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PEZ Talk: Catching Up With Trent Wilson
The Giro, Le Tour - glitz, glamour, interviews, fans, team spirit; then what? Every professional bike rider’s career has to end one day (face it, Lance!) last winter, Trent Wilson – twice a Giro rider – called ‘time’ on his career as a pro with Jittery Joe's in the US and headed home to Australia. We said we’d catch up with him six months into his ‘new life;’ here’s what he had to say...

PEZ: Your last race, Trent?
Trent: The Australia Day criterium – the Joseph Sundt Memorial which I won in 2008. I did the Bay Series criteriums and the Nationals but in the Sundt everyone knew I was highly motivated for it; a break went and no one would work with me to bring it back – I was ninth or tenth.

PEZ: Why say ‘finis,’ when you did?
Trent: Last winter, in the States four or five teams finished, that’s 60 or 70 guys without a job; so it’s not as simple as being a good rider. In a team, you have four or five guys on good money; four or five guys on OK money and the rest on base salary – I’d have taken a bit of a cut, but I wasn’t going to ride for base salary.

PEZ: What did you do after that last crit?
Trent: The last few years I’ve been thinking about getting into coaching; I spoke to my State Institute about a coaching position, but unfortunately I didn’t get it. I sat around for four months, rode my bike, relaxed – and then, within the space of two weeks, I had four projects on the go. I got a ‘nine to fiver’ with Bike Sports, they import some cool equipment and I sell that into shops. Then I got a call to commentate on the Giro for the SBS television channel. I also started doing some coaching – that’s coming along well. And finally I started to direct an Elite team in Sydney – Mace McDonagh Blake. My passion is racing and I’d like to see the team grow; Peter Blake is the second sponsor and we’ve talked about taking the team to Continental level over the next year or two.

PEZ: Do you think you’ll be able to expand the commentating?
Trent: I hope to do it again next year – I’ve been told that I’m not bad at it!

PEZ: What do you miss most about the pro life?
Trent: I’m still on the bike, three or four times each week but I miss that feeling of being on top form, feeling unbeatable, putting the pressure on the pedals on a climb and the bike surging forward. I thought I’d miss the camaraderie, but I get that from the directorship. But I miss the USA, Italy, Belgium . . . .

PEZ: What don’t you miss?
Trent: Not a great deal; I lived the dream for 13 years. Maybe the odd crit in the rain or a cold wintry road race – apart from that, I loved it.

PEZ: Still on the bike, though?
Trent: I ride three or four times each week, I meet Stephen Wooldridge (former world team pursuit champion) on a Tuesday morning and we do two hours and have a coffee. During my whole career, I always had a goal, an aim, but when you retire it’s different, that’s why Stephen and I meet up – it gives you a reason to get up and get out.

PEZ: Will you race again, as an amateur?
Trent: I’m not going to say, ‘no.’ But if I do something, I do it 100% - people say to me that I’m in good enough shape to race but it would annoy me to race at 80%. If the team gets bigger then maybe I’ll consider it.

PEZ: If you could rewind, any scenes you’d change?
Trent: No, not really because if I’d changed anything, I wouldn’t have met the people that I did. Maybe, back in 2001 I’d have waited and turned pro with Fakta and Scott Sunderland – but I panicked and signed with a smaller team. Had I not done that then my career might have taken a different progression. And maybe I should have changed teams in the States, 12 months ago – but no one knew what was going to happen with the economic situation. But overall I’m happy – especially with the fact that I rode two Giros.

PEZ: Advice for young prospective pros?
Trent: Enjoy your cycling, enjoy your training, put the hours and the effort in. I’d take a rider with heart and motivation over pure talent, any day.

PEZ: Did you watch le Tour?
Trent: It’s a late night thing for us, in Australia, but yes, I stayed up and watched it. The Pyrenees weren’t exciting, but the Alps were incredible. I think it’ll be a cracker next year - Lance with his Radio Shack team against Contador. Wiggins did very well, but it’s not that much of a surprise – he’s a strong rider and has showed flashes of good road form, in the past.

PEZ: And your goals, now?
Trent: I’m enjoying my nine to five job; I’m competitive and want to sell. But my main goal has to be the team – I want to build it to be a feeder team for US and European pro squads. In New South Wales, there’s a very good programme to bring track riders through but not really a road programme. I want to provide a programme for riders who aren’t necessarily great track riders, but who can be good on the road.

PEZ: There is life after pro cycling, then?
Trent: Definitely!

With thanks to Trent and wishing him all the best for the future.


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