It’s 10:30 a.m. and Adam de Vos’ bedhead hair might be hidden beneath his helmet, his sleepy eyes give him away on this summer morning.
Decked in his Team Canada cycling jersey, de Vos walks his bike along Clover Point.
“I really just got (out of bed) and came down here. It’s all training and sleeping right now,” said the teenaged cyclist who was recently named to Canada’s junior (U19) team for the UCI World Championships in Denmark, Sept. 20-25.
The 17-year-old picked up a silver medal at the Western Canadian Games earlier this month, his last major competition.
It’s been a steep rise. Ten months ago de Vos was a member of the Oak Bay Orcas swim team, racing at the regional level. Now he’s going international on cycling’s biggest stage.
“I feel like it’s been a huge step. I’ve barely been home this summer with all the travel and races,” said de Vos.
His hello moment as a cyclist came in June when de Vos broke out at the Canadian junior nationals in Burlington, Ont. He was fifth in the junior men’s road race, seventh in the time trial and sixth in the short-lap criterium. His consistency in all three disciplines got him noticed for Denmark, one of two junior cyclists from B.C. to make the team. The other is Brentwood Bay’s Annie Ewart.
De Vos credits local cycling enthusiast Lister Farrar for starting a team at Oak Bay High to compete in the Victoria high school cycling league.
“I knew I was done with swimming. If it wasn’t for the school league I’m not sure what I’d be doing.
De Vos made the transition from training in the pool five times a week to the bike just as he was starting Grade 12.
“Once we got the team started de Vos was one of a half-dozen kids who kept coming out,” Farrar said.
“His first race was the high-school category of the Bastion Square Criterium (June 2010). He wiped out but still made it back to the lead pack. That was something not many people can do.”
Right away, de Vos said he knew he was able to keep up with the stronger cyclists. In his first full, high school racing season he won a couple of road races early.
“That was what did it. Swimming taught me a lot, particularly how to train properly, and has led to my success,” de Vos said.
“Being outdoors is a lot more entertaining and I’m winning at a much higher level than I did as a swimmer.”
Before he raced the Western Canadian Games in early August, de Vos took part in the 2011 Tour de l’Abitibi, July 19-26 in Quebec. Abitibi is a junior competition with teams from France, the U.S. and Japan. De Vos managed the best finish by a Canadian, placing fourth on the seventh and final stage.
Juniors pump their tires
This summer, de Vos was one of seven Oak Bay High students to ride as part of the Tripleshot cycling club’s new under-19 racing team.
De Vos will compete in the world championship road race but not the time trial.
Junior women’s national road race and time trial champion Annie Ewart will do both. Ewart, who turns 18 the week following the world championships, nearly swept all three junior national races but was second in the criterium.
Ewart rides with the Victoria Academy of Cycling junior team, also a fairly new program.