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PaaP 2018

Good friends we have recently completed the 3rd annual PaaP and the 2nd last Peloton Charity Event for the year. Final one is the Youth Mental Health Velokhaya Charity Ride Sun 10 December which I hope you will all come out and support.   At the end of this note is a link to a terrific article by Blackchrome and a quite brilliant video which will bring great pleasure and pride to you and you are most welcome to share as widely as you would like. It is special work by Alex.

Like any major endeavour that takes you outside your comfort zone, I learned a lot about being an event founder, owner and ride captain. The feedback I’ve received about the event has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am immeasurably proud of our ride captains, support team and all riders, for creating a wonderful experience of a rolling peloton of 24 people over 8 days - 1300K, 16000m of climbing and raising more than $64,000.  We have now raised, on this event alone over 3 years, a quarter of a million charity dollars.    Pushing yourself to innovate and get outside your comfort zone is an important part of being a successful athlete, business professional and adult. I’m going to take you through my analysis of PaaP 2017 as an example of how I recommend people examine their own endeavours, to listen to and improve this event and to launch 2018.   Much thought, time, energy and feedback has gone into this. Not everything will resonate with everybody but the best of it will with most.  I will comment in blue italics on whether we will remove, retain or improve this in 2018.

Start with What Went Right

Many people in life are quick to criticize and slow to praise, and psychologists also point out humans tend to be very specific with our criticisms yet use nebulous statements about positive things. For instance, you may be able to detail specific things you did wrong in a race, but when asked to describe something positive you may tend to say, “I was aggressive.” The world isn’t very good at acknowledging accomplishment, so it is important to do it for yourself. It’s not about vanity, but rather a counterbalance to our quickness to criticize.

What went right during Peloton Events PaaP 2017:

Incredible Challenging and Beautiful Route

Peloton Events is about giving the best possible experience to friends who ride and want to challenge themselves. Peloton/JML Racing Coaching was founded on the idea of athlete preparation for significant goals, so it was important to me that the event was challenging. The direct 860K route from Melbourne to Sydney is boring, busy and dangerous.  We turned this into a 1300K challenge (thanks Sean!!) taking in the 3 of most iconic, scenic and cycling friendly challenges and areas in Eastern Seaboard Australia.  We all made it over Deadhorse gap – highest through road in Australia,  Tawonga Gap, Cambewarra, Barrengarry and then rode into Barangaroo in Sydney. It is also crucial for events to be safe and enjoyable so our course predominantly used low-traffic country roads.  Everybody has a bucket list achievement to add to not only their cycling but life resume. Truly fantastic.

One of the reasons to revisit the same overall route in 2018 is to take us on even better country roads but also to have another crack at these icon climbs, train for and beat our times on key challenges during the ride but also chill a little more and enjoy some of the incredible vistas along the way. We now know where they all are!! 


Ride Captain led Pace Groups

Guiding athletes to accomplish their goals is what I’m best at, and we wanted to use our strengths to make our event better. To do this we established pace lines that most have never experienced before. We deliberately took people out of their comfort zones and as individuals and as a group developed a whole bunch of new lifetime riding skills. This allowed athletes of like abilities to regroup after the climbs and descents to ride together in a cohesive group for the rest of the event. Riders didn’t have to be in the pace line but could simply stay at the back under ride captains Joel’s protection and watchful eye (and helping hand). If the pace was too high or a mechanical situation occurred, the ride captains would radio through on their helmets back to Charley in the support car who would attend to and bring that person back in Pro style.

In 2018 intend to retain this but also have a 2nd captains led and supported tempo group for parts of most days at a more moderate pace back to enjoy the journey whilst still a challenge.

Mechanical Support on the Road

Peloton Events Support Vehicle aka Black Landcruiser and Charley did more than a great job supporting all riders during the event. There is no other multi day event for amateurs in Australia that will so expertly be beside you at the exactly the right moment to swap out that wheel and draft you back into the group, take a picture, hand a bottle or gel to the ride captains for you or protect you from the rear.  To have riders dropping back to help with this and bringing back on is world pro class grand tour experience. After the ride to have your bike checked and running smoothly, tyres changed if required and chain cleaned and oiled.  

