|Posted by Budget Forklifts on July 29, 2013 at 8:45 PM||comments (0)|
August 2008, and I was sitting in my apartment in Gent contacting professional cycling teams, sending off my meagre resume and hoping for a reply. The team I was riding for had just announced that it would be folding before the year was out, making this team number 2 to collapse around me in the space of a 8 months. By this stage in my life, let alone my cycling career, I had had enough of cycling and was ready to return home. Then one day Jeremy Betts emailed me…
My time racing for Team Budget Forklifts was perhaps the most enjoyable two and a bit years of my racing life. Jezza, along with team owner Tim Leunig, and all the staff created a team environment that was the envy of many other Australian domestic professional cycling teams at the time. It was an environment/structure that has now been copied (and in some cases improved upon) by all the dominant teams racing the Subaru National Road Series. During my time with Team Budget Forklifts, I was fortunate enough to be given the flexibility to work at the Central Queensland University and went back to University where I completed a Masters in Sports Coaching, and at the same time travel around Australia, New Zealand and to Asia to race my bike. We won big and at times we lost big, but we always raced hard, fair, and had fun.
My time racing with Team Budget Forklifts ended without a fuss at the 2011 National Road Titles. Since then, I continued to work at Central Queensland University where I became an Associate Lecturer in the School of Exercise and Sport Science; teaching Skill Acquisition and Movement Analysis. But my passion was, and still is coaching and I have been coaching for the past 8 years; coaching cyclists to state, National and World Championships on the road and track.
In 2012, my fiancé secured a job at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada and we have been living in Edmonton since March, 2012. I have continued to teach (Sports Coaching at the University of Alberta), but now coaching takes up the bulk of my time. Upon arriving in Edmonton, I helped create and set up a cycling academy, and I am currently the head coach at the Argyll Velodrome Racing Academy; coaching athletes to Canadian National titles, Pan American titles and a number of Provincial (Alberta) Championships.
I often catch myself looking back; remembering the times (good and bad) I had racing with Team Budget Forklifts. They were great times and many great mates were made. Rest assured I will be forever cheering for the black and yellow of Team Budget Forklifts.
Being a part of the winning team that took out the 2009 Goulburn – Sydney (Richie Lang), and the 2009 Grafton - Inverell (Mal Rudolph).
Winning the 2009 Ship Wreck Coast Classic
Fighting my way back to finish 3rd overall at the 2010 Tour of Geelong
Getting rolled for the win by Nathan Hass, after he sat on the breakaway for the last 20km during Stage 9 (Ulverstone – Penguin) of the 2010 Tour of Tasmania
|Posted by Budget Forklifts on July 19, 2013 at 2:25 AM||comments (0)|
The Coffee Shop Hero Awards
2013 Tour de France.
Photo: twitter: @AdamHansen
The Tour De France can’t be simply summed up via a few words, or either be easily placed into the category of a cycle event. It’s beauty, culture and history each year only separates it more from a sporting event to now a global tradition that is placed on the world calendar in permanent ink . Its appeal to a varied audience is strangely unique and same with the characters that take part in it. One of the reasons why it is so compelling is the uncertain drama that will take part on the roads during such an epic event. We all are compelled as these unscripted episodes take place every night that provided us with our tour fix. The epic spectacle provides a stage for the heroes of the show to spring to life. We can’t help but admire these brave protagonists who face undefeatable obstacles in search of Paris. We feel that it is only fair to take the time acknowledge the top five “Coffee shop” heroes who have made the 2013 Tour the event it is.
The Coffee shop hero awards are to acknowledge those poor guys who provide hours of coffee shop discussion without any reward. This can be the club rider who attacks D grade every week and never gets a win. The guy who shows up to the dark early morning bunch ride only to find out in the frantic rush they put their bike shorts on inside out. The guys in the Tour De France who make the event but only get recognised in the local Sunday coffee ride. Here is the top five riders’ we have decided who earn the right to be labelled the ‘coffee shop heroes’ for 2013.
