Friday, September 26, 2014

Interview with a gentleman in blue - Lewy Cressy

I was really fortunate recently to be able to sit down with Lewy Cressy of the Giant-Onya team and cover off on the important issues in life. I rate Lewy vey highly and he just continues to impress with both his ability and class on the bike. As a bonus, he is a good mate and a serious gentleman.

Name: Lewis (Lewy) Cressy

Age: 32 (as at 2014, he'll get older as time goes on)

Race Category: Elite

Sponsors: ONYAbike Canberra, Giant Australia, Hammer Nutrition, Lazer Helmets, Bright Consulting


Twitter: @LewyCressy

This is what Cressy looks like from the front. Not that many of you would know
Do you have a day job at all?

Some people call me a Librarian. But to be more accurate, I manage the video resources and video collections at the National Sport Information Centre (The library at the AIS). I work with sport videos all day… Dream Job! I also get the chance to film/record countless Sport Science lectures and conferences that cover topics like sport nutrition, strength and conditioning, recovery, supplements, physiology etc etc etc! I love it!

How long have you been racing \ riding bikes for?

My first MTB race was the Gravity 12hr back in 2010. My Bro in-law Matty and Father In-law Johnny, drove down to what was a super muddy but fun track! Afterwards I was exhausted on a level I had never experienced. It was a good feeling and it's what got me hooked on racing!

I have ridden bikes since I was a little tacker. I still have my first REAL BMX at home. I bought it from Big B bicycles (Now ONYAbike Belconnen) back in the mid 90s . It's pretty much restored to its former glory. I used to ride it all day every weekend at Belconnen Skate Park throughout my early high school years before I got Into Skateboarding. My best trick was a 360 out of the donut!

The donut at Belco skatepark was legendary wasn’t it? So how did you get into bike racing?

It was pretty much the in-laws that got me into racing. They ride and then I joined them a few times and we thought we'd have a go at racing - it just snowballed in a big way.

Did you do any other sports before getting into cycling?

I was big on the board sports! Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Wakeboarding. I played Basketball in high school. Then finally I had a crack at Soccer for a couple of years there before cycling took over!!!

Cressy showcases his ability to coordinate blue right across the entire presence. It is not easy, that is why he is #pro

How many bikes do you own?

None! ONYA own my bikes. Oh actually I have my BMX! Haro Group 1b 90s model!

You do a lot of racing aboard the road and the mountain bikes. What particular niche (XCM, XCO crit etc) is your favourite\preferred one?

I don't think I can single one out! They are all tons of fun! Marathons are brutal but rewarding. XC is fast. Actually I probably enjoy the team races the most. The most fun I have had at a bike race was while racing the Scott24 or one of the Chocolate Foot rounds. Hanging with the ONYA crew in between laps is always a laugh!

You are looked after by the mighty ONYA Bike Empire of Michael Brice. How much does this support ensure that you are looked after throughout the season? Is it true that Micko gets to name the firstborn of all sponsored riders?

The only rule is that your child's name must be able to be shortened to include an 'O' or 'Y' or 'IE' on the end. So our daughter Ellie qualifies.

What can I say about ONYA...? The day Micko called me and said he was going to start TeamONYA, also known among the onya crew as - the 'white jerseys' or the 'A team' - it was, at the time, the second happiest day of my life... :) ha-ha The support is incredible, from bikes to our gear to servicing - the riders are looked after first class!

Recently we have started to look outside of the empire. We did a lot of work, with the help of design and web guru Madison Giles, to build an online presence for the team. Our website is very slick and it helps to 'showcase' the team and the riders and our achievements. I think all the little things help when trying to attract sponsors. We recently teamed up with Hammer Nutrition and we are stoked. They sorted us out with tons of their goodies that keep us fuelled in training and racing. Their stuff tastes awesome as well!

For me though Onya is more about the crew and I think a lot of people can see that! We have such a tight knit group of riders who ride all disciplines and at all levels. We hang out, we ride and race together - it's sweet! It's the ONYA Family.

Yeah, nice one. It definitely comes across that way. You have your image on an advertisement on one of Canberra's buses. Do you get free bus rides? Requests for signatures? Other perks? Seriously though, this is marketing genius, but how does it make you feel?

So the FIRST time, I got a text from Micko one day and all it said was "you don't mind if you are plastered up the side of a bus do you?" I just thought WTF? Then I thought hell yeah that'd be sick!!! Ha-ha the street cred and social media banter was off the charts! Azza (Aaron Bashford) and I were overnight celebrities.

