Since it’s already a few days into April, there is some catch up to be done, starting with how did I sign for a Taiwanese continental team called Attaque Team Gusto that sports a bear mascot on the jersey.
The wheels began turning in 2014 during my first trip to Australia when I met Stu Shaw. Stu’s been around the proverbial block and back so the following year, 2015, when I was looking to distance myself from the American crit scene, I turned to Stu for guidance. He introduced me to Pete, the owner of the search2retain cycling team.
I think Pete likes to remain mysterious so Ill let him retain a bit of that – for now. All that matters is Pete is a successful businessman who started a cycling team because he’s one of those guys who loves the sport so much he’s willing to put up his own money. Beyond that however, I think Pete loves extracting every drop of talent from his riders. Talent that they perhaps didn’t realize in the first place.
It was a fun season racing for Pete and search2retain. Unfortunately at the end of 2015, outside sponsorship to help continue the team in the direction Pete wanted to go simply wasn’t there and at the Melbourne to Warrnambool (a 280 kilometer legendary Australian race), he told us this would be the last race for search2retain. A 3rd place finish with Ollie Kent-Spark, now on AnPost, gave it all a bitter sweet feeling. I left for the States unsure of my cycling future, but certain I wouldn’t see any of my search2retain mates for a while.
I barely had enough time at home to shake my jet lag before I received an email from, you guessed it, Pete. One that, like a college acceptance letter, made me dizzy with excitement and required multiple readings to make sure it was real. The email described a merger between search2retain and Attaque Team Gusto, already a team in Taiwan. What would emerge would be a Taiwanese continental team participating mainly in the UCI Asia Tour along with the experience, values, philosophy, and great track record of search2retain.
Quick recap: Australia led to Stu, thru whom I Pete, which led to racing for search2retain, who is now a part of Attaque Team Gusto.
Only one question remains.
Another year of working with Pete, a new director with a proven track record, the chance to see Asia, race UCI stage races and to top it off the prize lists for some of these Asian tours are known to turn heads and drop jaws. The last time I raced in Asia was in 2012 in the Tour of China. I kept a daily blog, met a guy named Joe Lewis who is now a best mate, and flew home with enough prize money to buy a mountain bike.
All signs pointed to yes so I said yes.