Paul Van De Ploeg, is an amazing young up and coming tallent for Australian cycling with worlds of personality to match. He has been involved with the National Mountain bike program for a few years now, this year the first in which he was able to spead his wings, with the offer of racing for the FELT International Mountain bike team. Being the Current U23 National MTB XC Champion he is hot property. The guy has boundless amounts of energy and is always ready with some totally random comments. His huge smile can make you feel at home and if you see “Pauly” out on the trails dont hesitate to have a chat with him. Just mind he may be pulling some amazing stunt “showing off” as you are working hard to chat away.
OZRIDERS: Paul welcome back to Australia you have been in Europe for the past 2 Months racing with your new team – How was your experience OS this year?
Paul: In one word…Amazing…I was pretty spoiled to be riding for a world cup team. I was given a glimps of what being a pro rider could be like and it was so much fun to not have to worry about anything and just ride my bike.
OZRIDERS: Are there big differences racing in a full factoy team?
Paul:Well everything runs smoothly and I could just focus on riding and all other aspects of the travels were organised. Being in Germany with only German speaking riders was a new experiance and although challenging I learned heaps in the short time I was over there.
OZRIDERS: Having tasted the World Cup Sceen again for 2010, What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Paul:Get lean, mean and ready to smash up the world champs in Canada. It is going to be hard with the competition being so ferce and ruthless. If you show up a fraction off your game then you will be out the hoop!
OZRIDERS: Paul, Mountain biking is an amazing sport which has the ability for anyone to experience some amazing places and some remote areas. What is your fondest moment in A) Everyday riding and B) Racing?
Paul:Just having the feeling of being free while exploring is my favourite thing about everyday riding. In racing it is all a battle of the body and mind. I love pushing the human machine to the absolute limit in an Olympic format XC race.
OZRIDERS: What is it that drives you to want to hop on that bike each day and ride for hours at end?
Paul: The motivation comes from my love for riding and the enjoyment I get from ripping up a trail. The day I lose the love for riding is the day I stop. I can’t see this happening any time soon though ;)…
OZRIDERS: Looking back now – If you had the choice to specialise in any discipline of cycling would you still choose Mountain Bike with its history of low funding and profile?
Paul:Ohhh hell yeah. No other form of MTB is as fun or suited to my personality and mentality. I can’t imagine getting into riding through any other format.
OZRIDERS:As a sport, cycling is turning into the new “Golf”, but for the younger generations and grass roots riders, we believe you are the perfect ambassador for the sport. Have you been active in the cycling community to encourage a healthy lifestyle and making cycling less imposing to newbie riders?
Paul: Well I can’t claim to be helping grass roots cycling directly. As a student learning how to become a physical education teacher I love to promote being active in anyway. I’m happy to see people getting into riding and using it as a fun and easy way to keep healthy. It is exciting times and we need to keep promoting mountain biking as much as possible.
OZRIDERS: What would you consider to be your most attractive feature?
Paul: Hands down my legs are my best feature. My two legs combined weigh in at around 35kg according to the DEXA body scan! Hahahaha
OZRIDERS:Well ladies.. Keep an eye out for your Paul and his legs – You cant miss them. Thanks Paul, really good seeing you again mate, hopefully see you out on the trails really soon.
Paul is proudly sponsored and supported by the following people. FELT Ötztal X-Bionic MTB Team, SRAM, Avid, Rock SHOX, Truvative, GEAX, Cycleops, Northwave, ABUS, Prologo and OZRIDERS Australia.
Paul proudly rides with OZRIDERS High density 125mm foam grips, and rolls on SPEX tubeless tyre sealant.
– Feel the difference – OZRIDERS Australia.