December 7, 2011

Missing Teeth? Junior World Champion Georgia Baker Explains!

I'm in awe of 17-year-old Georgia Baker. Not because she's one of the few 2011 Junior World Champions on the track but because she went down in a criterium and knocked out five teeth. All this about six weeks before the World Championships. She then made it to the World Championships to win the Teams Pursuit and Silver in the Scratch.
Georgia's got strength and character that you don't see in many women let alone 17-year-old girls!

Georgia Baker bringing back the break!
Most of the 17-year-old girls that I know would have been horrified at the thought, I myself considered the prospect of that happening to me and took up training for triathlon almost immediately; Georgia Baker is the completed opposite. When asked about loosing her teeth, her answer showed the commitment of a true athlete, she was more concerned with the time at the dentist eating into her training schedule. Georgia was able to keep two of those teeth that were knocked out and now has a plate for the other three, she doesn't seem to consider it any great loss.

Tasmania is where Georgia comes from, she rides for Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling and if you haven't been then you really should, it's a small place with many good people and there seems to be something in the air that requires Tasmanian's to 'make-it'. They all have this need to prove that they can do it on a bigger stage than anyone ever imagines, Georgia is clear that she is following in Amy Cure's footsteps and that Amy is a strong and positive role model for her to look up to.

When it comes to balancing school, training and friends its important to have a good support network, Georgia attends a local college that is supportive and works with her to achieve what she needs to achieve  to get through the school year, especially when it means making up a month of missed classes. Training well and racing well are priorities, but so is her education and this young women is very aware of her future.

I wanted to know where Georgia stood on women's grades in Tasmania, there are currently none and she'd welcome it if there where enough to make a good race of it. Georgia is also very aware that the training and racing with the boys is a big part of the reason on why she's stronger and doing so well.

Georgia was a vital player and team-mate in Belinda Goss's first place at the Launceston Criterium on Saturday 26th November this past weekend, Georgia spent two pain staking laps on the front of the chase group to bring back the break-a-way. The result was an all Tasmanian podium with Belinda Goss taking first and Juniors Lauren Perry and Macey Stewart 2nd and 3rd respectively!

Georgia is heading for a busy season, she will be competing in the 2011 National Omnium Championships in Melbourne this summer, the track National Championships and many carnivals where she is bound to do well.

Picture's from Craig Blowfield

hannmaid by Hannah Cross

I bumped into Hannah Cross at the South Melbourne Market a few weeks ago on an after work adventure with friends Melanie and Emma to score some seriously cool accessories before Christmas. Hannah makes and design beautiful little badges with bicycles on them, not just badges but necklaces* and cufflinks as well.


I immediately asked for an interview, because when you're bike obsessed, you're bike obsessed. You tend to be automatically drawn to things with bikes on them and I thought I'd share Hannah's products with you, its sweet and inexpensive in a time when watching purse strings is important.

Below are the questions that I asked Hannah, I wanted to know where she fitted in, in the bike scene and why she incorporated bikes so heavily into her business.

What can you tell us about yourself?

Since I was young I have enjoyed craft and spending weekends at my Nana’s creating individual textiles, quilts, wall hangers, toys and cushions. I am passionate about all things related to textile design. Growing up in the country,  my siblings and I would often spend our free time entertaining ourselves outdoors amongst the elements. As a little kid, embraced being involved in every sport possible and also creating quirky handmade products with girlfriends at weekends. I'll never forget riding around the town centre with my friends in hot pink fur leg warmers thinking that we were the coolest kids in town.

How did the brand hannmaid come about?



Alongside my studies in Textile Design I wanted to create a unique line of products that reflect my passion and desire to keep handmade skills and products alive in a world that now relies heavily on mass production. My other interests are in travel & the outdoors and a lot of my inspiration comes from what I have experienced whilst traveling Europe, Asia and South America. It is also important to me to combine my passions for colour and textiles with my love of bike riding, camping, the Australian bush and the sporting culture that stands out here in Australia.

What made you decide to incorporate bicycles into the theme?

I’m surrounded by cycling obsessed people who have influenced my love of riding. I wanted to reinvent an existing product and showcase the bicycle influence in my life and textiles as a main centerpiece.

 

What is your favourite product with a bicycle included in the design?

I love writing snail mail and think the Write to Me girls from Melbourne create gorgeous cycling cards that are a perfect addition to a pair of hannmaid bike cufflinks as a pressie for someone close!

Is cycling a part of your life? What sort of cyclist are you?

Since I was young I rode a bike to school, then to work and now to school again (Tafe) so I guess I am a commuter. I also don’t mind a spin on my road bike with friends on a weekend, but I'm definitely a fair weather rider and the less cars the better; I’m a little bit accident prone.



You're involved with a charity called Carpets for Communities, who are they and who do they support?

In a nutshell, it is a 100% volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation that helps break the cycle of poverty in Poipet, Cambodia. This is achieved by training/hiring mothers to hand-hook gorgeous rugs from post-production t-shirt offcuts. This has very successfully been helping them earn an above-average wage-keeping their kids in school and off the streets, where they are prone to trafficking and prostitution.

Why are you supporting them? How can we support them?

When Carpets for Communities approached me last month about sponsorship I thought it was very fitting to be part of their event this month called 'Spinning Dreams in Cambodia'. On the evening of Saturday December 10 from 7 pm  until 10 pm at the Flemington Community Centre they will show an inspiring and moving documentary on the 400km cycling journey that 9 young cyclists undertook across Indo-China to raise awareness for sustainable livelihood's and development. This is a 7-city, international event occurring on the same day around the world, and we are doing the Melbourne portion.

How can we buy your product this Christmas?

hannmaid cycling cufflinks are available for purchase online at www.hannmaid.com in my online shop and selected stockists throughout Australia which are also listed on my website.
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Hannah is currently working on making pendants for the ladies who love bikes but do not wear cufflinks, which will be available in early

You can purchase Hannah's products at www.hannmaid.com and you can also click here to go straight to the stockists page, SheRides Cycling would like to thank Hannah for her time and we wish her the best of luck we look forward to hearing more about any other creations that she comes up with.

National Junior Champion, Lauren Perry, 2nd at Launceston Criterium!

