GOING from strength to strength, Jade Colligan from St Georges Basin was once again named most improved rider at the Optus Nowra Velo Club.
With a year full of achievements, Colligan said she has now been invited to ride with the Victorian Women’s Bicycle Superstore National Road Series team for this year’s cycling season.
“I’m very excited to be starting a new chapter of my life and I’m sure this year is going to be even bigger and better than the last one,” Miss Colligan said.
“I’m a part of the team as the new Junior Development rider, with aims this year to learn more about racing and gain experience from the best riders Australia has to offer.”
Moving in leaps and bounds with her cycling, Colligan’s fellow Velo mates said they are bittersweet to see the passionate rider move to Canberra this month.
“It has been such an honour riding with the Nowra Velo Club and meeting such amazing and inspiring people,” Colligan said.
“I have to thank Doug Holland for being so helpful right from the beginning, even though I was so determined to beat him.
“I’ll miss racing the old fellers, I enjoy kicking their butt … they’re like family.”
Not even a year ago, Colligan was riding C grade with the bunch and after reaching a milestone in 2012, nothing has been too challenging for her.
In 2012, Colligan received most improved rider at the local club for the first time, pushing the pedals of enthusiasm from the get-go.
The next year began with Colligan’s contract with FTP training, where she undertook coaching for the first time.
“I’ve achieved so much in the 10 months that I’ve been with FTP coach Damian Mason,” she said.
“He really has made me believe that anything is possible if I set my mind to it.”
At the beginning of last year, Colligan trained for the Southern Division Championships and finished first in her category but was beaten by a number of under-17 girls.
“I was little disappointed, but this made me even more determined to get better and better,” she said.
Targeting a top position, Colligan tested herself at the NSW under-19 Individual Time Trial Championships coming away with third place.
Having never raced more than 80 kilometres before, she tackled the National Road Race and secured the 13th position on a very challenging course and the next day pulled 11th at the Nationals Criterium.
“Next was a first place in the NSW under-19 Road Race Championships, after having kept up with the elite women for 100 kilometres,” Colligan said.
“I was given such a rare opportunity to ride as a guest at the Tour of the Murray five day event, as part of the National Road Series team Bicycle Superstore.
“I came away with third place in the Young Rider’s classification with solid performances against the elite women.”
Colligan didn’t slow her pace, next placing second in the NSW under-19 Criterium Championships.
“I also got the opportunity to participate in the 2013 Women’s Endurance Selection camp held at the Australian Institute of Sport,” she said.
“It was the hardest but most rewarding four days of my life.”
With Colligan’s move to the nation’s capital to pursue a degree in a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the Australian National University, she said she will make time to ride.
“I would love to become a professional rider but it’s pretty hard,” she said.
“I will also go down to Bright, Victoria to attend a training camp in February.”
Jade’s first duties with her new team were at the under-23 and Elite National Cycling Championships in Ballarat this month, where she placed fifth. The serious racing with the team begins in April.