May update - Getting dirty, then getting clean

May has been a big month. I'm a bit behind with Ride Happy posts, so here is a very brief snapshot of what's been going on. We started with Battle on the Border in Qld. I am still leading the National Road Series, although the amazing Ruth Corset is hot on my heels. My mum (NOT Lisa's Mum!) got very excited about this article by Cycling Australia because I talked about how I like having a career to balance out all the pedalling. Parents like to hear things like that.

I've been enjoying some time in Adelaide, training and with family. It really is the best city in Australia for cycling. I have a bike that I keep there now, which makes spur-of-the-moment trips very do-able. It's almost worth flying there just to experience the novelty of not travelling with a bike bag. Some quality secret training too, which as we all know is the best kind.

The following weekend, Ryan 'Diamonds' Moody and I teamed up for the Dirty Gran Fondo MTB in Wandong, VIC, put on by the good people at Big Hill Events. 90km of fire road through Mt Disappointment State Forest with >2000m vertical. That is a lot, particularly on a mountain bike. Diamonds could have dropped me about a million times, but luckily for me stuck around to watch me suffer.

The DGF was awesome, but ridiculously muddy. It was an important race for The Roadie Project, as I've entered Tour de Timor in Sept (a 5 day MTB stage race) and need to be somewhat competent in an international MTB field. Riders could opt to ride cyclocross bikes or MTBs, and there was some pretty compelling evidence to be seen of the growing popularity of CX in Australia. ANOTHER bike for the wish list!

Despite the fantastic atmosphere that is typical of MTB racing, the day was soured for me by the behaviour of one WALRUS, who took me out in the first 5km as we were all jostling for position. This guy decided that he was in 81st place and had to move to 80th pronto, which meant changing his line in a rocky creek bed and clean decking me. That's part and parcel of racing, but what was disappointing was that the guy knew he was in the wrong and didn't check that the person who had just eaten it was ok.  I saw him turn around as I was sprawled out elegantly over the rocks, then keep going (no doubt to chase down 79th place). Fair enough if you are racing for the win but this guy was no winner. I don't mind bleeding all over my nice race shoes, and spending a few days off the bike, and sticking to the bed sheets, but I take exception to spending my Sunday afternoon in a medical clinic and scrubbing out my knee in the shower with a toothbrush, just because some idiot doesn't know how to ride. ALSO, given that there were 120 starters and I finished 20th, I'm pretty sure I passed you, Walrus, at some stage, and I bet as you were chicked you made some stupid excuse to yourself about how this was a training race for you and you were just pacing yourself, etc etc. WALRUS!

Phew! That's my grumpy rant done.

The next exciting thing is that Apollo Bicycles have started a Facebook comp to choose the cover photo for the Apollo 2013 catalogue. They have very kindly put a photo of me bleeding from my eyeballs (below) as one of the entries. The winning photo is the one with the most 'Likes'. You can enter by visiting the Apollo Facebook page here. (Or try here for a link to the photo itself, if you're feeling lucky.)

Obviously, voting brings you extremely good luck and it's been proven that voters are better kissers.
Another cool thing that's happened lately is that I've started a new job as an in-house legal counsel in Melbourne. I've had a great year of exploring new opportunities and this is an exciting new chapter in my career. Again, this got my Mum very excited.
I've also started a board role with Lacrosse Victoria, which is a new and exciting challenge. And I had a great opportunity last month to sit on the Cycling Australia Selection Review Panel for a world champs selection appeal. I'm getting a lot of enjoyment from working with sports, and as I go I realise how much athletes can contribute positively to sports governance.
But... one of THE MOST exciting and newsworthy events lately has been that Lisa's Mum now has her own regular column in Bicycling Australia magazine! That's right, Lisa's Mum has sold out. She will still be appearing in Ride Happy, but this time if you send her a letter you may just see it in the next BA issue. Her first appearance is in the next issue (out in the next few weeks). You can also grab a copy of RIDE Magazine for something more serious - the current issue (#56) has the first of a four-chapter series I've written on corruption, match-fixing and cycling. Corruption in sport has the potential to be bigger than doping, and potentially more damaging.
OK, that's enough talking, and time to get back pedalling. Thanks to everyone who has kept me smiling over the last few months. You know who you are.
Ride Happy.

Bec Werner: Riding happy and racing in the USA

Bec Werner is a mate of mine from Adelaide and someone I really respect. She has come through the ranks of National Talent ID and has shown a lot of talent both on the road and the track. (Her palmares include a podium in the individual pursuit at Oceania Track Champs in 2010.) But the reason I really respect Bec is that she is a Top Chick. She is always positive, smiling, and maintains her sense of humour in a world that thrives on cut-throat competitiveness and personal sacrifice. Bec kindly agreed to do a guest post for Ride Happy reflecting on her first international season as a pro cyclist. I found it inspiring; I'm sure you'll find the same.