I spoke to Lauren Perry on the Sunday following the Stan Siejka Classic where she had taken 2nd place with a field of elite women which included first place winner Belinda Goss, South Australian Tiffany Cromwell and Melbourne local Bridie O'Donnell.

Junior National Champion Lauren Perry
If you ask Lauren what its like to come 2nd at the Stan Siejka Classic, you'll find that its a lot like coming first!
I caught Lauren in between races at the Launceston Track Carnival, her result in the Stan Siejka Classic was fantastic and she was obviously ecstatic at the placing amongst the elite women and I could still hear the smile in her voice.
Lauren is only 15 years old and when it came around to lining up for the elite women's race in Launceston her goal had been to hold on, she had never expected this result and to be on top with a podium full of Tassie girls is an incredibly proud moment. Lauren is putting the experience of this race down as her current all time favourite, riding with the elite women, women that she's looked up to since she started racing. To be able to stay on Belinda Goss's wheel and as Lauren said,
"coming into the finishing straight I was on Belinda Goss's wheel and because she is so experienced she new how to sprint and sort of made it hard for me. I had to go round through the wind, but the gap just got smaller and smaller and for her to beat me by only half a bike in the end, I was so happy with it."
Lauren has signed on to Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling for 2012 and she's very excited about what her future holds, Lauren is looking forward to Nationals and finishing with a medal or top five in August 2012.
Her parents are vital to her success, her dad's coaching her and her mum is her biggest fan. Her advice to junior athletes is too,
"if they're ever finding it hard or struggling just keep pushing through because their is always light at the end of the tunnel, all the work eventually pays off."
SheRides Cycling looks forward to watching Lauren progress with her new team Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling over the 2012 season and we wish her many safe days on the bike! We'll be keeping up to date with what Lauren is up to throughout the season and watching the women and girls from Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling with interest and anticipation for strong results!
Pictures from Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling

lululemon inspired by elite women

Whilst advertisers and sponsors are still trying to find their place in women’s professional cycling, lululemon athletica have jumped and are willing supporters of the female peloton, specifically the women’s professional cycling Team Specialized lululemon. 

With so many negatives being reported in women’s cycling I really wanted to find out why a company as big as lululemon comes on board to support a women’s cycling team, they have shareholders to answer to and four years ago if you has asked me about women’s cycling I would have said, ‘women’s what?’ The negatives are big issues amongst women all over the world, it's not just sport and it's not just cycling; this isn’t just a cycling problem.

It’s well advertised that women’s sport is under paid and under valued, women primarily get paid very little to race and with no minimum wage it’s difficult to set the standards. It’s a theme that is depicted in industry and services all over the world. Eric Peterson the Director of Brand Innovation in New Markets at lululemon athletica was more than willing to answer my questions about how women’s professional cycling and lululemon athletica belong together as one. 

Initially with my first reading of the replies I had received from Eric I had wanted more, what I hadn’t realise straight up was that he had been upfront in answering my questions from the get go. It took a while for me to realise that he answered all my questions with the vision of the lululemon manifesto at the forefront of his mind. 

Almost every question that I asked had a negative spin on it, my view had been to find out how a company could turn the negatives on women’s cycling around into a positive, lululemon has the foundation and the faith that these elite athletes can make changes to the world.

SheRides: There are a lot of negatives in women's cycling about sponsorship, lululemon athletica is a very positive and upbeat company with a manifesto that is unlike most companies, how do you plan on combating these negatives to turn them into a positive for your company and women's cycling?
EP: We're here to create components to help people live long, healthy and fun lives. By doing this, we hope to elevate women's cycling to greatness.
SheRides: What sort of considerations did lululemon athletica take into account when deciding to come on board as a title sponsor with Specialized?
EP: lululemon has always supported athletes at all levels, including many elite athletes. We choose partners who are the best in the world at what they do, and in this case, the women who comprise Team Specialized lululemon are the best in the world in cycling. Additionally, we love the people at Specialized and appreciate the technical product they make for athletes. lululemon is constantly innovating, and working with the best cyclists in the world will enable us to continue to evolve and elevate our technical product.
SheRides: Are you concerned by the amount of women's professional cycling teams that are lost each year and how does this effect the decisions that you make as a team sponsor?
EP: We believe in the sport of women’s cycling and see this as a great opportunity to help elevate these women and their careers.
SheRides: lululemon athletica states in its manifesto that, “friends are more important than money,” is this an approach that lululemon plans on using in relation to women’s cycling? Can you describe to me what this statement means to your business and the sponsorship of Team Specialized lululemon?
EP: Our manifesto is our "truth check" and lists a series of statements that we believe embody our company's vision, culture and values.  We integrate the manifesto in all aspects of our work.  This is especially apparent with the partnership we have with Specialized and the team.
SheRides: The CEO of lululemon athletica, Christine Day, stated in a press release by Specialized that, “feedback from the athletes is what drives us and these amazing athletes further to enhance our focus on technical product” should we be expecting to see a cycling kit in the future?"
EP: lululemon offers technical apparel for yoga and run, and features special "capsules" from time to time for other athletic pursuits. Throughout 2011, we’ve featured a few different cycling capsules in our stores. Our partnership with Team Specialized lululemon will allow us to continue to explore and innovate in the cycling arena.
SheRides: As a sponsor what is it that you want to see from a team and the other partnerships involved to keep coming back for more?
EP: We want to elevate women's cycling.  Winning, partnering with Specialized and supporting these elite athletes will help us achieve this goal.
SheRides: lululemon athletica is passionate about education through your stores that encourage participation with free classes and running groups are you looking for members of the Team Specialized lululemon to give back in the same way that your company has built its foundation and how will you expect these athletes to give back?
EP: Team Specialized lululemon are elite leaders in the sports and fitness community; they are best in the world at what they do and are members of our lululemon family. Through sharing their vision and goals, and inspiring others around them to achieve their goals and participate in cycling, yoga or any other type of sport or physical activity, they will help to elevate the world to greatness.

