Brent Thomas – Why I love the Ford Tour of Samoa
I had such a great experience last year I was very keen to return. In fact I returned again last December for a holiday with my wife Michelle – without the bike. It’s a goal to “have to” keep training over the Wellington winter. For me it’s all about my health and well-being so it keeps me motivated and something to look forward to.
What will be the biggest challenge this time?
The biggest challenge for me this time is the hills, heat and sleep. I have been working on my hill climbing so hoping to stay in touch with the leading bunch on the climbs and improve on my last year’s efforts. It is very much a race but everyone is very supportive and there’s a lot of fun along the way. I didn’t sleep much last year as I was so loaded with adrenaline – so need to slow it down a bit when off the bike.
Preparations for the tour I have tried to ride 10hrs per week with some longer commutes to and from work. Short hard hilly rides mid-week and longer endurance rides in the weekend with mates - and a few coffee stops.
My racing over the last twelve months has improved since last year’s tour. I achieved my goal of completing the Taupo Cycle Challenge (160km) solo in under 5 hrs last year with the help of the Samoa trip. I did a few club races around Wellington and Wairarapa over summer including a 3 stage 2 day tour in the Wairarapa. The next goal is the inaugural Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge (Nelson region) on 3 Dec.
Last year was my first time in Samoa. I was in awe of the scenery and the tranquillity of Savaii. Riding a bike around is such a great way to see the place and the people were are all so friendly. I loved the rides too. On the race it was being competitive in a few stages and doing much better than I thought I could as it was the first time I had been riding a week-long Tour.
What I loved about last year’s tour was the course itself and the “Holiday” package aspect to it.
It’s a great team and Seti runs it smoothly and makes it enjoyable. It’s good to race hard early in the day then relax by the beach in the afternoon or do some sightseeing. It is a nice mix for road riding. Savaii is the best place in the world to ride as the roads are good and there is little traffic to worry about – just the animals.
For this year, I am most looking forward to being with the group again. At the end of the day it’s all about the people – so looking forward to renewing acquaintances, spending a special week with my son – Oscar - who is one of the support team again this year. Oscar is a budding filmmaker so it’s a great experience for him as well to capture the tour.
The new course along the south coast of Upolu looks great and will complete the loop as it is a road that we haven’t ridden yet. The team’s event will be fun and it will be nice to extend the peleton ride back into Apia to the community to join in the celebrations.
Ford Tour of Samoa starts early on Monday morning and finishes on Saturday afternoon with the Victory Ride to Apia. There are 25 riders from New Zealand and Australia, and 20 support crew and personnel.
Brent and his son Oscar came to the Tour last year. They both return for this year’s tour. Brent is riding, and Oscar is the videographer for the tour.