Hey PLCC, it’s the Lams, made up of 2 brothers and a cousin. To us, cycling is a way to stay connected as life starts to get in the way, with a bit of competition thrown in for fun.
(Update. Justin and Jonathan are brothers and Chris is the cousin.)
I still have old videos of my dad teaching me how to ride a bike when I was 4 or 5 years old. One that stands out is when he let go of me as I was riding, and not knowing how to stop, I rode into a fence. I didn’t know it then but that was the spark that would light my passion for cycling today.
Apart from sporadic riding here and there on family holidays, I didn’t really decide to start riding again till the end of 2014. I was based in Newcastle for uni, and it was a great way to commute, as well as regain some fitness that I had lost after stopping sports after high school. After a few months, I heard about the spring cycle and entered the 50km ride (the furthest I had ridden at that point was about 35km). It was a challenge but the sense of accomplishment from finishing was like a drug and I was hooked.
I soon got Justin and Jonathan into riding with me because as we all know, it’s so much more fun with other people (and sometimes hurts so much more). I joined my first race a year after and got dropped, then a second and third which I won, which then became another thing to sink my teeth into.
When PLCC was announced, I quickly transferred over and have never looked back. The sense of inclusion and camaraderie has been a big factor in growing my passion for cycling. Since I’m based in Newcastle throughout the week, I’m often only able to join in on the Saturday Bobbo rides, which I always look forward to, and it doesn’t hurt that the start is only 2km from my house. When I’m back based in Sydney next year and I look forward to joining more group rides and meeting more of you along the way.
It’s coming onto just about 3 years now since I’ve been on the bike. I’ve always loved playing sport and having studied up on the Gold Coast, the weather was perfect for it and I soon found myself getting involved in soccer and touch footy, AFL and running half marathons. I also jumped on the gym band wagon and packed on a few kilos. As fun as it all was, I kept on finding myself getting injured and the reality was that I could never get buff.
At that time, Chris was always chirping in my ear and encouraging me to get a bike and I had a few friends who were into cycling as well and that’s where it all began. I remember sitting down with my friend and navigating Wiggle to purchase the cheapest shoes, bibs and helmet, all of which turned out to be the wrong fit. He had an indoor trainer and after practising clipping in and clipping out, I set out on my first ride around the block and it was exhilarating! But then came the clipping out… I remember the thought process in my head: “unclip on the right and lean to the left, easy, I’ve done it on the trainer”. Of course that didn’t happen and that was to be my first fall off the bike of many. The day after we planned for a 50km ride and I was reassured that it would be slow and easy. With no food and a single water bottle, we set off at a slow and easy pace. It was mostly flat with some hills but it was along the coast line, the views were amazing and I’d forgotten about the fall the previous day. With 10km to get home, however, that’s when I first met The Wall: the dry mouth, blurry vision, slight headache, jelly legs and that sense of doom. I had never downed a Coke can that fast before.
It’s both funny and interesting looking back and seeing how much things have changed since then and how cycling has now become such a major part of my life. It’s been a great way of keeping fit, de-stressing from work and meeting new people. What keeps me going, however, is the fun of group rides, competitiveness of races and the fact that we all share that passion for cycling. And you know you can’t back out once you’ve bought a top of the range bike and you’ve got a cousin and brother also vying for bragging rights in the family!
My cycling adventures started at the beginning of 2015, after graduating uni and moving back home to Sydney. My intent in getting a road bike was to commute to work, chill out with Chris and Justin and supplement my fitness for my primary sport at the time, Ultimate Frisbee.
I remember after getting my first road bike, Chris came over to teach me how to work the gears, clip into the cleats and we went for a quick spin around the block.
A couple of weeks later, with the longest ride I had done so far probably only about 20km and really only on bike paths, I was keen for an adventure and asked Chris to take me on a longer ride. So Chris planned a ride to some place called “Pie in the Sky” and the next sunny Saturday two naïve Lams set off for their adventure. We left my place at midday and decided to take Lane Cove Rd and the Pacific Highway up north. The car traffic was TERRIFYING but we somehow survived and made to Pie in the Sky. As we were leaving to head home I was telling Chris that the ride wasn’t too difficult. I’d soon rue my cockiness. I still remember explicitly the intense pain I experienced at the hill just before the fork of Pacific Highway and Pennant Hills Road. Both my quads were cramping and I literally fell off the bike. The next 20km home were excruciating. After every hill my legs would cramp and we’d have to stop, but eventually made it home.
I love cycling because of that type 2 fun. I also love cycling because of the competitiveness. Initially, it was trying to beat each other’s Strava times, to see who could sprint the fastest or to get a higher average speed for our Sunday M7 ride. After a year of seeing Chris’ podiums I decided to take my cycling to the next level and give racing a crack. Racing with PLCC has been amazing, with probably the most fun and joy so far being the West Head series this year. Having mates like Foxy and the General (and I suppose to a much lesser extent, Justin and Chris too) ride selflessly to support me in this race has been really humbling. At the time of writing this we’ve got one round left and I hope we as a team can bring home the overall victory for PLCC. (Update: He won.)