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Rory Sutherland

Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) up in the break.

Time flies when you're on the bike

Rory Sutherland
September 28, 2011, 0:17 BST,
September 28, 2011, 1:28 BST

With another off-season, it's time to reflect

Hello readers,

I am back home in Boulder after a whirlwind August and September.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge took place in my 'home' state of Colorado. I realize that I am not from Colorado, but this is my home and I love living here. I've never been able to do a race in my backyard, so I was very proud to have participated in this inaugural event. Both the crowds and scenery were beyond spectacular. While racing at high altitude has its challenges (like breathing… yikes!), it was one of the best races I have ever done and I am already excited for the 2012 edition.

The Tour of Britain was my last race of the season and this was indeed a trip back 'home.' Though I was raised in Australia, many of my family members live in or around the towns we raced through, so I was able to see a few of them, which was a rare and much appreciated treat.

So now another racing season has passed and it seems as if the time goes by faster as I become older. Is this possible? It feels like I was racing in Argentina just yesterday, but in reality it was way back in January and here we are at the beginning of October. I consider myself to extremely fortunate to spend my days racing my bike and seeing the world around us. While it is true that we spend our days focusing on racing and recovering, I do get to glance at the amazing places we whisk through on the team bus.

The off-season is now upon us and I have been doing a bit of reflection. I look back at my season and analyze each race. Where did I make mistakes? Where did I have good form? How did I arrive at said form? I think this is an integral piece of bike racing that so many of us skip over. I encourage every cyclist to look carefully over the season and figure out how they can improve upon each performance. Being honest and critical is a great way to move forward in your sport and in your daily life.

It must be said that my favorite part of the off-season is spending time with my family. My days now revolve around my two-year-old son and I consider myself very lucky to have this time with him. We have been enjoying the beautiful Colorado weather with our daily trips to the park. I have also been in charge of swim lessons and taking him for rides on his balance bike, which he loves. I am teaching him a bit of the Aussie lingo, but right now his favorite word is 'no.' He and I are also working a bit on those house projects that have been put on hold since January.

Our team recently made announcements about new signings and this is an exciting time for the organization and those involved. We have some great guys joining us next year and I can hardly wait to meet everyone and come together as a team. It is sure to be another year of great camaraderie leading to great results.

Thanks for reading,

Chris Boardman, left, and Rory Sutherland discuss the afternoon's upcoming wind tunnel sessions.

Neo Pro

Cycling News
April 07, 2011, 8:07 BST,
April 07, 2011, 9:19 BST

Rediscovering the European racing scene

I realize that the title of this diary entry may seem a bit odd. After all, I am 29-years-old, hardly the age of a neo pro. So, why the title?

I have spent the past four years racing solely in the USA and I have enjoyed and appreciated every minute of that time. I am back to racing on European soil and it has me feeling like a neo pro all over again. I had erased so many things from my memory…the harshness of the European peloton, the ruthlessness of the other riders, and the unforgiving race courses. Let us not forget the constant fighting for position! It has been difficult for our team to be the new kids on the block, but I am not complaining. I love the new challenge and this year has been a humbling experience. Getting your butt kicked can be demoralizing, but it also forces you to push harder and strive for greater achievements.

Things are on track for the team, though we have had our fair share of blunders. Our very first race in Europe took place in Portugal. It was the morning of the first stage and we were all piled in the camper van. It was pouring rain and everyone was feeling a little antsy and anxious. Well, somehow our camper van got stuck in reverse. Yep, reverse. All of the other teams had already left the hotel, so there was no hope of hitching a ride with another team. We had one team car, so that was not going to be much help. We were no longer worried about the actual race, but became more concerned with actually getting to the start! We bribed the hotel shuttle driver to take us to the start. We threw all of our bags and equipment in the shuttle and sped off to the race. We parked the hotel shuttle bus next to the million dollar buses of the pro tour teams and all of us got changed in the van with bikes and wheels leaning against us. Quite the grand entrance to our first European race!

One difficult part of racing in Europe is being away from my family. My wife and son met me in Spain and we enjoyed spending a month in Girona. My son feasted on pastries and cheeses and never wanted to leave! We have been spending a lot of time apart this year, so it was great to have the family together. I even managed to survive my first Trans-Atlantic flight with a toddler!

I am now home in Boulder and I had the honor of traveling to Texas last weekend to attend an event for Ride 2 Recovery. This even is sponsored and supported by our teams sponsor UnitedHealthcare. I’ll be honest and tell you that I was not that familiar with this organization and did not know what to expect. For those of you who don’t know, the Ride 2 Recovery is a mental and physical rehabilitation program for military veterans in the USA. We all know how great the sport of cycling is, but these veterans are using cycling as a way to overcome the many obstacles they face. These recovery challenges are 350-450 miles long. I had the privilege of riding with them on their last day and I was completely blown away by their courage and perseverance. It made me realize that we should not take anything for granted, even a bike ride. I encourage everyone to participate in a Ride 2 Recovery event.