5: Corsica’s New Hero:
The first of our prestige’s awards strangely happened on the first day of racing on the beautiful island of Corsica. Corsica is home to the biggest hero in French history, as it was the birth place of the great French leader Napoleon. So it was only fitting that another hero should rise to the occasion when the tour started here. His name, Garikoitz Atxa! Garikoritz might even be a forgotten name now, but provided some dramatic moments when he found a vacant but perfect spot to park the ‘Orica GreenEdge Team Bus’ on the finish line of stage one. It’s hard to believe Garikoitz was a former Spanish cyclist and not an Australian with this laid back attitude towards the tour. Garikoitz must have stopped for a pie and a smoke on course and was soon found running late, which lead to the bus being stuck under the finish banner. Amazingly in typical Australian team fashion, Mr Atxa was on his first day of the job and took the term “make a lasting impact” very seriously. Garikoitz Atxa you may have been forgotten as froome stamps his authority over the final week of tour, but we here haven’t forgotten you, Coffee shop hero award winner!
4: I fought the Road and the Road Won: The Flying Frenchman
The hero of France also becomes the hero of the coffee shop for our next award. The top placed Frenchman, Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale) taught everyone a valuable lesson, that you must know your limits when riding a bike. Peraud, who lives his life by the personal motto: “Risk it to win the biscuit” came unstuck on stage 17 (Embrun – Chorges) Time trial. The unlucky Frenchman was a victim to a tricky descent during the morning course recon and reportly cracked his collarbone. Reports also shot through that the flying Frenchman was on a Strava record down the risky decent and AG2R La Mondiale were disappointed as he was on his way to receiving the famous crown on the Strava page. Not to be deterred from the pre-race incident, the Frenchman showed massive courage to continue on and race injured hours later in the Time trial. His fearless attitude and determination was evident as he flew down the same decent he was victim to. Once he got down the descent the Frenchman become unstuck again on a nasty right hand corner ending his 2013 Tour de France campaign. He might have already been forgotten as the tour moves on without him, but for his downright stupidity or courage (you decide) this Frenchman deserves an award.
3: The Sky Hero
For the third award we head back to stage one of the tour. A terrible crash occurred late in the stage which claimed many victims including, Tony Martin, Alberto Contador, and Geraint Tomas. Tomas, the hard riding Welshman was one of the worst injured, taking a lot of skin off and painfully fracturing his pelvis. Tomas had every right to exit the tour and head off home to recover from what is a terribly painful injury. However, Tomas was determined to perform the unthinkable and in some serious amount of pain continue on through the tour heading to Paris. Many, including myself, questioned why Tomas would try to continue on in such a bad state and questioned how the Sky Team could let him endure without doing further injury. This was thrown back in our face as Geraint Tomas with his fractured pelvis was seen riding the front last night of an under strength Sky Team for his leader Chris Froome. He ability to continue on and selfless attitude is what the Tour de France his about and shows how important a team is to winning such an event. No doubt that if Chris Froome holds on to the winners jersey to Pairs, you need to think back to stage one when Tomas made the decision to continue. Well done Geraint Tomas!
2: Work Hard, Play Hard: Adam Hansen
Without a doubt, one of the hardest riders in the professional peloton is the Australian, Adam Hansen. Actions speak louder than words and Hansen backs this up by racing all year round. Last year Hansen joined a very elite ‘Hard man club’, by racing and completing all three major grand tours in one year. According to the Sunday Telegraph only 32 riders have joined this club and Hansen is one of them. Not only is this physically and mentally exhausting but would consequently have a lasting effect on the social lifestyle of the rider. Hansen would rarely have time to have a quiet beer with mates, or afford to spend a few quiet days away relaxing due to the busy racing schedule. In fact, Adam’s time management skills would be amazing and someone who would like to join this special club would have to follow a detailed plan managing all aspects of life. So it came as no surprise to Adam that he would have to multi-task to fit all his racing in this year with his social life. Adam on queen stage up the infamous Alpe d’Huez invited a few friends over to have a beer and relax before starting preparation for the Vuelta de Espana. Hansen could not stay at the party for long, and unfortunately missed a game of beer bong, as time cuts to finish made him leave early. However, he still managed a good time and now can focus on the rest of the season. Congratulations Adam Hansen, well-deserving of a coffee shop hero award.
