Hard work beginning to pay off for Richardson
There is an often-used saying: “You only get out of life what you put in!”
Well, the same applies in sport, too, as local cyclist Chequan Richardson has discovered.
At 6ft 5in and weighing only 150lbs, the 21-year-old Bermudian may not exactly fit the profile of most competitive cyclists. But as he showed on Sunday in the 42-mile Winners Edge Road Race, held on arguably the toughest racecourse on the cycling calendar, looks can be very deceiving, as he beat out a field of the Island's top cyclists to take a hard-earned and well-deserved victory.
Already in 2015 he has logged 2,212.5 miles, spending 129 hours and 38 minutes in the saddle, with a total of 70 rides and an impressive tally of 140,213 feet of elevation gain.
If anyone is a little sceptical of his stats, all you have to do is sign up for Strava, a programme that many cyclists use, where each ride is downloaded on to their computers with all this information and is much more visible for others to see.
But it was not always like this. Richardson's introduction to the sport he is now so dedicated to came about the same way as a number of the Bermuda's best cyclist have done in recent years: the Bermuda Bicycle Association's schools programme, with Richardson crediting Peter Dunne, the BBA president, as being responsible for his involvement.
It has not been an easy road getting to the point where he is now confident in his ability to mix it with the best in Bermuda, and to set himself goals on the international scene. He admits there have been many disappointments along the way and times when he has questioned himself about whether or not it was all worth it.
“With every disappointment I became more determined,” he said. “There are always disappointments, even the National Mountain Bike Championships last month, which I worked very hard for. I was not happy, but it just made me work harder.”
Richardson's comments are a testament to the standards that he now sets himself, as he finished an impressive second overall in the off-road championship, which many others would have been satisfied with.
Juggling IT courses at the Bermuda College, part-time work at the Swizzle Inn and at Bicycle Works, the team he rides for, it is easy to see that most of the spare time he does have is spent in the saddle with between ten and 12 rides every week. Last November he found himself an online coach to help him to reach his goals, with American Shaybe Gaffney advising him and analysing his workouts.
He represented Bermuda at the Caribbean Championships in Puerto Rico last year. Failing to finish the event was an eye-opener and he quickly realised that to ride at that level he would need to step up his game, which he clearly has.
His performance last Sunday was a clear indication that he is on the right track. Having made his way into an early breakaway of six riders and working tirelessly for three laps, his group was caught — at which point it could have been expected for him to fall off the pace. Far from it. Not only did he recover to match the constant attacks of other riders, but he had enough to beat them in the hotly contested uphill finish. “It was a great confidence boost for me,” he said.
His goals for 2015 include trying to win the National Road Race Championship, being selected to represent Bermuda at the Island Games in Jersey this summer, and a return to the Caribbean Championships to put in a better performance.
Judging by his dedicated approach, his hard work and positive mindset, there seems to be no reason why he cannot achieve all of them and more.