“Dispatch” is an online column from Triathlete Editor-at-Large Holly Bennett that features pro updates, industry news, happenings afield and otherwise random reports related to multi-sport. Look for “Dispatch” every Thursday on Triathlete.com
Triathletes are not the only ones clued into the benefits of training in Boulder, Colo. A houseguest of pro Chris Legh, road-riding superstar Simon Gerrans, who races for Australia’s Orica-GreenEDGE Cycling, was recently in town for a three-week stint. If you’ve been stuck in a swim-bike-run bubble, here are just a few of the accolades belonging to this single-sport speedster: 2012 and 2006 Tour Down Under Champion, 2012 Milan-San Remo Champion, 2012 Australian Road Race Champion, stage winner in all three Grand Tours (France, Italy and Spain) and Beijing Olympian. I had the pleasure of breaking bread and downing a bottle of red with “Gerro” and his wife Rahna and learning why they landed at the Legh’s house for the fourth time in recent years.
Gerrans was raised in Jamieson, Australia, a small high country town a few hours drive from Melbourne. His humble beginnings are best illustrated by his recollection of his first foray to school:
“My mum had her hands full tending to my baby brother, so she’d walk me to the end of the lane where I’d catch a ride to kindy [kindergarten] on the mail truck.”
Life is a little more luxurious for Gerrans these days. He makes his home in the tiny Principality of Monaco with Rahna and their nine-month-old son Oscar. The family will soon expand to four, as the couple is expecting their first daughter in September. From their home base, Gerrans has easy access to training and racing venues throughout Europe. Still, he embraces the opportunity to visit Boulder for a taste of high altitude and a test of Rocky Mountain rides.
Gerrans recalls meeting Chris Legh 15 or 16 years ago:
“He came and did a little clinic at the pool in my year 12 P.E. class. Not long after that I got into cycling and started dong some rides with him. His folks had a holiday house in the area where I grew up. We’ve been friends ever since.”
The families’ friendship is one of several reasons Simon and Rahna Gerrans enjoy spending time in Boulder.
“There are a few reasons I like coming here,” said Simon. “I respond really well to altitude training so that’s obviously a big part of it. But also I like coming over here at times rather than going to altitude in Europe. It’s a break from Europe, a break from the lifestyle we lead over there. It’s a much more relaxing way to train.”
He was quick to name some of his favorite Colorado rides:
“I love riding up Highway 7 and across Peak to Peak. I love riding up around Estes Park. Also I really enjoy training up around Vail.”
“Most of the time I train with Chris,” he continued. “But our schedules haven’t exactly lined up this year, so we’ve only actually done a couple of rides together. But there are so many other cyclists and triathletes here. I know a whole bunch of them, both Australians and locals, so there’s always someone to hook up for a ride with. I’m never short on company.”
With Monaco’s high concentration of millionaires and billionaires, I had an inkling as to one of Rahna’s favorite things about Boulder.
“The shopping!” she said. “I’ve purchased our daughter’s entire year one wardrobe for a fraction of what I would pay at home – with the help of veteran shopper Sarah Legh of course!”
While Rahna honed in on the reasonably priced retail scene, Simon was not solely focused on cycling. He also enjoyed a backyard hula-hoop session with his host, as evidenced by the accompanying photos (above).
Next up for Gerrans’ 2012 race season:
- Criterium du Dauphine, June 3 – 10
- Tour de France, June 30 – July 22
- London Olympics, July 27 – August 12 (pending selection to team)
Follow along @simongerrans.