Daniel Frawley - Abbotsford Victoria
I think I'm lucky enough to have my dream bike - a Trek Emonda SLR disc. There's a couple of upgrades which would be nice to do - a new set of wheels, and Di2 or eTap would be amazing. But most days when I walk past my bike I think 'geez that's a really nice bike'. Not only is it nice to look at, but it's amazing to ride too, the perfect bike for hitting the hills. I’m very happy I decided to get disc brakes too. The next bike on the agenda would be a gravel/CX bike - perhaps the Trek Checkpoint.
What is your favourite local ride?
I live a stone's throw from Yarra Boulevard so I find myself riding there more often than not. Even on the weekend the appeal of riding a relatively traffic-free road, with no traffic lights, through bushland with some amazing views of the city usually wins over venturing further from home. I also love the variety of the little climbs off the boulie for doing hill repeats.
I also grew up in Ballarat so I always take my bike with my when visiting family and love to ride there - I can head out in any direction and make up my route as I go, cruising along quiet country roads.
What is your current cycling goal?
Peaks Challenge Falls Creek is the next big goal. I've ridden the event twice as part of Team Bicycle Network - once at Cradle Mountain, and the 2018 Falls Creek edition. I found both events extremely rewarding for different reasons.
As part of Team Bicycle Network, I rode both events as the Lantern Rouge - the wave leader that no one wants to see as I signified the time cut-off. At Cradle Mountain I had the thrill of being able to help the last rider on the course to the finish line - we rode together for the last 60km, finishing within 2 minutes of the time cut. I’ve ridden lots of events and races for myself - Tour of Bright, Haute Route, Crits, road races - but helping someone else achieve their goal was one of the most emotional experiences I’ve had on the bike.
For the 2018 Peaks Challenge Falls Creek event I had the same intention and vision in my head. Throughout the day I was able to help a few people out - time-trialling one rider from Tawonga Gap to Harrietville - but the end of the ride is so challenging that it’s every person for themselves. The scene up the back of Falls is like nothing I’ve ever seen on the bike before - people walking, people collapsed exhausted, people cramping and dehydrated. I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible in my bright red, but it was a battle to get my body up this unrelenting climb. A dose of the real flu (not man-flu!) a few weeks before the event meant I didn’t have the fitness I would have liked, so I was just happy to get through. Crossing the line I hugged everyone in sight, and swore ‘never again’. I woke up the next day and was already plotting my next Peaks Challenge.
For 2019 I will ride again as part of Team Bicycle Network, but in the 11 hour wave. Hopefully I will avoid any bouts of flu, and I'm looking forward to getting into some training with my fellow Team Bicycle Network members. We have a series of training rides in the lead-up to the event open to anyone interested in doing Peaks Challenge.
When I am on the bike....
I’m pushing myself to improve. I’m getting to the top of that next hill. I’m meditating After some extended time off the bike in the past year I realised how important riding was to my mental health. Whether its out riding on my own, letting my own thoughts wash through me, or out riding with others - riding side-by-side is always an easier way to have a conversation.
How did your love of bikes come about?
Through my late father. We always had bikes when we were growing up - and Dad was always on his bike, always commuted to work. But my real passion of cycling didn’t arrive until a couple of years after he passed away. I watched the Tour de France one year with my Mum, and I was hooked, entering into the first cycling event I could find. Now every time I’m on the bike I’m riding with Dad, it’s my closest connection to him. I just wish I rediscovered my passion for riding before he passed so we could have ridden together.
Share a cycling memory
I’m riding across the top of Falls Creek. The sun is going down and there’s a vivid orange sunset behind the trees ahead of me. I’ve just ridden across the top of the last climb after 12 hours on the bike. I’ve made it past Trapyard Gap, past people collapsing by the roadside, past people behind helped into ambulances, past defeated faces of people who know they’re not going to make the finish. But I know I’ve only got a few KMs left in the fading daylight and I’m about to finish Peaks Challenge - my biggest day on the bike ever.
I love to ride because....
I get to go places and see things I wouldn’t otherwise see. I get to ride up the steepest of French Alps and sit and admire the view before the triumphant descent, or ride through an irrigator that's overshot the paddock on a hot day in Ballarat, just ‘cos i can. You’re in the moment and nothing else matters.
Daniel is supported by Bicycle Network and Cycles Galleria.
Finally - Daniel is growing a Mo in support of Movember - specifically supporting my partner who lost her dad to suicide 2 years ago. You can donate here https://mobro.co/danielfrawley