Elizabeth1

I met Eli and her family about a year or so ago as they were climbing Mt Buller on their road bikes with her brother Maxx and dad Gabe. 
Her mum, Silvana dropped Maxx part way up the hill as it was a big ask for a young boy on a small framed and wheeled bike to do the whole of Buller!
From the moment I saw Eli and her family I was totally in awe of them.  It was obvious that she and her brother had supportive and fantastic parents.

Since then we became FB friends and I have watched this young athlete grow and grow and grow! 
But not just Eli, but her brother as well.

Ride Like a Girl's philosophy is, "if She can do it, so can I."

Gaining courage and strength from those around us that inspire and create challenges for us.

Where did you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration came from watching my dad and professional cyclists ride! At the 2015 Santos Tour Down Under I was very lucky to meet some greats in the sport, namely Cadel Evans, Richie Porte, Rohan Dennis, Marcel Kittel and Jack Bobridge to name a few. Further down the race calendar at the SA State Title, I was also excited to meet Anna Meares and Matthew Glaetzer!

What motivates you to train and be your best?

I am motivated to be my best for my family and friends to be proud of me. I love the sport and this motivates me to continue training and racing.

Where were you born?

Bacchus Marsh, Victoria

How old are you?

14 Years Old

What year level are you in this year?

Year 9

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What other interests do you have?

I love playing my piano. I started playing the piano at 5 years of age and I’ve been studying for my AMEB Grade exams for some time.

Tell us about your family and their role in your cycling.

My father was a Club cyclist and triathlete for many years and has helped source bikes/bike parts/events and overall bike mechanic and handler. My mum helps with the logistics; food/drinks; and clothes preparation and makes sure we get our school work done. Mum or Dad (depending on their work commitments) also drives me weekly (sometimes three times a week) to DISC (Darebin International Sports Centre-indoor velodrome) for training or racing. My brother (Maxx who is 7 years old), is a great motivator who studies reruns of the past Olympics Track events, and always has a coaching tip. He loves racing too!

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When did you start cycling?

I started cycling when I got my first bike, which was when I turned 2. I have loved riding my mountain bike at the You Yangs and only about a year ago, on my local Criterium track! I have also loved triathlons before I started racing, then later decided to focus on only the cycling component of triathlons. Before I joined a club, I had my arm in a cast and was recovering from a foot operation when I decided to climb Mt. Buller with my dad (he was doing the 7 peaks), my brother, Maxx, also completed about 4km of the climb at 5½ years of age. At the top, we ordered a bowl of chips and a well deserved hot chocolate, made by the amazing Jessica Douglas! This was like a good luck charm for me because when we got home, my mum did some research and we joined the Brunswick Cycling Club in February 2015. It all started from here. I had no track experience before this and attended a school holiday program in April to learn a bit more. I am also a part of WestVic Academy of Sport.

When did you start racing?

I started racing as a 13 year old in March 2015, my first tour was the Leongatha Junior experience and ever since I have loved racing.  Here, I won the Victorian State Hill Climb for U15 Women and I also had a little crash.

I had so much still to learn.

I then went on to the Ararat Junior Tour where I experienced a few mechanical problems and learned to put my chain back on twice mid race.

What do you LOVE the most about riding and racing?

I love the adrenaline, the competition and the road trips we go on as a family. Meeting new people from around Australia is always fun too. I have made some great friends through this sport.

How many bikes do you own?

3. A track bike, a road bike and a mountain bike.

Does your family have a garage devoted to bikes only?

Pretty much, we have an outdoor room with bikes which is also a workshop for gear changing, flat tyre repair or general maintenance. We also have 2 indoor trainer set up for Maxx and I.

What is your maintenance routine in looking after them?

My dad does most of the maintenance on the bike as I am still learning. I have washed my bike when required and I have helped my dad change gears and handle bars. And on the track, changing gearing.

What have been your most memorable moments?

My most memorable moment was being selected to be part of the Victorian U15 Women’s Road Team to compete at the Australian Nationals in Shepparton in September 2015. Other great moments include being a part of the Central Districts Cycling Club Junior Tour in the Barossa Valley in South Australia in 2015; seeing my growth in the past 10 months of competitive cycling; having the opportunity to compete in the National Junior Track Series in Melbourne and Tasmania and the Mitchelton Bay Classic U17 Women’s (podium finish). Another really exciting event I was allowed to be a part of, was the South Australian and Victorian Track Championships on the 30th of January 2016.

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What are your most memorable and meaningful results, it’s not always winning but often a story behind the race.

U15 Women’s State Road team selection was meaningful, because it highlighted the fact that although I was new to this sport, I was still able to meet the criteria for selection based on my results and hard work.

A General Classification of 2nd in the Central Districts Cycling Club Junior Tour in the Barossa Valley was also an uplifting experience. The great hospitality and excellent organisation of the Central Districts Cycling Club in South Australia made this tour very enjoyable for my whole family. 

In June 2015, I came 2nd in the Junior (U15Womens)Victorian Club Team Time Trial event in Bendigo with my Brunswick team mates. This was fun because we were able to work as a team. Then at the end of 2015, I moved up into the U17 category on the track and competed in the Victorian Christmas Carnivals and the Ballarat Rebellion! I have loved visiting all the country towns and competing in all the velodromes.

In Melbourne, I also enjoyed competing in the 118th Austral Wheelrace at HiSense Arena, Melbourne.

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What do you see yourself doing in 5 years time?

In 5 years time I’ll be 19! Hopefully, successfully completed Year 12 and to continue cycling to the best of my ability.

Eli, from afar, I look at you, what you are doing, your family support, the club support and your enthusiasm that shines through...you could be anything you wanted to be.   Dream big...what does this look like for you?

There are many directions available to me as a 14 year old. Firstly, I love both road and track cycling at the moment, so I hope to continue competing at State and National level for the next two years. I hope to specialize once my strengths are determined.

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One last final question, it’s important, because you never know what girl out there is watching you, reading your story, being inspired by you. What would you tell that person about having a go at something that seems a bit scary and maybe seems impossible?

When I first went on the track it was a bit scary because although I’d ridden a bike before, the track bike was different. It had no brakes andno gears! I am glad I gave it a go, because even though it seemed a dream to compete in races and tours, with the support of my family I was able to achieve some successes and found a passion that perhaps I may not have experienced if I didn’t have a go.