I look forward to returning to Europe in two weeks to continue the racing season! Hopefully we do not have any more car/camper trouble!

Rory Sutherland checks the ride route with assistant team director Eric Greene.

Back to it

Rory Sutherland
February 15, 2011, 0:23 GMT,
February 15, 2011, 4:22 GMT

Rory heads into the unknown as UnitedHealthcare goes Pro Continental

I've just returned from our team training camp in Thousand Oaks, California. This year marks a new beginning for our team, as we will be stepping up to the Pro Continental level. What does this mean for me as a rider? New challenges and more responsibility!

I decided to step up my winter training, so in December we left our house in Boulder and drove out to Shell Beach, California. Nineteen hours in the car with a dog and a toddler was less than fun, but the training was spectacular. My wife and I had no friends or family in the area, so I was able to completely focus on training for an entire month.

We created an environment based on training, eating, sleeping, and recovery. Our days and nights were monk-like, but the riding in that area was some of the best I have ever encountered and I look forward to returning to the area next December!

The team is heading into the unknown this year. We have new riders, directors, staff members, and races. Building this team took some time and effort. The directors and staff do not simply go off results of the past year because you cannot throw a team together and hope for the best. Results are important, but so are attitudes and opinions from former teammates and directors. Everything is looked at before a decision is made about team suitability.

We came together as a team for the first time last week at camp. It often takes time for a team to click when changes have been made, but we are heading in the right direction. It was great to get to know everyone and train in the sunshine. We have an amazing group this year and we have already shown that we will be a winning team!

I am home in Boulder for a few shorts days before departing for Europe. My family will join me there as we begin a new adventure. I am looking forward to getting to know my new teammates a bit better and coming up with some good results!

Thanks for reading,

Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis) gets ready to leave for the day.

Where has the time gone?

Rory Sutherland
October 22, 2010, 15:26 BST,
October 22, 2010, 16:28 BST

Rory Sutherland's whirlwind off-season comes to a close, 2011 prep begins

This month has been all about rest. It is always a little odd to take a break while others are still racing, but here we are in mid-October and I am enjoying my last week off the bike. I usually take about 4-5 weeks off the bike each fall and while this sounds like a long period of time, somehow it passes very quickly!

So, what have I been doing during this whirlwind off-season? It all began with a trip to Las Vegas for Interbike. This is always a fun trip, though I can only handle about 48 hours in Sin City.

Vegas was followed by house chores. It is amazing how long the 'things to get done around the house' list becomes by September. I spent a lot of time in Home Depot, but things are shaping up nicely.

I have been spending most of my time chasing my one-year-old son, Eston, around the house while my wife is at work. Let me tell you, the days are long when you are trying to keep a toddler occupied. We capped off the rest period with a fantastic family vacation to New York City. I may not be able to tell you about the best restaurants, but I can certainly fill you in on the best playgrounds in the city. Sometimes I think I have more rest during the season, but I do feel like my mind and my body are returning to normal.

I normally start to get excited about training after three weeks or so off the bike. However, things have changed a bit this year. The team is heading in a new direction and I have been looking forward to 2011 for a while now. We have a fantastic title sponsor in UnitedHealthCare and we will be moving onwards and upwards next year.

We also have new partners coming on board. I am particularly thrilled about the addition of Boardman Bikes. I think this will turn out to be a great relationship and I can't wait for my new bike! The team has added some fantastic riders and I look forward to riding and racing with Charles Wegelius, Robert Förster and Christian Meier. These guys are seriously talented and will be a huge boost to our roster.

So, where do things go from here? Planning, meetings and more planning! I will begin to have chats with our manager and director about the race program for next year. I will also be having long discussions with my coach about how to approach my training this year. Next week I will head back to the gym to meet with my gym guru, Jeff. It is like Christmas at our house with new products arriving on a weekly basis. I will be setting up new shoes and having bike fit sessions with the knowledgeable guys at Retul. This year I am paying particular attention to the revision of my time trial position.

It is a busy life and it never stops, but I love my job and feel fortunate to be a part of a fantastic team.

Be sure to check out our team website for the latest updates!


Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) has the finish in site.