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My feeling on lululemon athletica is that they’re a group of really motivated people who are motivated to meet the one goal. I'm inspired by their beliefs and their energy. Their motivation is what women’s cycling needs, it needs that positive energy that lululemon has captured so brilliantly in their manifesto. With many of the elite women from the previous powerhouse of HTC Columbia agreeing to ride for this new partnership, they without a doubt head towards a positive season. Staying on for the season is Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Chloe Hoskins, Charlotte Becker, Evelyn Stevens, Amber Neben, Ellen Van Dijk, Emilia Fahlin, Ally Statcher and Katie Colclough.* 

*I would like to thank Eric Peterson for his comments that clearly reflect lululemon athletica, if you haven't heard of them then browse the website, www.lululemon.com, and if you're not sure about the product I highly suggest the socks that say Run (on the left foot), Fast (on the right foot). They're a company that has blogs, ambassadors, yoga classes, running groups and team members who are highly motivated and happy, it's even worthwhile to go in on your lunch break for the positive energy.

November 15, 2011

Tassie Girls Dominate

Tasmania happens to be one of those places that is just the right size. Tasmanian’s can be found all over the world but it is still a special place to them all.  I happen to be one of them, as is Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling founder Nigel Baker. For those of you who didn’t know, Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling sponsors and supports men, women and juniors on their team.

My conversation with Nigel Baker CEO and Team Manager of Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling started with the same words that every conversation with a Tasmanian starts with, “are you from the north or the south?”

Luckily, both Nigel and I are from the North of Tasmania and got down to business. Women’s cycling, accounting firm Deloitte’s, accommodation group Pure Tasmania, riders Belinda Goss, Grace Sulzberger and Georgia Baker were at the top of my list for discussion.

Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling Team
Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling Team

I had been interested in hearing about how Georgia Baker was doing and where her mind was. Yes, she had won Silver and Gold at the 2011 Junior World Track Championships, but, about 10 weeks out from the World Championships Georgia had crashed in a criterium and knocked five of her teeth out.
Nigel, and all those who surround her and support her thought it would be an end to the World Championships. Georgia was adamant that she was going to the World Championships, which I think is a brave and motivated decision. Nigel told me that Georgia’s character held strong. Georgia was back doing ergo’s three days later, was back on the bike on day four, followed by riding around with no teeth for another five.

Georgia Baker - Junior World Champion (LEFT)
Georgia Baker - Junior World Champion (LEFT)

Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling Team is clearly a development squad, that’s not to say they don’t win, they do and they win well. You only have to look at cyclist Grace Sulzberger to see that they win. The 2011 Women’s National Road Champion is heading to the top and with brothers like Wesley and Bernard Sulzberger, Nigel thinks it’s possible that this Tasmanian could lead a team like GreenEdge. Grace has the mind space to take on the challenge, she was born to race.

Grace was affected by an eating disorder early on in her cycling career and took two years off. Grace has been back on the bike for about twelve months, in that 12 months she has stayed on top and Nigel is confident that she will make the Australian Institute of Sport selection for 2012.

Graze Sulzberger - National Road Champion
Graze Sulzberger - National Road Champion

Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling has modest aims over the next five years. Winning is great and sponsor Pure Tasmania understand the development side of things, they realise that winning takes time and are happy to be a part of the process. Deloitte coming on board is a local story and Christopher Bishop was the encouragement required to put in a proposal to Deloitte’s for sponsorship, they said yes. Nigel is very aware that talent is important but he’s also looking for juniors who have the right mind set to follow through and be able to realise their goals.

Tasmanian cyclist Matt Goss is supporting the foundation that Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling is creating. Matt started when there was no team structure and it was much harder to get support. Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling is hoping to make the process easier, not just financially but with proper support and an professional team structure.

The support for women’s cycling takes two steps forward and three steps back, Nigel is hoping that we can make a change in the way racing is being run in Australia, more communications between organisations and more discussion. To stagger racing over different weekends or weeks, instead of putting the biggest events all on the one weekend; women’s cycling won’t gain anything from our inability to communicate and ask.

Two years ago in Tasmania on a weekend bunch ride, Nigel says he would have seen about five women in bunches, these days he sees a lot more, around fifty. Nigel is in agreement that there are more women riding but they’re not competing; there aren’t enough women at the same standard to have women’s only grades. The only bonus to having no women’s grades in Tasmania is that girls like Grace, Georgia and Amy Cure are racing against the guys, which makes them stronger.

Tasmanian Cyclist Belinda Goss is on her way, she spent some time with the Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling and was based mostly in Europe this year, after a three month stint at the AIS training base. Belinda a former track cyclist and World Champion has signed a pro contract with German Professional UCI team Abus NUTRIXXION for the 2012 season.

It’s clear that women’s cycling is certainly on the up in Tasmania and all over Australia, there is more racing than there was two years ago and there are more women cycling, even I’ve seen the increase in female participation since I started riding three years ago.

It’s clear that there is a place for women’s cycling and there is support, communication between the most vital organisations is what will form the foundation that these women crave so much. We have the riders and Tasmania without doubt has the talent, women’s cycling across Australia is beaming with talent, the lack of clarity amongst organisations is what causes women’s cycling to take two steps forward and three steps back.

Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling is one organisation that is looking forward to the future, it is a unique organisation that has many of the same great characteristics, we wish them the best, from one Tasmanian to another.
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In Launceston this weekend, the Junior National Track Series continues at the Launceston Silverdome, 19th November at 2:00pm, if you’ve never seen track racing before then this is a great opportunity to check it out.

*Pictures from Pure Tasmania-Deloitte TIS Cycling

November 9, 2011

Women's Grand Prix - Victoria, Australia

Women's Grand PrixI had the opportunity to meet with Rob Carson, General Manager of events group Cykel, one beautiful Melbourne morning, I was on the hunt for more information about the Women's Grand Prix and an understanding of Rob's passion for creating this event for female cyclists.

Rob realised pretty quickly about the lack of women's racing outside of the club structure in Victoria and all over Australia. Rob has done what nobody else had managed to do; a series of races that will be action packed!

Rob included me in on an email recently from Bec Domange, a local A grade racer who recently put together a  seminar about understanding bike racing, Rob asked Bec to give her thoughts towards the series, Bec made the following comments.

Riders such as Kathy Watt, Anna Wilson of the late 90s to Emma Rickards and Olivia Gollan racing well into the New Millennium and the riders currently taking the world by storm Rochelle Gilmore, Chloe Hosking and Shara Gillow have set the bar for what can be achieved by Australian Women.

