Noosa Classic Ambassador Iain Matheson came to cycling relatively late in life, but my word has he taken to it like a duck to water… or should that be like a chain to a cassette! We sat down with Iain to find out more about his cycling life, where his passion comes from and why he’s so excited to be heading to Noosa with us in August.
NC: Hi, Iain! Great to meet you, and brilliant to have you on board for the 2019 Noosa Classic! So, let’s start at the beginning – when did you first ride a road bike and what made you fall in love with riding?
IM: I learned to ride with no training wheels when I was three and never really stopped from there! I rode mountain bikes mostly through my teenage years, as roadies just weren’t considered cool enough! I fell away from cycling when I learned to drive, but seven years ago got back into it after I damaged ligaments playing soccer. I’ve never really kicked a ball since or picked up an injury for that matter either! My obsession really kicked in when I moved Down Under. The outdoor lifestyle and mild weather meant I could ride each and every day. The massive bunches, variety of group rides and getting in the best shape of my life meant I was instantly hooked! Cycling for me isn’t just a great physical activity, it’s also great for clearing the mind. I have a high pressure job and it’s a wonderful way for me to think problems through, see them in a different light and I feel like I’ve solved the problems of the world all before 7am! Not to mention the fact you get to have coffee and chew the fat with your mates all at the same time!
NC: What’s your best ever moment on your bike?
IM: Completing a charity 500km ride in under 24hrs in the UK would have to take the biscuit. The ride started up north in Newcastle and finished in London a day later. Just to make the ride a little more challenging, the rain decided to start half-an-hour after we started and stopped half-an-hour before we finished! How very English! I rode it with three mates, and that feeling of utter elation and accomplishment in what we’d achieved when we crossed the finish line will stay with me forever. Absolutely epic!
NC: What will make the Noosa Classic such a great course to ride?
IM: Well, I’ve already done a reconnaissance ride around the course with Cam Nicholls, and I have to say that the route is nothing short of spectacular. There’s great variety for everyone, with really nice flat sections, rolling punchy hills and a climb or two thrown in along the way for good measure to test out the legs! The three rides take you inland and showcase the real beauty of the hinterland, and they also make you realise that the Sunshine Coast isn’t just a beach destination. Plus, you’ll definitely be back for more once you experience some of the hidden coffee shops and bakeries that only the locals know about!
NC: What for you makes Noosa such a great destination to visit?
IM: Well, I love Noosa so much that I recently relocated permanently from Melbourne! Apart from the great weather, great roads and great cafes, it’s perfect for a real outdoorsy, family-orientated lifestyle that my wife and I want our four kids to grow up in. August’s Noosa Classic is a perfect excuse to escape the cold Melbourne chill, so bring the family, have a holiday and ride some of the best routes Australia has to offer!
NC: How many total Ks do you do a week and how long is your average ride?
IM: Having four kids under eight means I need to be disciplined when it comes to my training. Much to my mates’ dismay, that usually means 4am starts for me! I aim for 400Ks and over 4,000m of elevation per week. I’ll normally do shorter, punchier rides during the week before work and a couple of 100k plus rides on the weekends.
NC: If you had five minutes with someone new to cycling, or someone who’s ridden for a while but never done a Gran Fondo, what would you tell them?
IM: Consistency is key in the lead-up to any event. I always have a structured training plan where I target either time on the bike, elevation or distance per week. Hitting these milestones will keep you accountable and on track for a fun day up at Noosa on August 18th! Also, join a local cycling club. It really is best for anyone new to cycling, as you’ll learn all about group etiquette, how to ride more efficiently in a bunch and, most importantly, how to be safe while group riding. If you can find a good bunch that rides at your pace on the day of the Classic then you’ll enjoy it so much more.
NC: What are your top three training tips to make sure you’re ready for a ride like the Noosa Classic?
IM: Simple – train hard. race easy. You’ll enjoy the Gran Fondo so much more if you’ve done the training rides in the build-up to the big day! Test out your nutrition & hydration, simulate on a training ride what you’ll be eating so there’s no bonking on the day or stressing out about how much fuel you’ll need. Bike maintenance is also key. Make sure your bike is serviced and in tip-top condition on the day! You’d be amazed at the number of riders I see at big who’ve trained so hard only to fall victim to a broken chain, broken gear cables and avoidable punctures. Before any big Gran Fondo I always put on a fresh set of tyres and a brand new inner tube just to be on the safe side.
NC: Finally, let’s finish with the really important stuff… Really wet or really windy? IM: Really wet.
NC: Wiggins or Froome? IM: Wiggins
NC: Coffee or tea? IM: Coffee
NC: Beach or bush? IM: Beach
NC: AFL or NRL? IM: AFL