The "Flying Scotsman" is back, a man on a mission!!
10 July 2018
Elite rider, Coach, administrator and passionate cycling advocate Jon Leighton awarded with an OAM in this year’s Queens Birthday Honours for his cycling advocacy and charity work believes Velothon Sunshine Coast (20-22 July) is “the ultimate winter cycling escape”.
Fifth place in the Master’s category last year he is pumped up and ready for a return visit to learn from the experience of last year, enjoy the glorious sunshine and once again tackle the challenging roads of the spectacular Sunshine Coast hinterland.
“Velothon Sunshine Coast was a terrific event last year because having a three day road course event in Australia is absolutely unique and add to that the sunshine, the organization, the atmosphere and the volunteers and community involvement, made it a European style professional experience. To get that in sunshine in July, in Australia, is unique.”
“Last year was one of the best events I have been to for atmosphere and the fact it is multi-day. In Sydney and Melbourne and other places you cannot get that multi-day event experience on beautiful roads because the built environment is so busy. Other events are one day and you go along and don’t have the chance to build relationships and back and follow up the next day.”
“Some of us are using it as preparation for the World Championships in Varese. It is wonderful to ride in the heat and in difficult terrain. Others are taking part as a wonderful opportunity to get out riding. Rather than having your bike in the garage for three months over winter you can actually get out and ride and race.”
“I thought the course choice was very good. It was more than challenging than I imagined. There were more challenging hills, longer hills but it was very rewarding coming back to the race clubhouse at the end of the day.”
“The locals got really involved and you felt that they were sharing your experience and the atmosphere was absolutely wonderful. There were no exceptions and it didn’t have one bad moment with riders, officials, or volunteers, it was really terrific.” Jon said.
With the experience and knowledge of last year Jon is approaching the event slightly differently and has some advice for those tackling Velothon Sunshine Coast for the first time.
“My advice to myself for year two is to go and enjoy it. Just by riding it you will love it. But if you want to be competitive and compete for one of the many different jerseys and prizes then it is no walk in the park. You need to be fit, you need to strong, light and you need to have done lots of hill climbing and training. I would also recommend a semi compact the 52-36 or a full compact 50-34 and having a 30 on the back.”
“I normally race a 53-39 and 11-23 and I tried to go up Obi Obi with my 25 and almost didn’t make it. I was zig zagging my way up that climb. So I will certainly go with an easier gear this year to get over the hills better. That is my learning.”
“As Ambassador of the event, once again my goal is for everyone to have a great time but personally I would love to compete for the master’s jersey. I was fifth last year, so this year I will bid for that,” he said.
As part of the Blackchrome Peloton Event team mixed team, Jon will is using Velothon Sunshine Coast to put the finishing touches on his preparation for the World Amateur Road and Time Trial Championships in Varese Italy in August and then the annual Peloton Events Ultimate Charity Challenge 11-18 November, riding from Melbourne via Snowy Mountains to Sydney over every climb and high pass they can find.
“We are looking for eight strong riders up for the challenge of riding 1350km in eight days with 16,000m of climbing as a rolling pro peloton experience. We have support vehicles, nutrition on the ride just like a Tour de France experience. The charities we are riding for are Movember, for men’s health and Orange Sky Australia for the homeless and Bicycle NSW Environmental trust the advocates for a better environment for cyclists,” he said. More information is available at the Blackchrome Cycling tent or online www.pelothonevents.info