I have a bit of a freakish memory, especially on the things that interest me - like cycling!
Now I'm not just talking about things like - who won the Tour de France in 2010, because every cyclist can tell you that. I'm talking about things like... who was in a breakaway in the 2010 Tour down Under on the stage up Willunga hill, with current World Champion Cadel Evans?
He was riding his first ProTour road race and had 17 stitches in his arm and leg. He was 19 years old, was a Junior World Champion in men's Cross Country in 2008 and runner up in Cyclo-Cross worlds as well. He had previously been told he wasn't good enough for a pro contract by Quick Step and nearly quit the sport. This was his first Pro Tour and he had a point to prove.
Willunga hill came about, and Cadel Evans made an attack with Wesley Sulzberger was in tow. Alejandro Valverde and Luis Leon Sanchez bridged the gap to Evans, with none other than Peter Sagan on their wheel. Sanchez and Valverde were on the same team and worked together to stay away with Sanchez taking the win, Valverde 3rd and Evans 4th.
Peter Sagan ended up crossing the line in 5th. The commentators didn't talk too much about him but it is good to see the potential he had even back then has turned into outright domination of the cycling peloton we see today.
We were lucky enough to do it through Trek Travel, and it was one of the most amazing, life enriching, experience of our lives, something we had dreamt of since we first started cycling and watching the Tour all those years ago. We started in Lake Annecy, a gorgeous lake in the French Alps and finished atop of Alpe D'Huez, 6 days later. For our first trip to France we decided it would be best to actually miss the Tour de France and go early, and actually enjoy the climbs and really take them in. We also didn't have 3-4 weeks of leave up our sleeve to really take in the tour atmosphere.
What was the highlight? Crossing the finish line of the legendary Alpe D'huez side by side with my wife, the other half of NeoPro. Both being cyclists for such a long time this was a dream to ride, let alone share the moment with each other, from bottom to top. We rode together to enjoy it, rather than go for the best time we could and really took in the moment as it happened.
Below is the highlight video of each day, taken from our go-pro's, cameras and drone footage.
Day 1: Here
Day 2: Here
Day 3 : Here
Day 4: Here
Day 5: Here
Thanks for reading!
5 Tips to Recover After a Crash
Part of being a cyclist, unfortunately, is crashing. Here are some tips I have to recover as quick as possible and getting your legs pumping again.
1 - A good nights sleep. This often gets overlooked as an important aspect, but in my experience (and believe me, I've had my fair share of spills) is the recovery rate is much faster when you are in bed early. Your body does most of its fixing when you are sleeping, so rest up!
2 - Eat a good diet. We have all heard the saying "you are what you eat!", and when your body is in the dumpsters from a crash this is more true than ever so put down that Big Mac and eat that broccoli instead.
3 - Active recovery - Now, obviously this doesn't apply to you if you have broken both of your femurs, but everyone else listen up. The first thing you should do (after assessing yourself for serious injury) is get back on the bike if it is still ride-able. Getting on the bike will pump the blood through the muscle which aids in recovery. It's going to be painful, but extremely beneficial. Every day from hereon in you should be aiming to ride for at least 30 minutes, even if you are just on the stationary trainer, your body will thank you in the long run. If its your legs that are battered around, walking also helps prevent excess stiffness.
4 - Drink LOTS of water - Now this may sound cliché, but remember how you got told to drink lots of water? It actually helps here too. For the same reason your masseuse tells you, drinking lots of water flushes all of the toxins being produced from the crash on those damaged muscles. Aim for around 2-3 litres a day.
5 - Watch lots of motivational videos - Now this one doesn't have a direct relation to recovering from the injury, BUT, it will help you get back to your pre-crash form. I used to find it frustrating being sidelined from a crash and watching endless videos of my favourite athletes training definitely helped steer that frustration into getting into fighting fit form again when I was ready to hit the roads. At NeoPro we have a little soething called a CrashBack Guarantee. What this means is that if you crash while wearing our kit, we will give you 50% off the most recent RRP on the website. We have your back covered! Or, in Hoogerlands case (pictured), his ass!