Cykle Events is providing an opportunity like never before right here in Metropolitan and Regional Victoria. A criterium series solely for women. Providing women of ALL abilities the opportunity to race on some of the best circuits in Victoria, with the added bonus of substantial prize money and all run in the most professional environment possible. It is sure to rival the atmosphere of Speed Week in the USA and the Kermesses in Belgium.

The racing will be fast, tactical and team oriented. It is sure to not only increase the already rapidly growing nature of Women’s cycling but give the women in the peloton the exposure and support they deserve. Jump on board to experience the biggest event in Women’s cycling Victoria has ever seen!
Here is some of what you need to know.

A four-round series of cycling races to be held throughout Victoria (Australia), the Women’s Grand Prix will allow women to battle it out for over $5,000 in cash and prizes in this teams-based event.

The Women’s Grand Prix has been designed to address the shortfalls in many club-level cycling races in Victoria, with a lack of women’s-only event and minimal team-based events.

The Women’s Grand Prix will also incorporate a three-round series for under 17-aged girls.

Rob Carson, General Manager of events group, Cykel, declared “This series is expected to be hotly contested by women from around Victoria and interstate, with new teams being established and a rivalry setting into women’s cycling that hasn’t been seen in Victoria before.”

Not sure? Here’s some of the finer print about teams.

The Women's Grand Prix is a team’s event.  Collusion is allowed and encouraged.  It is preferred that all riders within a team wear similar jerseys for identification.  Note that teams do not need to be Cycling Victoria or Cycling Australia registered teams to participate as a team in the Women's Grand Prix.

Not a racer? These races will be an exciting day out for anyone interested in bikes, it will be fast racing and lots of action. This is a great opportunity to find out a bit more about racing and perhaps even spark a new interest; everyone is welcome.

When and where?

Round 1
Saturday December 17th, 2011
Macpherson’s Park
Coburns Rd, Melton
Host: Melton Cycling Club

Round 2
Saturday January 28, 2012
Casey Fields
Berwick-Cranbourne Rd, Cranbourne Host: Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club

Round 3
Sunday February 12, 2012
Mayfair Park, Bendigo
Bendigo
Host: Bendigo Cycling Club

Round 4
Saturday March 3, 2012
National Boulevard, Campbellfield
Host: Coburg Cycling Club

This is a great opportunity for women to race with friends and create that foundation for women's cycling in Australia, for entries and more information go to http://www.cykelevents.com.au/page/womensgp we look forward to seeing you racing.

November 3, 2011

Interview with Cycling Presenter, Matt Keenan

Cycling commentator Matt Keenan is looking for a team, whoever wants him he said, he’s shaved his legs and believes that his performance has increased by 5%. Matt is an ambassador for the Hanover ConnectEast Ride for Home, a charity ride catering for all types of riders to support homeless people in Victoria. Without wanting to give too many of his training secrets away, his preparation has been limited, but like any good cyclist he’s driven the course, studied the winds and hoping for a tailwind home.

Matt was happy to answer our questions as well as commenting on the changes  necessary in women’s cycling to create a stronger foundation and create a more positive future. He is also confident that Cadel Evans will wear the maillot jaune in the 2012 Tour de France with more time trialling than we’ve ever seen in the past 20 years.

Rowena Scott of Bicycles Network Australia (BNA) speaks with Matt Keenen and taps into a fountain of cycle knowledge.


BNA: How did you become an ambassador for the Hanover Connect East Ride for Home?

Keenan: The people who are involved on the organising committee contacted me and asked me if I wanted to be involved. I was very humbled by it, to get an opportunity to be an ambassador for such a good cause is a great thing to be apart of, it has a feel good factor about it and you feel like you’re actually contributing something to the community.

The job that I do really, is a pretty selfish job, I sit in front of a television and talk about bike racing. Cycling is my hobby and I’ve managed to make a job out of it. To get a chance to do something that is really positive and constructive through a sport that I love is a great thing to be involved in.


BNA: Do you know what you’re up for with the 75km ride; are there any hills on East Link?

Keenan: I drove East Link recently on the way back from one of the stages of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and as I was driving back up I was assessing the road and to have a look at it to see which way the wind would be most likely to blow, hoping I can get a tailwind home. Perfect road surface, it’s as good as it gets. I did the Mt Macedon Challenge last year in the same sort of physical condition and that was 136km, it was hilly the whole way and I was exhausted by the end of that; I should be okay with the 75km.


BNA: When commentating professionally, how much work is there behind the scenes in building knowledge and information to be ready for a broadcast or is it all spontaneous?

Keenan: You’ve got to do a lot of research in order to be spontaneous and there is a lot of research that you do, that you don’t end up using, but it comes into play if the scenario presents itself you can use that information. For example, the Tour De France, there are 198 riders and you need to know the story about all 198 riders, because in the period particularly where I commentate, it fills in the race when there’s not much happening and there’s a long breakaway, normally it’s the guys in the breakaway that are in their first Tour de France or their second Tour de France so you need to have something to say about everybody. You have got to do the same amount of research for everyone of the riders to get plenty of background on them. Then there are some guys who go through the race who are completely anonymous and you never mentioned their name, yet you’ve done a lot of research on them, it’s a fair bit of work that goes into being prepared for any situation in a race so you’ve got something to say.


BNA: Since Cadel Evans’s win at the Tour de France have you noticed any significant change amongst the media in relation to the way cycling is reported?

Keenan: The benchmark now to get a cycling story in the paper is actually higher than it was in the past because Cadel Evans has raised the bar. In the past if we had a guy like Jack Bobridge riding a bike race in Australia who this year won two world titles on the track, he’s broken a world record and he’s a favourite to win a gold medal at the Olympics. In the past that would have instantaneously created media coverage, but now it doesn’t. Now it virtually doesn’t rate a mention, the bar has been raised so high by Cadel Evans. It’s a catch-22, he’s put cycling on the map but now cycling has got to live up to the standards that have been set by Cadel and they’re pretty lofty standards that he’s set. He has achieved things that no other Australian cyclists has ever achieved, brilliant result for the sport, best thing to happen to cycling in Australia, now the next generation has some really big shoes to fill.