In 2018 the challenge is to have Charley back due to his commitments during Army officer training. He will make this a priority and we will find a replacement if not. This is such an important job that if we don’t have the right person, the ride captains will take this in turn (a few hours out of the saddle would be Gold!).  There is a safety issue to this: upskilling riders in pace lines etc and professional support maximises post-ride rest time for all riders and ultimately reduces fatigue ensuring a safer event. There is a safety aspect to this and the above pace lines that by bringing up peoples skills and concentration they don’t lose concentration by being out all day and get in safely. I mention this as I read about another tragic death on a long stretch on the Audax Sydney Melbourne 1200.


Stocked Aid Stations

It is a mortal sin for aid stations to run out of food and water during an endurance event, yet it happens frequently. With our pre event planning and support team energy and skill we had fresh espresso coffee at the majority of morning tea and lunch stops. This is unique in the world. GU Energy Labs Australia supplying energy gels, and our team providing water, fruit, sandwiches and a variety of snack foods, everybody was taken care of.

In 2018 we intend to find the resources to retain this

Logistics and Support

The Blackchrome logistics van and driver Mark Bassett was invaluable.  Gathering up our bags, equipment (coffee machine), support gear, jumping ahead of the bunch, setting up morning tea, lunch, KoM’s, clearing up and then setting up the finishing site.  Huge amount of planning, energy, skill and positive attitude went into this

Blackchrome in 2018 are fully committed to a repeat dose with some ideas to turn the logisitics vehicle into a mobile coffee machine/kitchen!! – thanks Mark


Joel with his physio and medical background and Mayumi with massage was the support. Having 2 doctors as riders in Dr Lachy and Dr Ian was a bonus.


We all loved the look of the kit, and felt a level of pride wearing with our names on. Ideally, people would get a chance to wear in beforehand to check sizing and fit but also to promote the event.  

2018 All fully paid up registered riders by 31 July  will receive their kit by 30 September giving 6 weeks to wear and sort out any issues.


Ride Books

These are invaluable and useful to all.  However the logistics changed as riders came late to the ride. Have no regrets over any of the late comers – loved having you – just need to have everything locked away early.   Ideally everybody onboard by 31 July 2018

In 2018 we will retain these and also post the salient points online


Competition, Jerseys and KoM’s

On the one hand we all love some level of competition. Keeps us motivated, sharp, focussed and a sense of reward for those who work the hardest. To see Dr Ian take out the final KoM was rewarding and on a personal level seeing Craig take out the Sprint whilst wearing the KoM jersey after he had taken some time in the van earlier in the week was incredibly rewarding for both of us.  Blackchrome sprinters jersey and donation was a new idea. Both add an element of risk that I think we can manage with better planning particularly now that we know the areas to place the flags. That being said, people who don’t win need to get behind those who do and take the rub of the green as well as any success of others. Fund raising yellow jersey a success – well done Geoff. Spirit also Jules and Chaz.

In 2018 all jerseys will be retained: Yellow, KoM, Sprint and Spirit. We will also create an overall Peloton Events Blackchrome points jersey that takes into account all of the above – Fundraising, Timed KoM Sections, Sprint points, fundraising, spirit and penalties. 


Ride Captains and roles

First up amazing job Sean, Rob, Joel.  Should ride captains be eligible for jerseys?  A case could be made for yes and no. No because only support is the job. Yes because these are our mates that we love to compete against. Craig how much better did that sprint feel taking it off the canny master! Or Coyne challenging Rob.

