MWCC thought that it might be appropriate to introduce our new club champion to all our members with a quick getting to know you session with Jake Kauffman. Jake certainly has a presence within any peloton simply due to the fact that his rugby background means that his biceps aren’t the smallest muscle on his body and when his legs getting pumping there aren’t many that can hold his wheel as shown recently with his sprint victory at the Club Championships.

Jake hasn’t been on the bike very long for someone who already has been on a number of podiums. With his trusty Scott bike, Jake has slowly been building his palmeres. This season saw him starting riding in C Grade before making the leap up to B Grade on Tuesday night Criterium racing at Heffron Park as part of the summer series run by Eastern Sydney Cycling Club – a series classed as the highest level of weekly racing in Sydney. He then carried that form into the Canberra Tour where he easily took out the C Grade Tour – although looking back he would probably now consider himself a burglar at that event – however with his Mr Incredible physique, some thought that he was just a pure sprinter and wouldn’t be able to match it on the climbs in Canberra, however he showed that he could indeed climb and very quickly at that. He has also been busy racing at a number of Open races on the NSW calendar including Blayney to Bathurst and Wagga Wagga. His busy schedule meant that the Club Championships was the first time that he had stepped up to A Grade and announced his presence to the world.

So for those who want to get into the mind of a champion, here is a brief insight into the mind of our new champion.

Jake apparently you are a new comer to the sport, how long have you been riding?
I started riding a couple of years ago whilst doing rehab for some broken bones in my feet, but only rode infrequently once I got back to playing rugby. I started riding alot more after I finished playing rugby at the end of last season.

Tell us some more about your rugby background, also what is scarier – middle of the bunch in a sprint for the line or getting stuck in the middle of a scrum?
I started out playing rugby as a kid, about 8 I think. I played all the way through school and played in some junior representative teams etc. the highlight of my rugby days would definitely be making my first grade debut for Warringah in the local derby at Manly Oval on ANZAC day 2009. It was pretty special to sing the national anthem in front of a big crowd (for club rugby) on an already special day. Right now I think sprinting is more scary then scrimmaging, although I was nearly 15 kg heavier the last time I tried scrummaging so I would probably be a bit more intimidated nowadays.

How many days a week do you ride and rough km’s a week?
I usually train 5 or 6 days a week. Due to work, I do a fair bit of time on the indoor trainer during winter so km is hard to judge but usually between 12 – 16 hours per week.

Toughest session that you have put yourself through on the bike?
That’s hard to say. it would probably be Akuna Bay hill repeats or the ‘around the block’ indoor session that Danny put on his website a few weeks ago, I couldn’t finish that one so it might not count.

As you are racing more and more now, do you think it is your brute strength that gives you the edge or is it something else?
I think having a bit more upper body strength helps in certain situations, but would probably prefer to not carry the extra weight on the hills. I think more than anything I have a pretty good ability to keep going deeper even when im really suffering.

Favourite ride?
Toss up between the Gorges or the ride to Stanwell park through the Royal National Park.

Best piece of advice to give to someone starting out in the sport or for someone who is looking for their next step up?
Being so new myself Im still looking for advice wherever I can find it. But if I had to give advice it would be to set realistic + challenging goals for yourself, and to not be afraid to ask for help to achieve them.

We have all experienced some humbling experiences when racing, any you care to share?
I have more humbling experiences than gratifying ones at this point. Getting caught up in my first racing crash at wagga a few weeks ago was pretty humbling.

You have to decide – play in the Rugby World Cup or ride in the Tour De France?
If it was a world cup final, and it was in Australia I would have to go that way, but other than that I would say the tour as it is a much bigger and more international spectacle and a much tougher challenge to be on top of your game physically and mentally every day for 3 weeks.

Finally – Miranda Kerr, Megan Gale and Jennifer Hawkins – who would you want to go on a long solo ride with?
Jennifer Hawkins. She came onto the scene when I was finishing high school and isn’t too far away from my age.

Thanks for all the information and insights Jake, we hope that you continue your success on the road.