BNA: Can Cadel Evans win the Tour de France again?

Keenan: Yes, because the course that was designed for 2011 had everything against Cadel, it had the least amount of time trialling that we’ve seen in the last 50 years. There where lots of mountain top finishes that favoured his rivals, next year there’s more time trialling than we’ve seen in the last 20 years, there is almost 100km against the clock and there’ only three real mountain top finishes. The course for 2012 suits him a lot better than the course for 2011 and he’s got a better team around him for next year on the tricky transitional changes, I think he’ll start next year as a favourite; he is the man to beat.


BNA: GreenEdge made mention early on in its launch about a women’s team, I understand that the women’s pro-tour licences are easier to come by and the dates are different to the men’s. Have you heard any further developments on the matter?

Keenan: They will have a women’s team and it will be announced later November I think and there will be a couple of international riders in the team with plenty of experience to really guide a bunch of young Australian women. In the last couple of years we have had quite a few of our experienced Australian women retire and there is a generation of women in there early twenties that are just starting to make their mark internationally, so they’re going to have a couple of internationals that can hopefully guide them and go on to do some of the great things we’ve seen female cyclist do in the past.

On the road for example at the Olympic Games, there has only been one Australian who has won a medal of any colour in the men’s side of the event. In the women’s we’ve had two gold medallists, we’ve had a lot of success in women’s cycling and I think that there’s a group around that twenty to twenty-two mark that are going to have that success in the future.


BNA: Where do you think women’s cycling is heading? Is it heading in a positive direction?

Keenan: It is there’s been a lot of discussion about it recently about whether there is enough support for women’s cycling. One of the challenges for women’s cycling and women’s sport in general is getting media coverage, because its media coverage that attracts the sponsors and in cycling that is even more so than club based sports, whether it be soccer or national sports based. In cycling you only sponsor a team because you’re getting exposure for your money that you’re investing in the squad. Women’s cycling needs to make a push to get more media coverage and it’s really difficult to do, it’s not something that happens over night. How they go about doing that I’m not exactly sure. It might mean a slight change in some of the formats of the racing that allows tours to run in conjunction with men’s tours that have slightly shorter stages near that end with higher impact style racing. Perhaps they need to tinker with the format of the races to make it more appealing to media coverage.


BNA: As a sport loving nation what can we do as members of the cycling community to firmly cement women’s cycling as a sport that should be celebrated in Australia?

Keenan: Watch it on television for starters and when you read newspapers articles about women’s cycling, particularly if it’s online, make comments and show that people are actually reading those articles. It’s a demand driven thing, if you look at the Herald Sun website, for example, they’ve always got the top five articles rolling over and the ones that are read the most are football, AFL football and that’s why they cover AFL football because that’s what the readers are demanding. It comes down to the people that are in cycling actually demonstrating that they’re supporting it and demonstrating that they’re watching it and its not something that will change over night, it will take a while to build that up.


BNA: Do you think the era of doping has ended in professional cycling?

Keenan: It will never end in any sport, there will always be someone out there trying to cheat in any walk of life, beyond sport as well. But that doesn’t mean that you give up the fight; it’s like law enforcement, there’s always going to be people out there that break the law, it doesn’t mean that you just say lets get rid of the police force and not bother with it. The one thing that cycling can be really proud of is how hard it has fought to try and catch people. A guy like Fabian Cancellara, for example, was tested fifty-five times last year, which is more than once a week. We hear some athletes from other sports complaining that they’re test six times within a year. I think that cycling has improved a lot, it’s made significant progress and it’s doing a lot to try and get the cheats. It’s the right path to be on and we’ve got to stay on that path.


BNA: In Alberto Contador’s case, its been going on for sometime, do you think its fair for the UCI to be dragging it out for so long? Has the recent discovery of the five Michigan Football team members having clenbuterol in their system going to make a difference to the outcome?

Keenan: I think that will help with Contador’s case but as far as how long it’s taken to get to this point; it’s embarrassing. We’re still waiting to see who won the 2010 Tour de France and we’re almost at the end of 2011, it should have been solved within six months at the very worst. If it continues to drag on, it continues to drag the sport through the mud so to speak, its one that I wish was solved before the end of last year and certainly before this year Tour de France. But we’re still waiting for a result; it’s a bad look for the sport if this continues to drag on.


Bicycles Network Australia would like to thank Matt Keenan for his time, we wish him all the best with his role as ambassador for the Hanover ConnectEast Ride for Home and the 75km ride that he will embark on this November 13.

For more information on how to donate to the Hanover ConnectEast Ride for Home or to join Matt on this ride, head to: www.rideforhome.com.au

October 14, 2011

SheSpoke Pink Train takes 3rd in Tour de Timor

What do you get when you take a hair dresser, intensive care flight paramedic, insurance broker and physiologist? The SheSpoke Cycle Wear Team who placed third at the Tour de Timor. The Tour de Timor boasted an impressive prize pool of $100,000, as a not-for-profit event, the equal prize money for men and women was a draw card particularly for the SheSpoke Cycle Wear Team who donated their prize money to the Life, Love and Health Foundation.


Team SheSpoke had some excellent experience going in with team leader Lauretta Howarth whom placed third in the 2010 Crocodile Trophy in Far North Queensland, Lauretta, Jade Forsyth and Lesley Sutton had taken all three podium positions in the Herberton 8 hour enduro in Far North Queensland. Both Kelly and Jade had previously left their mark on the East Timorese event bringing valuable experience to the start line.

The six day multi-stage MTB event attracted over 300 international riders and 100 Timorese riders who tackled the 600km offroad journey.

Lauretta reflected on her journey in East Timor, "Racing in a developing country is challenging. Many of the facilities we take for granted here in Oz simply don’t exist in Timor-Leste, making the race a little more challenging but also adding to the uniqueness of the Tour De Timor experience."

Team SheSpoke
Photo © Keith McQueen

Kelly was out after the first day coming down with an illness that left her assisting the physio team for the remainder of the journey.

Lauretta made the following comments, "despite a few set backs and challenges the Tour De Timor was fantastic. Some pot-holes were so deep you’d struggle to climb out if you ever fell into one, not to mention sections where the road had simply disappeared leaving menacing drop-offs."