2018 Ride Captains eligible for all jerseys with a handicap on the Sprint and KoM.  Each sprint section, one ride captain each sprint is openly nominated to stretch out the bunch. If he/she can ride everybody off their wheel fair game but most likely that makes it much safer for everybody behind. KoM’s we will have a pro and amateur overall jersey but as the captains want to ride up the major hills with everybody else we will make sure there is a balance of both.

Food and Entertainment

I have been to a lot of events where the post-ride meal is nothing an athlete would eat any day, let alone after completing a big ride. In fact sometimes you end up sick for the next day. This year we worked in 1 BBQ, 2 church hosted dinners and booked restaurants.  We provided the breakfasts and espresso coffee with the exception of 1 organised breakfast (great idea Rosco, success and reward for effort)

Coorong church visit was a success and we would revisit that.

Shellharbour was not and we would not revisit that

BBQ in Huskisson was terrific and we would do more of that

Restaurant dinners surprisingly not so successful. As tired, hungry athletes our levels of patience are unusually low and we just want to eat, spend time with each other and then sleep. 

For 2018 we are working on taking with us a travelling chef and where possible have more control over our dinners. Travelling espresso machine and barista will be retained as will a later stage full breakfast stop.  Look out for the new and improved Blackchrome logistics coffee and food  van in 2018!



Frankly not what I intended. The ideal is good quality motel style accommodation like Mill Park (the night before we started). The reason is reasonably priced big rooms on the ground floor, next to each other close to our vehicles and therefore easy with the bikes, gear breakfasts etc.  At the high end of the spectrum hotels are a pain because you normally have an issue with the bikes and are expensive. However shared bunk rooms was not part of the plan and for that I apologise. You are all a terrific lot because nobody on the 2 nights complained to me but just sucked it up. Some really enjoyed it but not the standard I would like to set (try sharing with Sean, Mel and Mayumi!! Poor them sharing with me!!!!).. Anyhow the reason was one that we did not anticipate. Everybody wants to leave Melbourne on Melbourne Cup weekend!! At one point a few weeks out we actually had not enough accommodation and people were going to be farmed out Airbnb style.  On the other hand nobody told me how terrific Jindy accommodation was which was expensive and blew my budget just a bit.

2018 – Sun to Sun and 1 week later will remove this problem. Promise no bunks and dorms and max 2 to a large room and own bathroom. Already working on this


Village Time Together

I would have liked more time together off the bike. Stories, fun, music, relaxation. In part the challenge did not allow that as we travelled so far. In part our accommodation re above was not conducive to this. In part restaurants re above also.  Anyhow the solution is in the different ride options, a travelling chef and better accommodation that allows us to create our own dinners, ideally BBQ.

2018  1 church dinner, 1 restaurant dinner and the rest BBQ’s and our own dinners which allows us to eat earlier and when and how much we want


Barangaroo Finish

That was special and frankly amazing to pull this off. The finish party organised by Joanne (thanks again) and supported by most partners was amazing.  We probably went on a little to long and perhaps we can tighten up the proceedings in 2018 but the rider reward in the arms of our loved ones was something that we will all cherish.

This will be retained in 2018 with a tighter presentation timeline


Media and Pictures

Having  full time photographer, media and drone expert on tour is unique and something Blackchrome and Peloton Events are committed to in 2018. Alex looks like you are back and if we partner with Movember then I guess we might need to have a jersey for the best Mo!!


Having good friends and riders join our ride was Gold. Lachy from Jindy riding all the way over deadhorse gap to meet us, Jindy Cycling Club the next day, Brendan sitting on the front for  a 100K into Canberra and Grand Tour legend Hodge, Ben and Tom leading us out of Canberra and Levi into Kangaroo valley. New people to talk to, freshens our minds and hearts and fresh legs!!! This allows us integrate into local communities of like minded people. Many townspeople in towns that host events can grow to resent the event and the participants because of the disruption they cause. In contrast, events like ours which ride with and engage the locals are embraced and succeed long term.

2018 we will build on that with Jindy in and out, Canberra in and out, Melbourne out and Sydney in. We will also touch base with other Bicycle NSW cycling groups along the way.


