From her work, we have been hugely fortunate to have been put in touch with Mr. Jai Crawford! Please see the start of our conversation below:
Mrs. Shanghaivelo: How long you have been riding and how did you get started?
Jai Crawford: I've been riding XC Mountain Bikes and Road Bikes for about 8 years. I started out in MTB with my eldest brother and eventually started racing and progressed from there.
MSV: Some information about your current team:
Jai Crawford: I'm riding for Australian Continental team Savings and Loans. The team has been around a few years but this is my first year with them. We have a strong group of riders who work well together and an excellent Director Sportif in Pat Jonker, one of Australia's best ex professional road cyclists.
MSV: What was your first race in China?
Jai Crawford: I first raced in China in 2007 at Tour of Qinghai Lake. I struggled with the altitude and didn't ride as well as I would have liked.
MSV: Tell us about your current Bike(s):
Jai Crawford:I'm riding my team issue Avanti Quantum Team road bike and TT bike. Both bikes are exceptionally good, they ride as well as any of the popular European and American bikes I've used over the years. We are using 2009 Shimano Dura Ace on our bikes and I have to say that its proven be excellent.
MSV: How is your race calendar looking for 2009? Any season goals you have?
Jai Crawford: Our next race is Tour of Korea in early June. The main goals of my season were to finish on the podium at Tour de Langawi and Tour of Qinghai Lake. I was able to achieve the first one riding with my National Team and right now I'm preparing for Qinghai Lake. A result in that race should secure me a contract on one of the bigger European teams in 2010, so I'm really focussing on that race and really none of the other races matter to me this year. We will be doing a few of the events in Australia, including the Herald Sun Tour. Hopefully we will have a start in Tour of Hainan and few other events in Asia.
MSV: Your favourite cyclist of all time?
Jai Crawford: I'm a fan of Jan Ulrich, as much for his character as his incredible cycling ability.
MSV: Your role model?
Jai Crawford: I don't really have a role model. I am who I am and I live life according to the way I see it.
MSV: What is your favorite race in China, and why?
Jai Crawford: Tour of Qinghai Lake would be my favourite if it didn't rain and get so bitterly cold! The mountains there are right up my alley. Tour of Hainan has a much more comfortable climate but the race a little too flat for my attributes.
MSV: What motivates you to ride hard?
Jai Crawford: I started out riding hard because I liked to, I enjoyed riding and feeling pain was a sure sign you were doing it as you should be. Now, as a professional athlete, the work I put in and the pain involved in training and racing is far too excessive to be motivated solely by a love of the sport. Money plays a role now, cycling is my job and if I didn't pursue prize money and bigger contracts I would be doing a pretty poor job.
MSV: What was your biggest ever cycling fashion faux pas?
Jai Crawford: I remember I wore a pair of thick, black Explorer socks that came up to my knees during a 24 hour indoor roller event, they were pretty untidy and quite amusing for all involved.
MSV: What do you like to do other than ride?
Jai Crawford: I enjoy cooking, and I especially enjoy eating. I had some great Chinese food whilst living in Nanjing last year and I can't wait to go back for a holiday and eat some more. I try to spend as much time as I can with my wife when I'm not training, she's my best friend as well as my wife!
MSV: Your favourite place (anywhere on earth) to ride?
Jai Crawford: Tuscany in Italy, its hilly, beautiful, you get respect from motorists and the food is great.
MSV: Your best book about cycling?
Jai Crawford: I haven't really read any books about cycling that stand out as great ones.
MSV: Your shoe size?
Jai Crawford: 43.5
So there you have it! It seems the average Shanghai Velo rider has the perfect shoe size to make it pro! Jai Crawford has the same size shoes as JP. Coincidence? I think not.
Huge thanks to Jai! Good luck in your up-coming races. Jai Yo, Jai Yo, Jai Yo.