Finally, the number one Hero of the Coffee Shop for the 2013 Tour De France is Australian, Richie Porte. Richie has been the headline for many discussions at the coffee shop for many weeks. He has been the ultimate team mate for his leader Chris Froome, and without question been the driving force behind the Sky domination so far. He has been a true tour rider and a man that can rise to the occasions when needed. However, that is not the reason why Porte is receiving the top spot for 2013….Not at all! The reason why Richie is our Coffee Shop Hero is because of his exploits early in the Pyrenees. Richie had a rough day on the roads to Bagneres-de-Bigorre, as he rode brilliantly to put his leader in Yellow the day before and found the going hard early the next day. Unfortunately as much as he tried he could not get back to the front group spear headed by a determined Moviestar Team. A tired Porte finished sum 18 minutes down as the eager press waited to pounce on him when he crossed the line. A very calm Porte explained his day and also went on to praise Movistar's Alejandro Valverde who moved up to second on the general classification. Porte summed up his feeling perfectly to a global audience, in what I believe is textbook fluent Australian. "He attacked so early and it takes a fair set of swingers to do that," Porte said. What a moment for us Australians and Porte showing that ‘swingers’ is still a term that can be used anywhere. Porte proves that you can take the bloke out of Australia, but you will never take Australia out of the bloke, and was great response from Porte after a hard day racing in the saddle. Really deserves our number one position of hero of the coffee shop.
|Posted by Budget Forklifts on July 16, 2013 at 2:35 AM||comments (0)|
Learning on the Road
A different outlook
I could never convince my Uni lecturers – But doing cycle racing is a real education – People would be amazed at the amount of Maths you have to do in cycling tours plus of course the problem solving skills in the heat of battle. There is numbers all scribbled on your head stem and you spend a vast amount of time trying to convert time whilst riding, to allow yourself time to relax when the break goes off the front. We see it all the time in racing, with the latest example being Chris Froome on the roads to Saint-Amand-Montrond in France. Crosswinds in a cycle race acts as the catalyst for riders to behave recklessly. It’s like an evil medicine and when it hits a bunch of riders’ utter anarchy breaks out. It was easy to witness this in stage 13 of the tour; however one thing that went unnoticed was the amazing composure and intelligences showed by tour leader, Chris Froome. Within a moment of madness Froome was able to sit up, work out the element of danger, and then make a decision on what to do. Froome didn’t panic at all, in fact played a cleaver card that didn’t rely on strength, more a decision made with his head. Froome showed that good cycling is not always about the legs and can be more about the head.
Don’t get me wrong, as I’m not suggesting that me and my lyric wearing colleagues have the brain’s of Aristotles or Einstein, and some of my past team mates provide sufficient evidence to back this up. However I can say that there is more to cycling than meets the eye, there is another element that involves more than brute power. Cycling can be about the brain, in fact! Cycling can actually provide lessons that a classroom cannot. Just like the wheel spinning itself the learning opportunities for a cyclist are endless, and more often than not you will find some form of intelligence behind the helmet and classes…. Let me explain.
Cycling opens the doors to Geography, history with primary resources everywhere you go. Sometimes cycling can offer the chance for people to develop personal skills, and foster certain perspectives that experiences in a classroom unfortunately fail to provide.
I had learnt a lot about racing and had fun in the process, however it is my travels to exotic places that have be a real eye opener on many of the basic topics covered at school. A race like Lincoln GP in The United Kingdom is one that springs to mind. Here you find yourself slaving away up a cobbled climb which is concealed by the giant shadows of the great “William the Conquerors” Castle. The race will also take you passed some of the world’s oldest buildings which hold treasures such as the Lincoln Magna Carta that add a new element to winning the bike race. Just ask any English rider what race they would love to win and I have no doubt Lincoln GP would be it!
Then there are races like the Grand Prix de la ville de Pérenchies where you battle it out with your rivals from around the world on the ancient pave roads that feed the cruel battles of WW1 on the western front – When racing on these roads you can’t help but feel a sense of National pride as a swaying poppy or the odd burial ground reminds you of your fellow Australians that have been laid to rest on French soil. These are the same roads in which captivate a global audience every year when Paris to Roubaix comes alive. I find it very ironic that these war rotten roads were the battle grounds for countries to fight each other in 1914, and now these roads bring the world together to celebrate man and machine in a sporting event.
But my education is even much more, because sometimes a cycle race can take you off the beaten track to a place where you can discover different cultures & religions and most of all connect with people and respect them and the country they live in. The latest for me was the Tour of Singkarak (Indonesia) which is a tough race but also a real eye opener.
