Monday, September 22, 2014

Content Requires Context. And Coffee.

Last Friday was a pretty darn good day. It started -like one or two of my insomniac days per week generally do- at 04:30.

First Mission: Coffee.
Second Mission: Head to the shed and jump on the bike.
Third Mission: Get into my extensive routine of rehab and pilates.
Fourth Mission: Make an omelette and get in to work.

#ShedBike (TM) aka the Rust Bucket, not for outdoor consumption

So, work… now I am working as a consultant for CharterMason, currently on site at NBN Co, working as a Business Analyst in NBN’s Business Intelligence & Analytics Competency Centre (serious mouthful, I know!). Now one day I’ll try and explain my role in a succinct fashion that has everyone dying to know more, but that day is not today.

The cool thing that happened last Friday though, was getting to take a look into the inner cloister of CharterMason. From midday to 5pm, in a gruelling session reminiscent of a 5 hour hills loop, some of the head honchos from the CharterMason senior leadership team gathered around to nut out the company’s marketing strategy going forward.

Add in branding guru Mike Harley from, and I was living the business equivalent of some kid buying a bike and the next day going riding with Cadel and Gerro. These things normally don’t happen!

So what on earth was going on?

Well. I’m there to write stuff. To write it fast. And write it good. But obviously, content needs context, so what better way to get it than plotting out some ideas whilst abusing the RACV Club Nespresso machines (hey, I was getting pretty sleepy by that time in the day.)


The thing that stuck with me mostly though, was the parallels between an athlete planning their season with their coach or team, and the work that was going here. It’s all in the detail. You decide what race you want to win. You decide what physiological characteristics are required to win said race, then you go and train.

Business wise? Same thing. Who do you want to target, how will you convince them you’re the one for the job, how will you execute the job, and so on and so forth.

The most crucial decision, and this rings home for me, is being able to define what you are not. I was never a sprinter, and there comes a time when training your weaknesses comes at too great of a cost to your strengths. It will be a personal call every time, but it was fascinating to see the same decisions that an athlete labours over being pulled apart and analysed in a business context.

So what will come out of all this?

Well firstly, it gives me more things to do whilst I still can’t ride***. One day I’ll be out of the stationary shed pedalling situation I currently find myself in, but that’s a while away.

Secondly, CharterMason will have a nice answer to the following question:

 “What does CharterMason actually do?”

I mean, I could tell you the answer to that now, but I’d probably have to kill you.

***Whilst indoors mind you, I’m still a touch excited at the CharterMason-Giant team knocking up a win at the National Capital Tour! Hat tip to Mr Jacob Restall there)

***Jump over to the Capital Tour highlights here to see CharterMason hands in the air

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Clothing Sale: New & Used, lots of everything

Long story short. Money needed. Stuff for sale. New & used. Please buy. Thank you.

New Stuff

Used Stuff
Item New/Used Size Quantity Price
Mens Elite Razor Bib Short, long length, injection gripper New S 6 $90
Men Air Pro Jersey New S 1 $50
CS Tech Long Sleeve Jersey New S 1 $50
Wind Vest New XS 1 $40

Summer Race Gloves (pair) New M 1 $25
Glove Liner (pair) New L 1 $15
Edge Fleece Arm Warmer (pair) New XS 1 $15
Edge Fleece Leg Warmer (pair) New L 1 $25
Edge Fleece Knee Warmer (pair) New M 1 $20

Wind Vest Used S 2 20
Edge Fleece Arm Warmer (pair) Used XS 1 10
Edge Fleece Knee Warmer (pair) Used L 1 $10
Cap Used A 1 $0

Lycra Shoe Cover (pair) Used XL 1 $5
CS Tech Long Sleeve Jersey Used S 1 $20
Men Air Pro Jersey Used S 1 $20
RAZOR Lite Jersey Used S 1 $20

Postage: At buyer's expense, will offer quotes from

Pick up: In Fitzroy North (Vic) or possibly Melb CBD during business hours

Contact: for more info

Willing to discount for bulk buys and such.


Happy Riding

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Coming out: Hip Screws & Happiness

There are two things on my mind that are all the rage at the moment; hip operations and coming out of the closet. If anyone thought the sporting and cycling world was ripe with homophobia; I understand your concerns, but I think you’re wrong. 

A recent discovery for myself was that of my own sexuality, and I don’t want to natter on about this ad libitum because frankly, we’ve heard it all before, and Thorpie -the selfish bastard- has stolen my thunder. 

I'm a hospital VIP these days...

But we digress.

