Alison Jackson’s experience as a world class triathlete and cross country runner during her collegiate career has come in handy as she continues to rise the ranks as a professional cyclist.
Running up to 12 kilometres per race in cross country, or swimming, cycling, and running in a triathlon helped give the Abbotsford resident a good endurance base, learn how to train hard, and listen to her body when competing. It’s served her particularly well during the Tour de White Rock, where she has five top-six finishes in the last two years.
In 2014, Jackson won the now-defunct Homelife Realty Hill Climb, was third in the Choices Markets Criterium, fifth in the Peace Arch News Road Race, and took the omnium, or overall, title. She was second in the criterium last year and sixth in the road race while finishing third in the omnium. The progression would indicate that another spot on top of the podium is in the cards for this year.
“I really like the hill in that crit. It suits me as a course with the hill, but my favourite part is the corner at the bottom of the downhill with the hay bales on the corner. It is fast, sort of scary, but really fun to lean the bike into,” she explained.
The Peace Arch News Road Race is a dramatic departure in style from the Choices Markets Criterium, but both suit Jackson just fine. In fact, she relishes in the gruelling nature of the road race.
“This road race is super hard, it is lap after lap of climb after climb. It is really hard and then comes into an uphill sprint finish and it’s a course where you feel really good after you finish. I love the road race – I love a hard fitness race.” Jackson said, adding that the crowd in White Rock doesn’t go unnoticed by the riders. “I also love all the spectators having barbecues around the course, it’s a really good vibe.”
Jackson is riding BC Superweek in part because she knows how well the eight-race series is run, and partly because the $125,000 in prize money ranks up there with purses at the biggest events in North America. But she also loves being able to compete as a local rider.
“It is so nice to come back and get to race a lot of hard races on home soil. I’ve been on an American team for two years and spend a lot of time training and racing in the USA and different countries. I love the fans that we have at BC Superweek and that my family and friends actually get to watch me races instead of reading live Tweets,” laughed Jackson, who graduated from Langley’s Trinity Western University with a degree in kinesiology in 2014.
The 2015 Canadian National Criterium Champion wasn’t riding in her familiar TWENTY16 Pro Cycling kit during BC Superweek last year, instead wearing the maple leaf of Team Canada. It’s something Jackson has an immense amount of pride in.
“It was my honour to get to represent Canada at the 2015 Road World Championships in my first year racing professionally. I love representing Canada and I love racing against the very best athletes in the world,” she added.
And racing against some of the best athletes in the world is exactly what Jackson will get to do at BC Superweek. She’ll compete in all eight races in the series and looks to improve on her performance a year ago, where she had four top ten finishes last year. Jackson only recently dedicated herself fully to professional cycling, but has proven to be a threat to appear on the podium in any race she’s entered in.
BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest professional cycling series and features more than $125,000 in prize money available during eight races over ten days. BC Superweek runs fromJuly 8 – 17, and is made up of the Tour de Delta (July 8, 9, 10), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 13), Giro di Burnaby p/b Appia Development (July 14), PoCo Grand Prix p/b Dominion Lending Centres (July 15), and Steve Nash Fitness World presents the Tour de White Rock (July 16, 17). For more information, visit www.bcsuperweek.ca.