Friday 29 November 2013

Inspirational Women Who Run.... Introducing Lisa Marangon

Always smiling and positive.... no matter how painful it is!
Lisa Marangon is an inspiration and certainly one of my personal role-models. Not only does she run a very successful business, but she is a single mum and an amazing professional triathlete. Just this year she's come 3rd at Ironman 70.3 Shepparton, 1st in the Murray Man Long Course triathlon, First at Ironman 70.3 Port Macquarie, 2nd at Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon, 3rd at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast, 4th at Ironman 70.3 Busselton, and 2nd at Huskinsson Long Course Triathlon. It's a pretty impressive CV. 

But what is most impressive about Lisa, is not just her talent as an athlete. It's her dedication, determination and her super positive attitude. This is one lady who, regardless of the setback, never, ever gives up. And she does it all with a huge smile on her face.  She is incredibly humble and her grace is inspiring,
I am so lucky and priviledged to be able to do what I do as I have such a strong support team behind me.
Her son Josh is an incredible young man. Well spoken, always well-behaved, he is the kind of boy that you hope that your son will grow up to be a bit like. 

Readers, please meet the amazing Lisa Marangon.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I'm a single mother of a 13 year old, who runs my own business as a swim coach for triathletes.  I race as a professional athlete myself.

How did you get into triathlon? 
I watched some friends race in Ironman OZ in 2002 and wanted to do it the following year.

Eds note: I remember Lisa telling me that when she trained for her first ironman, in order to fit in some of her rides, she rode with her son in a kid's seat on the back of her mountain bike.  That's incredible dedication! 
Perhaps because she is too modest, what she doesn't mention here is that in her debut Ironman at Foster in 2003 she won her age group (20-24), and came second in her age group that year at Kona in the Ironman World Championships. It just goes to show that there are no good excuses, and that dedication and determination pays off.

What is your greatest achievement in triathlon so far?
I would have to say when I won my first ever half Ironman in Busselton in May 2007. I had come off my bike 10 days prior to the race and had fractured ribs. I not only won but broke the course record.

What do you find hardest about racing and training?
Trying to organize for myself as well as my son. Being a single mum I can’t just get up and go wherever I want to!

I think that you are probably the most determined person I know. How do you stay so motivated? What drives you?
I set myself goals and I know that if I don’t fully commit to those goals, I won’t get the results I want. 
I have had to experience low points in order to get up and move forwards.
I am also so passionate about what I do.
It's all about the learning make sure I stick with what works, and correct what doesn't. Every training session, every race I do I gain more and more out of myself and constantly keep learning new things. 
How have you balanced being a single mum, being a coach and trainer, and a very successful racing career?
Being organized and making sure I stick to a schedule and routine.

What’s the thing that you are most proud of?
Raising a child is, and it's still is the best experience in life. There is no textbook on the right way; it's about the different choices that you have to make everyday. It's incredible seeing how you can change a person's life and help them grow into the person they are.
My son Josh gives me more reason to achieve my life goals than anyone else. I want to make him proud of me and I want to be a good role model for him. I did however ask him if he talks about me to his friends at school and he said that he would get bagged out about it. It means so much to me that he understands now why I do what I do and he supports my passion for this sport. He is my angel and sometimes when I am in doubt I think of him and he gives me strength, especially when he isn't watching me race in person.
What’s next from here? What are your goals for the coming season and beyond?
I am stepping back into ironman and starting off with Ironman Western Australia in December. 
I believe that I can be a world champion one day and I will do whatever it takes.

What advice would you give someone trying to make the leap from age-group athlete to professional?
Enjoy the journey, learn from your mistakes and be the best you can be all the time.
You can read more about Lisa here. You will be inspired! 

Good luck in Ironman Busselton Lisa!!

Thursday 28 November 2013

How to judge a guy by the bike that he rides

Road cycling attracts a certain type of guy; regardless of the type of cyclist he is, all dudes who ride are trying to portray a very particular type of image. Whether he is a hipster who rides a fixie about town, or an Italian Stallion on his polished up Pinarello, the type of bike a guy rides can tell you a lot about him; whether or not to go for him, or ride for the hills.

