Glenn Roy Di Salvia is my nephew, the son of my brother Douglas Norman Di Salvia. Glenn was born in Walget, New South Wales on 2 Sept 1970 making him 45 years old, and he has an interest (or as some of his family believe, an obsession) with the most unusual, physically demanding, exciting and challenging pastime I could possibly comprehend. I often have trouble finding time to take a walk of a morning, but Glenn not only finds time to run, bike ride and kayak but enjoys both the fitness it brings, and the competitions he enters! The interview with Glenn will be told as a three part series due to the wonderful way in which he opened up to answering my questions, and the sheer adventure I experienced in putting the interview together. Enjoy!……
1. How did you become interested in bike riding and when did you start to go into competitions.
I first learnt to ride a bike at my cousin Roberts farm near Narromine when I was about 7-8 years old . After about six months I finally convinced mum & dad to buy me a dragster bike which I got for Christmas and loved. I would ride it everywhere and spent a lot of time working on it to keep it in good order.
I got a road bike in my mid-teens and rode to school frequently. Some Sundays I would ride with a few of my mates up to 20km out of Narromine to various friends’ farms for the day and then return home before it got dark. Once I got my licence though, riding my bike faded into the background as I focused on cars.
In 1992-93 Scott, the apprentice who was employed where I was working in Marrickville, Sydney, was a keen cyclist and a member of St. George Cycling Club and I credit him with getting me back into cycling. My bike had been stolen from Wentworthville Police station a few years earlier even though I’d had it chained to the fence, but Scott got me a second hand bike for $150. In an attempt to get fit I would combined riding the train with riding around 15 km on my bike each way and after a while I started riding the full 35km home from work. Once in a while I would join Scott for an afternoon ride.
After about 12-18 months of riding, the bike faded into the background once again when I met Jodi and started a new job.
When my dad passed away in 2008 I decided I wanted to get a bit fitter so I started walking about 3 kms to work. It was then time to pull out the old bike that had been getting rusty, and clean it up. I started riding to work and doing a 6-10km loop home, which was hard work after not riding for so long. Gradually I did longer rides, including a 30-40km ride on Sunday mornings. I also added a few 3km runs a week.
In October 2008 I was introduced to the Central Coast Cycling Club at Wyong. This is where my cycling & fitness became a lifestyle, or, as Jodi called it – “an obsession” . I loved the racing and weekend rides with the club. In December of 2008 I bought a flash new carbon fibre road bike. I spent a lot of time riding and training to become fitter and finally working my way up from ‘D’ grade to ‘B’ grade within the club. Occasionally I raced in ‘A’ grade as well. Generally, I race most weekends. In the “summer season” is a Criterium on Friday afternoons which is a bike race consisting of multiple laps around a closed circuit of around 2km for 45-50min (30-35km). The “winter season” is a 50km hilly road race at Calga which is a short drive from Gosford on the western side of the freeway. Occasionally I travel to Newcastle, Kurri Kurri or Northern Sydney to race on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning with the local clubs
I join up with friends some weekends for local mountain bike rides in the Watagan mountains with the occasional local race. I have done various mountain bike races around New South Wales and Canberra. The races vary from the standard 100km race, an 8hr enduro – which is multiple laps of a 10-12km circuit (I managed to finish in 2nd place at one event which was a fantastic result, although I almost collapsed after getting off the bike), and a 24hr race in a team of 6 on a 10-12km circuit also.
2. Do you do any other type of sport beside bike riding?
I also enjoy doing a few other sports apart from riding, generally referred to as cross training. I do quite a bit of running and a bit of kayaking. I did join a local canoe club a few years back competing in 10km races on Sunday mornings but it was clashing with cycling events so I dropped the kayak racing. The running & kayaking flows into other races I have done over the last 6-7 years.
I have competed in many Adventure Races (AR), Multi Sport and Rogaining or Orienteering events. Rogaining is long distance cross-country navigation which involves both route planning and navigation between checkpoints using a topographic map and compass in a team of two. The short events are up to 6hrs but I generally compete in the 12 or 24hr events, covering 50-60km on foot, 1 or 2 times a year. It can be quite eerie and peaceful standing on top of a mountain overlooking the moonlit landscape at 2am, and not seeing another soul but knowing there are maybe 50 to 100 people out there navigating their way around the bush.
Adventure Races are an off-road style of triathlon in the bush. They involve mountain biking, trail running and kayaking, with an occasional swim. Checkpoints are collected on an unmarked course using a topographic map and compass. The standard race takes only around 3.5hr for the faster teams, with a cut off of 6hrs for the slower teams. I have finished in the top 10 many times with two 1st places. I have also competed in several 24hr events which are great, but tough.
Multi-Sport races are more similar to a triathlon. They are a fixed course of 33km road ride, 12km kayak and 15km trail run with some tough hills.
3. What Sort Of Training Regimen Do You Follow?
During the week I try to fit in regular training. On a current typical week I aim to ride to work 2-3 times with an occasional run or two.
Monday is generally a rest day, after a busy weekend of riding.
Tuesday & Wednesday I usually ride to work, which is 90-100km return depending on which route I take.
Friday I ride to work. After work I ride a short distance, 15km, to Wyong to race in the local Criterium Race.
Depending on the weather I tend to swap riding & rest days around if a high chance of rain is forecast or raining in the morning, or run if it’s raining a little. Although I have been caught out plenty of times, riding home in showers or heavy rain and storms with strong winds & lightning about.
On Saturday mornings I enjoy going out in the kayak on Lake Macquarie for an hour doing a 10-12km paddle and maybe an easy 40-50km ride in the afternoon. Or I will meet up with some local riders for an easy/steady 80-100km ride.
Sunday I usually meet up with local riders for a longer ride of 100-130km at a faster pace for a pretty good workout. Occasionally we will do a big ride, up to 160km, up through Newcastle or head west through Cessnock and the Hunter region.
Depending on what race I’m training for, Sunday mornings can be busy with a 30-50km road ride or 20km MTB ride, 12km paddle and 10km run (about 3.5hrs) or longer if building for a 24hr event.