Fitness leads to addiction
FOR most of us driving 450-600km a week would be a tiresome hobby, but this is a regular training week on the bike for Mick Newell.
Two-and-a-half years ago, he was 30kg heavier when he took up cycling, and having gone through three bikes, Newell is hooked.
“I started cycling to lose weight, and now love the challenge,” Newell said.
“I love beating the pain; cyclists are students of pain.”
After a few months pedalling in his quest to trim down, the lure of racing was soon very strong, and he became addicted.
Newell's first official race was the 50km Yarwun event several years back.
“I remember being ecstatic when I could ride 20km and never thought I'd be racing 100,” he said.
Newell's wife Katrina went from pounding the pavement to gliding over it.
“I used to like running and this was the first thing we could do together,” Katrina said.
“I've only taken it seriously in the last six months,” Katrina said.
The couple ride with the M1 Cycles team and Katrina's feats in the past few events have matched her husband's.
In the recent Cunningham Classic she was bumped up a grade and still managed an exceptional race.
Of 14 women riders who started in the elite B women's group, only three made it over the range.
“I managed to get the first unplaced woman and probably finished in the top 12,” she said.
“But the State Titles was harder, there were no grades and five girls out of 14 didn't finish the race.”
Newell finished second in the masters A-grade category of the Calliope to Biloela 100km race last month, and at last weekend's 120km State titles in the Masters three category he averaged 38.2km an hour for the journey.
“That was a tough race; I finished in the chasing bunch, but three blokes got away, we tried to drag them back and couldn't,” he said.
The 100km Cunningham Classic, held between Gatton and Warwick, was run in the first week of August.
“I finished in the lead bunch but didn't get a place,” he said.
However this was a much sweeter completion to the race than the 2009 Cunningham Classic for Newell, who took a tumble with the finish line in sight through no fault of his own.
“I got knocked down in the last 100 metres by a fella who came off his line. I'd been sitting fourth and about to round up the leaders,” Newell said.
“I couldn't walk and the ambulance had to come and take me away.”
Newell is off to Ballarat in late September to contest the National Road Race.