Anthony Seipolt is the La Velocita Weekly Rider! Involvement with St Kilda Cycling Club, racing, traveling, riding Melbourne's Beach Road and the spectacular Great Ocean Road and keeping up with the latest technology shows his true passion for cycling.
But it's more than that, the friendships, shared experiences and of course the coffee... There's no doubting, Anthony loves to ride!
Report: Aaron Mulkearns
Photography: Supplied by Anthony Seipolt
Name: Anthony Seipolt
Lives: Melbourne and the Great Ocean Rd
Dream Bike: I have never had the desire for a retro or classic bike. My dream bike is usually the one I am riding at the moment. I love the new technology and componentry of the modern era.
At present I am riding a Specialized 2015 S-Works Tarmac. I have ridden Specialized for a long time now and enjoy the subtle improvements that are gained with each new generation.
The new electronic shifters are fantastic. I never thought they would make much of a difference, but am now a convert after riding on them for 4 months.
Similarly, I have recently upgraded to full carbon clincher wheel set (Roval CLX 40s) and am super impressed with the smoothness of the ride. In my first race on these wheels I couldn’t believe how they made the old country road feel like fresh hot-mix.
Favourite Local Ride: I am lucky enough to live in two awesome cycling locations; Melbourne and the Great Ocean Rd.
In Melbourne, I am a Beach Rd addict. My morning training rides often include the Beach Rd section. There are so many different groups and starting times that it is sometimes hard to choose which one to join. My club (St Kilda Cycling Club) runs all sorts of training rides in the mornings, or you can join the North Rd Ride for a fast and furious 40km.
The Great Ocean Rd is almost the opposite of Beach Rd. I often ride solo or with a small group of itinerant locals. There are so many options around the area including the rolling hills of the GOR, the climbs of Benwerrin, Erskine and Skenes and the flat farmlands behind.
Coffee is a must for me, so most of my rides will include a stop (or two). My long-time favourite in Melbourne is Café Racer, recently revived thanks to Jim Noutsis. On the GOR the Wye General Store in Wye River is undisputedly the best coffee on the coast.
Cycling goal: Cycling goals are a moveable feast. I usually set myself a target 3 to 6 months in advance. I will detail a plan in my mind and work towards that.
I am lucky to have a great set of cycling mates who are incredibly supportive. When I broke my leg 2 years ago in a training fall, I was overcome by the volume of support and offers of help that I received. The recovery from the break has been a steady but rewarding set of milestones and the friendships provided through the cycling community have been a key part of that.
At the moment I am getting back into the race scene. The masters racing clubs are fantastic for this. Most of the masters riders have a history of racing and have acquired the race skills that make for safe and competitive racing. The race circuits are on open country roads that are heavy and often windy – this makes for hard and honest racing.
When I am on the bike I: I can’t really complete this statement. For me the bike is part of my life. It is my commute, my fitness, my competition, my social, my me time. The bike is an integral part of my life and I can’t really imagine a life without it.
When I was laid up with the broken leg, my earliest thoughts were all about getting back on the bike. My doctors and physios were fantastic in helping me work out a safe way to get back on the trainer and then on the bike. I was even back on the bike before I was off the crutches – although this did generate some strange looks as I swapped the bike for the crutches in the communal bike shed.
How did your love for bikes come about… I just happened across cycling. I really wish that I had discovered it earlier, but I was a late bloomer only really getting serious about road cycling 12 years ago.
Before this, I was part of a small group of friends who hit the hills and MTB trails sporadically. We were weekend hacks, but had a whole heap of fun. On one unfortunate day one of the team took a drop off badly and fractured both arms. His partner was spectacularly unimpressed with this as there were also two very young children to take care of.
The outworking of this accident was a not-so-gentle suggestion from our better halves that we look for a less dangerous and time-intensive past time. We came up with the brilliant compromise of taking up road cycling!
The four of us trouped off to the LBS and purchased 4 Scott AFD Pro road bikes and never looked back. I still have the original Scott bike in all its aluminium glory – I can quite bear to let it go.
Share a cycling memory: This is another difficult thought to distil. Cycling has provided so many great and memorable moments that picking one feels like a disservice to the others.
The moment that comes most readily to my mind when I think of the pure cycling essence would be a solo ride I took one morning while on holiday in France. I was staying with a bunch of friends at the base of Alpe d’Huez and decided to remove myself from the hustle and bustle for an early morning ride up the western valley wall.
There is a small road that winds out of the town where we were staying and wanders up the cliff-face to a small collection of houses called Villard Notre Dame. The road itself is a remarkable piece of engineering as it is cut into and under the cliff-face. There are three unlit tunnels – one of which is pitch black.
I climbed these steep narrow roads as the sun was rising over the eastern valley walls and experienced a moment of pure bliss. The view, the exercise, the location all combined for a very powerful feeling of euphoria.
My recollection of the bliss of that moment has a nice counterpoint. As I descended the climb I came head-to-head with a car in the pitch black of the single lane tunnel. Even squeezed against the wall there was barely enough room and I am still not sure if the driver saw me there.
I love to ride because: There are many, many reasons that I ride. One of the key aspects is the friends that I have made through the years.
Racing is a great leveller. I competed in the Melbourne to Warrnambool one year and shared the last wind-swept, rain-driven 100km of riding with a group of 5 other riders. We were all exhausted, 30 minutes behind the winners, and immediate best friends.
Cycling may be the “new golf” in its ability for riders to talk and learn from each other. However it also provides the incredibly strong bond of shared pain, accomplishment and support. In cycling, you can help a friend when they are tired, punctured or low on glucose. You can draft them home on those windy days, share a gel or simply provide the encouragement and motivation to keep going.
Those moments of help are remembered, joked about, reciprocated and can often forge strong bonds of friendship.
The friendships that I have gained and grown through cycling are one of the reasons that I love this sport.