The point here is, I am gay. And if there are any other guys or gals out there in the cycling world who are not comfortable in their own skin, who have got that nagging little voice in the back of their head that convinces them the world is going to fall down if they discover who they truly are; well forget your worries. You will be surprised at the positivity of the response when you open up. It's 2014.

But is it all good?

Yes. The thing is, homophobic comments have become second nature; that’s gay, this is gay. And that shit is pretty f**ked to be honest. 

But it’s a product of society -I believe- and a product of people saying things to a group they feel is completely heterosexual. Now, I know I'm drastically over-simplifying a complex and intense topic, but this blog is about cycling. And I don't want to kill everyone getting too deep and meaningful.

Perhaps another day.

Thing is, the very people who drop these disparaging comments regularly, have been the first to apologise to me thinking they may have caused serious offence. But don’t sweat it. It’s a structural problem. And it’s moving forward, not backward [in my opinion].

If only I’d grown a pair and discovered it all years ago. But sometimes you’re just not ready. But now I’m ready.

I was also ready to have these bad boys taken out!

My approach?

I believe attack is the best form of the defence on and off the bike. I simply told my friends I’ve started seeing a guy. And he is amazing. And that’s it. Work out the rest.

And the response?

People are excited for me. They are happy. I am happy. The world is happy.

And that’s what matters. 

What else makes people happy?

Having three frigging big screws taken out of your neck of femur.

Gettings screws out and a free fake tan whilst you're at it. Bonus
I had that done yesterday up at Knox Private Hospital, where they were put in at the end of April last year, after I ate shit out training. If you ever need a hip surgeon, go see Francis Ma out that way. He will sort you.

And with them gone it feels so, so good. It’s just another step on my pathway of rehab, and I’ll be back CharterMasoning it up on Monday as the operation was only a day procedure. 

Give me some painkillers and some crutches and I’m back at it.

On the note of CharterMason, I’ve got to say, wow, what an amazing organisation. I have come into the company as one of the youngest people they have taken on, with the aim for myself -and CharterMason- to train me up to generally kick arse and take-over the world as soon as possible. 

Swapping lycra for suits. Feels weird. No one can see your sock height.

And the response?

Amazing. Very senior consultants, with lots to do and no time to do it, are taking large chunks out of their day to teach me the ropes. 

As within the CharterMason Giant team, the sense of team and camaraderie is second to none.  That makes me happy.

The Moral?

Be honest, be comfortable, be happy. And work hard.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CharterMason, and what happens after cycling

Racing a bike is fun. Writing articles is fun. Working with big-arse organisations and helping them make crucial business decisions is also fun.

A cyclist. A journalist. A consultant.

All three require preparation. All three require communication. All three occur in high pressure environments where your arse is literally on the line [or the road].

I’ve done the first two. For me, it’s time to start the third.

CharterMason Giant: 'Champions of tomorrow', generally good blokes right now...

What happens ‘after’ cycling?
Life after cycling is something that anyone in the heat of the sport doesn’t want to think about. It’s scary, it’s unpleasant, and it’s distracting. But it remains, nonetheless, the most important question for any cyclist -or any athlete- to answer. 

What would you do if you broke your leg tomorrow? 

What if it was never going to come good? 

I’m not rolling off a sermon here about how everyone needs to study full-time whilst racing. Because not every athlete needs, or wants, to become a doctor or a lawyer. Not everyone needs, or wants, a uni degree. Not everyone needs a high flying job and the stresses that come with it. 

But everyone does need a plan, and the best time to start planning was probably yesterday.

My Plan?
Race, study, race, work, race, race, race. I was heavily supported by my parents. I was a lucky bugger. But there was always an implicit arrangement.

The trade-off was: ‘You better study or get a job boy, cos you ain’t riding that bike 24/7’

So I finished high school, worked in a little deli, did a bachelor of commerce at Melbourne Uni and raced my body till it was [literally] broken. 

I wrote a blog, it got me a foot in the media/journo door [thanks Rowan Dever] and I ended up doing a fair chunk of journalism and media work revolving around cycling. It was ace. But as racing ends, so does writing [on a full-time basis], and consulting commences.
Look at these guys on the front! Definitely not me there...

“If I could do one thing for the guys on my team, it’s help them find a job when they stop racing,” 

Were the words spoken by CharterMason’s Leigh Parsons when we had lunch a while back. I’d been wringing my cycling network for every drop of advice on my job hunt. And some odd circumstances, some entrepreneurialism, and a bit of pot luck landed me with a job. 

Now I’m throwing on my consulting L plates and heading off into the business world. Wish me luck!

CharterMason Giant powered by Brennan IT
But not every day will be filled with reports, excel files and KPIs. Ok, they will….

