The Weekly Rider - Nick Skarajew

The Weekly Rider - Nick Skarajew

Nick Skarajew - Indy Pac rider, CX, Tour de Burbs regular and, very interestingly and somewhat controversially, lover of 7 Eleven coffee.

Recently relocating to Sydney, he's a Construction Surveyor in basic in Darling Habour, Building the New IMAX building. Father to Terror Furbaby Trent (11 months). 29 years of age.. and now La Velocita Weekly Rider.

Name: Nick Skarajew - Sydney, NSW

Dream Bike

My Gold Spooky Dune; Which due to my disorganization is still in pieces. There’s something quite special about these little companies, from the designers obsessively picking out the tubeset, geometry and artwork, to a guy in a shed in Vermont, who passionately welds it together. Other bikes on the shopping list would be a Curve GMX or Uprock ran single speed…. and Eventually a classic NJS track bike…. and a 22 Bikes little wing… or a speedvagen… whats the question again?

TDU Pilgramage - Adrian Zanardo

TDU Pilgramage - Adrian Zanardo

What is your favourite local ride

Being new to Sydney, I’m still finding my feet on what’s good. Some mornings I’ve been riding out to the rock pools of Mahon and Bronte, and going for a quick dip before work. Still need to get out more, and explore north side.

Back home in Melbourne though its hard to beat ‘Tour de Burbs’. It feels like a rollercoaster, with the small punchy climbs that turn down into the big fast drops. Its always a different group of people every week, and you know your legs are going to get ripped apart. 

Always a big relief when you reach Heidelberg road knowing the pain is over. And that there is a 7 eleven coffee waiting at the end.

What is your current cycling goal

Completing the remaining Indian Pacific course would sit top of the tree.

It was such an incredibly hard decision to pull the pin when I did, but it was the right thing to do at the time. Everyone was pretty stressed, and time/money was quickly running out. I was 3 days behind on the planning, and the credit card was running fairly hot.

I finished in Port Fairy, so looking forward to catching a train there over the Christmas break, and complete the last 1800kms over 10 days. Won’t carry anywhere near as much stuff. 
There are a few other ultra-distance bikepacking events on the calendar that I’m seriously looking into. But I won’t make any promises as of yet.

 Indian Pacific Wheel Race,  Troy Bailey Images

 Indian Pacific Wheel Race,  Troy Bailey Images

Secondly to get back to my pre-IPWR conditioning would be great, I’ve just started getting back into crit racing at Heffron Park, and looking forward to getting into the tail end of the CX season (being my first love)

When I am on the bike I.... panting, sweating and struggling for the first third, fantasizing about 7 eleven coffees and chicken sandwhiches for the second, and working out where to stop is in the third. Greg LeMond put it well when he said “It doesn’t get any easier, you just get faster”… I don’t think he was referring to parkups though.

How did your love of bikes come about?

Growing up in a housing estate out far east, bikes (namely BMX) were not only the easiest form of transportation, but the most fun and creative. Did dabble very briefly in 24 hour HPV racing through high school. Everyone was mighty impressed when I put in a 2 hour plus stint when I was feeling my groove. Wish I had stuck at it though, hindsight is a beautiful thing.

Didn’t really pick up a bike again when I was 23 with a On One Single Speed CX bike, that I had snuck up in a container truck to the Gas Plant Site I was working on in the Pilbara desert, Western Australia. 

Myself and a few other guys would wait till it got dark, and sneak out the back gate and ride up and down the cattle tracks. Avoiding Snakes, Kangaroos and herds of Cattle. Understood the importance behind good lighting (and keeping them charged) as you wouldn’t be able to find your way home if you got stuck out there.

Share a cycling memory

I have had so many great and not so great memories, surprisingly the one that sticks out the most was winning C grade CX at Fields of Joy in 2015. I was on a borrowed bike, which was kindly donated (cheers Tim) after my own bike had delaminated 2 sets of tubulars the day before.

DDCX cyclocross, Darebin Parklands, @bigtakeover

DDCX cyclocross, Darebin Parklands, @bigtakeover

I remember after getting the holeshot how excited I was, and then to complete the first lap ahead of the pack I was thing “Shit yeah, I’ve finally lead a lap, I don’t care what happens next” and then lap after lap I was realizing I was going to do it. I was caught on the final lap with 5 corners to go, and we sprinted to the line. After both collapsing in a heap, we had no idea who had won, but that feeling along was enough. I was on cloud 9 the whole week, telling everyone at work that I had won a cyclocross race, to be met with ‘whats cyclocross?’
I was quickly bought back down to earth with Wednesday training, and realizing just how far off those guys I am.

I love to ride because.... 

It forces you to clear your mind of distractions. Often it gets too easy to get causght up with work, social life, bills etc; and it slowly dissipates away. And you can focus on seeing the lines on the roads, feeling the wind against your face, smelling the fresh morning air and hearing your bottom bracket creaking (I should really get that fixed..)

Nick is supported by -  Curve Cycling, Creux cycling and FYXO have all generously donated stuff/time.