Here is my guide on how to pick the perfect man - depending on his bike of choice. Though superficial, I'm well qualified to make these sweeping generalisations; on my "List" i.e. prerequisites for dating a guy, I included, "must own at least one cervelo" (I would have made an exception if he was a professional cyclist and rode the team bike). When finding a compatible guy, for me, it really is all about the bike.

My second baby is my white P3
This guy likes a smooth, fast ride. He is either a serious roadie or triathlete, and is prepared to pay for quality.
This dude is not one to go against the grain; Cervelo is a reliable, though uncreative choice. But then again, if you are onto a good thing, why change?

A little too special for my tastes. 
Specialized came in number three after Cervelo and Trek at the Kona bike count for the last two years, and so while this dude may have legs of steel, be on guard; this rider may well put the special in Speacialized. He likes to think that he is a bit different, unique and unusual - the usual Cervelo or Trek simply won't do for him. He wants to stand out from the crowd, though not necessarily in a good way, he may be trying to be different just for it's own sake.

Mr Pinarello; no description necessary 
Pinarello make great bikes, though they do atract a certain type of male rider. Smooth, fast talking, and someone who likes a bit a bling. This is for the roadie who likes quality, but he likes to show that he likes quality. Pinarello attracts two types; either the serious rider who is obsessed with his bike and is happy to throw all his cash at it, or the wealthier of the cafe cyclist mob. The later will likely have all the gear and no idea, be squeezed into some white asos lycra, and his bike and kit will be part of an ostentatious display of wealth. This is not as bad as it seems; if you are looking for some superficial fun and like drinking only Vueve Clicqout or Billecart, this is your man. He will spend his money on you while it helps his image, though you are never going to get much beyond that.
Beware the former Mr Pinarello; this guy will chose his bike over you every time.
Pinarello; it's all about the bling.
The age of the bike may well match the age of the rider. Old school!
Is he over 50? Italian? These are the only guys who can ride these bikes and retain any kind of creditability. It's likely Mr Bianchi has been riding Bianchi since he was a 20 year old club racer, and back in the day he probably gave it a pretty good crack.
He probally still has quads of steel, but these days he may also have a little belly (middle-age spread happens to the best of us). This guy will be loyal, though he is likely also to be a little eccentric.
Not too many guys can pull off white lycra. Unless this guy is a pro, run.
And the weirder and more annoying ones.....

Mr "I must have a carbon bike"
There are loads of these guys around. For these guys, cycling is the new golf. The last time he went out on a bike was when his girlfriend at uni decided they would hire mountain bikes for a nice ride in the park. That was a really long time ago. This is a middle-aged banker / lawyer / finance guy who can see his youth and charisma slipping away from him. Now he has money, he is going to prove to everyone he is still hip.
His first bike must be carbon, though he will try to negotiate about the price tag because he won't want to pay for carbon. It won't occur to him that if he spent more time actually exercising, rather than talking about what he accomplished in his youth, then the relatively small difference in weight between an alloy and carbon bike would be entirely negated because he himself would be a signifanctly lighter load to get up all those hills.
He will also be married. And this is his potential answer to his midlife crisis.
It's just not right.
Mr "I want to buy a $AU12 000 carbon bike but can you put flat pedals on it".
Don't laugh, I was asked for this one day when I was working as the bike shop chick. The guys in the shop were horrified, but I said, "what the hell, just sell it". Yes, it is unconscionable to make that kind of a sale. It is a bastardisation of a beautiful bike, clearly being wasted on some schmuck who wants to cruise around the park a few times while showing everyone he knows just how truly rich he is. But hey, some people get what they deserve.

Good luck ladies, and don't say that you haven't been warned!

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Wednesday Giveaway!

Shanghai is China's most populus city, and at an estimated 23.9 million people, it's the largest city in the world. And I estimate that there are at least that many bikes in this town.
Yet, if you want to ride anything more than your townie, good luck. Between dodging forklifts, electric bikes, motorbikes, taxis, buses, people and other bikes, you are not going to get a decent workout on two wheels in this city. Lots of foreigners give up the idea of cycling in Shanghai entirely!
And unless your bike is held together by rust, then it’s only a matter of time before it gets stolen if you do try to ride (to the Boxing Cat Brewery that is).