In the Open Womens category, the team placed third, behind two other Aussie womens teams and the prize money that they donated to The Life, Love and Health Foundation is used to fund and facilitate grassroots projects in Timor-Leste that benefit Timorese communities, particularly women and children to achieve improved health and education.

The dates for 2012 have already been announced, 9-14 September and registrations open on November 1 this year. If you’re into pain and you think you’re ready to join 400 elite mountain bikers then you should check out www.tourdetimor.com.

To find out more about the SheSpoke Cycle Wear Team and their latest adventures head to www.shespoke.com.au

A wonderful set of photos courtesy of Mathew Lynn that set you directly inside the action as Team SheSpoke powered through Timor.

Tour de Timor Bunch

Tour de Timor Terrain

Tour de Timor Epic

Tour de Timor Children

Tour de Timor Coast

Tour de Timor Aerial

Tour de Timor Locals

Tour de Timor Podium
Photoset & Title Photo © 2011 Mathew Lynn

June 4, 2011

The Taste Test: 97% Sugar Free - the muesli



While racing at the St Kilda Cycling Club the other weekend, I bumped into Emma Dumas from the muesli company; she had a stand with her product the muesliand was handing it out to everyone for a taste test.

Before I could taste it my eye was drawn to a statement on the pack; it said, ‘97% sugar free.’ My mind automatically went to everything I new about health and dieting. I know that sugar is our biggest enemy; we’ve got more sugar in our diets that ever before and its sugar that making us fat. That’s not what cyclist (or most people) are after. Rather, we’re all looking for something that is satisfying and enjoyable...and healthy.

I’m not a fan of muesli, but I had adopted a new policy: ‘if my training partner eats it, then I should eat it, because he’s fitter than me.’ As such, I’ve jumped on the muesli bandwagon and Emma was happy to help me out with a packet of the muesli to get me started.


What’s in it?
27% - Raw Nut Mix. Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Hazelnuts and Brazil Nuts
23% - Pumpkin, Sunflower, Linseed and Sesame Seeds. (Minerals, fatty acids, fibre)
36% - Rolled Oats
14% - Shredded Coconut

I visited the muesli website to get a better feel for the product and I came across the reason why Emma created the muesli: "Clients of my friend and personal trainer Donna Aston, couldn’t find a breakfast to complement their fitness programs. It’s still the most important meal of the day. So if you’re investing in getting fit and losing weight – both from a time and financial perspective – it’s important to enjoy a quality breakfast. That’s why I created the muesli."

There’s a lot of truth in what Emma is saying, I got the shock of my life when I found out that cornflakes have some of the highest sugar quantities on the shelf in the breakfast isle. I told my personal trainer that I was being good and eating cornflakes, she let me know how bad this was. As cornflakes are one of the most popular cereals, it makes for a good comparison.

Cornflakes are recommended as a 30 gram serving, with 24.9grams of carbohydrates and 2.4gram of sugar in that 30g serving. Compared with the same 30 gram sized serving of the musli, there are 8,3 grams carbohydrates and 0.6 grams sugar.

As a cyclist, if I am not eating, I am on holiday. My body needs a lot of fuel to power my 300km a week regiment. 30 grams of cornflakes with a high sugar rating aren’t going to cut it, I need consistency which is what the musli offers.

For the fitness nerds and calorie counters, lets look at the nutritional breakdown based on a 50g and 100g serving.


 
50 gram serving
100 gram serving
Energy
1145kj
2290kj
Protein
8.7g
17.4g
Carbohydrates
13.85g
27.7g
Sugars*
1.03g
2.05g
Fats (Total)
19.6g
39.2g
• Polyunsaturated
5.9g
11.8g
• Monounsaturated
7.45g
14.9g
• Saturated
4.65g
12.5g
• Trans
-
<0.1g
Dietary Fibre
4.55g
9.1g
Sodium
31mg
62mg

*Average sugar content may fluctuate seasonally 


What do I think?

I like it, which is saying a lot, I’m a girl who likes rich and decadent food, so I was sceptical about jumping onto the health wagon and did in fact enjoy the muesli more than I thought I would.

I like that when it says there are nuts on the packaging that you can actually see them and taste them, you’ve got to crunch them up when you chew, unlike other brands where they stood on the top of Mt Everest and sprinkled a couple into the packet.

I’ve found it actually very handy to have with me, for those days when I am on the go, I take some muesli in a sealed plastic container and then grab some yogurt at the supermarket; I’ve found a healthy snack which has been keeping me fuller for longer.


Bcoz Girls and the musli
I’m not the only one to enjoy it the Ladies Becoz Cycling Team was in on the act!


What does Donna Aston think?
Donna Aston has been a prominent figure in health and fitness for many years, I recall a Donna Aston created salad becoming a huge hit in South Yarra a few years ago and it was everything you wanted in a salad, healthy, it kept you fuller and it was tasty!

I’m inclined to believe her when she says, "I’ve been recommending the muesli by bodsquad to my clients and colleagues for several years now. It was created… thankfully… in response to the demand for a wholesome, natural, nutritionally-balanced breakfast alternative. It’s a great choice for those of us who are health conscious and want a quick, delicious and satisfying meal to start the day."

O2 Racing and the musli
O2 Racing get serious about nutrition


Want more information? Head to the philosophy page of the website where you can find out more about how this product satisfies you and your training schedule.

Already convinced and interested in trying for yourself? the muesli comes in two sizes and costs $24.50 for 1kg or $112.50 for 5kg and can be ordered online.

March 31, 2011

Review: The Professional Retül Bike Fitting Concept


I knew my position wasn't entirely right before I stepped foot in Dr. Andrew Steel's Retül office at LSD Sports on St Kilda Road, Melbourne. I had transferred my position directly from an old bike to my new Felt AR4 and it just didn't have that feel of 'comfort'.

My biggest question coming into the fitting, especially after just buying a new bike, was about the "fitting" that bike shops do. I wondered how often they put people on to incorrectly sized bikes and if I should be on a 52cm frame instead of the 54cm that I was currently riding. Andrew put my mind at rest and confirmed that although it does happen, it is not something that he has seen frequently. It isn't just your height, the width of your hips or the height of your crotch that is taken into consideration when you receive a bike fit from Retül. Andrew wanted to find out, among other things, about my hip movement, ankle flexibility and any old injuries that I had. The level of detail he required surprised me.