In a world that has become smaller as technology turn’s the planet on its head; the young now teach the old, as we continually need to update to keep up with our new high-tech world. Sadly this means that Culture and Tradition is quickly forgotten - so to arrive at a race where tradition and culture is the backbone on society, you are going to quickly forget about Candy Crush and twitter and be absorbed into a different world. Cycling sometimes allows this opportunity for you to understand and appreciate people and their culture. This can be very refreshing to see a different but beautiful part of humanity; as our team found out in Indonesia.
The friendliness of the locals at the Tour of Singkarak is infectious, their excitement for their bike race and their pride in showing off the country and culture makes you reconsider how proud we should be about our home, and what Australia is all about,
For we Aussies are bits of odd-bods – We are a young country with half of us direct descendants of people who were kicked out of England, and others whom come from a Royal line, or a wealthy English background. For me, I think you can’t expect too much reading this from a Bathurst Boy whose ideas of a recognised national culture would be: being a Holden or Ford Supporter of course – the National Dance is a “Blockie of the Main street and dropping the clutch at the lights in front of the Knickerbocker Hotel.. And the National Dress some St George Footy Shorts, a signed HRT Brocky T-shirt and a pair of Thongs”. However I can say that we too have a lot to be proud of, and when traveling it is always nice to hear an Australian say, “It’s nice, but it’s not home”.
I have learnt many things from the very welcoming people of West Sumatra, as I have throughout my time in cycling. The bike is a gift that keeps on giving and next time I hear of the local Bathurst cycling juniors cutting homework to ride, I won’t be too worried, as riding sometimes can be equally as important.
Keep Pedalling Blair Windsor
|Posted by Budget Forklifts on July 15, 2013 at 11:35 PM||comments (0)|
Ex Rider, Ryan MacAnally reports from Italy
In 2012, I was given the opportunity to go and race overseas in Europe with Team bibanese, Italy. I was very nervous but also very excited and was keen to head over to Europe for my first season against the big boys after having a successful year with budget forklifts in 2012. I was ready to gain some more experience and look to push my career forward by racing in Italy.
I arrived in early February and it was snowing as soon as I stepped off the plane and about 0degrees. It was a massive change already for me leaving The Gold Coast’s sunny days, which I had become accustomed to. I got all my winter kit and gear to head out training for the first time in the sub zero temperature. I was expecting to go on an easier loop because it was the day after arriving, but my team mates had a different idea or maybe they forgot that I had just arrived. We ended up going out for 120km in the hills; I was taking photos the whole way along the ride so I found myself was distracted most of the time. We finally got home and I was stuffed.. We had the next couple of days easy before my first race on the Sunday.
It was on from the gun, 200+ riders all going full gas for the 140km race. I was a bit jumpy myself so tried some silly moves off the front which ended up not going to far. I ended up finishing about 20th for my first race here in Italy so got a bit of confidence out of that.
A couple of weeks later, I got my first Podium in south Eastern Italy, all the training, racing and experience from last year’s racing in the NRS had finally come into my favour! I was able to get a good sprint in the final battle to the line, and was ecstatic to get a podium position. A couple of weeks after this I had my second podium for the season in Italy which proved that I’m able to match it with the riders over here.
Still a lot of races left in the season and still looking for that break through victory. Hopefully next time you here from me; I will be able to start with….I won!!!!
|Posted by Budget Forklifts on June 13, 2013 at 10:05 PM||comments (0)|
Tour De Singkarak "A Beautiful Spectacle"
The Heat, The Colour, The Crowd and their excitement makes the Tour De Singkarak a truly unique Spectacle.
At first the friendly local people have taken a break from their busy days to check out the unusual sight of Helicopters and a parade of Police and Marshalls scream through their towns. It's Strange!! But for a machine that is powered by the human body it is amazing how much noise a UCI Bike Race makes and just how quickly within a blink on an eye it rushes through and the town and slides back into his mundane routine without a fuss of what happened.
It is partly because just before the race comes past, the roads are cleared and suddenly the city goes quite. It is like the whole thing is orchestrated to maximise the anticipation of the race as the sudden eerie quietness of the deserted roads is broken by the distance hum of a chopper.
