Wairarapa cyclist Tom McCallum. PHOTO/ELI HILL
Five years ago, Tom McCallum, was begging teams to allow him to film the New Zealand Cycle Classic from their team cars.
Now he’s not only competing but has organised videography for the race.
McCallum, 19, is racing for Coupland’s Bakeries and is one of the two Wairarapa riders in the race, which began yesterday.
Until 2014, McCallum competed in triathlon but focused on cycling after a knee injury.
The former Rathkeale student joined the Masterton club in 2015 and this is the first year McCallum has competed in the classic.
“It’s pretty cool. For most people it’s just the cycle classic but growing up here it’s a pretty big deal. I’ve worked and helped out on this race since 2015 so I’ve worked on it for years.
“The fact me and [fellow Wairarapa competitor] Mark Langlands have ridden every one of these stages – there’s not a road we haven’t ridden on so that’s going to be quite helpful for us and our team.”
McCallum said the fourth stage was going to be a pinnacle one.
McCallum is also a YouTuber and graduated film school last year.
“I got into a bit of filming because I wanted to make YouTube videos back in 2015, as a pastime away from riding because you can’t just focus on one thing.
“I begged people to let me go in their team cars five years ago and I’d just film them and terribly edit them and it’s just grown and grown and grown.”
On Tuesday, his channel CyclingTom, which features product reviews as well as vlogs and training, hit 5600 subscribers.
He was contacted by the race organiser to put in a quote to see if he could film the race, and McCallum said the size of his audience helped him to secure the job.
“Then there was the dilemma that I couldn’t film and ride, so I brought in guys from film school to do it.”
McCallum’s riding and social media following have been opening doors – he couldn’t go into specifics, but he had been offered six months overseas work with housing and races all paid for.
“I’d like to eventually be able to live off just making videos for this and obviously I’d like to keep riding and growing my own brand.
“I’ve got CyclingTom which is me and my brand but then I’ve got Cycling Tom Media which is the boys who work for me and I’d like to bring that up as well and head over to Australia and film those races and bring them with me as well.”
Race highlights from each day of the tour can be found on YouTube at CyclingTom: www.youtube.com/channel/UCcTT956IojCFYJOOwINPxPg