As we roll through the so-called ‘off-season’ we are going to be bringing you some short online posts where riders share their favourite photos.

The idea is to ask people associated with cycling to present five photos with a quick explanation of what makes the image so special…

Today is Gracie Elvin’s birthday and she was the first to submit her selection. She offers her ‘gallery’ and commentary to get the series underway.


(PS. Happy birthday Gracie.)


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5 Favourites: by Gracie Elvin

“I decided to do my little photo piece on my personal network. It’s something I’ve always found important and integral to my success and that a lot of riders lack. I would love to be able to be a mentor in the future but for now my message is about building a small but strong network around you…

I’m about to finish my fourth season with ORICA-AIS and in this time I’ve developed into one of Australia’s top female riders.

“A lot of people don’t know, or have forgotten, that I wasn’t always ‘in the system’. I have been lucky that my close support network has been there from the early days, and I still rely on the following people to help me keep achieving my dreams.


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“David Elvin (dad – with Gracie, above) was my first coach, training partner and mentor. He taught me patience and the love of bad weather – ‘It makes your food taste that much better after a hard ride!’ He told me, ‘You can never beat the mountain but it will make you an honest person if you try.’”


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“Carol Elvin (mum) is my go-to person for everything and anything. She’s patched me up a thousand times, built my website among all the creative wonders she does and has generally made my life smooth sailing.’


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“Bonnie Elvin (sister) is my soul mate. She has more talent in just about everything than most people have for one thing. But mostly she is the coolest person I know, takes my mind off cycling and has my back.”


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“Stu Shaw (husband) is the good guy. He’s the one to get my grumpy self out of bed to train because he knows how much I want to be the best and that I need a little prodding sometimes. He helps me keep perspective and stay positive and has given me the space to grow into my own person.”


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“Neil Ross (coach) is one of the first people to believe in me outside of my family. This is one of my favourite photos because we didn’t even know each other. It was my first MTB World Cup (Canberra, 2008) and I was suffering through the short track race in the rain. He saw something in me and the next year I was with him in the national team.”


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I’m fortunate that my closest support network is mostly my family, but for many people this is not the case. My advice to any aspiring athlete is to take notice of who lifts you up and wants to be your cheer leader. You need people in your corner telling you that you can be the best and these people don’t have to be ‘in the system’!”


– By Gracie Elvin