The puzzled onlookers are at first looking at nothing but a vacant road with a couple of advanced marshals ambling past to prevent any issues. However, as the Chopper gets louder the peace is suddenly broken by high speed police vehicles passing with sirens screaming. Suddenly stunned kids are holding their ears as Media and Official cars come through with sounding horns, hazard lights ablaze and decorated in Sponsors Colours.
The scene is set for the stars of the show, often a small group of riders burst on the scene – It’s not just the speed but the obvious stress and determination all over their faces - for this is the breakaway group and they are on a mission.
Now most of the by-stands are there because the race came to them and therefore know nothing about what's going on. However strangely once they catch sight of the desperation in the eyes of riders the break, the onlookers become fans and applaud the riders. It’s almost like they are encouraging the hare in front of a pack of blood thirsty hounds. The claps and the cheering fill the air with a positive vibe almost like a celebration where everyone is invited.
But the approach of the peloton is a completely new kind of spectacle - for it is scarily big - In fact that big that everyone takes a step backwards as the riders flood all over the road, it's like a wave rolls through town, complete organised bedlam as riders sprawl out trying to fulfil their team goals at hand. It’s a mass of colour blurring-past, and even though somewhat frantic and confusing for the spectators and cycling teams alike. The race promotes a positive atmosphere, a free show for all those involved which can only be found in the beautiful sport of cycling.
The onlookers simply have too much in front of them to focus on anything. Some riders have a grimace others have a grin. There is laughter, swearing, eating, drinking and some even take the time to wave and respond to the passing audience. Then a figure catches everyone's eyes, for when the race heads through there stands a sole figure high above the speeding peloton. The head of the show has come to town with an official stare that only a Chief Commassire can give. He leaves no doubt that even though it might look like organised chaos, he has it completely in control and this is his show.
Yet there is no time to stare at the King, for bottles are cast into the crowd and everyone dives for the souvenir. Meanwhile the Team Cars at first seem to blend in with the cyclists; managers barking out instructions as the riders dive between the cars collecting Food & Water and taking on info. The long convoy of team cars seems to allow spectators to ease their concentration and come back to normal, but because the whole thing happened in seconds the crowd seem stunned that the show is over and first timers stare at each other as if to say what just happened.
Dazed, confused and excitement are perfectly fitted adjectives that could describe what has happened. However, the one that should be used is beauty. Cycling is filled with colour, character, charm and history and for that few minutes of action, the whole community becomes involved in this cycling family and can feel every bit of the beauty that hurries on past to the next town.
After a final police car steadily rolls through town, the rattle of a knocked about scooter rolls through the corridor of people with a local man on board who has finished his shopping and heading home. Within a second bedlam as local traffic hits the streets and life goes on in a busy Indonesia town. The bike race has gone, but the feeling will still live on and even lay dormant until next year when the race returns. The people continue on with their busy schedule but it feels a lot different now the bike race has rushed through town.
|Posted by Budget Forklifts on June 13, 2013 at 8:45 PM||comments (0)|
Luke Ockerby blogs about his experience so far in America.
This is my first entry of my journey in America.
Shortly after arriving we were picked up in Philidelphia (Ya'll not from round here are ya) before tackling the short 2 hour drive to Kutztown University which will be my home for the next 2 months along with fellow Tasmanian Micheal Astell or Marco Astell to the locals struggling with his confusing accent.
After settling into the accomodation I turned up for my first crit race after 2 days which turned out to be struggle street. Located in Basking Ridge, Base Camp is regarded as the hardest crit in the US, after roughly 30 minutes of being legless i found myself watching, which turned out to be pretty cool to see United Healthcare execute a perfect leadout train.
Putting the result behind be I then focused on my first track race, the Tuesday night Fuji pro series located at Trexlertown also known as T-town.
At the moment the way it works is every race carries points from 1st to 5th (7-5-3-2-1). The racing at the moment is quite short with numerous races under 15 laps which makes for fast racing. I was able to come away with the win after scoring 26 points from the 4 races on offer.
After Tuesday night i started to tackle the bucketlist, and what better way to start off with then NYC. Or so i thought, arriving in Times Square we set off first to spend time in Central Park which is where we spent the following 2 hours before heading into a few museums etc etc... After negotiating the hussle and bussle of the day we spent the majority of the evening on a guided tour bus before finishing up at the top of the Rockefellar tower before heading back home to Kutztown arriving at 2.30 in the morning.
