Cadel’s new preface reflects on cycling – and life – 10 years after his famous Tour de France victory.
It’s been six years since Cadel’s final pro race – the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in 2015. In that time the art of cycling has changed dramatically, while the COVID-19 pandemic has stamped new trends on the sport.
Cadel explains his passion for following the pro peloton now from the comfort of his family home in Stabio, Switzerland, his love of recreational cycling, the Australian riders he admires most and where his journey all began.
“I hope the book is still something for people who have come to the sport recently. While my own perspective of the sport has changed and cycling has changed – my story remains the same,” he says.
“Except now, I have two more boys! I still keep busy like when I was racing, but now my life is organised around the Great Ocean Road Race, my family and other cycling events I do with BMC.”
Read this excerpt from the 2021 edition of CADEL EVANS: The Art of Cycling – available now in your favourite bookstore and online.
It’s been a long journey from the 14-year-old with big dreams to now, 30 years later. But I still go out on my bike with the same enthusiasm. The thoughts in my head are not so much about future dreams as they once were – Could I be a pro? Could I make it? Now, with most of those boxes ticked, the painful moments have faded away and the great moments have maybe got a little exaggerated. But the good and not-so good moments stay with me, as lessons, as character-building experiences, as the road that led me to where and who I am today: from a young hopeful kid who started riding a tired old MTB on the trails in Kinglake National Park to a father, a middle-aged man (yes, often in lycra), a race organiser, an ex-athlete, who rides on the Great Ocean Road and through the southern Swiss mountains.
Some things have changed but my love for riding has not waned one bit. Out riding, I can reflect on the advice of some of the best coaches of my time, my own broad experience, as well as an overload of information from online resources and on-bike technology telling me how good I am or, more importantly, how good I am not. Now, it is not so much about being better than I was yesterday, but reflecting on other aspects of life, problem solving, disconnecting, insulating myself from unwanted distractions, and being open to natural surroundings while maintaining a healthy level of fitness and wellbeing.
The feeling of freedom and liberty I get on the bike is still the same exhilaration that I remember the first time, some 40 years ago, when I managed to start off myself without someone pushing me. I am guessing my dad, who was present, would have seen a much prouder grin on my face than I outwardly portray now, but inside the feelings are the same as they were in that unknown, uncleared patch of virgin bush in Upper Corindi.
From that little boy with a dream, those two wheels took me so much further than I ever dreamed. And for that I am forever grateful.
As I reflect on this journey, if I was to choose a song to best describe my cycling career I would choose ‘Holy Grail’ by my friends from Hunters & Collectors. They say it so much better than I can:
Seeking fortune and glory
It’s a short song, but it’s a
Hell of a story, when you
Spend your lifetime trying to get
Your hands on the Holy Grail.