Last race of the year

Cycling News
September 15, 2010, 22:20 BST,
September 17, 2010, 17:09 BST

Rory sticks with UnitedHealthcare for 2011

September is upon us and the racing year is coming to a close. I will admit, I am beginning to feel fatigued from all of the racing and travel. I was not super excited to wake up at 4:30am this morning for the drive to the airport. My son is quite the traveler and claps his hands when he sees an airport, so perhaps he should be the one doing all this traveling! Thankfully this is my last race of the season, so I am excited to give it one last go for the year.

This has been a fantastic year for our team and we owe all of our victories to the staff. These selfless people are the unsung heroes of the cycling world. We get all of the credit, but in reality they are doing most of the work. They work behind the scenes for hours on end.

I am still asleep while they are awake washing bikes and making bottles. They make our food and spend all day in the feed zone. As soon as the race is over they are giving us massages and cleaning bikes. Our laundry is done while we sleep and they stand in dark in dirty parking lots making sure every bike is working perfectly. I am so grateful for each and every person who is a part of our UHC family.

I will miss being on the road with the boys. A feeling of family is created after so many days together. You may know what the other person is thinking before they do. Your team can boost you up, or keep you where you need to be at that moment. We all have a mutual respect for each other and our team would not function without it. I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by great teammates this year.

So, what about next year? The transfer period has arrived and it seems to be crazier than ever. Rumors and speculations swirl around Twitter and Facebook. Some teams will cease to exist while others are expanding for the 2011 season. Guys are looking for jobs and teams are seeking the next big star. Sounds like a reality television show!

I am fortunate in the fact that I have a great team and a sponsor that is excited to move onward and upwards. I will be a part of the program in 2011 and there are lots of exciting things happening. We will have a larger program next year and while many of our guys will remain on the team, we will see some new faces as well. I don’t want to be the one spreading rumors, so you will have to wait for specific details!

Next up for me is Interbike in Las Vegas, Nevada. Oh, Las Vegas. I love to hate you. It is amazing how I can be there for several days and never really go outdoors.

I will be sure to include tales from Vegas in my next diary entry, as well as letting you all in on some of the new sponsors and riders joining the team in 2011.


Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) and Ben Day (Fly V Australia) catch up on the weeks racing.

California's creeping up on us

Rory Sutherland
May 10, 2010, 11:00 BST,
May 10, 2010, 3:32 BST

Weddings and races make May a manic month

Another day, another trip! I left Boulder in the pouring rain. While I normally walk to the bus stop near my house, my family was kind enough to drive me the short distance so I would not have to be out in the rain. The bus to the airport is the stress-free way to get to the airport.

The plane ride was followed by a long car ride, and then another night in a hotel. I have spent 27 nights in the Holiday Inn so far this year. Nearly a month and it's only May! That is life here in the United States: travel, travel, and still more travel. It is a large country and we race in nearly every corner. Sometimes I find myself more fatigued from the travel than the actual race. Anyone want to loan me their jet? (Lance? Anyone?)

The Amgen Tour of California is right around the corner. It seems odd that the race is in May this year. The anticipation is growing from all of the waiting! I think we (domestic teams) are excited to see what we can do when we have some racing in our legs.

It was always difficult to start the year in February with such a big race when I hadn't had many days of racing. This is a great race and gives the domestic teams a shot at taking on the ProTour teams of Europe. While we may not have the budgets or large infrastructures, I see no reason why we can't be successful in California.

It's always fun to see our young riders in a break, or having a go at a sprint finish. It may not amount to much more than a few seconds of television time, but we are going to try just the same. At the end of the day we are all riders with numbers on our backs, so don't expect the domestic teams to lay out the red carpet for any larger teams!

I know at times the life of a professional cyclist can appear to be quite glamorous, but there are times when it just isn't so. This last weekend was tough for our family. My only sister got married back in Australia and we were unable to be there. I was racing at Gila and my wife and son are coming out for the Tour of California, so a trip to Australia would have been a bit much.

I come from a close family and obviously a wedding is an important event. It was hard not to think about my family as I was racing the crit in Silver City. The bottom line is that I am paid a wage to do my job and it is unrealistic to think that I could miss days of work to whip back to Australia in the middle of the season. Congrats to Alana and Tony!

So here we are, two weeks from the Amgen Tour of California. I don't know about everyone else, but the anticipation is killing me! I am looking forward to racing and I am sure all of the fans are eager to watch the racing. Come on out and support the race and organisers! We need the support of everyone to be sure events such as these continue in this country.

See you in California!

Rory Sutherland

Follow the adventures of our Australian as he hits out from his Southern California base to the biggest races in the US.

Rory Sutherland is back on the North American circuit and better than ever with UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis . Riding alongside teammates like Chris Baldwin, Karl Menzies and Tim Johnson, Sutherland will work to bring the team to the top of the heap in the Americas.