I first heard about the World Press Cycling Championships (WPCC) two years ago, and I found the concept mildly amusing then. I pictured a bunch of slightly rotund journos puffing their way through a criterium-style race, with a secondary classement for who can put away the most complimentary beers the night after the race. When I told a colleague who works in PR about the WPCC, he suggested there should also be a World Championships for his profession, with the PR field setting off slightly behind and having to chase the journo peloton, but on more expensive bikes.
I wasn’t thinking of it as a race I might actually participate in. But then I started writing this monthly column back in January, recounting my experiences of a first season racing road bikes.
You’re supposed to have goals in cycling. Goal-setting is essential for success, say gold medal-winning athletes and performance coaches. And so, reluctantly, I decided to set a goal – something to ‘give shape’ to my season and provide a reason to train throughout the year (rather than losing interest halfway through the year and replacing gruelling training rides with dawdling glorified cake-trips around country lanes, my usual mid-season modus operandi).
The WPCC falls in October, the week after the actual worlds, so couldn’t be better placed as a season-closer. I decided to enter and see if I could become the world’s fastest journalist.
The 2017 edition of the WPCC took place in Bad Durrheim, a small town in the Black Forest area of Germany, and was attached to a much larger amateur race called the Riderman. The Riderman is an annual affair, sort of like a three-day gran fondo, with some of the best amateur racers in Europe competing for individual stages as well as the overall GC.