Tomorrow Adelia Neethling will be attempting to set the hour record behind the Derny. This is the first time that any woman will attempt this record. Here is her story.
Born in South Africa and immigrated to Australia just over four years ago. Adelia, now calls Australia home. Working full time for a software company, has her constantly on the road travelling. However this hasn’t stopped Adelia from fitting in the training that she needed to chase her dreams.
She has loved sport from a young age. Her first event that she competed in was a 5 km fun run at the age of 4 years old. After a serious bike accident at the age of 14 her parents decided that canoe triathlon will be a safer sport as drafting was illegal at the time. She was part of the South African junior and in the later years senior national team and held the national champion title. At the age of 20 Adelia did her first Iron man. Due to personal circumstances she left sport behind and focused on a career as Estimator.
Three years ago after 16 years away from cycling. Adelia was introduced to track cycling in Perth at a ladies track night. She immediately fell in love with it! She was literally coming "off the couch" unfit and overweight. Adelia was fortunate enough to get a coach to help her chase her goals. Breaking a world record was always a childhood dream to her. Even after being out of the sport for so long it felt like she got a second chance to make dream a reality.
A year later she succeeded in breaking the one hour woman's world record in her age group after participating at an event locally hosted by H02max called the November hour of power - inspired by Jens Voigts hour. The distance for this event in November 2014 was 40.920. This was however not recognised by the UCI and she had to apply at the UCI to do an official attempt.
She got her chance and did this at Masters track national championships 2015 hosted in Sydney, and broke the official record (then held by American athlete Jacquie Lockwood at 40.766km). The distance she travelled in March 2015 at the Syndey Velodome was 41.386 and was recorded as the new official record for the one hour woman age 35-39.
The next goal ahead was world championships in Manchester during October. Unfortunately she was taken out by another rider during training three days before the championships and her dreams literally came crashing down on the concrete apron head first! Luckily she didn't break any bones and could get back to training two weeks later. In November she decided to do the hour of power again and set a distance of 42.337.
As before this was a unofficial and I applied at the UCI to do another official attempt in January 2016 in Perth. Unfortunately it was smoking hot on the day and conditions was just too dangerous to complete the attempt. Having broken the record three times in one year after just starting cycling a year prior is a big ask for anyone. And to she took a much needed break and regrouped on the way forward.
After talking to her coach about how much she loved training behind the motorbike. She asked, is there a record attempt to be made here? Adelia started to do research on this record and discovered that there is only a men's record currently. Max Stevens from Cycling Australia contacted the UCI and requested if she could set a record for the woman. They finally agreed under the condition that it must be behind a Derny and further than 48km in one hour to be ratified.
So the search for a Derny in Australia started. Most clubs not having a Derny, they finally found Northcote Cycling Club's Craig Neiwand who agreed to assist in this attempt. It was very challenging for her to travel to Melbourne, from Perth, for coordinated training sessions with Craig and Kate, whilst still working full time. But as a team they managed to fit a few sessions in behind the Derny in preparation for tomorrow's record. The rest of her training was in Perth with Terry Skinner behind the motorbike, which is quite different than training behind a Derny. But she was determined to make it work.
Adelia will be attempting the hour behind the Derny on Sunday evening. This is the first time that any woman will attempt this record and she grateful to be granted the opportunity by the UCI to set this record.Since Adelia set the hour record in her age group, it has since been broken by a British athlete. And since Adelia isn’t one for quitting, she will be doing an official attempt to reclaim this record on the 12 November.
Her father always told her that one of the most important things in life is to have balance. Working and cycling is a good work - life balance.
“I'm just an ordinary woman chasing her dreams. It is not easy but if you really want to do something you can. Never give up on your childhood dreams. Don't listen to what other people tell you - when I started cycling people told me it takes 5 years to reach the sort of goals I'm chasing - follow your heart. You will experience failure and disappointment in this journey- learn from them get up and just give your best. We are all just human and can't every race and every day perform tops. Keep on training even if you are going backward - in the end hard work pays off. Most important - have FUN! I love what I'm doing and are having loads of fun are extremely grateful for all the blessings and opportunities I've been given. Hopefully this can inspire others to reach inside themselves and JUST DO IT!”
We can't wait to watch Adelia chase her dreams tomorrow! Feel free to come watch her tomorrow night at 6pm, at DISC Velodrome, in Melbourne.