Friday night racing which turned into Saturday night after being rained out proved to be the toughest as the Dutch, British and ze Germans turned out in force. Again scored on points for top 5 places i was able to end up 5th overall after an aggressive night of racing.
The rest of the weekend consisted of ticking more off the bucketlist, eating out at Tacobell (good), a diner (awesome) and how could we not go to good ole Walmart! After making our first purchase of bb guns we soon realised the force was to great to shoot each other at point blank range after i managed to rip mine out of the box and load it quicker than Micheal which left him moaning on the ground covered in welts.
We have already made some pretty good friends with the fellow riders and the locals, of which Joel from Pops Malte Shoppe has proven the best. Daily visits have resulted in us indulging in 4 dollar waffle cones with the 2 biggest scoops of all time. Our regularity with Joel has lead into him offering to take us to the gun range to fire off a few rounds which is something we are all looking forward to with a bit of hesitation!
The next Tuesday night of racing proved to be as rewarding as the last as i was able to take the win with 18 points overall.
The next few days will bring us the Harley factory in York, as well as friday night racing and hopefully a crit in Harlem if we can sort out the logistics. Ill also aim to tick a few more items off the bucketlist, until next time cheers or as the Yanks put it "have a nice day" (which is essentially saying leave now).
|Posted by Budget Forklifts on May 7, 2013 at 6:05 AM||comments (0)|
Last week the Battle on the Border was run for the first time as an NRS race. The team for it was – Alex Wohler , Kristian Juel , ShaunMcCarthy, Marc Willow, Blair Windsor, Josh Prete, Jake Kauffman and Myself. Last year I was lucky enough to win the Battle on the Border, so I think it was fitting my first NRS race with Budget Forklifts was at the Battle. The team arrived at the Golden Riviera a few days before the race to have a look at a couple of the courses. Straight away it was apparent my goals for this tour were to help as much as I can early on and maybe go for a stage later in the tour.
As it turned out the start of the first stage was carnage with 15k of neutral followed by a motorbike crashing in the bunch and another 5k of neutral. Needless to say when the race started properly it was on! Everyone in the team did their job perfectly on the first day going in all the breaks and making it hard on the other teams. As it turned out just after the second sprint of the day, which I managed to win, the break of the day formed with Wohler, Shaun and I. Over the Burrigbarclimb I realised I was struggling and wouldn’t be much good up the next climb or the final climb of Mt warning. So I got to the front and rode as hard as I could for as long as I could so Wohler and Shaun could ride easy before the climb. As it turned out both Wohler and Shaun ended up finishing top ten, and Marc Williams up there as well climbing his way through the break. While not the win we were still happy with the result as it set us up for an attacking day the next day and luckily I ended up in the green jersey.
The second day of the tour was hard. There’s no other way to describe it, from the gun every team was trying to put genesis on the backfoot, and with a serious climb 20k into the stage a group went clear over the top which included every Budget Rider. This was crucial as 10k later was the intermediate sprint so if I wanted to defend the jersey I needed to be there. Again with the help of the boys I managed to get the sprint points to defend the jersey, and then it was back into the hills. The bunch came back together and although everyone tried no one could'nt get away. With about 20km to go the team got onto the front and showed why it’s one of the strongest teams in the race. A 15k fast lead out is no mean feat but the boys did it and made it look easy. Coming into the finish I got caught behind a group of riders that swamped me and could only sprint with 100m to go but I managed to get third. Again not the result we were looking for but I came out happy as it was my first NRS podium.
The third day could be describe by being interesting. It was meant to be a short TT in the morning followed by a crit in the afternoon. I had been given the go ahead to cruise the TT so I had better legs in the crit,so an uneventful morning set me up for an eventful afternoon. A crash in the woman’s NRS race forced our race to be delayed and eventually cancelled because of poor lighting. This was disappointing because I wanted to defend the green jersey and go for the stage. Safety is paramount and I commend the commissaries for making the right decision.
