Phil Houlton

Masters World, European and British Sprint Champion

I have been cycling for as long as I can remember, in the early days it was just for fun with all the other kids round the streets then, when I was 14, my brother started racing and he introduced me to club runs, TTs, road races and track racing.  I stuck with it but without any noticeable performances until I was 20 and then, as happens to so many of us, family and work took over.

Over the next few years (19 years to be exact) I drifted in and out of cycling with occasional returns to track racing again with no noticeable performances.

 

In 2005 I made yet another comeback to cycling and rode the Newcastle Track League all year and struggled.  In 2006 I did the same again but at the end of this season I rode the World Masters Track Championships.  I only raced the 750 metres TT achieving a time on 55.7 seconds, a time that I thought I would NEVER better!

Over the next few years I rolled along doing the same think over and over again, except for a crash that dislocated my right elbow and finished a season early for me.

In the 2009 season, whilst at Newcastle, I met Steve Cronshaw and at the end of that season he suggested that I ride the LVRC Track Championships in Newport - when I stopped laughing I came up with as many excuses not to ride as I could; too fat, not fit enough etc and for every excuse I gave, Steve was able to give me a good reason to ride!

So that year I rode the LVRC Track Champ and won gold in the TT and silver in the sprint.

Having been given a taste of what was possible I asked Steve to coach me for 2010 and in 2011 Steve became my strength and conditioning coach as well.

Also in 2011 we set my goals, both long term and short term, this I where my performance really accelerated.  My achievements are as follows:

LVRC TT Champion 2009-2012

LVRC Sprint Champion 2010-2012

National Masters TT Champion 2011-2013, 2015

National Masters Sprint Champion 2012 - 2015

European Masters TT Champion 2013

European Masters Sprint Champion 2013

World Masters Team Sprint champion (139 years combined)  2013

World Masters Sprint Champion 2014

World Masters Team Sprint Champion (45-55) 2014

 

I have only shown gold medals but there have been a large number of silver and bronze medals as well.

In short, Steve was able to take an “average at best” track rider and turn him into a multi national, european and world masters champion!  I can say without fear of contradiction that I could not have done it without him, his expert tuition and coaching has delivered on all levels.

My only regret is that I didn't do this when I was 14.

If I can leave you with one piece of advice, if you want to improve your performance invest in a good coach, not masses of carbon fibre.  Once you have your coach do what HE/SHE tells you, it's as simple as that!

Steve pushing Phil off in Sprint Final
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Phil semi World sprint 2015 against Brian
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