When Maggie Coles-Lyster of the Local Ride Racing team pulls up to the start line at B.C. Superweek’s first race today, it will have been one year since at the age of 14, she was the youngest cyclist to race in this prestigious series.
And during the past year, this now 15-year-old Maple Ridge resident has had to overcome some major road blocks to get here again.
In November, 2013, while preparing for the Canadian Cyclocross Championship, Coles-Lyster suddenly became very ill. After a week of doctor visits and medical test, she was finally admitted to emergency with a ruptured appendix. After three weeks in hospital, two months off school and 20 pounds of weight lost, Coles-Lyster was given the green light to begin riding her bike again.
It was the determination and strong work ethics of this young athlete that saw her quickly pedal her way back to health, and on track for her 2014 race season.
After early season successes with a second-place finish at her hometown race Race The Ridge, Coles-Lyster headed south to Enumclaw, Washington for the Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race. With her race category competing alongside the Elite Women, she placed an amazing sixth place in the criterium and ended up second overall in her category.
But as the season went on, she kept getting stronger. At the B.C. Road and Criterium Championships, she was lined-up with some of North America’s top women racers. In the road race she fought hard to place 10th in the group, but even more impressively, placed sixth at the Bastion Square Criterium in a field where only 13 out of the 30 starters even finished.
“I had to work hard to maintain positioning and to not get dropped at Bastion Square. The strong women in the field were creating record lap times for this race. I was so excited to have the opportunity to participate in the sprint finish with such a classy field of riders. It also helped to give me more confidence going into B.C. Superweek , that I can compete with these top riders.” explained Coles-Lyster.
On June 7 and 8, Coles-Lyster made her way to the Comox Valley for the BC Youth Road and Time Trial Champioships. Against a strong field of young BC riders, she was able to take both the B.C. Road and Time Trial Championships.
With her sights focused on B.C. Superweek, her racing took her to Victoria with her track bike, where she won the Junior Omnium and Junior Sprint Tournament against a very strong group of young up and coming racers.
Coles-Lyster will be participating in eight of B.C. Superweek’s races starting with the Tour of Delta Brenco Criterium on July 4.
She will be unable to race the Tour of Delta UCI Road Race on July 6 due to her young age.