After being in Shanghai for 18 months, the Shanghai bike dichotomy was one that was getting me down big time. After all, I’m a girl who LOVES her bike.
And so the night a friend introduced me to Spinback Fitness in the French Concession was a pretty damn good one. I still remember my first class with owner, Jon. I had the best time, and me and the other two ladies I worked out with that night left on a massive high.  We coudln’t stop talking about how great it was to have finally find somewhere in Shanghai with proper instructors, proper bikes and not some Mickey Mouse gimmicky class.

For the sake of non-Shanghai expats, I will explain just a little. Shanghai gyms are not like gyms anywhere else I've been. 
For example, the first gym I joined in Jing An used to have instructors who smoked cigarettes while you were working out. And then the person trying to sign me up tried to use it as a selling point that I’d get a free session with one of those smoking personal trainer if I'd only sign that day.  No thanks!
Another time I was running on a treadmill, and someone came along and started cleaning it while I was actually using the machine. This was despite the fact that the rest of the gym was entirely empty. 
And then there’s the spitting in swimming pools.  So gross.
And so finding Spinback Fittness was such a great thing because these people actually had a clue about what they were doing.
The lovely Jen.

It was a relief to go to normal classes, with normal (actually, better) standards of hygiene than you come to expect outside of China.  But even better than that, there was one crucial difference. The owners, Jon and his fiance, Jen are committed to a high level of personal service. Not only are the class sizes kept small (you aren’t jammed into an underground den with someone else’s butt in your face and sweat running down the walls) but Jon and Jen and all the instructors actually take the time to get to know you. By understanding your fitness goals they better tailor the classes so that you can achieve what you want from your 50 minute workout.
And because Jon comes from an exercise physiology background, he really knows his stuff. But he also knows that we are not all professional athletes, which helps in setting realistic and achievable goals.

Readers, I must come clean with you at this point. I loved the first classes that I took with Jon and then Jen so much, that I applied for a job at Spinback.

Luckily for me, Jon and Jen said yes. And I started working for them.

And it was one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had. (My favourite jobs that  I’ve had in my life have seemed to involve bikes in one way or another – first at Cheeky Monkey Multisport, now Cheeky Velosport in Randwick as the “bike chick”, and then as a spin instructor. All that money and time spent at law school was a really worthwhile investment… not!)

Finally, working at Spinback, I was able to get my “bike fix” – something I'd basically given up on in Shanghai. Despite living in what has got to be one of the world’s most urban cities, the cycling dream was never too far away.

I love Spinback, where actually, it is all about the bike. The instructors bring a wealth of experience – from National and World Champion (Simone), to crazy ultra-marathoners (Nourredine) to impeccable Dutch cycling pedigree (Dirk). The faciltiies are cutting edge, but the best bit is that even though you are exercising, it’s still about having a good time. They regularly host Spin and Sin classes where you was a hard workout down with a beer. They have heaps of cool events, for example during Halloween,  there were spooky fun spins. And being the phalanthropic types that they are, Jon and Jen reguarlly host fundraising events, such as the recent Spinathon that raised R23.5K for Shanghai Sunrise. You get to workout and feel good for so many reasons! 
Spinning for a great cause!
And if you don't believe me about how this is honestly the best workout in Shanghai (hey, I am a little biased) I dare you to prove me wrong.

Today we have a Special Giveaway here at Dim Sum and Long Runs.....

The first person to answer this question correctly will win a FREE SPIN.

What's the optimal range to get your heart rate for the most efficient fat burning?

Please email your answers with "Spinback Fitness" as the title.

For more details on location, class times and prices, click here.

It's also worth checking out the Spinback Fitness website for tons of Free Fitness tips


Tuesday 26 November 2013

The Life and Wife of a professional cyclist; introducing Pete and Lisa McDonald.

