Clash Racing is an alternative cycling team founded in Bristol, UK. They premise themselves on authenticity and they’re always exploring the boundaries of this beautiful sport we call cycling. We took a moment to chat with Clash’s frontman Sam William Andrews about beers, cycling and no racing.
PARIA - We've been working with you guys for quite a few years now, so do you want to give us the official back story and how it all began for Clash?
Sam – Sure, so basically I started getting really into cyclocross racing in 2016 and I found myself enjoying it and actually being a little bit good at it!. I wanted to take it a bit more seriously and see where I could take things. I spoke to a few teams but to be honest I didn’t feel very welcome. Coming from a skateboarding background this just seemed really strange to me and I couldn’t wrap my head around the weird ego barrier with most of the racers. It was after a pretty decent year in 2017 I decided to start my own team and do things with a twist starting Clash
PARIA - What was the attraction to work with the PARIA team?
Sam - We approached Paria for our first kit, and the emphasis really was with collaboration. Sam (the owner) even bought one of the kits for his own use, and that kind of cemented the relationship. We have really tried to support designers, artists and businesses with shared values/outlooks on not only cycling, but life! This fits with exactly how Paria operate. no elitism, no cronyism just getting on and doing good things.
PARIA – Let’s talk racing… or lack of it.Throwing back to 2020, how did your “race season” pan out despite the Pandemic?
SAM – I seriously thought at the start of the very first lockdown it would all clear up fairly quickly and racing would resume with some normality come summertime. Boy was I wrong, haha. We were really lucky to have a few gaps in-between lockdowns. I managed to squeeze in some short local road racing, a gravel event, and some mega rides too but I've been like everyone else either smashing the turbo or just getting in the miles on the road
PARIA – Talking about mega rides, can you tell us a little bit about your gravel ride from Land’s End.
SAM – That ride was so refreshing, and it really helped me reset myself. The idea was to set off from Land’s End to the Paria HQ in Leeds, all off road, and fully self-supported. I planned to arrive within 3 days covering a whopping distance on some gnarly tracks and it would take a big detour through Wales in search of the best gravel trails. This was a completely spontaneous idea 2 weeks before, and I knew I was going to hit rock bottom somewhere along the way, but weirdly, that’s what excited me. The first day went well and my total time in the saddle was around 18 hours. The second day hit differently, I’m not really tuned for long days in the saddle, so it was a struggle. The terrain was brutal and really started to take a toll on my upper body. Approaching my hometown in Bristol, absolutely battered and fed up, I decided to give in and call the trip off. It was such a weird experience going from 0 to 100 then back down to 0 in a matter of moments. I remember stopping at this gas station and drinking like 3 Lucozade’s haha.
PARIA – Is riding solo something you prefer then, or do you like the collective vibe of groups?
SAM – Almost always alone to be honest.
PARIA – Thoughts on the future of gravel events?
SAM – From the laidback vibe to the supportive atmosphere of eager participants, the gravel community has managed to carve out something pretty awesome and I think it’s got a really positive future. It allows teams like us to rock up and really test our guns against some of the best riders at the front of the race. Whereas with a traditional road racing calendar you’re categorised and basically have to move up the categories in order to race at a competitive level.
PARIA – So what are you and the team up to now? Any plans for 2021?
SAM – To be honest I think everyone has enjoyed a bit of downtime. I’ve spent a lot of time working on my training, mostly indoors! When I’m not riding, I’m operating my own creative agency, it’s been great getting out and photographing various different projects. Photography is like my second bike, I get just as much of a kick out of it as I do when I’m racing. It’s always important to have balance with whatever you do. The team have been working very hard though, Jason from PDQ Cycle Coaching has done a fantastic job helping us prepare for the future.
As far as events go, we’re kind of playing it by ear at the moment. We’ve got some confirmed fixed-gear events lined up, gravel events, and hopefully a full season of cyclocross coming into the winter. Nothing is 100% yet, but we’re still training hard and staying hopeful.
PARIA – What camera do you shoot with and what’s your favourite style of photography?
SAM - I’ve always used Sony. I primarily shoot on the Sony A7iii and I’ve also got the fantastic little A6000 in my bag almost everywhere I go. Pretty much everything I’ve learnt about photography has been off the back of skating or cycling, so I really enjoy shooting sport the most.
PARIA – Outside of cycling, what gets you stoked?
SAM - Right now, just being outside and enjoying the countryside. Breaking up the monotony of life sat at desk! Can't imagine I am much different to most of the country here
PARIA – And, finally, hands up, we've all been having a few brews on a school night whilst every pub in the land has had it's doors closed. What’s been your favourite go-to lockdown beer?
Sam – I’m a bit of a craft beer w*nker to be fair mate. I’ve been smashing back all sorts of craft beers, but my absolute go-to is the Faith from Northern Monk. it's all about credit debit out there.... Our latest kit will be with a brewery sponsor, so watch out for some banging design, and maybe a colab kit collection