I have counted 26 quality bikes that I have owned in my life. Despite only being looked after by Giant this year, I have owned 21 Giants since I began racing. This is a brand I obviously have a great attachment to, so you can imagine my excitment when they were keen to look after me following my cross results. Their bikes absolutely rock, and the people who work at Giant are superb to deal with, both from a sponsored riders perspective, and a bike shop employee's perspective. I am riding the TCX 1 that I had already purchased, as well as the amazing TCX Advanced SL 1 which was built up specifically for me. The TCX 1 is the workhorse, with Shimano Ultegra drivetrain (my personal preference), whilst the Advanced is my all out race rig, I've never ridden anything like it. Decked out with a mix of Dura Ace, Ultegra and CX-70 parts, this thing weighs ~7.2kgs and goes like a rocket. My bikes run shimano components throughout, not only on my cross bikes, but also my roadie and MTB, I also use Shimano shoes, of course!
|Rocking an XTC back in '04|
Similarly to Giant, I have been riding Schwalbe rubber for quite some time prior to being looked after by them, and love their Racing Ralph on my MTB. They have a great range of CX tyres and have recently released the Ralph in a UCI legal 33c clincher and 32c tubular. I run these tyres on both my race bikes, and I also have a pair of CX Pro 30c's for when it gets really filthy. Very good quality, lightweight tyres and tubes.
|Cheers for the pic Ben!|
Rudi from Sports2 has given me a sweet package of nutrition and Qoleum Sportcare goodies. I had already heard of Qoleum, they make ideal chamois cream for when its wet outside (perfect for CX), as well as some of the best embrocation creams out there, again vital for Belgium's notorious winter. I hadn't heard of Sports2, however having tried their drink powders I will be seeing if someone can start distributing them to Australia. Their electrolyte drink has a really subtle flavour, and doesnt get caught in the back of your throat when you're gasping for air, something I've struggled with many other sports drinks, it also has the ever important potassium and magnesium to combat cramps that I often struggle with. Their recovery drink is also tasty, with the right amount of carbs:protein for optimum uptake and utilisation, it mixes easily too, perfect.
Roeland and Rose have been invaluable as both managers and generous hosts. As I've said before, this trip would be impossible and/or impossibly expensive without them. They're impeccable in their help and preperation of my races. I would also like to thank Stevo and Frank, as well as Tom and Joeri for their help in the pits with bike hand ups and cleaning, again this would be near impossible without their help. Mum and Dad have been very supportive since I started racing back when I was 13. Ive had a few oppurtunities to give it a proper crack, and they always have sound advice as to what I should do. Getting a degree down pat before heading overseas to race is a desicion I stand by, and Im thankful for their words of wisdom. And last but certainly not least, thanks to my girlfriend for allowing me to scoot out of the country for the summer!
Coach Jono has been invaluable in getting me back to (and quite possibly beyond) the form I had before my crash. Super nice guy, and incredibly intelligent, if anyone is looking for some coaching (of any cycling discipline), then look no further. My result at the tour of bright is a full credit to his work. 16th in A grade up Hotham after just 5 weeks back on the bike shocked me, and has left me wondering what possibilities I may have on the road down the track. Getting a coach was one of the best things I've done for my cycling, my only regret is not getting onto him sooner. So a massive thanks has to go to both him and his mentor Cam for their help over the past few months.
Ben from VeloLab did a superb job gluing both sets of tyres to my tubular wheels before I left. This is actually the first time Ive used tubs, being terrified of them rolling off, but there is no chance of that happening with these. Ben specialises in high end repairs and servicing, as well has Cannondale Headshock/Lefty servicing.
My employer St Kilda Cycles has also been extremely helpful this year, providing me with a workplace in which I could start late, maximising my training times during the morning. Vinny the boss has also been generously flexible, enabling me to swap shifts easily when I'm racing. D-man got me up 4 mornings a week nice and early during winter to go riding, no matter the weather, which contributed greatly to my form over our CX season. To all the guys at SKC, thank you for being understanding of me pulling out of work for the busy summer months, and thank you for helping hook me up with Giant Bicycles and Schwalbe.
The Dirty Deeds crew, together with Brunswick Cycling Club have provided me with an exceptional avenue of exposure and reignited my desire to reach a higher level in cycling when they started Melbourne's first official Cyclocross series in 2010. The races are awesome fun, the atmosphere is great, and it was even published on cyclingnews this year, gaining me plenty of attention as a worthy competitor in CX (locally anyway ;-)). I have now joined Brunswick as a member, and will hopefully compete in a few of their races over winter.
Gary from Riviera Cycles messaged me out of the blue asking for my address, and sent me a Belgian Care Package of a winter cap, booties and gloves. I'm very grateful of these now that its hovering around freezing. Cheers Gary!
|Note the cap and gloves!|