A SUGGESTION from triathlon coach Tony Keihne proved to be a life changer for Manning Cycle Club's Belinda Crossingham.
Belinda and close mate, Michael Cross, were awarded life membership at the club's recent annual meeting. She has a passion for the sport, one Belinda shares with her husband, Dan. Both joined the bike club at the same time and for the same reason.
"We were competing in triathlons and looking to increase speed in the bike leg,'' Belinda explained.
"Tony suggested we join the cycle club to get used to race pace.
"So we went to the club's race day at Kolodong and had a look.''
They were hooked and have been there ever since with Dan now one of the club's leading riders.
"Dan's competitive, me not-so-much,'' Belinda laughs.
"I'm happy to ride in the lower grades and just enjoy the day out, riding and encouraging the newcomers and juniors. It's a great sport and I would really like to see more women involved.
It's a great sport and I would really like to see more women involved.Belinda Crossingham
"We've both met some great friends through cycling and that's the best part. It's a great social day out, spending time with like-minded people.''
Belinda isn't one for sitting on the sideline and watching other people do the work. She was soon on the club's committee and has held various positions on the committee including secretary, treasurer, social media co-ordinator while she's also the co-club captain with Glenn Mathiske. Belinda remains on the race committee, ensuring all is in place on race day, including traffic control.
She's also a level 1 commissaire. (Commissaires are described as referees or umpires for cycling.) Belinda was mentored for the position by Bill Clinch, who has just returned from officiating at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games remains a highlight for Belinda, where she was chosen to be one of the officials for the cycling program.
"I've also worked at the last five or six Grafton to Inverell races, I look forward to it every year,'' she said.
Advancing through the commissaire levels is something Belinda is keen to explore.
"I just don't have time at the moment, especially with all the travel involved. But eventually I'd like to move to level 2,'' she explained.
At this stage she has no desire to head overseas to officiate. However, 2032 and the Brisbane Olympics remain on the radar.
"And if I'm a Level 2 I will be able to run State events here in Taree, which would be good,'' she added.
Belinda competes in the road and criterium seasons and she has no preference for either.
"Both have their good points and bad points,'' she said.
However, the abuse cyclists occasionally cop from motorists when they're out on the road is something that concerns her.
We're out there enjoying the sport that we love... we don't deserve to be abusedBelinda Crossingham
"We're no different to any other people playing sport, except our field has to be the road,'' she said.
"We're out there enjoying the sport that we love. I don't think we hold motorists up for that long... we don't deserve to be abused.''
Belinda can't see a time when she won't be involved with the cycle club in some capacity.
"I'll keep riding in the lower grades and help the club out where I can,'' she said.
"I just love it... it's such a great sport.''
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