I remember that. It was going mental!

The second time, Snadzy (Andrew Snaidero) and Timmy Eaton got all the attention. Their pictures are HEAPS bigger and I got relegated to the back window.

The bus thing gets mentioned at work and by my family all the time! I am still milking it as best I can.

Action Buses can't afford to give out perks, they're Government funded.

So true! You guys seem super tight as a team, and perform extremely well at the races across all grades. What do you think the reason is behind this?

We feed off each other. I think we are lucky that there are so many strong riders in our group. It makes for some awesome training rides. If you come on any ONYA ride you will see that it inevitably ends up in a race. We used to do a Wednesday night federal highway road ride. We would swap off all the way to the tulip farm and then race full gas to the top of washing machine hill (I think we still own the KOM). On the way back we'd just race all the way - nonstop attacks. It was probably the sketchiest ride I have ever done, but the most fun as well.

On Saturdays we help the riders who are in the lower grades get stronger by not stopping. Ha-ha Saturday ONYA Ride is a race with no photos (no stopping). If you get dropped, we'll see you at coffee. Sounds rough but the crew all know that's how it works. It makes for funny stories at coffee and the slower riders don't stress about 'slowing everyone down'.

That is the best way to help your teammates out! Is there any dirt that you can dish out on any of the members of the team?

Where to start? Brad Morto Morton has the WORST socks I have ever seen.

Yes, don’t get me started….you can take the boy out of Kaleen...

Eliza Kwan doesn't know how to frown. Jarrod Hughes loves a crash and finally, I can't understand what the f$@k Ed McDonald is talking about in his blogs.

I am not sure that anyone knows what those words that Ed uses actually mean, but he is quite eloquent in his articulation! I have to ask you Lewy, are you really comfortable with the colour blue?

Yeah I was born with these eyes! That is what you are referring to right?

Um, yeah right….Speaking of blue, Giant recently adopted the 27.5 (650b) standard for their fleet. How do you feel that this wheel size standard has influenced your riding? Are there any Pros and Cons that you can let on about?

I'll be honest. I was surprised when Giant decided to drop the high end 29er. But the addition of the 27.5 SL in 2015 is exciting and I can't wait to get on one!

Now that I have ridden the 27.5 hard tail for close to a year I think there are both Pros and Cons when compared to a 29er hard tail. I haven't ridden a 27.5 Dually so I can't comment.

I can only go by feel on this, but I think the 27.5s are at a slight disadvantage on the long fireroad sections that u might encounter in a marathon.

Pros are in the tight stuff. The 27.5 accelerates easier. It is also very agile. Changing direction and throwing the bike around is a breeze! They really are suited to techy XC and the team based formats where you just race all out.

Nice analysis mate! It makes sense. I will attack you hard on the fireroads then! So, how many races would you do in a 12 month period?

Nowhere near as many as you JD!!! I have never counted and am not going to try. Let's go with as many as I can within a 5 hour drive of Canberra.

Racing is definitely awesome. I rate it. But to get there you need to train. What does a standard training week look like for you? Distance, Time, MTB:Roadie ratio

12 hours, give or take a couple, is pretty standard for me. That's about all I can fit in. Any more and I'd never see my family! I do a lot on the road, especially since I bought a power meter. Now I just try to drop watt bombs. What is a watt bomb anyway? Normally I'll try to increase my MTB hours a week out from a race.

How do you train in order to be fast? Heart Rate, Power Meter, Feel, Jedi Force?

The last 12 months I have started to try 'structured' training with the help of ONYA physiology guru and age group XCM weapon Tony Rice. More recently the famous

Triathlete turned elite MTBer Glenn Columbine has started to help me out. Both of these guys have taught me a lot about 'how' to train and I have learnt a lot about what my body can handle.

Before I teamed up with these guys, I just rode as hard as I could as often as I could. That method makes you fast in a short period of time, but unfortunately it isn't sustainable. I found that out the hard way, just like many of the other elite riders have at one point or another. I got sick and stayed sick for months. It's a long slow road back from that point. Tony Rice helped drag me out of that hole mid last year, I owe him big time!

Cressy laying down some 'Watt bombs' against some other dude

Nice one. It is all about consistency and sustainability that is for sure. What is your favourite event on the race circuit?

