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BLOG 3  #  3/02/19                                                                                     MAKE YOUR MOVE
 
 

In January I spent almost a month in Adelaide. January is THE month for Australian cycling. You can compare it with the month of April in Belgium when the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix take place.

The biggest cycling race in Australia, the Tour Down Under took place in Adelaide from January 15 - 20. A few days before the TDU, The Advertiser Track Down Under took place, an event at the Super-Drome (velodrome). Not only a few Australian cyclists participate, but also Italian topper Elia Viviana and Dane Michaël Morkov were present. Even though it was not an official race, the best part was played during the keirin (a sprint with a maximum of 6 riders and which is especially popular in Japan), madison, sprint and elimination. This was the first time that I saw a cycling race on the track with the elite and it was spectacular. Unfortunately also with a heavy crash during the keirin of 5 of the 6 riders fell hard (images can be seen via the link below). Miraculously, one remained on his bike and that was world champion sprint Matthew Glaetzer. Speaking about Matthew. I had contacted him a few days in advance to meet him personally and for a chat because he is also a Christian and his faith is very important to him. He has already achieved a great honors list. For example, in 2016 he finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Rio in the sprint and team sprint. In 2018 he became world champion in sprint. He is a wonderful athlete to watch. The audience was enthusiastic during the event.

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A few days later I had a talk with Matthew during a cycling clinic for kids. Here he could make some time for a relaxing chat. I do not choose a formal conversation, but rather a spontaneous single meeting. We sat on a large empty stand and the conversation was relaxing.

Matthew started out as a pole-jumper in his teens, but due to persistent hamstring injuries he tried the bike and he could soon excel. He now trains almost daily in the gym and on the cycling track. In the gym he trains to maintain and cultivate his muscle mass. And believe me, he has muscle mass. If you put my 2 legs together, that is one leg for him! He does not train much on the road. Long duration training on the road for 5 & 6 hours is not for him. Give him the cycling track where he can cycle as many rounds as possible through short, intense sprints. The faster the better. That is what he likes best and also has the most talent in it.

Matthew grew up as a Christian. He was active for a while as a youth leader in his church. Unfortunately, that is no longer feasible due to his professional sport, but if he can go to church he does so. In his early years as a rider he had a hard time making decisions and that paralyzed him. But he trusted and prayed to God that he could take right decisions. He also talked to his colleague Dutchman, Theo Bos, with whom he regularly shared the room. If there was no internet connection in the hotel room, he took out his Bible. That made the Dutchman curious.

We had been talking to each other for almost an hour on that empty stand while the children on the track were having fun on the bike. I also told him about our activities and projects of PaxX and he was enthusiastic about this. He still had time for a photo and then went back to the bike clinic.

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The pressure on his shoulders is sometimes hard. But he is still very ambitious. His big dream is to win Olympic gold next year during the Olympic Games in Tokyo. His goal this year is the World Championship in Poland that will continue from 27 Feb to 3 March. We are curious how he will do in it. We follow him closely.

Matthew is an example for the youth. He is social and likes to make time for the people. He is down to earth and knows like no other that the life of a top athlete is only temporary. God gave him the talent to sprint very fast. Very nice that he uses this talent to the full 100%. Not only his daily training work and discipline but also his personality makes the difference between a champion and a great champion. And for me he is a GREAT CHAMPION.

Wonderful that Jesus is his guide in his career. That is the best thing that happened to him.

I have been able to experience the Tour Down Under for a few days. First there was the team presentation. A successful combination of sport and festival atmosphere. I have seen a number of famous cyclists up close, including Peter Sagan. Not that special for me. My girlfriend thought the team presentation was a great experience.

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A few days before the teampresentation the Tour Down Under Classic took place in Adelaide center, a kind of cycling criterium that is separate from the TDU but with a great show value and atmosphere. This was the first victory for Aussie Caleb Ewan for his new Belgian team Lotto Soudal.

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The women rode the last stage of their TDU on the same course. Here, the Australian Chloe Hosking won the bunch sprint. The final victory was again for the Australian Amanda Spratt. For the very first time, a Belgian team also participated, Doltcini - Van Eyck Sport. 

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I also went to watch the penultimate stage of the TDU for men starting in Glenelg. A mass of spectators. 

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There were a number of stages where the TDU continued in the Adelaide Hills. A piece of beautiful nature with continuous undulating roads. They are not super long climbs, but there is no meter flat. The longest climb is the Willunga Hill. A slope of 3 km long with an average gradient of 7.4%. For the very first time this was the final of the TDU in the last stage with the finish line at the top of the hill. Here was the Australian Richie Porte the first to cross the line. Just like last year, the overall victory went to South African Daryl Impy. 

