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Kelise Wade on quest to be inspiration for young girls

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Kelise Wade (File photograph)

Kelise Wade hopes her success in this year’s Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race will attract more girls to the sport of cycling.

The Berkeley Institute student captured her first overall title among the 12-14 age bracket after edging Jonah MacGuinness in an exciting photo finish.

“Being able to win a podium finish means a lot to me, especially on Bermuda Day, because I was able to showcase my talent in front of the whole of Bermuda and prove that girls are also as strong and talented as boys are,” Wade told The Royal Gazette. “I enjoy the energy from the crowd; it helps me to push harder and not give up.

“I wear neon pink when I ride because I want the young girls to see that cycling is for girls too. It’s a colour that you can spot from far away and hopefully, it will inspire someone to start cycling.”

Wade’s race did not go without setbacks, which she ultimately overcame.

“Prior to the race beginning, the boys and I had agreed that we were going to take turns rotating in pace line formation up until we reached town and from there we were going to break apart and sprint to the finish,” she explained.

“At the beginning of the race, the first person peeled off of the pace line and then I took the lead. A few seconds in, I had looked back and noticed that there was no one drafting behind me.

“As I reached Queen Street, my legs started feeling very heavy and I had trouble changing my gear. It was then that my friend, Jonah, started to close the gap and overtake me.

“Coming down the home stretch, I put all of my effort into sprinting down Jonah. I was pedalling furiously to try and pass him in the sprint finish.

“I knew the end was in sight, but I couldn’t tell where the finish line was. At the last millisecond, I managed to pass him. All my hard work was over and I could hardly feel my legs.”

Kelise Wade beats Jonah MacGuinness in the 12-14 age group in the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The close finish came as no surprise to Wade who had predicted the race would go right down to the wire.

“I thought it was going to be a tight finish between myself and some of the boys,” she said.

“I know that my friends in this race had been putting in a lot of hard work and effort, and I was going to match their energy.”

Wade’s latest success in the sport follows fresh on the heels of finishing third in this year’s Mountain Bike National Championships and runner-up in the overall series.

Her journey in cycling began at the age of six as a member of the Bermuda Cycling Academy and has gone from strength to strength since.

“Coach Anton Gilbert held training sessions for us every Friday up at Police Field for the younger children. As I got older, it progressed to multiple sessions throughout the week,” added Wade, who now hopes to join one of the local cycling clubs and represent Bermuda on the international scene.

Cycling is not the only sport the 14-year-old thrives in. She also held her own competing as a middle distance runner and sprinter.

Kelise Wade has also made a name for herself as a promising middle-distance runner and sprinter (File photograph)

Wade won the overall National Cross-Country Championship series title in 2022 and has not had to look far for inspiration, which has come in abundance from her mother, Sherilyn.

“My mother has been my lifelong coach and provider,” the multitalented athlete said. “She’s been there for me since day one and has supported me through trials and tribulations.

“She has encouraged me to persevere – to push through when times are tough and to always keep the end in view.”

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Published June 01, 2024 at 7:56 am (Updated June 01, 2024 at 7:37 am)

Kelise Wade on quest to be inspiration for young girls

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