What an amazing couple! Tour Down Under 2010
Can you tell me a little bit about yourselves?
After retiring from professional cycling in 2011 my wife Lisa and I moved from Sydney to Busselton in WA. Lisa gave birth to Flynn our beautiful son in June of 2011. I had started to make a return to school teaching, which is what I had been doing before taking up cycling. I ended up taking a job in Kalgoorlie WA for 2012. We have been living in Kalgoorlie for the past two years and we are now expecting our second child (a girl) in January of 2014. I have happily secured a position in Bunbury for 2014 and we are very much looking forward to returning to the South West to live hopefully for the foreseeable future. We both hope to raise our children by the beach in Bunbury and both intend on doing lots of riding with the South West CyclingClub
I also hope to build my cycle coaching business - Pro Bike Coaching - as a sideline to my teaching work.
Pete is on the right. In real life he always seems so quite and gentle. Not here! What a machine!
This is from the Tour of Wellington, 2009

So Pete, I know you are a professional cyclist. I’d like to hear a bit about that. How did you get your big break?
There is one clear stand out victory that helped me become a professional. I started out racing for Randwick Botany Cycling Club and had managed to make my way up to A grade from D grade in a reasonably short space of time. I had also had a couple of good races at various opens around NSW mostly in B grade. The FRF Courier Team and The Caravello Team were joining forces for the 230km Grafton to Inverell in 2004 and asked me to join the team for the race as a guest rider. Being a guest and very un-experienced at racing over the distance and at a much higher level, I was asked to try and be in the early break. In such a long race this is usually caught easily before the end and so you are basically there to represent the team but also to be used up as cannon fodder. I got myself into the break and in this rare case we managed to stay away to the finish. I won the three up sprint and was invited to join the team for the following year. FRF and Caravello joined forces for that year and registered as a continental team. This was my first chance to race overseas.
Pete wearing his new Australian kit. 
For lots of people who watch the Tour de France and other cycling events on TV, being a pro cyclist seems like both hard work, but also a quite glamorous. Can you tell me a bit about the reality of it?
Yes, life as a cyclist can be really, really hard. I remember doing a tough stage in the Tour of Langkawi in 2010, I think it was around 190km and oppressively hot. It was getting toward the end of the tour and I had managed to retain the KOM jersey to that point. This involved a lot of energy sapping efforts to claim a KOM point here and there at various points along each stage. You kind of learn to grit your teeth and live with a heightened level of fatigue all the time when racing tours, as you keep telling yourself just get through this stage and there will be a nice hotel, massage and dinner waiting for me at the end. On this particular day we were staying at a very good hotel resort in Langkawi. The hotel had a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the ocean and after some post stage food and a massage, myself and a few team members decided to go for a relaxing dip. I remember falling into the water and just floating around in the pool, totally relaxing. I managed to drag myself out of the water at some point and to send my lovely wife Lisa a message accompanied by a picture of me next to the pool. I had a hard time convincing Lisa that I was actually doing it tough and the racing was really hard. I learnt quickly not to send Lisa (who was back at home working) pictures of hotel infinity pools while away racing.
Tour of Margaret River 2013
What does your typical training involve?
When I was in full training it involved between 500 - 700km a week. This included one long ride per week of about 200km and 4 shorter more intense sessions. I would often do an intense hill session (around the beaches of Sydney) on a Tuesday after the bunch ride; go home for some lunch and a sleep followed by a criterium race at Heffron Park in the afternoon. Basically training then racing club races allowed me to push myself a lot harder than if I just trained on my own. This allowed me to be in good shape for the early season races. Once I was into the season it was more a case of race then recover before the next race, so you could back off the training a bit.