The final day of racing was nerve wracking for me as all Ineeded was an extra point in the sprint jersey comp and I had it sewn up. The entire race was attack after attack after attack, from people looking to improve on GC and people trying to catch me out in the sprint. It all came backtogether bar two people with 2k to go before the sprint leaving one point openfor the sprint. Neil van der ploeg (second place in the sprint) went with a kilometre to go, and it was a long drawn out drag race but I managed to get the point and secure the green. Unfortunately it completely blew my legs and my day was done. The rest of the boys rode the stage to perfection and a slip on the difficult final corner ruined Wohler’s chances for a stage but luckily he kept all his skin!
All up it was a good tour with heaps of positives and a few things to learn from. Overall I think Everyone should be really happy ! As for me I’m ecstatic after getting my first NRS podium and first NRS Jersey. I couldn’t have done it without the whole team!
|Posted by Budget Forklifts on February 11, 2013 at 8:40 PM||comments (0)|
(The first Budget Forklift team at Gippsland in 2008, with no wins) (The current Budget Forklift team winning the tour of Murray 2012)
Budget Forklifts Past & Present
Past & Present
I think it is a better time than ever with the current growth and strength of Australian cycling to write a few words from inside the very heart of one of the domestic trade teams. In 2013, Budget Forklifts has been able to build a reputation as one of the best teams in Australia, often outperforming the team’s own expectation in our love of cycling. In writing down these words I’m not only giving our team a virtual pat on the back, but also all the other independent self-funded cycle teams in Australia. The teams like; Huon Salmon Genesys and Drapac Cycling who have been able to provide opportunities for young Australian cyclist and others’ to continue our passion in the most professional environment available. More often than not these teams have not only provided the most amazing support in cycling but also been able to assist cyclist in their life beyond the helmet and lyrica.
It’s easy to watch cycling or even race and quickly forget the hard work that is put in by people behind the scene who make it all happen. These hard working people are indeed the same people who help spin the wheel of the professional Aussie peloton. In fact, these men and women tend to stand back and provide the stage and spotlight in which cyclist thrive on. The strength of teams is evident at the recent Australian titles, where the domestic teams reached a new level of professionalism and competitiveness against the much stronger European based rivals. We all like a good old Aussie under dog and maybe that is why I feel the need to write down a few words to praise the growth of the domestic racing and the people who are at the hub of the wheel making it turn.
(Tim, Darryl and myself at the first race. Amazing to still see Carbo Shotz partnered Budget Forklifts still today)
I think the “Team owners/managers” providing these diverse pathways are the made reason why Australia is starting to be known as one of the best cycling nations and why we are seeing the popularity of the sport grow in recent year. What is impressive is that for a number of years these Australian teams’ has survived on nothing but a spark of passion for cycling that has ignited the flame to success. It’s a scary contrast between the amount the teams and owners give to the sport of cycling, and yet just how little they have received in return. For many years it seemed two steps forward for these teams and five steps back. I think however times are changing and you can now see a very big shift in how cycling is viewed in Australia. From the beginning to now you can see a very big change in attitude in Australian cycling and the growth of cycling is showing a bright light at the end of tunnel.
I think it’s much better not to dive straight into the deep end of Australian cycling, rather take baby steps starting from the shallow end. My baby steps into the Australian cycling scene were taken somewhat cautiously with another first timer in cycling who was fittingly Budget Forklifts back in 2008. I think it was part luck and part good form which got me involved with Tim and the Budget Forklift Company for the first time. I can remember myself, a young 18year old walking off the plane (with the moves like jagger) in Melbourne to meet the team and race the tour of Gippsland for the first time. I indeed remember landing and walking out to be greeted by what looked like two hired goons who quickly ushered me away. I felt like I was in an episode of Underbelly as two large men took me straight into a meeting room at the Hilton. I can remember walking in to see a bunch of cyclist all slumped over a meeting room table all looking like they were on trial for murder. To be perfectly honest, if there was a chance to jump on the plane back to Bathurst I most certainly would have been front row heading home. Instead, I took an excited breath and walked quietly to a seat where my name was. I sat there confused, excited and wondering if there was a chance we would all get a free lunch out of this. Eventually a man walked in who Introduced himself as Tim Leunig the owner of Budget Forklifts and the man making this all happen. He was extremely professional and direct, however it was evident he was there to help and support his very young cycle team. He spoke so very passionately about his family company and this was quickly rubbed off into his cycle team. Even though I look at Tim as a friend, back in that meeting he was able to scared the absolute cr#p out of me and the more he talked about professionalism and teamwork the more I wondered when could I get my free lunch and head home. Eventually we were excused from the meeting and it was time for business heading down to the week long race. You would think that with the current success of the team and the constant support from Tim and his company that we would have absolutely dominated that tour leading to a successful relationship….Nope, the opposite happened. We got smashed!!! We literally could not beat our own Budget Forklift shadows! In fact, I can remember racing a crit around a small Gippsland town and having the most amazing support from whom I though was the locals. I could not believe it, locals knowing my name and who I was!!! Once I finished I rode around to impress my adoring fans one more time, I looked over and in amazement saw my entire forklift team were standing on the side of the road clapping. Turned out the race was too hard for them and they were forced to abandon the crit. I now look back on this tour and laugh at the events that occurred during that time. We all have a fabulous time while Tim and his two helpers worked tirelessly to make it all happen. Tim was not only the team owner but also the mechanic, the water boy and director. I find it very bizarre as I was so nervous being in my position as a cyclist and now I realise Tim would have been just as nervous as I was.