The Highland Fling is awesome. But I'd have to say Nationals is my favourite event. Seeing the best riders go at it is a buzz. Bright this year was awesome as we had a good group to hang out with as well so that always makes it more fun. From memory you introduced me to pre-race Thai food that weekend. We also snuck an Onya Bike sticker onto your teammate’s Cannondale that weekend, he didn't find it for months! Good times!

Thai food the night before a race is hands down the safest option anywhere in Australia. That is a life #protip right there for free. We definitely talked some smack that night! What is the toughest race, mentally or physically, that you have ever done?

2014 Giant Odyssey. I had a SHIT day, it was easily the hardest mental battle. At the start of the race I went out way too hard on a 10km climb and blew up within the first kilometre of the climb. I lost maybe 20 places and then crashed in a huge mud bog at the top of the climb. With 80km to go I was covered head to toe in thick mud and was way back in the field. I was so ready to pull the pin on that race but managed to talk myself out of it.

I learnt a lot from that day. The two main things being; Scout the major features of a course (like 10km climbs) and ride your own race.

Yeah, I remember you crossing the line totally covered in mud. I thought it was a good idea to just give you some space after that one. Is there a standout result that you have had that you think, “Yep, I dialled that one”

It was cool to beat you and Hally at Tathra. Racing head to head with guys like McConnell, Van Der Ploeg and Jared Graves in the National Eliminators of 2013 and 2014 was a real buzz too.

Scott 24hr Overall in 2013 with great mates was awesome. We had never won the overall.

Yes thankyou for reminding me about that one! I am still pretty pissed that you outsprinted me to take the win at the 2013 Tathra Enduro! I still have flashbacks of that race, damn it! When you attacked Hally and I at the 60km mark did you do it as a ‘tester’ or did you think that you could take it home for 40km?

Well Hally had been on the front for about 58 of those 60kms. I tried to roll some turns but he would just roll back around 2 secs later. So in that light, it’s not my style to sit in… so I thought I would see what happened. I knew the hill was coming and I made up my mind that I was going to hit it all out. I hadn't thought past that hahaha I was no chance of solo-ing for 40km, that's also not my style

Could you beat Brad Morton in a sprint?

If Brad had done as much work as what I normally would have done then maybe I could beat him in a sprint. But if Brad is fresh with no wind burn, not many people will beat him in a sprint.

He is definitely the master of sitting in. Probably so that no one can see his socks! What is your take on the XCM races that are currently on offer. Did you prefer the Real Insurance XCM series or the Maverick Series this year? Do you think that having a dedicated single series would be better for the sport?

One series that links the established and already popular XCM events is the way of the future. I hope they can make it happen again like the original Real Insurance Series. I think there were a lot of devastated MTBers when the news surfaced about the old series.

The Maverick series definitely gets my vote with established events and excellent scheduling.

The attempt at a national series was pretty ambitious. I think they shot themselves in the foot when rounds were scheduled with XC events and on back to back weekends in different states.

I had to laugh at the quote from The Deputy Mayor of Eurobodalla who said the event would bring 3000 riders and supporters as well as inject $900,000 into the local economy! Someone put on an excellent sales pitch to sell him those figures!

Yeah I reckon! How do you find balancing a young family with the demands of training and racing? Any #protips?

It is hard and it is something that you learn. You just need to learn the intricacies of female body language, facial expressions and what they 'really' mean when they say 'yep whatever'.

For Jess, Ellie and I it is about balance, planning and communication. Weekday mornings are a given, most are training days - on training days I don’t see Ellie or Jess in the morning at all, I find that aspect hard. Evenings are family time, except maybe one night per week. Weekends are also family time except for Saturday morning when I get In a long ride.

A xmas present from the men of #2602

Did Jess appreciate the 2014 Men of 2602 ™ Calendar that Hally and I sent to her for XMAS?

Yeah no doubt… That was by far her best present. I had to throw it out though, I was getting all insecure.

Ok, I will make sure that you get your own copy for your workshop next year. Where is your favourite place in Canberra to ride a mountain bike?

I enjoy going to the spots I have never been before! Canberra has tons of dirt trails in and around the suburbs with lots of random hills. Mt Rogers is somewhere I have used as a training ground. It is near home and has some nice long gradual climbs with a super steep finale.

The North side centenary trail is a lot of fun. It's almost at my back door too.

Are you comfortable with a 2 wheel drift at Stromlo?

Yeah no doubt. But I don't have as many photos as you do to prove it.

I find that hard to believe! How much do you enjoy the local Canberra racing scene?

