In the second part of our interview with Glenn Di Salvia he talks about riding and white water rafting in some of the world’s most rugged, and yet spectacular places. Follow his journeys with me as he rides through France, and competes in Tasmania….
What are the two most interesting competitions that you have been entered in and did they involve travel either within or outside Australia?
Since deciding in 2008 that I wanted to get a bit fitter I never imagined where it would take me, or the things I would accomplish. I would have to say that 2012 has been the highlight of the last 7 years!
In July of 2012 I flew to France with my bike and about 16 other cyclists from my bike club, Sydney and Newcastle. We spent 8 days in the French Alps staying at Alpe d’Huez and riding every day. We rode down into the valley below us and up into a different area each day climbing different mountains. Our toughest day on the bike was when we rode up one mountain then another behind it to Col du Galibier, climbing nearly 3000m in 45km. It was the middle of summer with temperatures in the mid 30’s in the valley, but windy and freezing up the top of the mountain and with snow along the road. It was a fun and fast 50km ride back to the starting point which was mostly all downhill. We watched the Tour de France on television most afternoons and rode out to one of the mountains to watch the Tour and see the riders come up the mountain and past us – that was pretty awesome!
1. On our Way – On our way to see a stage of the Tour in the mountains. We rode up into the mountains then followed the river below us for maybe 10-15km then up this next climb, some stunning views along the way.
2. Finally at the top – We rode about 60km to get here, people getting their spots along the road waiting for the riders to come through in around 3hrs time.
3. Team Sky Riders – Tasmanian Richie Porte leading Tour winner Bradley Wiggins, in yellow.
4. Villages – There is a village on the edge of the mountain just left of centre of the photo which we rode through a few times. Another small village across to the right just slightly higher, then another above that which is Alpe d’Huez where we stayed for 8 nights. You can see the road which zig zags 14km up the mountain from the valley below, we rode up this numerous times.
5. Finally – Finally at the top of one of the famous climbs in the French Pyrenees.
6. Rural France – A unique little village we rode though in the lower drier region of rural France. We spent 3 nights in Carpentras.
From the Alps we drove to a rural area for 3 days of riding, and then south to the Pyrenees for 10 days. More days spent riding different mountains with tough climbs and amazing scenery. Looking at the stunning scenery helps take your mind off the pain your legs are going through on the long climbs. The rides weren’t overly long, 80 to 120km, but with the amount of climbing done it was tough. After 21 days of riding and 1,830km with 32,335metres of elevation my legs were pleased to pack the bike away.
Then in November of 2012 my team mates Christophe, Eric and I were sponsored by Rexona to compete in the 5 day Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge and our team name was “Rexona No Quit”. Our entry was paid ($9500) and flights to Launceston with return from Hobart. This challenge included a lot of training in the months leading up to the event. Day1 which was 27th Nov 2012, was around Launceston starting with a run/rogaine followed by white water rafting, a mountain bike ride, a kayak paddle, another mountain bike leg, finishing in Launceston with another run. This was done in 8hr and 40min. All this was done whilst navigating our way around by map and collecting 67 Check Points!
Day 2 was very long with just over 11hrs of racing which included a tough 22km climb on the mountain bike to the top of the mountain in Ben Lomond National Park, followed by a 25-30km run around the top of the mountain – which was much tougher than expected – followed by another long mountain bike leg, 12km kayak paddle down the river, then another 7km run to the finish. We covered around 90km again and moved up into 2nd position on this day.
The next 2 days were on the East Coast of Tasmania, around St Marys and Binnalong Bay. There were a few ocean paddles and some snorkelling that was added at this point, which was on top of the normal legs. The final day – the 5th – was held at Hobart with a cold 4 degrees C start on top of Mt Wellington. It was a great day of racing which we finished in only 7hrs to retain our position in 3rd place. We were only 9min ahead of team “Qantas” from Singapore and around 5hrs behind team “Rexona” which had Olympic kayaker Ken Wallace and World Champion Triathlete Courtney Atkinson competing.
It was a tough 5 days covering around 400km and with many highs and lows. We met a lot of great people, formed a few new friendships and enjoyed rubbing shoulders with various Olympic and World Champion athletes.
Of course, we were absolutely stoked with our achievement and surprised we did so well. There is a lot of tactics involved in these events though with marking out our route each night as the course is not marked, not taking a wrong turn or missing a Check Point which would incur a 3 hr penalty per Check Point missed. We were presented with our trophy by Mark Webber at the presentation night.
Gary White Photography