"This ride is the ultimate climbing challenge. I've linked up all of my favourite climbs that I used to train on as a professional cyclist. This is a long day in the saddle, designed to build endurance and strength in preparation for a return to the European race season."
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Born in Melbourne, I learned to ride a BMX at age six. At fourteen, I bought my first road bike and at age fifteen I was racing at the local club. I bought my second bike from a kid who belonged to the same club as me, Blackburn. He was the same age and was someone I looked up to and admired. He had all the kit and I was just starting out. The bike was a Pacconi, made by a local frame builder who had a great reputation. It was painted red, white and green, like the old 7-Eleven team bikes. It wasn’t much better than the bike I already had but it looked way cooler.
This story goes deeper than just buying a bike. Years later, after getting into racing a lot more seriously and riding other bikes, I realised that this bike was not a Pacconi. I had bought a Shogun, a mass produced bike that had been painted and finished with Pacconi decals. I realised this because it had the letter S stamped into the top of the rear stays. I was inexperienced when I bought it and had never noticed. I was ripped off. After racing for many years overseas, in the amateurs and pros, I bumped into the guy who had sold me the bike on an RCC ride. Paul Kelly was his name. We reminisced about the old days and had a good old laugh. Then I mentioned the Pacconi. It turned out that he had crashed into someone and bent it so he got it fixed and repainted by Pacconi. So in some weird way I did buy a Pacconi.
It’s a small world. Paul Kelly is now our assistant manager at the Melbourne Club House and there is not a day that goes by without me mentioning in some sly way about purchasing a Shogun. That bike sparked my passion for cycling. I love cycling and it has been a part of my life for many years. I have been lucky enough to have travelled around the world racing my bike and I continue to find passion in cycling through cyclocross. I have been fortunate enough to win a national title on the road and then twenty years later to win a national title in cyclocross.
Cycle with passion.