Local, National, International Charitable Partners

I knew from the beginning I wanted the event to continue the support for the Vulnerable Children Fund. Trafficking and bullying of women and children must stop. But I also wanted to support what we all love and want to make better and safer for all. Bicycle NSW is the only organisation that has a true advocacy focus for all bicycle riders and I’m keen to support and continue with that on a personal and event level.  Please continue to support Bicycle NSW as they create a better environment for you et all bicycle riders.

2018 we are committed to add another charity to the platform. It maybe we lessen the focus on the VCF (with the support of BWA)  and bring in a charity that focusses on Australian issues. Raise Foundation, an aboriginal charity and Movember (which is a brilliant fit) are 3 ideas we are considering. Will, keep you informed on this. I’m also looking at Orange Sky Laundry that come with us on tour to wash our gear and we generate funds to support the homeless.


Local and National Partners

I’m looking to build this.  Blackchrome is the benchmark. High quality, engaged team and great product.  Coros, GU, expresso bros. As a first-year event, I was happy to have some minor support of a diverse group of local and national partners.  I’d like to thank everyone who supported the event, including:

Blackchrome Cycling

Coros helmets


The website is still live if you would like to order anything. As you know I was testing the new Alpha Carbon Clinchers. They survived the most rugged of tests.  Fast, very light and responsive. I’m working on a special offer price to everybody on PaaP.


On What Didn’t Go Right

Goal-oriented people are often highly critical of their own performance, and I am no exception. Thankfully, the missteps and inconveniences I noted during the event and received as feedback were pretty minor, but regardless of the magnitude of what went wrong, it’s important to own your mistakes. So, here’s what we can do better next year:


One wrong turn 

The lead support made one wrong turn and we all followed. Outcome was our best morning tea stop but then a longer than expected day. I was intent that we made up time, tried a new route and in hindsight particularly given we were lucky that day with the weather could have chilled about that.   

2018 – no wrong turns (as we know the route) and attentive but a little more chilled if it happens.


Keeping to our timings

There was a lot happening during the day and things happening along the way with media, guests visiting us, receptions at the end. Also the pro culture of the event that we do things on time every time. This also helps safety as everybody on the same page even if that page felt fast, rushed or uncomfortable. The feedback is that people respected, benefited from and understood this but that on occasion we could have taken our time. We did this on the run into Bright on the bike path, taking our time to say hello but given how beautiful it was on Dead Horse Gap we could have made that an iconic stop. It was our original plan but we ended up being too spread out with a media deadline out of our hands due to the Melbourne Cup to adhere to.

2018  - set more realistic timings and keep to them. Plan for impromptu stops and moments by building into the schedule.  Group shot on top of DeadHorse gap weather permitting.


Have a Vision for the Future

Looking at what worked and what can be improved is a good exercise at the tactical, detail-oriented level. It is also important to evaluate a goal at the strategic level. How will this event or race or training block influence similar plans in the future? Regarding the headline Peloton Events multiday charity ride in 2018 here’s how I envision the future:

High Touch, High Value

My strength is the ability to inspire, bring cycling and life experience, surround myself with great people and provide athletes with a great experience. Whether it’s personal coaching or multiday events or professional advisory that is how I roll. To continue delivering the highest-value experience, we’re going to:

Continue to cap the group sizes but create more options. So 2018:

1 Ultimate Challenge Ride every K  – Pace   (similar to this year)       capped at 15 riders

2 Ultimate Challenge Ride  every K  - Tempo  (less pace for large parts of the ride)    capped at 15 riders

3 Ultimate 1000K Challenge  - Tempo group pace   capped at 10 riders.   We designate that route in advance, keep all the challenging and nice bits as well as the KoM’s, sprints and stops

4  4 Day challenge out of Melbourne

5   4 Day challenge into Sydney

1 day guest riders

Everybody rides together at the start of day 1 and into Sydney.  1 & 2 might start together.  We might all end a stage together



So what is New in 2018?

