Isle of Man cyclist Tom Black has some familiarity with the roads of the Geelong region, and the former Commonwealth Games competitor will test himself again as part of the coming Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (CEGORR).
Black, who now lives in Melbourne, is in training for the People’s Ride in the return of CEGORR after a COVID-enforced absence.
As well as his 30th place in the individual time trial (ITT) at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, Black has also had strong finishes in the ITT at the National Championships Great Britain, including 14th in 2009, 16th in 2012 and 17th in 2013.
Black said the COVID-19 lockdowns had helped him rediscover his love of cycling.
“I stopped racing my bike at the end of 2015 and came out to Australia – I still loved riding, but I went travelling around Australia for eight or nine months.
“During lockdown, I was one of those people who couldn’t work, so I was out of work and had all this spare time during the day.
“Like anything in life, when you have a bit of consistency with it over a week or a couple of months, or six months, you become better at it.”
His recent rides include the Ironman 70.3 in Geelong as part of a team, the Alpine Classic in Victoria’s High Country, and last month’s Around the Bay.
He said taking part in the People’s Ride had always been on his radar.
“Completing the Around the Bay a couple of weeks ago added a little bit of motivation and enthusiasm post-event – I was like ‘right, I need to lock this one in for the end of January’.”
The TAC People’s Ride, with 35km, 50km and 125km options, caters to cyclists of all levels.
A chance to ride on the same roads as the UCI WorldTour teams, the course is highlighted by Challambra – a climb for those doing the longest distance to conquer.
“The course won’t be easy. It’ll be a little bit more bumpy, a little bit hillier and warmer weather; at the end of January, it could be a 35-degree day,” Black said.
“But that’s the attraction – having stepped away from the sport, it’s finally nice to be able to come down to Geelong, be part of the event and watch the pros on the same course you’ve done.”
Registrations for the popular People’s Ride are open for the January event, with the TAC on board as naming rights partner for 2023.
The 2023 edition of CEGORR will be held from January 27-29, with the People’s Ride set for the morning of January 28.
Surf Coast Times story here.
Surf Coast Times image: Isle of Man cyclist Tom Black has moved to Australia. Photo: SUPPLIED