Objective, dynamic and accurate data are the foundations of the Retül concept; each of us have unique biomechanics, which means we all move in different ways. As such the Retül concept has no preconceptions about a rider; it doesn't assume you have to be able to pedal a certain way or that you must have your elbows bending at a specific angle. Instead, Retül looks as you as an individual cyclist with unique needs and their bike fitting concept takes this into consideration.

Let's take a look at the measuring and fitting process:

Retül Bike Fit - Flexibility
We look at hip flexibility and I score well

Retül Bike Fit - Flexibility
Checking the shoulder positions, specifically the right one

Retül Bike Fit - Flexibility
Ankle flexibility and I score really well on this one too

Retül Bike Fit - Flexibility
On the bike

Retül Bike Fit - Flexibility
Straightening the cleat position

Retül Bike Fit - Flexibility
Realigning the feet position and cleats

Retül Bike Fit - Flexibility
LED markers are strategically placed on eight anatomical points of the rider: the wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, heel, and toe. 

Retül Bike Fit - Flexibility
Connecting the dots - one of the sensors on my arm

Retül Bike Fit - Flexibility
As the rider pedals, Retül’s sensor bar gathers real-time, three-dimensional data of the rider's pedal strokes and movements.


What I discovered about my bike set up.

I went into the fit with the aim of finding a position on the bike that was more efficient and more comfortable; in the back of my mind I had the goal of racing. It turns out that my seat was too far back and my right cleat was out of alignment. Andrew moved my seat forward about 2.5 cms, which was significant, and we changed my cleat position so that it was straight. On Andrew's advice I reduced my stem length from 90mm to 80mm. With the new bike fit, I went out to find out exactly how much Retül had improved my position and hopefully my speed. When I got on my bike to ride home, my first thoughts were that I was actually faster and that the bike felt really nice.


Three weeks on…

In the past few weeks I have been riding a lot with regular trips to Mordialloc and Frankston as well as my first criterium race at St Kilda Cycling Club (SKCC). I was really happy with my women's ‘B’ Grade race at SKCC; we averaged 35.4km over 25.6km. Until I had the bike fit done I wasn’t overly confident about racing. Now that I’m comfortable and I’m training better the confidence has definitely improved.

I’m not the only one surprised with the improvement that the Retül fit has given me; a frequent riding partner, who I do most of my rides with, is also impressed with the gains that I’ve made in the past three weeks. We both agree that this wouldn’t have been possible without the Retül bike fit. I don’t feel as outstretched on the bike as I was and I feel more in control than I was before. Shortening the stem to 80mm may sound like overkill to some, perhaps I should just become more flexible instead, but I have decided to trust science and go with it.

With the help of Retül and Dr Andrew Steel I feel that I have achieved my goals: primarily comfort with an increase in my speed and, as a side effect, I’m more confident when racing.


Keeping track

All of the information concerning your position from the Retül fit session is printed out for your records. You can be more confident when buying a new bike in the future. The idea is that when you purchase a new bike, you can take the measurements from your first bike fit and transfer them straight onto the new one. Andrew also keeps a copy of all your data for future reference. This is useful if you get a refit in the future; Andrew can put you back on your bike and look at all the information again to find out what’s changed or what needs to be changed.


Who would the Retül bike fit suit?

Everyone. I asked Andrew about his clients, who they are and where they were from. They’re cyclists of all descriptions, from commuters to triathletes, road racers to mountain bikers. In professional cycling, Team RadioShack and Sky Pro Racing are both using the concept. These teams boast some of the biggest names in the business such as Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Bradley Wiggins as well as Robbie McEwen and Michael Rogers; these athletes lend the bike fitting system credibility.


The Cost and Value

The basic package I experienced cost $260.00 and it takes around 90 minutes.

Is the bike fit worth the cost? Yes. Without any doubt I needed someone who was taking a scientific approach to set me up. I didn’t want a shop to tell me that this is the way it should be because that’s the way that it’s always been done. I wanted someone to look at me and say, well, on the basis of this solid scientific foundation, this is how it should be for you, and I felt got exactly that.

Further information about the Retül concept can be found at www.retul.com. The Retül website also allows you to track down a certified Retül fitter in your area. If you are in Melbourne or can travel here with your bike, I can recommend Dr Andrew Steel of Body Care Solutions (www.bodycaresolutions.com.au) who is qualified to fit you on your bike using the Retül concept.

February 17, 2011

Sweat Yourself Beautiful with The Workout Zone

Skin care is a major part of any women’s day, even men are beginning to take part and enjoy the benefits. When your skin looks fresher and brighter without blotchy patches we can all say that we look and feel better; it enhances us, our day and our personalities! As a cyclist and corproate receptionist, its important that I look my best everyday to respresent my company in the best possible way, The Workout Zone is making this possible.

Coming straight from New Zealand is The Workout Zone, a skin care company that is living by the motto, “Sweat yourself beautiful.” I was looking forward to the package arriving, everything about the advertisement of the product looked fresh, clean and young; It also looked like something that wouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes.

I received the full package called the Workout System Complete and it includes:

• Step 1: Purifying Cleanser

• Step 2: Outdoor Facial Repair or

• Step 2: Indoor Facial Repair

• Step 3: Luxuriant Bodywash

• Step 4: Rebalance Cream

• The Reinvigorating Hot Honey Handcream along with

• The Workout Zone travel bag

The first thing I noticed about the product was the scent; it was a nice clean smell without the feeling of all the antibacterial gels that are out there at the moment, it simply smelt fresh. The Hot Honey Hand Cream was the first item to be passed around all the girls in the office, we really enjoyed the scented cream, it wasn’t over the top, it was just enough.

I took my little bag of goodies home with and packed it in with the rest of my gear for the Alpine Classics, explaining to my travelling companions that I don’t normally carry this many cosmetics but in the name of research I was happy to increase my luggage.

I did sit down with The Workout Zone whilst my team mates where slogging it out up Tawonga Gap and into Bright for the final climb up Mt Buffalo, I read all the instructions first, there was a lot of tubes and I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything right.

