My Cycling Story:
Jessye is 14 years old. At the age of 11 months, and only 6 weeks after the untimely death of her father Clinton, she was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma – tumours on both retinas – and her left eye was removed immediately. The 4-year battle to save her right eye then began and involved three separate courses of chemotherapy and finally a 5-week course of daily radiation therapy. At the age of 5, however, the tumours had returned yet again. There was no more treatment that could be offered so her remaining eye was then removed and prosthetic eyes provided.
Jessye has always displayed incredible resilience, persistence and determination and on the day of that final operation she marched into the operating theatre with the same resolve and courage that has characterized her approach to life ever since. In those early years she continued to be part of the jazz ballet dance group and took her singing to higher levels, earning many invitations to perform solo items in concerts, festivals and community events. She took up piano and violin and now also learns viola, euphonium and trombone as a music student in the Special Interest Music program at Brighton Secondary School. She was also accepted into the ThinkBright program at the school, which promotes a collaborative, creative and innovative cross-curricular approach to her academic subjects. She is a confident public speaker and represents the school in the debating team.
Jessye has always been keen to take part in sporting events and likes to keep herself fit. She was introduced to tandem cycling by Kieran Modra at primary school and joined the Tandem Project two years ago. She recently completed a 1000 km bike ride over 10 days from Geelong to Glenelg with pilot Tristan Fergusson. She and her mother managed to raise almost $10,000 for Camp Quality. She trained hard with Tristan and other pilots in the program over several months and completed the challenge easily, earning the honour of leading the whole group over the line on the last day of the ride.
High Performance Squad
Tandem gold to Modra & Edwards at Para Track Worlds
Australia claimed gold on day two of the 2016 Para-cycling Track World Championships in Montichiari, Italy.
Five time Paralympic gold medalist and reigning Paralympic champion Kieran Modra (SA) and pilot David Edwards (QLD) claimed gold in the tandem 4km pursuit.
Having qualified second fastest earlier in the day in 4mins 12.568secs – just 0.04 of a second behind fastest qualifiers Spain – the competition for gold was expected to be close. In the final Modra and Edwards blasted out of the start gate completing the opening kilometre in 1min 7.310secs taking an early eight tenths of a second lead. Over the next two kilometres the Australian duo extended their lead heading in to the final kilometre with a two second advantage as they powered home to claim gold in 4mins 12.324secs. Over four seconds faster than Spain, the time just over one second outside the world record of Matt Formston and Mick Curran.
National Road Championships
2016 saw two team pairings representing SA at the 2016 National Road Championships. The field was reduced this year, however, the competition was no less fierce in what is the Rio Olympics selection year. Kieran Murphy has a new pilot for his road competition in Tom Drizners. Tom is no stranger to the team, having completed his high performance training with the team in 2013. The pairing looks to have exciting potential, with Kieran and Tom riding into the bronze medal position in the time trial.
The 2016 Road Race was where the fireworks really happened. The course was the most challenging course on record, with eight laps of a circuit which had a brutal climb. It was a challenge our tandems were relishing, with previous years having been essentially flat courses. Kieran Modra was riding with Tandem Captain Mike Hoile, an A grade rider despite having celebrated his 50th birthday last year! Kieran and Mike launched an epic attack early in the piece, and spent the vast majority of the race out the front on their own. Kieran Murphy and Tom were playing smart and keeping close watch on the other major contenders in the race. Unfortunately, the lack of road miles for Kieran Murphy and Tom took its toll and they lost contact with the high performance tandems they were working with. They still completed a solid effort to finish 4th. Meanwhile, back at the front of the race, heartbreakingly, Modra and Hoile were caught by Oz Tandem in the final few hundred metres of the race, and sadly, did not have enough in the tank to hold the duo off in the sprint. Though disappointing, to finish with the silver medal with a combined age of 96 years is still absolutely remarkable, and a testament to the natural high level talent of the Modra/Hoile combination.