We are going to have a REST Day (great idea Julian). This will most likely be in Jindabyne.  The half way point a chance to regroup, have a sleep in, repair these blown knees, have massage, good lunch, few beers, some sleep, some music and fun.   Perhaps a mountain bike ride. We will accommodate this by making Canberra to Sydney 2 days and achieve this by making day 6 more direct and longer straight into the Southern Highlands. Long day of 230K and Cambewarra at 200K but we can create a shorter option that day.  Creative thinking.

Longer term ideas

Legends dinner

Event day and luggage bags

Adelaide to Melbourne

NZ Tour

Tasi Tour



Part of the reason to keep the event at a reasonable size is to maximize the quality of the experience instead of trying to maximize the number of entry fees we can collect. When events put growth in front of experience, you might get growth in the short term but it’s often at the cost of the athlete experience. Pretty soon that growth goes away, and many times so does the event.  The way to do this is to keep the group sizes small. No more than 20.


Great people make great events. So to achieve all of the above our team is going to grow and looks like the following

Event Manager   - Mary Ugarte – Mary (Julian’s much better half) has already started working on 2018. This will also touch sponsorship. Welcome Mary

Sponsorship, Fundraising and Marketing Manager  -  I’m looking to find the right person.     That team compliments:

Strategy and key partners – Jon

Route                                     - Sean

Media                                    - Alex

2018 Ride Captains 

We retain all existing captains and welcome Julian and Travis as Captains. Both earned the right and respect of all the riders in 2017.







2018 Support Team

Melannie – Event Crew Captain

Mary – Event Manager and chef

Mark – Logistics Head

Ian – Logistics and Support

Mayumi – Massage

Alex – Media

Chaz or alternative – Mechanic and rear support

Joanne – at home and finish coordinator

Ideally in time we would like:

Sponsorship Comms Media Manager the year around that can complement Alex on the event and share and build content with Blackchrome

Another logistics support

More Ride Captains

So what can you help with

Key thing is to keep riding, join the captain’s rides and enjoy and get the best out of your riding. With regards to this event please be proactive. All the little extras this year came from just that. How can I make this better for everybody – For example Hainey sent me a note earlier in the week with better accommodation in bright (that has spa’s!!), not only that he made contact and has introduced me. Rob’s Bright Bakery connection. Geoff is working on his organisation to sponsor. Rob on the website, Sean on new route, Mary on sponsorship. We could do with a couple of corporates to really get behind this event to ensure it is viable long term and potentially change up and take into other geographies and ventures.    If everybody just adds one thing in the form of a sponsor, destination or something tangible that everybody will enjoy and follow through on that idea we will truly build an even more exceptional experience for each other.

The next time you complete a goal in life or sport, whether you succeeded or fell short, I recommend going through a similar exercise. Seek feedback but give yourself and your team credit for what went right. Own the things that could have gone better. And establish a vision for what you want success to look like in the future.  I trust I have done that.

So the big question. Next years date …..…..   11-18 November 2018  i.e avoids the Melbourne Cup weekend meaning better accommodation availability and Sunday to Sunday reducing traffic out of Melbourne and into Sydney.   Lock into your diaries and look out for the early bird entry as I think we will fill this up fast so that we can order kit early for you all to wear and put all the logistics to bed early.  Contact me, Mary or any of the ride captains cc’d on this email for more information.    See you next year – click to enjoy 2017 video (thanks again Alex)

Please see link to Blackchrome article!      https://www.blackchrome.com.au/recap-of-the-paap-charity-ride/

Link to Picture Gallery    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1HiMtu-UgJckTrphQb6hzpS8dQkkb6gMG

Here is the VIDEO  https://youtu.be/3vmzZCh5_cU

Keep riding (safely), training hard and see you in 2018.   Captains Ride Saturday 30 Dec 2017.

Best wishes


Peloton Charity Events

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