Harry Tanfield (known as The Wizard by team-mates) is one of many prodigious young talents rising to the top of domestic pro cycling within the ranks of the BIKE Channel Canyon team. As a rider he's had a tremendous season for the newly-formed team, and is on most cycling fans' radars as 'one to watch' for the future. Particularly talented at time trials (finishing 5th at the National Championships earlier this year on the Isle of Man) and all things proper aero, we caught up with Harry whilst flying back from his last event of the season, to look back across the 2018 season and chat the breeze!
Name: Harry Tanfield
Age: 22, 23 in November!! (Goes way too fast)
Born and Bred: Great Ayton, N. Yorkshire. (or Middlesbrough if easier 😂).
Ice breaker – describe yourself in three words.
BCC Chief Tester 😂
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. We understand you’ve pretty much wrapped up your road season now – how has the year been for you? Are you happy with your results/progress?
Yeah, I'm writing this now just on the plane back to the UK after the Chrono yesterday in France. The last month has just flown by. I am pleased with how everything has panned out this year. The program we have had provided by the team I would argue has been the best of any British team and I have Tim, Si, Nic, & Rob to thank for all that. Personally, I have just done sooo many races, bagged loads of UCI points & BC points along the way, (not that the latter matter 😂). Think I have done over 6k KM's of UCI racing this year, that's not including pro kermesses! Pretty much unheard of in the UK!
It's hard to pick out specific races, literally too many to go over.. Only thing I haven't done is win much, doesn't matter the level, Nat A, .2, .1 or HC I can podium.. top 10.. but wins have been scarce! Obviously something I need to address for next year 😂
Tell us more about what kickstarted the love for cycling? When did you start and why?
I guess it was just messing about on mountain bikes, I have always ridden... I started down at my local youth league, aged about 11. That soon progressed to getting a road bike and racing guys older than me etc at the time.
First bike you owned?
Probably have an actual photo, like printed, not digital at home. Some old white Raleigh, with 6-speed downtube shifters. I won the U12 North East crit champs on it though so couldn't have been that bad 😂
Favourite bike you owned?
Easy, my 2x Canyons I have now 👌
If you wasn’t a pro racer, what would you be?
(We had to delete Harry's first answer!)
I don't know... have just finished my Civils degree, that seems rather tedious though compared to bike riding. Travelling the world, its mega. Plenty of time later to go do a 9-5 desk job.
What was your biggest cycling accident/crash, and how much stuff did you break?
Errr to be honest, this season has been really good. I've had the odd bump or scary moment, but like the last 3 years I wouldn't say I've had more than a scratch 😂 Road rash isn't fun.. hence I try to avoid.
When I was 14 I did my collarbone at Scunthorpe track league. Probs about as bad as it gets. I guess there were way more crashes in youth than seniors (or that I am involved with 😂).
Oh, actually. In Denia last December, Alex Richardson convinced me to join him in his Core session. Including a box jump, onto a concrete wall. Yeah, I wasn't as explosive as I thought. Got nowhere near landing on the top of it and just landed clean on my shin. BIG gash, about 2" long, down the bone. 2hrs getting stitched up, Mint... Scar for life 👌
We know you’re a bit of an aerodynamics whizz from time spent with you on the road. When did the obsession start, and where did it come from?
Haha, I defiantly wouldn't say I am a "whizz" with it 😂. But ok, I know and have a little better understanding that the other guys on the team I suppose.. I think it's just more of an "awareness" kind of thing over the last few years, not racing in shorts / jersey any more I guess where it started in about 2014.
Without being able to test/run CFD on everything, generally what do you look for in wheels to ascertain their aerodynamic properties?
Again, not going into it technically. Real world testing is what I have found to be very interesting. Obviously not all wheels perform the same across different frames / forks etc so the best way to establish this is with some actual real riding in controlled conditions.
We see a lot of mixed depth wheels on pro racers’ bikes, could you explain why this is? What are the benefits involved?
Yes, people have been doing it for years. Typical shallow in the front, deep in the back. It is sometimes beneficial to go slightly shallower on the front if it is windy, as this will make the bike less twitchy in any crosswinds. It really improves the bikes agility, particularly when windy as I mentioned, and obviously the reduction in the weight is always a positive when climbing or wanting to accelerate hard!
Do tyres have in impact on aerodynamic properties? If so, can you tell us about them?
Yes, the correct size tyre should be matched with a corresponding rim width. With rims getting wider these days it's important to use the correct size tyre! Something we have done this year with our Hunt 50 Carbon Wide Aero / Maxxis Padrone tubeless tyres, dreamy combo.
Beyond wheel/tyre setup, what would you consider to be the most important factor when considering how to get “proper aero”?
Hahah, probably take a look at your position first before splashing a load of cash on new equipment which might save a watt or two. The bike only makes up 20-30% of the total drag so I would say look at yourself before the bike 😂. The the faster you're going, the more important it is..
Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us Harry, congratulations on an epic 2018 season and we'll no doubt be seeing you at some of the early season races next year!