This month we take a more personal look into PureBlack Racing, finding out when they started racing, what their career highlights are, their pre and post race routines and the eccentric nicknames they have been given.
2012 has been a tough year for Dion Smith, breaking his wrist in Ireland racing for the U23 team, then his collarbone at his first race back with PureBlack Racing in Australia. At 19 years old, Dion is the youngest member of PureBlack Racing. Wanting to try out a new sport at school, Dion took up cycling. He says that decision has spurred him on journey of his life. With the ultimate goal to become a pro-tour rider, and race around the world, this young rider has the determination to learn from his mistakes and continue with his cycling experience.
As well as having a love for cycling, Dion loves water sports, whether it is fishing on a boat, swimming, surfing or skurfing. Dion likes to eat anything that is put in front of him, Chinese food being on top of the list.
The highlight of 2012 so far for Dion has been the time he spent racing in Europe for the U23 BikeNZ-PureBlack Racing team over Nations Cup, but admits the broken bones have made it a rough and frustrating year.
James McCoy started cycling as a part of his training with his school rowing team. With a hugely competitive nature, he knew from the beginning that cycling was a sport where his height was not going to restrict his ambitions. Due to injury James missed out on the Asia tour with PureBlack Racing but rejoined them in Canada for BC Superweek. At 22 years old, he dreams of becoming a top tier cyclist through the guidance of PureBlack Racing.
When not out on the bike, James enjoys being active in his home town of Christchurch, with fishing, hiking and playing golf being on the top of the agenda. His favorite food is homemade pizza straight off the oven. Like a typical cyclist, James loves his coffee and believes a meal never goes down well without a decent coffee.
When preparing for a major race, James will get a massage three days out and continue with some easy riding to keep the legs and the lungs ticking over. Food is important; James makes sure he eats three hours before racing, as well as keeping up the fluid intake.
James says that Canada was an awesome experience this year: “Racing alongside cyclists who have been on the world TT podium is next level”.
James “Jimmy” Williamson, the young gun from Alexandra, has sprung into the cycling world with high expectations. Jimmy was crowned the New Zealand National Road Champion this year, giving him the privilege of racing in the New Zealand National Jersey. Jimmy is an all rounder who has proven himself in all disciplines over his time with PureBlack Racing. The highlight of Jimmy’s cycling career so far was the Tour of Langkawi, “getting in the mix of breakaways on two different stages and fighting for the KOM jersey”.
Jimmy loves his hometown and spending time beachside or fishing at Lake Hawea over summer. His favorite meal is breakfast; muesli being his food of choice and this is a huge aspect of his pre-race routine. Getting into the zone is important for Jimmy, he doesn’t have a particular ritual but he does ensure that he is always organised the night before a race. Post-race, Jimmy enjoys fueling up and having a good yarn with the boys about how the day went.
Joseph Cooper’s first cycling experience was attempting the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge on a mountain bike at 18 years old. He was quick to realize that in order to complete the challenge with a good time, he will have to try it out on a road bike, and he hasn’t stopped racing since. Racing now for six years, Joe has won back-to-back Individual GC titles at the Tour of New Caledonia, and in his first year with PureBlack Racing in 2012 he gained a top ten finish at the prestigious our of Langkawi.
Joe likes to think of himself as the team’s coffee connoisseur, taking his coffee drinking skills and knowledge very seriously. He also loves to cook, although he admits, his skills do not generally go beyond cooking pasta out of a packet. His favorite food is salmon. While preparing for a race, Joe will do his best to remain calm and focused through listening to music, drinking coffee and listen to the general cycling banter of his teammates. Post race, Joe enjoys a protein shake, stretching, compression pants and warming down.
Louis “Louie” Crosby
Louis Crosby came to cycling from a multisport background, who used cycling as a recovery method for knee injuries. Louie loves getting in the mix of the final sprint of stage races, favoring rolling terrain. The highlight of his career so far has been pushing hard to get into breakaways with riders like Olympic gold medalist Alexander Vinokourov, and the realisation that his dreams were closer to reality that he initially thought.
Louie enjoys being active and in the cycling off-season he often finds himself going to crossfit, which he says “it brings you back to earth and finds your weaknesses”.
To get race ready, Louie eats a large meal as close to three and a half hours before the race as possible. He says a five-minute warm up helps with the mental preparation of the race, and finds it particularly important to tune out to some of his favorite music half an hour prior to the race while he stretches. Post race, Louie says he does not have a strange routine, instead he likes to get some well-earned rest and recovery through a protein shake, shower, stretching and naps.
Roman van Uden
Roman van Uden has taken up the responsibility of captaining the PureBlack Racing team this year. With 12 years cycling experience under his belt (he started road cycling when he was 12!) he is taking the role in his stride. During school Roman enjoyed racing through the streets of Mt Eden on his bike (occasionally getting himself in trouble with his teachers). Roman’s most exciting result was beating Lance Armstrong to win the 2009 Tour de Gila Criterium at only 21 years old. His highlight of 2012 was being able to race alongside his Tour de France idol Alexandra Vinokourov in Malaysia.
Roman loves summer in New Zealand, being able to cruise along the Auckland waterfront, hanging out at the beach and listening to music. Roman was influential in Skrillex being the soundtrack of PureBlack Racing while they are away on tour. The Captain’s pre and post race routines generally consist of eating, sleeping, listening to music and couch time.
In 2004, after giving a number of different sports a shot, Shem Roger made the decision to stick to cycling, and what an inspiring decision that proved to be. In 2006 Shem won his first national title and was selected for the Junior Track World Championships competing in the team pursuit, and winning a silver medal. Shem made the transition to road cycling two years ago after a successful career on the track with the BikeNZ Elite squad. His interests are now focused on racing with PureBlack Racing and getting results.
Shem grew up on the shores of Lake Karapiro, which meant being continually surrounded by water and water sports such as especially rowing, water-skiing, surfing and swimming.
Taylor Gunman picked up cycling as a part of his cross training for rugby but was eventually being converted onto the bike fulltime. Taylor has previously raced as part of the Junior National Squad, placing 3rd overall at the Tour de l’Abitibi in Canada.
When Taylor is not on his bike he likes to escape his home in Auckland and head to the family Bach at Lake Rotoiti to water-ski.
PureBlack Racing Nicknames
The team has dished out some colourful nicknames during their two years together; here are some of the stories behind those names.
“Twin Towers” Roman and Louie were walking through Washington D.C. with the team on a rest day last year when a homeless man yelled at them and called them the “Twin Towers”. At roughly 6’5”, the pair are not the usual small stature of a cyclist, and the name stuck. While in South East Asia, they definitely looked out of place towering above the rest of the peloton and they lived up to their name.
“Noddy” Taylor Gunman was given the nickname “Noddy” while racing in the US last year, by former teammate, Mike Northey. This was because of his uncanny ability to go to sleep in any situation, nodding his head in satisfaction the whole time.
“Fig” James McCoy has been given the name Fig, for the reason behind this name we suggest you ask him yourself when you see him out riding!
And that is all folks!