Tour of Murray Bridge
One of the highlights of the calendar for both the Elite ladies and the Tandems is the Skinny Lattes Tour of Murray Bridge. For the women, this comprises of a time trial and criterium on day one, and a road race on day two. MBA Blackchrome only had two riders available for this tour due to schedule clashes with the Victorian Road Series Mt Baw Baw Classic. Victoria lined up with Maddie, fresh from representing the country in the World University Games. Unfortunately for Maddie, fresh is probably not the word to use. Maddie had acquired a nasty tropic fever in the Philippines, and had an enormous issue with lactic acid build up in the stage two criterium, resulting in a DNF, effectively preventing her start in the road race.
Victoria however powered on. Taking a convincing win in the time trial, Victoria managed to avoid being side swiped in the last corner of the criterium to snatch third place from two fast-finished SASI riders. The road race was a tough 97km course and mostly flat, so not to Victoria’s liking. The race was decided in the last 4km, when Jenny McPherson launched the defining break. Victoria was mid-pack at the time, but had enough gas to launch off the front and cross the gap to a charging Jenny. Working together, both riders prevented any riders from being able to join the break. The race finishing in a heart stopping sprint between Jenny and Victoria, with Jenny proving the stronger finisher on the flat. Victoria finished second overall to Jenny who also clinched the series win.
Round Two Skinny Lattes Road Series
Report by Christina Teniswood
Sunday saw round 2 of the SLCC Women’s racing series take place in Gumeracha. It was also the first round of the newly implemented CSA Women’s Winter Race Series sponsored by Cycle Closet & Van D’am Racing with the leader’s jersey up for grabs, so it was going to be a hotly contested race! The course consisted of 2 big and 2 small loops through Gumeracha, Kenton Valley and Mt Torrens – a nice rolling hills stage which included 1300m of elevation over the 97kms, including 3.5 times up Kenton Valley Rd, 4 times up Mt Torrens and two times along Burfords Hill Rd which has 3 short but sharp pinches. Plenty of opportunity to see who would have the best climbing legs on the day.
Nine girls fronted up for the elite women’s start with 4 from Mercedes-Benz Adelaide Blackchrome – Victoria, Lucy, Narelle and myself as well as 4 from USG and Jenny MacPherson. With VV and Lucy on the front, our team set a solid pace up the 6km climb out of Gumeracha. We kept the pace up and by the time we hit the top of Mt Torrens Hill at around 10-12km I looked back to realise we had dropped ½ the bunch! Only MBA Blackchrome riders remained and the always strong Jenny Macpherson. Now the break had been established the next couple of laps saw us take rolling turns to maintain the lead and apart from a few mini surges and attacks to suss things out we all worked together trying to stay as fresh as possible for the last lap and final hill climb. Luckily or not so luckily we got a test run at the finish as we had to do 2 loops of Burfords Hill Rd and ride the final summit climb where our men’s team (who had ridden in the tandems) were there to give us some support along the way – thanks guys for the cheers!
The last lap came down to the final 3 hills with both Lucy and I launching hard and fast attacks along the first two hills. VV gave us all a probe, countering with a steady pull over the crest. Jenny had also worked hard to counter the attack, re-joining with VV and continuing the pace to further gap pursuit. Narelle had the legs to chase, and the three riders were left vying for the final climb. About ¾ of the way up the final climb, VV launched her definitive attack, with Jenny giving her all to pursue. With nothing left for the last hill I happily watched VV glide her way up the final climb to the finish with Jenny 2nd, Narelle 3rd, me 4th and Lucy 5th. A super strong race by our team scoring 4 of the top 5 results as well as the coveted Women’s WRS leader’s jersey! Thank you to Lynette Collins and SLCC, commissaries, volunteers and our moto rider for keeping us safe and organising a great race. Definitely looking forward to the next SLCC round – a hill climb up the old freeway on 12th June.
The team was represented in A grade by Michel Bloffwitch. There was no less carnage in A grade on the hilly course with four riders registering a DNF and a whopping 25 minutes separating first place and 12 place over the 71km course. Michele, not generally considered a climber, rode impressively to claim 9th place. We may just convert her to being a goat after all.