Step 1 is The Purifying Cleaner, it contains hydrogenated jojoba oil and beads, put simply though it’s a really nice cleanser that isn’t hard on your skin, the beads are minimal and tiny, just enough to remove your make up and any grime from sitting in rush hour or enduring your city’s public transport.

You then choose between indoors or outdoors, if you’re anything like me, you hate being at your desk and refuse to exercise indoors, then Step 2, the Outdoor Facial Repair Cream is to ensure that you are well protected from the sun, it has an SPF 30+ Broad Spectrum Sunscreen which hydrates your skin as you work out.

If you’re a gym person and can’t stand the thought of 4 seasons in one work out, then Step 2, the Indoor Facial Repaid Cream, rub a small amount into the skin before you exercise and you’re ready to go. I noticed a change in the way my skin looked, I think it was brighter and there was more glow; I felt better because of it. I headed over to the Workout Zone website to see what they were reporting and found the following regarding research they conducted in Australia and New Zealand.

"91% of 26 GFX instructors in New Zealand and Australia self-reported an improvement in skin hydration and 65% self-reported an improvement in skin 'look' after using the WORKOUT ZONE Indoor System for 4 weeks."

I think its excellent that The Workout Zone has been passed on to industry professionals for trialing, especially instructors and trainers who are required to present such a healthy image every day.

Step 3 is the Luxuriant Body Wash, and it’s unlike the normal stock you see in the supermarket. After your workout and before your shower you massage the product all over, including your face if you like, go nuts. The result is (can’t believe I’m saying this) nice and shiny and smooth soft skin, sure it’s a little bit different, but the result is surprising which is what we want in a product.

The Luxuriant Body Wash is a little different, because you apply it before you go into the shower, unlike other of the shelf products that you apply whilst in the shower. I think, from my own personal experience that applying the product before getting in the shower actually helps the skin absorb the product, whereas the body washes that are used in the shower wouldn’t be as effective as it washes of as quickly as you put it on.

Step 4 is the Rebalance Cream, you can massage it everywhere or just use it for your face. It’s also a great primer for under your makeup, and if you’re keen to tighten the budget or make more room on your bathroom shelves, then this product does more than enough to earn its keep. You also get soft smooth skin for your efforts, without that oily shine.

Last but not least is the Hot Honey Handcream, there are extracts of chilly in it, so do keep it away from your eyes and mouth, its smells fantastic without being an over the top scent, it isn’t an oily moisturizer, it has a nice and thick consistency.

My thoughts…

I’m really into time management, I have a lot of things to do and find that if something takes too long then I either get distracted by it or I loose interested very quickly.

These products were fantastic, I can use the Purifying Cleanser in the shower and when I jump out of the shower, the Outdoor Facial Repair first thing in the morning is quick and takes 30 seconds, if that.

The Luxuriant Body Wash, is a little different for me. I am used to using the body wash in the shower so this was a change, but I liked it. I think it does take a little bit of extra time to add this into your day, but I’m only talking about 3 minutes, take the chance and try it.

The Rebalance Cream is great and does what its meant to do, as a person who doesn’t wear make-up unless I’m heading to a fancy party or Friday night drinks, this product finishes my daily schedule and most importantly without a lot of fuss.

Throw the Hot Honey Handcream in your purse and use it on the tram, pass it around the office and make sure everyone knows what the product is called. I believe they should make more products with honey; just the scent alone gives you that 3pm sugar that you’ve been trying to satisfy.

The cost for the complete package, ‘Workout System Complete’, is $111.70 AUD, you can purchase online from their website www.workoutzone.co.nz. You don’t need to spend huge amounts to refill products when you run out of something as each product is available individually from their online store.

February 5, 2011

Review: Feetures! Cycling Socks


I finished a 105km ride in the Victorian Otway Ranges; it had rained, it was windy and I was freezing. Apart from the beautiful scenery the best moment on this ride had been the end; I was handed a pair of Feetures! socks.

I found a place in the sun (finally) and removed my water logged shoes and socks and slipped on the Feetures! socks; they have combined super soft merino wool with bamboo fibres to create a sock that felt like a little bit a heaven, they were softer and smoother than you would think possible.

The Feetures! are a cycling specific sock. I have always had problems  finding the right sock to go in the right shoe as well as getting hot feet on hot days, these problems are eliminated with these socks. My main test was a 5km fun run in Wangaratta followed by a ride to Glenrowen in 35 degree heat, this gave me a good indication of how they would last.

The primary purpose of the sock is to be long lasting, to the point where you replace them just because you want more; they do feel that good. The bamboo fibres make the socks ultra-breathable, whilst the merino wool allows the sock regulate itself to temperature of your feet. As body odours are suppressed, they can even be worn more than once before washing. The merino wool is ultra-soft no matter how many times that you wash them or don’t wash them.

Feetures! believe in their product so much that they give a lifetime guarantee, their products are designed to withstand repeated wearing and washing, and to maintain their fit and feel over the lifetime of the product. If your socks fail to live up to this standard, then you can return them for an exchange or a full refund.


My take…
Fantastic! I would personally keep them for cold days as I am accustomed to wearing thin socks in the summer, these socks really were soft, practical and warm. You can get them in white or a darker olive colour which suits me, I’m forever getting my white clothes dirty, and the olive colour hides the dirt nicely. I’ve worn them running and cycling and they haven’t rubbed in my shoe, nor have they slipped. My feet have felt safely encased in them and surprisingly comfortable.

Even though they’re cycling specific socks, I wear them running, walking and to bed if my feet need warming up; they’re a cycling specific sock that does more than one job.


The tech talk…
• Thin flat knit construction takes up minimal room in the shoe
• The PerfectToe™ (No irritating toe seam)
• SnugFit Technology™ Unique Power Bands of Lycra® hug your entire foot for  support. This snug, supportive fit eliminates movement to prevent blisters
• Durasoft, the blend of SuperSoft Merino wool and rayon from bamboo, wicks away moisture and naturally eliminates odour to provide unsurpassed comfort
• Graduated compression in crew top keeps sock in place and aids in circulation

The socks retail from $25.00 and Features! are distributed in Australia by Kikass Trading, you can find information on where to purchase them at www.feetures.com.au