I had the chance to cycle up the Willunga Hill without training. It was better than expected. My 'climb-legs' came back above water!! (Belgian expression). I have always done this happily in cycling. To climb a hill or mountain is my favorite thing in cycling.

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I also spent four days in Melbourne. Christophe Logier, our PaxX cyclocross rider told me that he knew friends there in Melbourne and that their son likes to cycle too. That is how I came into contact with them. It were 4 fantastic days where I ended up in a very warm, frank family.

Their 16-year-old son Alister Potter mainly likes mountain biking and trial, a cycling discipline to cycle down as fast as possible with various obstacles on an off-road course. A spectacular part of cycling. Really something for daredevils. Sometimes he also went cycling on the road in a local cycling club and he could easily reach 30km/h on undulating roads. His mother had told me that he could ride very fast so I took him on a training one morning. But actually it was the other way around because I obviously did not know the roads and he rode way too fast for me. He often had to wait for me on top of a hill. My 'climb-legs' were soon gone that day! He certainly already has bicycle skills. A wheelie is no problem for him. Video can be seen at the end, click here .

He is already cycling very fast for a young rider. He is certainy a talent with a lot of strength and great endurance. But he also just enjoys having fun on the bike, and that's great. That's what being young is all about. But I will be really excited and curious to watch his progress. He and his father have already ordered a PaxX kit, so soon we will see the new PaxX kit in Australia cycling around.

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 Click here for the beautiful images of recent times in the Super-Drome, Tour Down Under in Adelaide & Melbourne.

It was very hot in Adelaide the whole month. New heat records were set day after day. With temperatures of 40 ° it was sometimes unbearable. But the warmest day was on January 24: 47° with temperatures of 49° in some places. This was the hottest day ever measured in Adelaide. The sun burned almost literally through your skin and you could easily bake an egg on your car. It was really inhuman. Fortunately, we also flew back to Darwin that day. Here it is also hot every day with temperatures of 32 °, but here it is the rainy season. So it is good to be cooled by the rain.

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Life here in Australia is fascinating to say the least. I have been here for about 2 months now and have already had a fantastic blissful time. I am very grateful and enjoy every second. Next time I will tell you more about my projects outside of Australia. I will also focus on a number of churches in Australia such as the C3 Church where I regularly go. I know that there are a number of cyclists in these churches. This morning I had already heard a nice sermon in this church about 'Make your move'. The past few months were pretty intense for me because of the high temperatures, the new lifestyle and the many travels. But I continue my steps. So stand up and use your talent and passion. Not only for yourself, but also to inspire and encourage others.

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What I certainly miss is a large pack of fries with beef stew sauce and lots of mayonnaise (although they find that combination disgusting !!) The 'fish and chips' is certainly delicious, but this can not match the Belgian fries.

See you later alligators!

Stippy


 

 

BLOG 2  #  15/12/18                                                                                       THE STIPWAY
 

I have been in Down Under for 3 weeks now. Time flies. The jetlag has been gone for a while and I've also got used to the high temperatures and 'the Aussie lifestyle'!

I have also been able to buy a second-hand mountainbike. The bicycle here is a perfect transportation to explore the area. The traffic in Darwin is quiet, although the cycling infrastructure is not so good and there are not too many traffic rules for cyclists. But overall it is pleasant to cycle here. Meanwhile, I have lost some weight. I suspect 0.00001 kilograms!! It's a start...

 
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Unfortunately I did not participate in the race because I did not have a bike, but from February there are weekly races on the cycling track so there are plenty of opportunities. In the past few days I have made several contacts regarding our projects, even in Fiji. People are quite enthusiastic and curious. I will meet a number of people in Adelaide and Melbourne. But also in C3 church where I try to go every Sunday morning there are cyclists in Darwin and even bicycle groups in Sydney.


In the coming weeks there is a lot on the program. On Monday I'll go for 9 days to Bali, an Indonesian island. I'm going to see how locals use the bicycle as a means of transport and I will also look for recreational bicycle groups. I am very curious how the cycling culture in Bali has developed. Traffic will be much busier and more chaotic than in Darwin. Many taxi drivers and scooters, beeping and yelling of impatient car drivers.

