Talkingshop: Luke Mellor back from Down Under

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Talking with Rapha Condor JLT rider Luke Mellor about spending two months in Australia racing and training whilst Britain got soaked and froze

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It was a successful start to the 2013 season for the Rapha Condor JLT team when Richard Handley knotched up their first win in the Clayton Velo Spring Classic. The team had only been back in the country for a few weeks after a two month trip to Australia and whilst the win was no easy one, a win’s a win and there is nothing like a victory to help the morale of a team.

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Manager John Herety had explained how the trip to Oz was to give his young team some race experience in club and open events in Australia where there is racing on the road year round. It certainly was worth it he explained saying it would be something he’d look at doing again. Not only did they have great weather to train in, things like riders not getting ill while doing a lot of miles helped make it worthwhile.

For the riders, it was also a great experience being away from home and the weather here as Luke Grivell-Mellor explained before he started his first race on British soil in 2013. Part work, part holiday during an Australian summer that was hotter than normal, Luke was pleased to have been part of the team out there.

“It was really good to be racing the Bay Crits and Sun Tour which were really tough but a really good experience” he told VeloUK.

“Being in Bendigo, the chain gangs there were great. There was pretty much a group ride we could have gone on every day and it was a really good level as well.” Asked what was the big difference for him, Luke replied “Here, I’m training on my own and there are not many local races so it was a big shock for me.”

With distances between towns and cities so great in Australia, most cycling clubs there run a weekly racing programme in the town or city and should they wish, riders can also branch out and ride the bigger open events around the state (Victoria) or further afield.

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One of the riders Luke and his teammates trained with was Zak Dempster (NetApp-Endura) who is part of an elite group there with another being a Tour Series winner in Darren Lapthorne. Luke added even the average level there was high which helped give them some quality training and racing.

Asked what a typical week was like out there, he explained “we normally had Monday and Fridays either off or just an easy hour then Tuesday we’d do the chaingang where we would ride out to Mount Alexander, race over that and then do through and off back to Bendigo before sprinting just outside. Then we’d do another two or three hours after that.”

“On Wednesday, we’d go and do four or five hours and then at the end, the last hour, we’d do some individual efforts. Thursday, we’d do another four or five hours with some through and off as a group , a skills thing. We also did other things like going back to the team car to get bottles, change wheels and so on, more for the benefit of the new guys on the team.”

Luke also said they did the club events on a Sunday where there were separate A/B & C grade circuit races but added that the chaingangs were a lot like a race as well. Unsurprisingly, with his team around him, Luke says he never got homesick for the two months and definitely enjoyed it.

Now its done though, he’s looking forward to the season ahead and after a season of learning with the men in black, says the pressure is on now to get some results … His next race is the Eddie Soens on Saturday …

Good luck to Luke and thanks for the chat

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