Do you have any standout races when something out of the ordinary happened?
While racing for Drapac something out of the ordinary usually happened at most races. It was a great team in that we never took ourselves too seriously and would always have a good laugh along the way. From all the antics that happened in the team, there is one event that stands out for me. During the Tour of Taiwan in 2009 I had made my way into the yellow jersey. We were racing on a long flat circuit this day and I punctured. I radioed the team car and pulled off with a teammate (Daniel Brunsteins) to swap wheels and get service. A neutral spares bike stop was with us so the team car continued on. I had my rear wheel out and instead of swapping with my teammate I waited for the motorbike to give me a wheel. He walked over very slowly and handed me a wheel with a 12-27 cassette on and the tyre that didn’t have much more air in it than my punctured tyre. I told the guy what I though of his work as a mechanic and out of frustration (and very stupidly) threw the wheel into the paddy field next to me. My teammate quickly gave me his wheel and I rode back into the peloton. 
On the way through the convoy I told Agostino (Ago) our director what had happened and that Daniel may need help. I didn’t know that the neutral spares had abandoned Daniel, who was retrieving that wheel I had thrown from the paddy field. By the time Daniel got back on his bike he was a good five minutes behind the race. Ago went back to Daniel and had him hold onto the car to tow him back to the race (this is against the rules, but under the circumstances would most likely be overlooked). Ago who can be a little aggressive in his approach to racing, was driving at about 120km with Daniel holding onto the car when a commissaire (race judge) pulled out of a side street. Ago had to skid to a stop with Daniel being flung off the car at high speed narrowly missing the commissaire’s motor bike on his high speed return to the race. After the stage the chief commissaire was furious with Ago and threw him and Daniel out of the rest of the race, as well as fining the team a record amount of money. That night at dinner things were a little quiet around the Drapac table but Ago stayed remarkably calm. This continued on until breakfast the next morning until I asked Ago why he was so calm about the whole ordeal. He told me that he had seen his doctor before coming to the race and his blood pressure was high so he was not allowed to get upset or over excited anymore. “That’s good” I replied, “Because I have lost my team shoes.”
Tour of Margaret River 2013
Lisa, I’d like to hear about cycling from your point of view. What is it like being married to someone like Pete, who is so fast?
It’s been a fantastic roller coaster journey. It’s demoralising going riding together to say the least……. Even when I outright cheated while out cycling together, Pete could still beat me without breaking a sweat and talking to me as he was coasting past. I tried so many times in vain.  It was awe-inspiring to me – his level of fitness.  Mostly we just had a lot of fun.  On one of our first rides together we went through the national park in Sydney and I smashed myself so much I literally fell asleep on his shoulder over dinner. 

I remember doing a handicap race up Charlotte’s pass at the ESCC Jindabyne camp and being given a head start with a bunch of others of some 45 minutes or more on Pete……. and him still passing me half way up, smiling and pinching my bum as he rode past, while I was quite literally hyper-ventilating.  A low point for me.
ESCC Jindabyne Camp 2009
Did you ever dream you would end up marrying a professional athlete?
Not in my wildest dreams.  My life around law had been stressful to say the least. Meeting Pete was such a refreshing change as he was so incredibly kind, honest and decent. I wanted to move far away from the world I had surrounded myself with in a way.

Do you get nervous watching Pete ride?
Not really.  I was pretty naïve a lot of the time about the racing….. and as we went on and things got very serious between us, I would start to worry when he went away or we had to say goodbye again. When I knew more about how dangerous the races could be and would hear about the crashes, it would cross my mind more.  Mostly I was just so excited to hear about the adventures in whatever country he’d be racing.

What’s the best thing about being married to a professional cyclist?
I feel a lot of pride about the person Pete is and I am incredibly proud of him.  It’s such an exciting life, full of travel and lots of fun times.  There are very little stresses and the travel lifestyle is very glamorous.  One of the best parts was meeting up with Pete in various places around the world in between races.  In 2009 Pete and I met up with Dean and Dominique Windsor and spent an amazing 10 days or so in a villa in Tuscany when Pete was Australian champion, riding scooters around the countryside, wine tasting, eating and lazing by the pool.  The villa was like something out of a movie, only better.

One of the absolute highlights was when Pete won the Australian Championships in 2009 a few months after we’d first met.  I have to admit, I didn’t really know what the race was or its significance (being just a gumby club rider), still very new to the whole Australian racing scene.  Pete took off to Melbourne for yet another race. Then the next thing, I was sitting at work on a Sunday when I received a phone call from Drapac Porsche Cycling team in Melbourne asking me if I could be on the next flight to Melbourne to celebrate the team’s victory.  My first thought was  - oh my gosh, what will I wear (ha, ha!) The guys picked me up in a Porsche in Melbourne and we spent the night eating pizza with the team and celebrating with Michael Drapac and Agostino Giramondo.  Over time I understood what an incredible victory it was for Pete, what it took to win and I just felt really honoured to be able to celebrate and share it with him and of course incredibly proud.
WINNING the Australian Road Championships 2009. What a guy!

