Looking back at a summer of cycling success

Maple Ridge cycling phenom Maggie Coles-Lyster just put the brakes on a summer of competition that confirmed her impressive talent.

At just 14

Maple Ridge cycling phenom Maggie Coles-Lyster just put the brakes on a summer of competition that confirmed her impressive talent.

The 14-year-old spent much of the summer zooming along on a bicycle and she hasn’t slowed down yet.

The young racer competed above her age category all season long and proved she is one of Canada’s top juniors.

With the road racing season wrapped up, Coles-Lyster’s latest success came on the dirt at the B.C. Cyclocross Championships held on Nov. 10 in Nanaimo, where she handily won the U19 provincial title.

Coles-Lyster has been racing with the elite women in the Vancouver SuperPrestige of CX series, and has pedaled onto the podium in four of the six races to far. She made another huge leap this year, and she’s on track to reaching some big goals.

“I’m really excited to be competitive with the elite women this year. It’s something I’ve been working toward since I started racing and it’s finally becoming a reality,” she said.

Coles-Lyster has also dusted off her fixed-gear track bike and quickly made the switch to the intensely tactical discipline of the track cycling. She hit the cement oval track in Victoria on Augl 23-25, for the B.C. Track Cycling Championships. As the reigning 2012 Under 15 women’s provincial champion, she received permission to race up a category with the Under 17 women.

After two intense days of competition, Coles-Lyster earned gold in the Keirin event, silver in the Sprints, and, most significantly, gold in the Omnium – an event comprised of five separate races.

The biggest challenge Coles-Lyster faced this past season was B.C. Superweek – a series of high-profile races based in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, July 5-14 that attracts international competitors.

Although she didn’t podium in any of the events, simply racing and rubbing elbows with top riders made B.C. Superweek an incredible learning experience.

Coles-Lyster’s top finishes included an impressive 13th place in the 700-metre Tour de White Rock hill climb and a very respectable 20th place in the 80-kilometre Tour de White Rock road race.

Coles-Lyster pulled off an amazing win at the Northwest Classic Juniors Stage Race, which attracted some of the best racers under the age of 19 from across the Pacific Northwest in August. Competing above her age category yet again, she finished fifth in the first stage time trial. Driven and looking for redemption, she raced aggressively to win the short, fast criterium.

After two stages, the savvy young scrapper found herself one minute and 40 seconds behind the race leader, with only one stage remaining to decide the overall title.

The do-or-die situation suited her combative style and she transformed the pressure into motivation. She attacked her group one kilometre from the top of a tough climb and she was able to pull away and open a gap to secure the victory.

Coles-Lyster cut it extremely close, crossing the finish line one minute and 40 seconds ahead of the overall stage race leader after two stages, putting them in a temporary tie for the overall win. Once the officials had finished calculating the exact race times, Coles-Lyster came out with the win by a margin of only 0.08 seconds to take the overall victory.

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