Winning + the Tour of California

by Nicholas Haig-Arack May 21, 2016

Photo Credit: Dylan VanWeelden (@dylanvanweelden)

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We get so excited this time of year. Trails are primed, summer trips are planned, and the racing season is just heating up. We want to share in that excitement with all of you. We are particularly thrilled to stoke out one lucky Obsessive, who is about to receive the most extravagant prize package we could conjure (with a lot of help from our generous co-sponsors). Without further ado, we can finally announce our winner of the Roadventure Giveaway. Drumroll please.

 

The winner is Portland’s own freewheelin’ kiwi, Aaron Tuckerman.

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We didn’t know Aaron from Adam when we selected his name from our virtual raffle drum. After a cursory Google search, however, it became quite clear that our random selection had yielded a satisfying result. Aaron Tuckerman is precisely the type of Obsessive who will make the most of the ultimate prize package for cycling adventure. This guy has done it all, from racing road and cyclocross at the highest levels to taking part in the rich variety of recreational riding that Portland has to offer. He’s also a cat person. Let’s ask him a few questions.

 

Tell us a little about yourself. What kind of riding do you enjoy the most?

I’m currently living in Portland, Oregon after first coming over on a visit to race for a road team based out of nearby Vancouver, WA around 2006. This led to more time in the US and less time in New Zealand until I moved here. I’ve done a little of everything in the past: Cross Country World Champs, then road racing, with a short professional stint on the Jelly Belly Cycling Team ruined by injury. Next came cyclocross, which again was curtailed by injury, and then a dabble in regional Enduro to see what the fuss was about. Now it’s all about having a good time in the woods on MTB trails and cold beverages in the car park.

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We’re currently pretty fired up about the Tour of California, which is winding down (check it out here). Tell us about your experience in the Tour.

My first team race as a paid professional was the 2008 Tour of California. It was a great experience. I have plenty of good memories of being a part of an amazing field of athletes that year. The one memory that really sticks in my mind was Stage 4. 218 kilometers from Seaside to San Luis Obispo. It was a wet and cold day right from the start. We rode from the team hotel down to the stage start. After sitting around in the team bus, we started the stage and headed out into a neutral section which turned out to be quite long, as I remember, and was not included in the 218 km stage distance.

 

What happened next was one of the worst days I have experienced on a bike. We rode predominantly down the coast into a unexpected headwind and rain. The break got away, which stuck for the remainder. The ride turned into a death march, with road signs along the route depicting how far we were from the finish. It’s pretty demoralizing seeing “70 Miles to San Luis Obispo” after being soaking wet and cold to the bone for three hours. We went through all of the race food and dry clothing we had in the team cars, then ate the mechanics’ sandwiches while wearing their jackets.

 

We finished over an hour past our expected finish time. In total I was on the bike for over 8 hours of wet and freezing cold. No ride has ever felt as tough as that day.

Yet it still was not done! After getting changed in the team bus and trying to get warm, but still being quite delirious, we were delivered to our accommodations for the night at the Madonna Inn. I can tell you, it’s quite the establishment. If you have never been to the Madonna Inn, all of the rooms have a theme. My room for the night was the Green Room, where everything from carpet to ceiling paint, furniture, and everything in between was the color green. It was eye opening in the state that I was in after that long day. I’m pretty sure I had no idea where I was or what I was doing when I walked into that room.

 

Any predictions or insight into this year’s Tour ?

 

To be completely honest, I haven’t followed it too closely in the run up to this year’s edition, but I’d love to see a repeat of the way Peter Sagan won last year. That was impressive. He stuck on those climbs, and the way he rode that TT was ridiculous! As a whole, the TOC is a great race that I’m sure the bulk of the field are looking forward to.

 

One final question. Where is your favorite destination for #Roadventure?

 

The best Roadventure ride in the PDX area has to be through the expansive Forest Park that sits on the edge of the city. It forms the perfect off-road commute for me coming from north of the city and into the office. The main trail is an old abandoned road, which is now car-free, named Leif Erickson Drive. It runs about 11 miles each way and is now fully unpaved.




We love riding in Forest Park too. It’s a great feeling, to get wild within a city. Portland sure is nice. Thanks to all of our Roadventure Giveaway co-sponsors for their help and thanks to everyone who participated. We’re already planning our next awesome contest, so stay tuned to the Kitsbow Journal. We’ll see you out there.





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Nicholas Haig-Arack
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