 
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On Christmas Day I fly back to Darwin. So I'm going to celebrate Christmas high in the sky. But that can also be fun. Who knows, maybe there will be a Christmas tree, Christmas lights and we will sing Christmas carols on the plane! The next day on Boxing Day, my girlfriend and I travel from Darwin to Adelaide. Not by plane but by car right through the outback via the Stuart Highway. This is the only road to the south and the distance between Darwin and Adelaide is about 3000 km. About the same distance from Belgium to the African country Algeria. The journey will take four or five days, but it will definitely be an adventure. If everything goes well, we will arrive on New Year's Day in Adelaide.
I like being someone who maps out his own route, his own 'Stipway'.  But that will not work in the outback so we will keep following the Stuart Higway.

    
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From 13 to 20 January 2019 there will be the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide. This is a UCI-Pro Tour competition for men and women elites and is the largest stage race in Australia. The best cyclists in the world like Peter Sagan have already confirmed their participation. I will also be there as a 'promoboy' for PaxX! Later more details ...
 
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I also make time to explore the area here in Darwin. Nature and animals continue to fascinate me here again and again. Sunsets are stunning here. I also made a nice photo of a pelican near the harbor during an evening walk. And also a picture of a tortoise chilling on the back of a small crocodile. It looks like this turtle and crocodile are best 'mates'!
 
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 Some animals don't like me. I was recently attacked by a 'Magpie', a typical Australian bird that mainly attacks hikers and cyclists to protect their bird's nest. The bird looks innocent but they are quite aggressive. So they bite their beak several times in your head and I can assure you that is pretty painful. I have not been attacked by a Magpie while riding, but fortunately I always wear a helmet during a bike ride. Although a helmet is not sufficient for some cyclists. See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0cS4090Tvg
 
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See you later terminators!
 
Stippy
 

 
BLOG 1  #  23/11/18                                                                                         RUN MICHAEL RUN
 
Hi friends, 
 
My first week in Down Under is over. On November 23 at 5.30 am I landed safely in Darwin after a long journey of 38 hours.
 
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Of course it is very hot with temperatures of 35 ° with sun but regularly very bright rain showers and thunderstorms. Not comparable with in Belgium. The mosquitoes are also swarming around my head and Australian animals from all over the place appear in your home like a gecko (sort of lizard). I have not come across the big Aussie animals, but that will not be long, I fear. The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful and the people here are very friendly.
 
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The jetlag was in my body for five days. My intestines also literally caused some 'excitement' !! But now I am back fit, although my form is very bad.  Time to do something about it. I do not have a bike yet, so I put on my running shoes and explored Darwin while running. Click here for the video.
 
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I have noticed that there is not much cycling in Darwin, but one of the first things I had seen in Darwin when I arrived was a cycling track. No indoor but outdoor velodrome. Tomorrow there is a competition for children and adults on this velodrome. We will definitely take a look and hopefully make some contacts. On 8 December there will be another competition. If I have a bike by then I certainly participate. My goal is to become the best Belgian !! 
 

That was it for now. I will keep you informed.

See you later alligators.

Stippy

 

On November 21, I (Michaël Stippelmans) travel to Down Under. Not to lie on the beach with my butt, to surf in the sea or to go to a barbeque every day. No, I'm going with a mission that has been carefully thought about. After weeks of preparation, everything starts to fall into its fold to start a new adventure on the other side of the world. Read my objectives below.

On this blog I will regularly mention updates of my Aussie adventure or on this facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PaxXTCC/

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It will be quite a challenge to realize all this. But take it from me. Something that does not exist yet, we want to go for it ... Because of this attitude we have been able to achieve many goals successfully in recent years. In 2013 I could taste Australia for a while and that has only increased my enthusiasm to promote the bicycle in various aspects.

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Contacts are currently being made in different regions. Australia is a huge country. If you put it over Europe, it would be almost the same size. So logistics is not a senicure. And also the heat plays a big role, not to mention the dangerous species that you can encounter along the way (see photo) !!!

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As most of you know, I am a believer and I also follow God's guidance. He is my guide. Nothing is impossible for those who believe (Mark 8:23).

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Sometimes I ask myself why we like cycling. Apparently it must be a fantastic feeling! We ride to school or work by bicycle. We cycle to a nearby café or shopping center, we make long bike rides on a road bike in the weekend, or put a number on a jersey to ride a race. Not to mention those cycling world travelers. We can do so much with a bicycle.

So do not start to see and whine that you can not do something like that. If you stay on your buttocks, nothing will happen. Therefore a message for you. No matter how young or old you are. If you feel that you are ready for a next step in your life, do not wait any longer, go ahead and take your next step. Whatever that may be ....

See you later alligators!

Stippy

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