That trip (the tour of Gippsland) turned out to be what I would like to call a “beautiful disaster”, why? Because the trip itself, the racing, the results were all a disaster and not one a new team owner would like to see. However, the beauty of competitive cycling shown through and eventually that trip path the way for a lot more successful ones to where we stand today.
By writing this, I’m taking the time too praise the Budget Forklift team itself and the others who would have had very similar beginnings to us and stood strong to fight another day. I also wanted to highlight the amazing contribution made by a number of people who have made this all possible. Every year the list continues to grow and the sport becomes bigger. The success of Budget Forklifts did not happen overnight, and indeed that is easily forgotten when the emotion of a victory in the camp has taken over. However I think not only with cycling but other personal pursuits it’s more than important to look back down the road you travelled to the very beginning where it started and the Budget Forklift beginning was one that can’t be easily forgotten. However years later the team is still around and providing the chance for young Australian’s to ride there bike. I think all teams in Australia should be credited with the amazing contribution to cycling they have made in pursuit of there passion. Let’s face it without teams, we would not have racing and a chance for people to be involved in what is a beautiful sport.
Let’s hope that current trends continue on the positive spiral upwards.
Keep pedalling, Blair.
|Posted by Budget Forklifts on February 10, 2013 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
Alex Wohler happy to be in Scody Clothing
(Alex Wohler looking great in the Scody designed Budget Forklift kit in the National Crit)
For 2013 we are thankful for the continual support from our clothing partner Scody Australia. I, myself have ridden in Scody garments for the last 2 years & the Budget Forklifts Cycling Team have had the pleasure to race in their kit for a number of years. When riding a bike for 3 - 4 hrs a day, there is only one thought running through your head before you go out & that is. Will I be comfortable in my kit? The only answer with Scody is YES. From my experience their combination of breathable fabrics & comfortable chamois makes the ride all the more enjoyable.
Budget Forklifts Cycling Team have been kitted out with Scody’s Summer & Winter garments. The aerodynamic race fit jersey’s we ride in the team have been designed with UPF 30+ & moisture wicking material to stay cool & protected during racing. All garments at Scody have been tested and put through the physical harsh conditions that we face as cyclist each day on the road. The testing produces the high quality skinsuits which the team use in Time Trials. Not only aerodynamic, the skin suit chamois provides the comfort when your pushing your body to the limit. The Scody kit allows us to focus less on being comfortable, and more on the job of racing our bikes. We have all been in the Scody kit from the beginning of the cycling season and our team have all been very impressed with the kit and indeed helping us to perform well in the big races.
Scody specialize in high quality custom team clothing & after working with our team manager have come up with a standout color scheme which you will see in our photos. The infamous yellow of Budget Forklifts highlighting the Scody Custom Clothing Line looks great & stands out in the peleton on the national level.
(Scody designed Budget Forklift Skinsuit proudly on display)
If you would like to talk to Scody about their products or would like to purchase any garments, please go to http://www.scody.com.au/
|Posted by Budget Forklifts on February 6, 2013 at 1:45 AM||comments (0)|