Rider of the Week – Chris Wood
Chris was born in Perth and moved to Adelaide in 1976 as a five year old. He left Adelaide in 1996 and spent three years in the US and Canada, and 10 years in the UK before returning to Adelaide in 2009 with his family. Chris wanted to ensure his three kids grew up Australian!
After playing competitive team sports, AFL and Rugby in his younger years, he enjoyed running and cycling in the UK, which eventually led to participation in triathlons and marathons.
He now competes in an annual Ironman, Triathlon, a few shorter triathlon events, race crits on Wednesdays in season and rides as much as a he can, whilst at the same time as making sure he keeps the family and the boss happy.
- What first got you started in cycling?
I think I’ve always cycled? From living in Belair in the late70’s and 80’s, I was always on my BMX, going to and from the Belair National Park or school. It was always a primary mode of transport prior to getting a drivers licence? Serious recreational cycling came about in 1996, whilst doing the backpacking around the world tour. I spent two glorious years in Whistler BC, Canada. This was the early years of the cross country, downhill, North Vancouver cycling scene. Think Gary Fisher, Klein, Reynolds 583 frames etc.
Ski resorts started using lifts to go up, downhill trails being built. The cross country, trails in Whistler were and still are, brilliant and world class. Weekly ‘Loonie’ races ($1CDN) with winner takes all prizes were attracting 100’s of people. Steep climbs, technical downhills, ‘sketchy’ drops, log river crossings, it was all encompassing and very addictive.
A highlight? I entered the BC provincial downhill races as a Novice, on a rented DH bike, full armour and DH helmet. Crashed out badly on all of my 3 training runs down the course. Then went for it, scared the hell out of myself in the final race run to finish 8th in class….good times.
- You are involved with an NZ based cycling tour business. How did this come about and what involvement do you have with them?
I met Karl in Whistler in 1996 and have been close friends since then. Karl’s has always been and adventure travel agent, in the last 8 years has formed a specialist company www.RideHolidays.co.nz .
We share the passion for travel, adventure and cycling. I work with Karl as a guide whilst on tours, usually accompanying groups on three to four tours per year. Then additionally supporting, planning and promoting the RideHolidays business in the Australian market.
- Is this your only job?
I have a real job that pays the bills, I work in Human Resources for a large ASX listed company based in Adelaide.
- You host tours over the TdU, what are some of the things about the TdU that makes it an enjoyable event for your clients.
Our clients for the TDU are amazed by the quality and quantity of cycling in Adelaide, rides that are literally on our doorstep. The TDU is a great event to showcase the variety and diversity of cycling in Adelaide, let alone the SA region that offers amazing fresh food, wine, coffee and landscapes of sea to sky. All within 4 hours cycling from the CBD. We offer the TDU clients the chance to sample all of the Adelaide experiences in conjunction with the opportunity to see world class professional cyclists, up close and personal. Being able to ride home from a stage alongside the professionals is always a highlight, easy access to the teams, the tour village and the stages is unheard of in the European races we visit.
- If a cyclist came to you and said “I’m so confused, I don’t know which country or region to holiday in”, what would you recommend and why?
France or Italy would be my top choices, for culture, history, passion, and meaning…. Cycling in Europe is a way of life, I’d encourage everyone to go and experience that. I spent a month in Italy, northern Tuscany and I recall meeting and ‘old cyclist’ in his broken english he told me, “you cycle with all your senses, the sights, sounds, tastes, smell and the feel”, I concur.
- How many bikes do you own and what is your main go to bike?
Four, Pinarello Dogma2 ‘good bike for weekends’ , FP5 commuter, FTI triathlon and an old mountain bike.
- What bike do you covet?
Pinarello Bolide TT bike….. or a Canyon.
- When you travel, how do you transport your bikes?
SciCon soft case, packs in 15 minutes.
- Do you do all your own maintenance or do you use a LBS? If so, which one?
I’m rubbish on the tools, anything beyond the basics I outsource. ElbowsAkimbo or BicycleCaire look after my bikes, private and independent mechanics.
- What cycling specific tools do you have in your “bike shed”?
Nothing more than the basics. See above.
- What is your favourite piece of cycling kit or accessory?
Currently my SRM power meter… as I look to improve, it keeps me honest. Closely followed by Conti GatorSkins, I hate getting flats.
- What do you love about cycling?
This is harder than I thought? Escape, freedom, simplicity, feeling of speed going downhill and accomplishment climbing uphill. The social side, coffee and cake. Conversations.
- What annoys most about cycling?
Headwinds? Never enough time? strange noises from the bike?, Probably nothing really….. perhaps manufacturer branded cycling clothing worn by a rider, whilst on another brand of bike? I think that’s just weird…..like socks with thongs .
- Other than yourself, who is your favourite cyclist?
Pantani, Quintana, Jens , Vockler, Sagan… names that transcend cycling, are memorable, likeable and look like they are passionate humans chasing a dream…and having a good time.
- What are your craziest/fondest personal cycling memories?
My first triathlon; you don’t were anything under a wetsuit, or under Knicks, so in transition from swim to bike…..yes I went nude, doesn’t everybody? NO said the horrified crowd. In hindsight, very wrong but very funny….
- Without naming names, is there a special memory from the tours you have hosted?
In 2016 the Nice terror attack happened at the same time we were in France with the Tour de France. As I was cycling around the base of Mt Ventoux the next day, it was 100km of pure cycling joy. I vividly recall that moment and thinking just how lucky we are, and that we have to capture every and all opportunities to make the most of life. Vive le Tour.
- What is your favourite post ride coffee/tea spot, and what would you normally buy as a treat?
Red Berry Espresso, coffee with any cake…. .
- What is your favourite local training route?
Lofty, Crafers, Bradbury, Old Aldgate road, Stirling loop.
- Is there a local cycling outfit/company/cycling club/cycling group/person that you would like to plug?
Who else but…………………….www.rideholidays.co.nz