And the worst thing about being married to a cyclist?
I’d say its been hard for us as a couple trying to make the transition back from Pete racing at such a high level on a professional basis to a more normal life and raising kids.  I think everyone finds having a family challenging at times though – marriage is hard, raising small children is really hard.  As a lot of people would understand, I thought I knew hard work and sleep deprivation…..until I had kids.  The change in lifestyle was so dramatic for us, but also really wonderful in a whole new way.  It might have been a little easier if we’d had a more traditional start…. but maybe not too.

I’d like to see Pete race more and more again over the next few years and build up his cycle coaching business – ProBike Coaching.  I look forward to seeing him and Flynn out riding together one day.
Pete and Flynn at Hammond Park in Kalgoolgie. 
Lisa, I’d also like to hear a bit about your cycling. I know you are expecting a baby now – so maybe taking a little time off the bike, but you have a pretty impressive athletic CV yourself.  What is your sporting background?
I wasn’t one of those naturally sporty kids. I would say I was more inclined towards music, in particular the piano.  However I grew up in a house full of sport, as my Dad was the Senior Master of Phys-ed at a local high school in WA.  I grew up playing a lot of hockey, basketball and volleyball. I represented the state in basketball up until about 14, but I lacked height (and skill). I did a little bit of cross-country running in high school, albeit very badly, but I really wanted to be good at it.
Tour de France, 2006
I picked up running again in my late twenties as a bit of a stress relief from working as a lawyer.  I found I could step on the treadmill with a bunch of problems and step off thinking they weren’t really problems after all.  Running straightens out my thoughts like nothing else.

I also spent a season working and snowboarding in Whistler Canada and then later did some snowboarding in Sastriere in Italy and Niseko in Japan. Snowboarding is so much fun it's quite ridiculous.  You have to try it in your lifetime.

After quite a few years working long hours in law firms in Perth, I read the book “It's Not about the Bike” by Lance Armstrong.  While that book no longer holds the shine it once did for me, it was such an inspirational read at the time and served to help me change the course of things.  I sold my car, packed up my house, bought a blue Trek (like Lance) and booked a ticket on a cycling trip following the Tour de France through the Alps.  I moved to the UK to work as a lawyer….. and so began my passion for cycling.  To me it was an incredibly inspiring sport.

Getting ready to ride the Aple d'Huez 2006
And at the top of the Alpe d'Huez 2006
When I returned to Australia in late 2007, I joined the Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club. Training in Centennial Park was just incredibly good fun and such a blast.  The people I met through the club are some of my closest and best friends.  Those years spent training and attending the Jindabyne training camps were some of the best years of my life to date.

I’ve done the Sydney half marathon and a mini triathlon since having Flynn.  I am due to give birth to a baby girl in January and as time goes on (and if I am not completely insane from lack of sleep), I’d like to train for a marathon. It is time. I have even bought new running shoes in preparation, as I miss running SO MUCH. Reading the latest Dim Sum and Long Runs story about Phoebe made me realize anything is possible!
Kalgoolie Women's triathlon finisher in 2012, and look how young baby Flynn is! Amazing achievement Lisa!
What are some races you have done that stood out for you?
I did my first half marathon in Hastings in the UK in 2006 while I was working as an Energy & Resources lawyer in London. That was a beautiful course with a great finish along the seaside.  I caught the train down on my own and remember feeling a real sense of pride on finishing and then crashing in the train on the way home.

