Quiet roads lead to cycling success

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By Kaysha Brownlie

Jack Carruthers took up cycling when he was 14 to improve his fitness for rugby.

"And then I crashed and then decided I never wanted to do it again - and then started again - and then it took over, now it's my life."

Five years later, he's about to get his first taste of racing overseas - throughout Asia with Team CCN-Foil.

"It's nerve wracking at the same time as pretty exciting," Jack says.

Sport apparel supplier CCN Clothing and another company called Foil Wheels have co-branded a Hong Kong based cycling team.

Jack's talent was spotted at a Rotorua cycle race - and he was offered a place in the team.

Team CCN-Foil's manager wanted to branch out and give some up-and-coming young talent an opportunity to experience racing in a different environment, as well as enabling Jack to have some greater exposure.

Jack says it's a "stepping stone" to going "pro".

That's his dream - he's eyeing the Olympics, but, "Tour de France is sort of the pinnacle," he says.

But a bike helmet isn't the only thing he buckles up.

The 19-year-old is a volunteer firefighter with Waipukurau Volunteer Fire Brigade.

"I guess it's something I've always wanted to do from a young fulla."

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Jack follows in the footsteps of his grandfather who was a firefighter, two of his uncles and his father are part of the service, too.

"It's sort of in my blood a little bit."

His father, Mark Carruthers, says there is a link between firefighting and his son's cycling.

"With firefighting there's a lot of monotonous training, but it's the same with the cycling, it needs to be done, and has to be done, and it has to be done properly, so I would say there's a tie there, and his fitness, when he did the initial training his fitness was way up."

Jack says volunteering with the station has opened his eyes.

Belonging to a small-town brigade has made it that much better - and the same goes for his cycling.

"We're pretty lucky here to have a massive playground of roads that just aren't too busy."

Which makes it easier to stick to his strict training regime...clocking up more than 500km a week on hours-long rides.

His father says it's been a "life goal" for Jack, "he's got to be committed really, it comes down to the nitty gritty now".

This is Jack's second trip out of the country.

A trip made possible by determination, plenty of hard work, and a good, solid support base.

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