Bec Werner rides happy in the USA

My Ride Happy t-shirt* arrived in the mail a week or two before I was set to jet off to the mighty US of A on my first ever overseas adventure, bike in tow, excited at the prospect of a double summer and the chance to have a crack at some big races with the Webcor Bridge Team. My purchase was mainly influenced by the ‘ride like you stole it’ slogan printed on the back, which always brings a mischievous grin to my face, yet the two simple words printed in bright red on the front would prove much more significant.

Over the last 5 months I’ve come to discover what ‘riding happy’ really means. This is not to say that I was never happy when I was riding before. Or that I’ve cracked the Da Vinci Code of cycling, and now when my book is published and made into a big money motion picture everyone will forever ride in pure joy and look to me as the cycling Buddha. I’m simply saying that I’ve experienced moments on the bike, and come to be in a certain place in everyday life that have filled me with a great sense of happiness at being a cyclist and spending long, butt-numbing hours seated on a wafer thin piece of plastic.

It’s amazing how training in new and exciting places can change your perspective. Suddenly the rain isn’t quite so cold, the false flats aren’t quite as long and the climbs don’t hurt quite so much. Well that last bit’s a lie, the climbs always hurt, but you get the gist.

Training in my new stomping ground of the Bay Area, California, has taken me back to square one. With massive bunch rides that are more like races, it’s a melting pot of people who ride for all different reasons, yet also for the same – a simple love of the bike. It’s like being a kid again. Riding with childlike enthusiasm, free of any inhibitions. Sprinting for city limit signs as if they are the finish line at a world championship. Throwing around elbows a dishing out headbutts to friends to claim prime position in the bike lane.

I’ve ventured up paths to places that can only be accessed and truly experienced aboard a bike. Clambered up dirt climbs in the granny gear, setting a new max heart rate in the process, while passing through spectacular scenery and seemingly untouched country on the way to magnificent views. It was one of these moments that brought total clarity. This is what ride happy is about. Gasping for air, and with legs like cement blocks, I looked at the other totally wrecked, yet happy people standing around me in this picture perfect, magical place, and it just clicked. At that moment I knew that as much as I thrive on the competition of racing, and am driven to ride by ambition that doesn’t like rest days; if all that was taken away, I would simply ride for moments like these, and ride happy.

If you take those good vibes from training and living as a full time athlete, free of the stresses and complications of everyday life and then add to it living in a happy and passionate, bike crazy environment, it’s sure to flow into racing. Racing over here is big and exciting, with all the American bravado and hype that only they can bring, which in turn brings the crowds, and your adrenaline level up all at the same time. It’s been a total adventure. Jumping into an environment full of unknowns and where no one knows you, it takes away any expectations and perceptions, and lets you re-invent yourself on the bike if you like. Nothing to lose, and oh so much to gain.

I’ve had my most enjoyable, and subsequently my most successful racing season ever. It all adds up. There’s no cold, hard facts, but I’m convinced that some of these simple things that we often overlook, not only ‘recovery’, but resting and relaxing your body and mind and simply ‘riding happy’ play a massive part in performance and success.

Now it’s back to reality, and the real world that moves at a faster pace, and doesn’t allow for waiting until the temperature is just perfect before you trundle off. Hopefully I can take some of that ride happy back with me, as I’m sure it doesn’t really matter what road you ride on, the road is what you make it.

So ride happy, because it’s true, life is too short to ride mad! 


[Ed's note: The Ride Happy tees are producd by the awesome St Mel Designs in Victoria. Get your hands on one here.]

My riding happy in Adelaide photos

20110628-060459.jpg I took the chance while I was in Adelaide to find some bike pictures from my childhood. Despite finding everything from my first day of school to my last Magic Cave visit, I couldn't find any of me riding a bike. I put this down to the fact that our family car was a Triumph 2500, which was a great and noble car but also a SEDAN. No chance of fitting two little girls' bikes in on Summer holidays.

So here are 2 pictures I did find. The first is the tricycle pic above, with my sister Cathy, me in the middle and our friend Christie at the helm.

The second (below) is my sister on her tricycle, fending me off.


And this (below) is as close to recumbent cycling as I'll get.


More riding happy in Adelaide

After putting up some of Adelaide Cyclists' photos recently of readers with their first bikes, I really enjoyed going back to the site and seeing what other photos had been put up. I wish I could add some from my childhood but my photos are all in Adelaide too. I'll try to track some down when I'm back there next.
Anyway, here are some more beauties that had been posted. They're named according to the people who sent them in, so some are forum names. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. If you have any others, I'd love to include them in a future post. Just email them to me at


Riding Happy in Adelaide

I've only recently come across the site Adelaide Cyclists after their founder Angus sent me a message. Adelaide Cyclists is a site devoted to all cyclists in Australia's coolest city, Adelaide. On their forum today, readers sent in photos of themselves with their first bike. Some of the pictures (and the bikes) are classics. There is something really lovely about seeing how, now matter how times change, some things (like the pride and excitement that comes with a new bike) never change.
Below are a few gems. You can check out the rest at their site here.