Meet our weekly rider: Michael Schmitt. This guy knows his way around the tarmac, and how to shred some dirt. He's got an impressively diverse palmares with a particular taste for endurance. There's big ambitions to head over to Europe to give racing a proper crack. Go Michael!
Where do you live: Dickson/ACT
Dream Bike and why?
I'm never 100% sure of what my dream bike would be, it's always changing as my priorities and objectives do. Right now though it's probably a Titanium Curve Belgie with some wide 50mm carbon rims, tubeless on 28mm tires with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and hydraulic disc brakes. Something to ride all day with zero fuss on the maintenance side, and that I can take on any adventure I might dream up in my spare time.
What is your favourite local ride and why?
I absolutely love riding out to Tharwa and back from Mt Stromlo in Canberra. It's a gorgeous ride through the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve with not even a whiff of the city in sight the moment you make the turn past the observatory road.
What is your current cycling goal?
I'll be heading over to Europe for a month in June to get amongst some climbing and maybe even a Belgian race or two if I'm game, then probably build into a potential National Solo 24 Hour Championship in October were that to organise itself. Next year I've got the year off work and study so I'll be packing my bags for Europe to try my hand at racing properly, just to convince myself I was never meant to turn pro. In the meantime though I've got my eyes set on an Audax Super Randonnée in the Snowies of around 600km with just over 10,000 vert and a time limit of 50 hours. If that goes without a hiccup I might start thinking about some even longer stuff - the live Indipac coverage has had me frothing for quite some time.
When I am on the bike I....
I guess it usually goes in two phases, in that initially I'm most probably just thinking about whatever question has been on my mind, which can be anything from a uni assignment to a discussion I might have been having with somebody earlier. Usually after two hours or so everything subsides and I'll just be humming along. I usually settle into my own rhythm, and end up singing whatever terrible song I'm into at that time. Anybody who's ever had the misfortune of riding with me around sunrise will no doubt have been subjected to a butchered rendition of the "Circle of Life."
How did your love of bikes come about?
In Year 7 my school organised a charity bike ride that was three days from Cabramurra to the top of Mt Kosciusko (did I spell that right?), and to be honest little year 7 Schmitt had never suffered that hard. I remember coming back the next year determined to do better, and slowly I improved. Something came out of that I guess, and before I knew it some family friends had roped my into racing and I was hooked on the endurance scene.
Share a cycling memory
I've always been a big fan of long-distance events, and somewhat unsurprisingly as a result any ride that's an adventure of sorts I'll tend to remember as a great one. I think the most fun I've had on a bike that I can remember was the Opperman 24 Hour Team Time Trial in 2016, where I rode with three others from Rochester in Victoria to Wagga via Deniliquin and Albury. It was really quite surreal riding from town to town in what was just stunning countryside. I distinctly remember losing one of our team mates and our support car on our way into Albury, where we had said we would meet at Maccas. Long story short the other three of us riders had no idea where we were, and had to ask some party goers for directions at midnight on the main drag. Although they were a bit confused at first why some guy in lycra was asking for a place that was literally three hundred metres away, they came around once we had explained what what was going on. On a completely different tone though I remember having a Mexican standoff with a sheep while training last year, although that one doesn't really lend itself to being written down too nicely.
I love to ride because....
I think cycling to me is both an outlet and a school for life. The core of cycling is really just suffering, and I think the first lesson is to realise that just because it hurts, it doesn't mean you have to stop. From there I think comes the second lesson, which is that there's a beauty and a purpose to be found in that perseverance, and those are two things I try to apply everywhere else in my life. I aspire to be that guy who's driven to achieve something, but who has an absolute blast while he's at it and certainly doesn't take himself too seriously. More simply though, whatever the day I've had or whatever may be going on, chances are that after three hours on a bike I'll be a much happier and more collected person.
Michael is supported by: Spin Cycle Clothing, POC Helmets and Gloryfy Unbreakable. "Their help has been pretty invaluable to my endeavours."