He is a champion bloke though and one of the best local amateurs at any distance he races.

hawkeye's picture

... could be a mixed blessing. With the extra attention and money will come a much stronger temptation for many to become intimate friends with Edgar Allan Poe.

Not saying it doesn't happen now, just that it is likely to go up a few gears.

Be careful what you wish for.

ps's picture

UCI involvement wouldn't change much, it doesn't seem to have changed the crocodile trophy this year.

In the local races it mainly increases the cost as they have to pay money to the first few finishers. There are a few rule changes and the start process changes from self seeding to a more structured system with waves for each class. Personally it makes it worse for us old slow people as the first lap has lots of mobile chicanes.

There was a recent anonomous survey at one of the major european pro-am triathlons and there were a surprising number of amateur age group racers admitting to taking illegal PED's. They weren't racing for money, just bragging rights so its wrong to assume the only problems are with the elite racers. Having said that I don't think there are any people cheating in the local scene.

hawkeye's picture

but given there's zero testing I think a clean amateur mtb racing scene is pretty unlikely and statements like "I don't think anybody is" seems more like a statement of hope than anything based on evidence. But then I don't have evidence either, just an assumption that whst goes on in road cycling is probably happening in MTB.

Maybe not Edgar due to supply difficulties but things like pseudoephedrine and other over the counter stimulants on the banned list would probably be found in quite a few random tests.

With the advent of a decent prize purse and the expense involved in testing being a limiter I think the temptation to play the odds could be stronger.

That's a consequence of more money on the table, not directly because of UCI involvement.

Antsonline's picture

I cant ignore this any longer.
Armchair speculation as to what does and doesnt drive people to look for advantages in their racing that may or may not be currently 'legal' does nothing other than show a lack of understanding of the reasons people race their bikes, have taken enhancing substances in the past, and might take them into the future.
A little knowledge can be worse than none at all sometimes.

Lets just stop speculating with crap like 'money might make people take drugs' or euphemisms for EPO or claims about how easy it might or might not be to get hold of.
Have you ever tried? Do you know people that have tried and failed? Or, do you know people that have successfully tried in taking over the counter 'enhancers' like pseudoephedrine - meaning that its possible?
How about caffeine? Or Asthma medication? Salbutamol?

Back to the main topic - I wont comment on Jason, or his specifics, as its not my place to. He is a great athlete.
However, I think the people that expect the National Federation to support Jason in a non-Olympic sport would be well interested to know that even at the XCO (Olympic) level, even the Juniors who are 'selected' have to fund their own trip.
At the CX worlds - the Elite and Jnr riders would also be expected not only to fund their own trip, but also pay for the supply of an official from Australia to travel and look after them.

Imagine that on the road? Or the track? Thats why riders leave MTB for the other disciplines. Its not that they might 'make' money. Its actually that they wont have spend their own money to represent their country in an Olympic sport.....

hawkeye's picture

I've seen competitors pop No Doz tablets at events, which I thought at the time was pushing boundaries a bit (although caffeine is no longer on the banned list). And yes I have seen a female solo competitor use cold tablets at an 8hr.

That was at my first MTB race at Ourimbah in 2007 or 8. She had her table set up next to our tent. She podiumed if I remember correctly.

Not a code violation as it wasn't a sanctioned event and there was no mention against PED use in the promoter's entry conditions.

Would she have done as well without? No idea. I do remember from the couple of times awhile back when I've ridden to work coming off a cold and "soldiering on with Codral" that I've well and truly flown when I should have been suffering like a dog.

Having participated at an "elite" level in another competitive activity previously (hesitate to call it a sport), the level of ruthlessness and boundary pushing definitely went up a notch or two and sportsmanship went down in equal measure whenever significant money or prizes were up for grabs. That sucked a lot of the fun out of it for me.

Pete B's picture

Can't imagine the pot was big enough to cause much ruthlessness in the local tiddlewinks comp, John. ☺

hawkeye's picture

Yep, that's what made it so depressing, the way people's behavior changed for such stupidly trivial amounts of schwag.

Maybe my views are unnecessarily colored by the experience.

One of the things I value highly in our sport is the friendly and encouraging atmosphere and the strong sense of fair play at every event I've been to, and the lack of prima donnas who put other people down.

Its a rare and fragile thing to find and something that should be protected.

obmal's picture

codral will help me win?

mmm interesting.. I actually have the beginnings of a man flu and I'm heading down to the Mont tomorrow.. and I'd really like to beat all them other hubbards?

But I only have that codral day and night stuff.. Does anyone know if I should take the night time ones for the night laps or does it work better if I do something crazy like take the night time tablets from the day laps and the daytime tablets for the night laps?

fwoark's picture

Day at night, night at day. Just remember, they are much more effective as a suppository.

Trust me, I have a beard.

ps's picture


Neither caffeine or pseudoephedrine (< 150 micrograms per milliliter) are banned. I think its insulting to the riders getting the results to imply that they must be taking drugs if they are competing and going well. Did Dicko cheat to win a title, did Minter cheat to win a few races? I don't think so.

I think if you check there is drug testing at some UCI level events in Australia. Also anyone with a world ranking will be on the list for out of competition testing. I know when my wife got a grant for a non olympic sport due to her world ranking she had to pee in the bottle when they came knocking on the door.

Its more likely that people will take short cuts in races. It happens pretty often in Canberra and I will admit to riding over the tape while taking a shortcut up stromlo (I followed a group of 4 and I suspect that almost everyone in the race rode over the tape as well).

Evidence, when I do the training I can ride with the guys winning my age group and I am on bread and water (plus caffeine and the occasional salt tablet).

hawkeye's picture

Not implying that the guys at the front are using PEDs, at all. You're reading more into my words than is there. Sad

Barnsy's picture

Sometimes the written word doesn't come across with your intended meaning and I took your earlier statements as drugs are rife in mtb.
As for pseudoeff, salbutamol, even THC turning up in random tests of Joe Average doesn't indicate deliberate cheating. Most competitors have to live a normal life with colds and flu, aches and pains, and still go to work. They're doing what they have too to earn a living and still have fun on the weekend.
Just my two bobs worth.

hawkeye's picture

I don't think it's rife at all, but I do think any statement that amateur cycling and mtb is completely clean is optimistic.

I just have a concern that an increase in "professionalism" is going to bring an increase in other pressures and the UCI has questions still to answer about its willingness to tackle PED use in the peloton.

obmal's picture

absolutely.. I bet half the guys at the Mont this weekend would probably fail a basic sobriety test. "I didn't know that there was alcohol in that beer" ignorance is not a defence..

hawkeye's picture

I wonder if the NSW police bicycle unit is fielding a team Eye-wink

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