“I am not getting any younger but I am getting faster and stronger, so Houshang must be doing something right.”
- Brian Cowie
cycling, athlete, willock, amiri

Legends of Cycling Speak of Achievements

June 06, 2012

cycling, athlete, willock, amiri

Erinne, with Houshang, Seamus and Alison



The Legends of Cycling Speaker Series took place last night at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) in Victoria. Erinne Willock, Houshang Amiri, Seamus McGrath and Alison Sydor entertained the audience with interesting anecdotes from their cycling careers and explained why Victoria is a breeding ground for elite cyclists.

Erinne, who is about to have her first child, explained that her love was cycling stemmed from an early age – two! But it wasn’t until she was 14 that she knew she wanted to focus on becoming an elite cyclist. She explained that having the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria was a big influence. A Victoria native, it was a lot easier for her as she had the facilities and mentors on her doorstep.

Houshang, who has coached Erinne since 2001, displayed some archive photos that showed the depth of talent on Victoria. Just in the 1999 – 2000 season, Roland Green, Ryder Hesjedal, Geoff Kabush, Chrissy Redden and Seamus McGrath were gold medalists training in Victoria. He explained the testing challenges they faced – from being in a corridor at the Saanich Commonwealth Pool to the University of Victoria lab and then eventually to the state-of-the-art facilities at PISE.

Seamus entertained the audience with his tale of making it to the Athens Olympics in 2004. From him and Hesjerdal being jumped on by some thugs in Spain while training, and subsequently suffering concussion, to qualifying for Athens. This dream was nearly shattered when he tore his right hand tubing, and ultimately had to have one of his fingers sewed up. He did make it though and came ninth.

Alison concluded the session by explaining some of her greatest moments, as well as her lowest – namely not achieving the two gold medals she was coveting at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. She did win silver and bronze, though. She explained that the depth of talent in Victoria was unprecedented, particularly in 2002 when she, Roland Green, Hesjedal and Max Plaxton were on the podium at the MTB World Championships. In those days athletes were willing to travel and re-locate to Victoria because of the amazing cycling conditions – the climate and the cycling terrain of roads and trails.

It was a great evening of memories and achievements which is a testament of how important Victoria is in building champions.

 


cycling, athlete, willock, amiri
cycling, athlete, willock, amiri
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cycling, athlete, willock, amiri
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Besler named to Junior Track Worlds
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cycling, athlete, willock, amiri
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cycling, athlete, willock, amiri

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cycling, athlete, willock, amiri
cycling, athlete, willock, amiri