Irreverent? Yes. Attention-grabbing? Absolutely. But, says founder Trevor Smith, not disrespectful.
For this Williamstown-based bunch the wrong kind of living is the right kind of living … well, at least as far as testing the boundaries of cycling ‘correctness’ goes. Most people get the joke, some don’t.
When the LiveWrong kit made its first appearance 2 years ago at the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide, journalists loved it, especially Spanish television, which ran a ‘colour piece’ on the group.
The idea of the kit began where all novel cycling concepts are created – in a coffee shop, Nosh @ Newport. Trevor Smith, Alasdair MacLeod, Brad Carlin-Smith and Mike Stowe (part of a large contingent of competition cyclists that train every morning around various circuits in Melbourne’s inner west) had decided to go to the Tour, and their quest was to meet God … aka Lance.
They knew that unlike other pros who you could simply say g’day to in a coffee shop or hotel foyer, Lance belonged to a different universe. A universe that existed on the other side of a high-security fence.
Ideas were floated, therefore, on ways to attract his attention. LiveWrong was the answer.
“In fact, you could say that litigation was the inspiration,” Trevor says. “We knew that the Texas Comedy Festival wasn’t up there with Melbourne and Edinburgh, so there was a chance he might sue … and that way we would at least get his signature.”
They didn’t get to meet Lance, but they did get to meet a big muscled-up character, all kitted out in Livestrong, who took great umbrage on Lance’s behalf and strode up to Alasdair threatening to lay into him. He was pretty het up, demanding answers … “and what’s this TeamTTFU?” the guy said.
“ … I don’t know,” a very nervous Alasdair had to confess. Outrage turned to incredulity. Suddenly everyone was laughing.
Afterwards Trevor took his team mate aside to explain the words that adorn the jersey’s collar: “TTFU … Toughen The F___ Up.”
Yep. There are days when you need balls to don this kit.
But it’s not all derring-do. There have been moments of utter joy. At the Tour in Adelaide last year, Team CSC rider Jens Voigt rode up to Trevor to ask what the kit was all about. “Too much beer and too many women,” Trevor said. Jens slapped him on the back:
“Not LiveWrong then … LiveLegend.”
Trevor hasn’t stopped grinning.
There’s now about 50 members of the LiveWrong bunch, whose spiritual leader – according to Trevor – is bunch member and local osteopath Mike Stowe. “He encourages us to crash. It’s good business. We reckon he has influence in the council. All this new road furniture appears and we dutifully hit it … and Mike dutifully fixes us up, and for just $75 an hour. That’s the LiveWrong spirit. It makes you proud.” ✲
Words by Brad Collis, pictures by Evan Collis & Brad Collis