--There are 3 things that get mainly get damaged in a crash. First thing is the body, second the noble steed, and thirdly the cycling kit--
At NeoPro we have a little something called a CrashBack Guarantee. What this means is that if you crash while wearing our kit, we will give you 50% off the most recent RRP on the website. We have your back covered! Or, in Hoogerlands case (pictured), his ass!
So there are two faces behind Neopro... and those 2 faces met for the first time 11 years ago. It was a Monday morning in March 2005. We were at Track Nationals and it was the very first session of the weeks racing. The morning session had only qualifying races and was held prior to the official opening ceremony and first night of finals (Monday night in this case).
I was warming up, I can’t even remember what for in all honesty, though I’d assume it was the pursuit qualifying round. If you’re familiar with track, it’s an open warm up session, anyone can jump in, with efforts on the black line and rolling easy above the blue- so there was a lot of darting around happening with riders sprinting down for efforts and flying back up to roll and recover.
I was rolling on the blue line (halfway up the track) and some young (thinks hes a hotshot) kid comes flying past me, out of the saddle winding up for an all out effort. He just passes me and crashes out. No big deal as I wasn’t really close so I swing up and pass. Turns out it was a kid from Wellington. Typical! They were the smallest center there, and didn’t have much track experience behind them because their track had been closed for many years. As some of my team mates and I walked past Wellington in the D we saw the kid who crashed. Some banter was thrown about how he was the first to crash out at nationals, even before the racing had commenced. All fun in good humor though!
Fast forward to 2011 and I get a random question from Nick, asking if I remembered a crash at the start of national’s years ago. I say I do but have to think hard to remember. It was him that crashed. But it wasn’t just a coincidence that he crashed where he did that day. He had been riding around the track and spotted me, decided I was good looking and thought he would catch my attention and impress me by sprinting past me really fast, making me notice him. As he was doing this he pulled his foot, causing him to crash down the track just in front of me.
At the time I didn’t notice him sprint past me, I only noticed the crash because I had to swerve out the way after it happened. I certainly wouldn’t have noticed someone coming by me fast and been impressed by it as I was in warm up mode for nationals, thinking about my warm up and the race ahead. Boy’s minds are funny aren’t they!? It seemed so logical to him that a manoeuvre like that would surely catch my attention and win me over!
Nick still claims to this day, that his crash is the defining moment that resulted in us being together, though I’m not so sure!
So I used to hate cycling. Despised it in fact. So it’s kinda ironic that I now love it to the point of having a cycling clothing company, riding my bike 6-7 days a week, having 2 rooms of my house solely dedicated to bikes and even having a bike tattoo. So I guess that brings me to the point, how I got into cycling if I really did hate it that much.
Well, in NZ for Friday afternoon sport every term you’d pick something different – summer or winter sport. I’d always danced so I never got into netball, rugby etc. When I was in Form 2 when I was 12 (that’s Year 7 in Australia) there was a new option to do Velodrome cycling (on an outdoor wooden 250m track). I told my friends we should do it, it’ll be really funny to ride around on those old fashioned bikes at the steep circle thing. We’d probably have to shimmy to the middle on our bums down the bank, how else would you get to the middle!?
So we went along and tried out on the old fashioned bikes with no gears that you couldn’t stop pedaling on. I should note here the reason I hated bikes and cycling. my childhood involved me having to ride my bike everywhere – from family bike rides to to and from school form a very young age, rain hail or shine. I guess I was conditioned for the sport because we did a ‘flying lap’ which technically was more a hands on the tops of the bars wobbling ride around the côte d'azur type of lap. I guess I must have done a ‘good’ time and I got asked if I wanted to come down and try it out on Sunday properly at the club training day. I learned that Sunday that you could in fact get new ‘old fashioned bikes’ and that mountain bikes weren’t the replacement of road bikes. You could get really flash track and road bikes and that a lot of people actually ride bikes as a sport. I remember being really scared to ride up on black line halfway up the track, it took me ages and the help of another rider. But once I got up high, past the black line and onto the blue I rode around for ages going faster and faster, even when I was so puffed out, I kept going. I still remember that feeling.
And the rest is history.