By Laura Lennie, News Staff
Adrian George is putting the pedal to the metal, having recently returned from representing Canada at the UCI Junior Pan-American track and road cycling championships in Guatemala.
The 17-year-old Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School Grade 12 student is training hard for trials for the Junior World track cycling championships in August in New Zealand.
“The level of competition at Pan-Am was a lot higher and different than it is here,” he said. “If I want to go to worlds and be competitive, I definitely need to focus more and step my training up a bit. I’m riding my bike and putting in the hours.”
George just missed the podium in his first trip to the Junior Pan-American track and road cycling championships, riding to a fourth-place finish in the men’s team sprint.
He also competed in the match sprint and men’s road race.
George performed time trials in February to qualify to compete for Canada at the event.
He was one of four cyclists to make the team from Forest City Velodrome in London, where he trains.
“I was really happy with our fourth-place finish. We were just shy of a medal, but there’s no complaints, we did everything we could of,” George said. “I was a little disappointed with my other races. I would have liked to have done better, but because it was my first international competition, I can’t really complain too much.”
George began mountain biking about three years ago with the Hamilton Cycling Club, but switched to a road bike to improve his fitness.
He started competing in Ontario Youth Cup Road Series events and later began cycling at the Forest City Velodrome, under the direction of Rob Good.
Good, who is also the junior national team coach, began training George as often as three times a week to compete at the provincial and national championships.
George won four medals at the provincials and one silver medal at nationals in Quebec.
“Nationals is a lot of fun for me,” he said. “I have a lot of fun both on and off my bike. From the competition to hanging out with friends, it’s a great experience.”
George admits his training schedule can be a little grueling, but said the hard work is worth it.
“I enjoy the competitiveness of the sport. I love to race so much that it just makes me want to keep going,” he said. “I definitely can’t see myself stopping any time soon. I’m just going to keep going and see how far it takes me.”