But the evenings and weekends will be filled with time devoted to helping the CharterMason Giant team progress onwards and upwards. As an unashamed cycling groupie, this is my way to stay in touch with the sport. And once my knee is a bit better [long story...] I hope to sneak out on a few team rides and hopefully half-wheel them all on recovery days.

So what does it all mean?

I’m not really sure. But make a plan. Take your opportunities. And don’t be an arsehole. You’ll want a good network when you retire. Don’t go round sucking up to everyone, no one will give you a job for nothing. 

But if you are genuine, and you ask for help, doors will open.

See you all in the office, on the road, or on the net,


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The race is over. Thanks for the fun.

I’ve had plenty of people asking me questions lately. Here are my answers:

[Note: You can tell all the old links on the right of screen need updating, but, well, nah, can't be bothered]

Friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, Asian travel advocates and fine food purveyors. It is with great regret that I have to announce that I ain’t gonna be racing no more.

My knee is f^^ked. Knees are rather important to cycling. My right knee is f^^ked.

What, but how?
Last April I crashed and broke my neck of femur and collarbone. Bad.
I was not enthused

I was swiftly operated on and my bones healed tremendously well. Good.
Metalic additions
Never give up

But when I started training -initially just rehab and soon after proper riding- my knee (on the RHS, same side as hip and collarbone) proved to be very sore and swollen. Bad.

I had an MRI, it said everything was fine. Good.

But the problems persisted and I ended up getting an operation. Bad.

The operation was also used to clean up some junk in my ankle, from another crash back in china, that had been bothering me for a few years. Very good.

The outer side of my right ankle

The surgeon revealed I had torn the fat pad, and my knee was full of blood. Bad.

But he had fixed it, I could start easy spinning again the day after the operation, full training could recommence in a few weeks. Good. Really good!

But the fat pad remained swollen and sore, a classic case of Hoffa’s syndrome. Bad. So very, very bad.
That would be some blood from my knee

All I want for Christmas
All I wanted for Christmas was my two front knees. But all I got was another MRI. The MRI led me from to the specialist, to the surgeon and back to the specialist. He led me to an endocrinologist, and that led me to the chemist.
I would love a bit of Mt Wellington right now

I had lots of bad stuff happening behind my knee cap, something wrong with the bone. Now that is bad.

My osteoclasts -that normally get rid of old bone- had gone bezerk on my osteoblasts -that normally create new bone- and thus the disabling pain in my knee was explained. It had been going since last April.

A physiological condition that was eating my knee cap. Hmmm, that’s bad.

But from the chemist came some special drugs [WADA approved, believe me I checked], supposed to do the trick. The pain would be gone in two days as proclaimed by the endocrinologist. Good.

I’m here writing, though, because the knee remains rooted. So it’s time to be realistic. Sometimes shit just ain’t gonna go.
There's been a bit of this
And a bit of this

What does it all mean?
Don’t for one second think this is a bad thing. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve been given a ridiculous amount of support throughout my career, initially by BikeNow, then the VIS and for a long time now by Avanti. 

Aerodynamics has never been my strong point
Most recently Andrew Christie-Johnston and Steve Price have looked after me whilst I attempted to sort my shit out. And the support they’ve shown obviously sends a message to me, but more so it tells the other guys on the Avanti team that they’re in safe hands. Just do your job, don’t worry about the rest. 

Donna Buang in the snow, a rite of passage

I’ve also got a medical team behind me to rival any professional sports team now, and I’ll thank them in person, because they require a blog post of their own, each. And my parents who’ve put up with me as I punish my body from pillar to post, thanks. I'm a lucky prick. I know that. 
SunTour with the national team

But what’s the point?
The point is this: I’ve literally pushed my body to the edge. Broken more bones than I’ve had hot meals, but loved every minute of it. The sport has given me new friends, taken me to new places and christ almighty, it’s a bit of a cliché, but I would not have it any other way. People do crazy shit just to ride a bike, and I like to think I'm one of them. I will continue to do crazy shit to ride my bike, but I can't expect ongoing support from a team I'm giving nothing to. Time for journalistic endeavours.

Lovin' the Marco Polo days
Once I sort my knee, I’ll be back cruising around, maybe doing the odd club race. Or maybe I'll enjoy the lazy bunch rides I eschewed whilst being uptight and addicted to my powermeter. 
An old favourite, Metro Road champs back in the day
Shit, maybe I’ll have another red-hot crack in a few years’ time. But for the time being, I can't even walk up a step and I would really like to be able to walk up a step. To even think about racing when you haven't been able to load your knee for nearly a year? 

Junior reppin' back in the day
Nah man. Get real. It’s over and out.

I'll always love the Northern Combine races

Let me eat cake

 It's been fun.

See ya.