She is only eight years old, but Junee’s Carrington Oke is already showing the chops to beat the best in her sport.
The budding cyclist returned from the NSW state championships in Dubbo last weekend with a gold medal and the title of 2018 under-9 girls NSW Cyclist of the Year.
Competing for ages up with the under-11s, Carrington managed to complete the 400m time trial in 43 seconds, beating Cootamundra’s Lexie Phillips by a narrow 0.22 of a second.
“I felt a bit scared [when I finished] because I didn’t know what place I got or what my time was,” said Carrington.
“I could see [Lexie] was really close for most of it.
“When I found out I came first, I was so happy but still emotional for my teammates who didn’t place.”
Her competitors were aged between nine and 13, leaving Carrington as the youngest in the trial. But, the eight-year-old says, that is as much a benefit as a hindrance in time trials.
“They’re taller than me, but big isn’t always good,” she said.
“Sometimes being smaller is better, the only thing is that if you’re bigger, you’ve got bigger muscles.”
With her next time trial coming up in May, Carrington is looking to beat her time.
She has been training at the Wagga velodrome, but with a rough incline of only three degrees, Carrington is salivating for more challenging.
Her experience on the 43-degree inclined Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney proved just the ticket to build her appetite for the sport.
She made it through with minimal injury.
Only a bruise and a graze to her right arm and leg to serve as her the temporary marks of an upcoming champion.
But in the meantime, she will also be focusing her attention on road riding, beginning with a 4km circuit.
“Road riding is harder, it’s a lot longer to go and you don’t always have parents around you,” she said.
Having begun her cycling career at age five, this latest win constituted her sixth time on the track.
Additionally, during that time, Carrington has also proven herself to be a talented swimmer and dancer.
“I’ve done a few other sports but I like riding the best. It’s my best sport and I like that I can meet other people all over the state,” she said.
In the next few years, she is hoping to turn her hand to gymnastics as well.
But that is contingent on whether time permits, being that she is already scheduling cycling and dance training up to four times a week.
Following the tracks of her inspirations – Anna Mears, Peter Sagan and “dad when he does road riding” – Carrington hopes she will be able to lead a resurgence of young cyclists back to the sport.
“I’d love for other kids to come join riding, it’s fun and you will get better. You don’t need to be afraid of the bike.”