Banker rides out into the unknown
Invercargill banker Luke Macpherson will take a step into the unknown when he competes in the Tour of Southland just three years after getting on a bike.
The 34-year-old's introduction to the sport has involved a steep learning curve even before the SBS Bank-sponsored race gets under way tomorrow.
A former club rugby player with no history in the sport, he has balanced the demands of his BNZ agribusiness partner role and a young family with his passion for cycling.
Macpherson is grateful for the support he gets from his wife, Nic, along with 4-year-old Sienna and 2-year-old Greer.
"It's a bit of a juggling act between work, family and training. I do a lot of training at night from 7pm, once the kids are in bed, and then a lot of hours in the weekend."
This year Macpherson has finished runner-up in the Milford Challenge and in the A grade of the Tour de Lakes, before taking out both the time trial and road race at the Southland championships.
"It's three years since I jumped on a bike and then we had Greer, so I had about nine months where I was just riding for fitness rather than racing. This time last year, I pencilled the tour in and last summer I started stepping it up to see how I would go," he said.
"You always think you can do more, but I'm feeling good about it. I've had a couple of good races over the last couple of weeks so the form seems to have come up at the right time."
Macpherson has been self-coached for most of his time in cycling, but for the past three months has been working with Sier Vermunt to build more quality into his programme.
"I had no ambition initially to get where I am today, but the cycling just seemed to naturally fit. I got the bug riding club races under Cycling Southland, starting in C grade. I enjoy riding my bike, but I love racing my bike. When you start progressing through the grades it generates that motivation to ride faster and harder the next week."
He will ride in a team of Southland and Central Otago riders under the H&Js Outdoor World-Avanti Plus banner during the seven-day stage race, which starts with the team time trial around Queens Park tomorrow from 4.30pm.
"I'm a little bit apprehensive, but really excited at the same time. I've been building up for a while to get to this point so I'm looking forward to getting stuck in. Competing against some of the best cyclists in New Zealand, that's really exciting."
- © Fairfax NZ News