I love club races! I have said before, you can turn up to a clubby and race the best guys in Australia. The road scene is just as good.

Yeah, it is pretty brilliant like that. Canberra has an amazing cycling scene. What are the standouts that you have in your standard weekly rides?

There is a secret road bunch on a Tuesday morning that I love. It is super smooth and it is HARD! Half the NRS peloton turn up to it most weeks. Riders are also banned from talking about it on social media. You got in trouble for that once didn't you? The Saturday ONYA ride is always good, 7am back of Belconnen store you should come one time. We'll let you do the first turn so you don’t have Bakery Bunch withdrawals.

Ahh yes….the bunch ride that has the same rule as fight club. Unfortunately, I did not get that memo… ah well, you live and learn. Those dudes who had the issues are wheelsuckers anyway*. If you had to pick the perfect day on the bike, what would it consist of?

It would be sunny, I would have no time limit and some good mates and we would go for a very long MTB linking up all of Canberra's locations. Centenary trail, Ainslie, Majura, Bruce, Stromlo and of course coffee and cake!!! Another ride that I really miss is a ride with Jess, we used to get out quite a bit together, mostly coffee rides or lakeys. Since Ellie came along those opportunities don’t come around very often.

Top step of the Scott 24hr in the prestigious overall 'real man' team category in 2013

Where do you feel your strengths lie on the bike? Any particular place for improvement?

I can accelerate pretty well, the change of pace is probably my strength. I am working to improve my ability to maintain pace for longer periods - it’s called Threshold isn’t it?

I have no idea. I just try to average 30km/hr everywhere when I ride. Onto a different topic, apart from myself of course, are there any other riders that you respect, admire or rate highly for any particular reason?

JD for his social media presence. I am not even joking, you use it well. Plus you have about a Million Twitter followers... I respect anyone who comes in to finish a race or a ride looking buckled - I love a rider who digs deep! I rate Morto for his will to win, he is a straight up racer and knows how to play his cards. If you don't drop the guy he is gonna roll you in a sprint! I also have spent a fair bit of time riding with Dylan Cooper over the last couple of years; he has done it all and has always been willing to share his experiences and knowledge when asked.

Thanks mate, that is way too kind! So, do you have a race nemesis?

Hmmm... On the MTB I was always just stoked to be in the top ten of the Elite Field. Although we did ALWAYS want to beat Blairy and Lewy for the overall at either the MONT or the SCOTT. On the roadie I have had some mad duals with John (Pothole) Forrest at Thursday crits. He is like Morto and knows where to sit and knows how to sprint! I never really knew him but towards the end of last year we started to talk and he is not a bad bloke! We had some great head to head sprints.

You can definitely learn a lot from watching the guys that always do well week in week out. It is probably not a fluke hey?

Yeah, exactly!

What is your favourite song on Appetite for Destruction?

Mate, I would have to check the Google... I loved the Gunners when I was younger. Sorry JD I didn't have that Album. BUT, November Rain is my all time favourite song. Two of my first cassette tapes were Use Your Illusion 1 and 2.

Nice one. 8 minutes and 57 seconds of awesomeness! Another burning question….Have you ever been on one of Andrew Hall’s Epic ™ MTB training rides? Were you half wheeled?

Yes… he took us up the Brindabella Mountains once, but we had to cut it short cause Snadzy and I ran out of time. Pretty sure he only took us on his regular warm-up route though. If Hally calls something Epic, for me that would be catastrophic! I have been half wheeled by Hally SOOOO many times.

He just gets excited, that it is all!

Alright then, let’s wrap it up with a bit of word association – try and respond with one word (or a sentence if required) to the following…

Bakery Bunch: I have never done first turn

Sock height: Long and black

Internet Forums: No

Social Media: useful

Espresso or latte: Espresso

Road Criterium racing: Can't wait

Cross Country (XCO) MTB racing: Fast

100km (XCM) racing: Brutal

Favourite MTB tyre: Crossmark or Ardent race

Hardtail or Dually: Hardtail

650B\29\26: 650B

Dylan Cooper: The benchmark

Andrew Hall: Half wheeler

Brad Morton: Team Captain

Shaun Lewis: A good guy with a great surname!

Thanks Lewy, any final words?

Thanks for the chance JD. Maybe we can ask you some questions next?

No worries mate! You said you guys have a web presence now? Let’s do it!

* - wheelsuckers, calm down, I am just kidding ;)

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