Pretty excited about the upcoming issue of Bicycling Australia magazine. It’s out next week and, amongst plenty of other good stuff, features two stories from yours truly; one profiling my climb up Mt Buller with reigning National Road Champion Simon Gerrans, the other with none other than Australia’s first – and only – Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans. As always, you generate a lot more content from these interviews than you can ever fit into the final article, so I thought I might take the opportunity to whet the appetite here with a few things that didn’t make it into print for the Cadel piece.
We talked about a lot of things in our two and half hours together at Barwon Heads last December. Riding. Music. Politics. Cars. Given we both have young families, we also spent a fair bit of time on the joys and challenges of parenting. I asked Evans if he was a hands-on dad with his son, Robel?
“Yeah, whenever I’m home. I try to have him participate in all the things I do so that he can learn. He can clean my bike a little already, he took that up voluntarily.”
Evans revealed he even trusts young Robel with the Allen Keys on his BMCs. “Actually that was his first game with the bikes,” he laughs, “find the bolt that fits the allen key. I used to think ‘You’re never going to find the 2mm’!”
I’d never let my kids tighten and loosen bolts on my bike, and wondered if that means he has to do extra safety checks before going out for a training ride, to make sure nothing’s loose?
“It’s okay, he can’t get them undone yet!” Evans laughs. “But yeah, I try and have him learn everything he can; he has quite good manual dexterity so screws and bolts, he’s into that.”
Bike mechanic of the future, perhaps?
“If he wanted to be. But I’m not in any way pushing,” he says. “As a parent you show them all the different opportunities out there in the world, and they can work out what they want.”
We also talked about what it’s like to be an elite sportsman and how his already-lofty international profile skyrocketed after he won the Tour back in 2011, something he’s still reminded of in the most unexpected ways and places.
“I remember just after the Tour we went for training camp with the team (BMC), we were riding through some prairies in Utah and one car came along pretty much in the whole ride. The driver was screaming out ‘Cadel! Cadel! Well done, Cadel!’ It was like, ‘I’ve seen a cow and a cactus and this guy. Things like that were a bit…whoah!”
In a piece of hard-hitting journalism that would do Today Tonight proud, I’ll end this piece with perhaps the biggest issue of all: what colour socks does Cadel Evans prefer, black or white?
“White socks when it’s hot and not too dirty,” he says without hesitation. “Black socks when we’re going to get filthy and stained.”
You heard it here first, folks. Now get out there next week and buy the mag so you can read the real thing. You know you want to…