In terms of races, one of the absolute highlights would have to be the Gold coast half-iron man in 2008.  While I was living in Sydney, a very good friend of mine (who shall remain nameless, …. oh, and who now lives the expat dream in Hong Kong!) encouraged me to come and race the event with her at a particularly low point in my life.  It was fantastic – we had a blast (despite lost bikes and missing wheels)! I knew I could do almost anything after that. I went up there with virtually no swim training…… and was almost last out of the water (Jane’s Mum thought I must have withdrawn), but gained some ground on the cycle and run legs. It was a tremendous sense of achievement and gave me the boost I needed.
Jubilant 1/2 Gold Coast 1/2 ironman finishers.  Lisa looks so fresh... would you believe she'd just done a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run? 
I have also run the Sydney half marathon a couple of times (2008 and 2012) and it’s always a favourite race just for the scenery and the vibe of everyone competing.  Sydney is one of the most spectacular cities in the world.

I’d like to hear the story of how you both got together. I know it involved a bike! 
Lisa’s story….
There are differing versions….. while romance didn’t bloom immediately, I first met Pete in Sydney at the CheekyMonkey bike shop in when I returned back to Australia from London. I took the little blue Trek into Cheekys (around the corner from my flat) to have someone put it back together…. And little did I know that that person would be Pete, the greatest thing (along with my kids) that has ever happened to me.  I picked up my bike and this nice mechanic handed it to me and started explaining a few things he’d fixed on the bike…… he was just so understated, polite and the whole bike-mechanic thing was extremely attractive (after working with men in suits all day). We became friends and I remember always being struck by how nice Pete was every time I met him after that.  I remember sitting next to him at a group dinner before we got together and being completely stuck by how great he was – listening to his stories about racing and living overseas were completely inspiring to me.  It took a while for things to develop romantically after that and for me to realise the kind of partner I was looking for. On our first dates (which were always at dodgy pubs or RSLs in Sydney), we would just spend hours talking about cycling and racing and bikes. Hands down, marrying Pete was the best decision I ever made. 

Pete’s story…..
As Lisa said there a differing versions of how we met…but what really happened is as follows. We had met at the bike shop and a few months after this Lisa was coming to Melbourne for Around the Bay in a Day. This coincided with the end of the Sun Tour, which I was racing. So I invited Lisa to come to a team function held on the last stage. The team books out a café overlooking the race, so friends and family of the team can have a birds-eye view of the stage. After the stage we met up for drinks and stayed up talking late into the night. This was despite the fact I was racing the next day back in Sydney. I told Lisa that if I won I would take her out to dinner back in Sydney and finally got to bed around 3 o’clock. On a couple of hours sleep and with the help of my teammates I managed to win the race and texted Lis to tell her it was my shout once she got back to Sydney. This resulted in a series of dates to some very dodgy venues around Sydney, starting with The Shakespeare Hotel (Shakies) in Surry Hills. Unfortunately my scooter broke down on the way to the date, I had to walk it home and ride in on my bike instead. Although I was very late we had a great night and we always seemed to be able to talk endlessly during our dinners (mostly discussing cycling). I wasn’t sure if Lisa really liked me at this stage, as at the end of each night she would stand about 4 metres away from me, which made it very difficult to kiss her. It took a lot of dates to dodgy pubs and RSL clubs before she would stand close enough and I was brave enough to kiss her goodnight. Things flourished from there and since then it has been a wonderful roller coaster ride of cycling trips, marriage, moving house, changing jobs, kids, etc.
Following in his dad's footsteps. Already out on a bike!
And so now you have little Flynn and number two is almost here, have you any plans to get your kids out on bikes? After all, they come from some pretty good breeding stock! 
Little Flynn is a bundle of energy – he never stops…. I am told like his Dad was at that age.  He is the happiest little boy, forever giggling, wrestling with his Dad and RUNNING…. everywhere, all the time.  So I’d say cycling would be a good outlet for Flynn.  Pete’s Dad Ken was a really talented distance runner – so it’s in Flynn’s genes. I think it was Jens Voigt’s parents who were at a loss as to how to tire him out when he was young and so they bought him a bike (so the story goes)!  I believe sport saves you throughout your life, so I want to let him try as many sports as possible. We’d like to teach him to snowboard too!
At the Start of Kal to Menzies bike race 2013. What a beautiful family of three. Soon to be four!