TransWales team competition: Entry 3 - Bike Magic

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TransWales team competition: Entry 3

Regular readers will know that we’re giving away a mixed team place to this year’s pioneering TransWales stage race (12-20 August, most of Wales). The entries are now in, and we’ll be bringing you the details of one of the shortlisted entries each day this week before throwing open the voting on Friday.

Our third candidates for the big TransWales prize are French-dwelling ex-pats John Underwood and Barbara Conrad-Underwood…

In their own words

I did my first time trial on a touring bike in 1974 and haven’t got the competive bug out of my system since. However, ideas of being a roadie ended when I was told that I wouldn’t win without dope. I roughstuff toured before MTBs and had taken a bike up the Ben and Snowdon before I left school. Barbara meanwhile was building up her thighs riding horses. My motor sporting passion was burnt out by the time we met so we took up rock climbing and bought a couple of bikes. After a tour of France to find a home Barbara was quite fit and entered a “promo” triathlon. She won the second one she entered, got a licence and has found that she skis well enough to excell in winter triathlons.

I looked at MTBs suspiciously at first ,what with them having flat bars and no mudguards, but bought a 1992 Giant carbon and we took up adventure racing. A tandem MTB was purchased in 1997 and we’ve competed on it or as a mixed team on a couple of events a year since.

So why us? Jack and Jill of all sports but masters of none. After all, nobody “deserves” to ride an MTB through muddy, rainy Wales for a week. We’d love to though.

John and Barbara’s race CV

Barbara Conrad-Underwood

  • 2006 French winter triathlon champion; 6th Spanish winter triathlon championship (but on a French licence so not counted)
  • 2005 Two winter triathlon wins and an XC ski race win.
  • 2000 15/26 Winter Triathlon World Championships.
  • 3 top ten finishes at Embrunman triathlon (3.8/185/42) and a 2nd at Embrunaise (2.5/120/30). Leader of the only female team to finish the now defunct “Raid Pyrénées Gascogne” (mountain run/mtb/canoe/canyon). Pyrenean cross-Country ski champion (classic technique).

John Underwood

  • 2006 French winter triathlon vice-champion veteran.
  • 2000 40/200 Winter Triathlon World Championship.
  • 1986 1st 1300cc on the Welsh Rally.
  • 1984 RAC and BTRDA British autotest champion.
  • An also-ran triathlete who has finished Embrunman triathlon (3.8/185/42) four times with a best result of 59/600. I do “cyclosporitves” and finished the 1997 “Etape du Tour” 102/6500. Races on the MTB are rarer but I always finish local events in the top 15.


John and Barbara are the third candidates for the big prize of a free mixed team entry to the 2006 TransWales. We’ll be bringing you the details of the others each day this week, then you get to vote for the winner – voting commences on Friday…


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