Nfld. & Labrador

Corner Brook cyclist sets his sights on national stage

Colin Fowlow, 18, has particular plans after his high school graduation: moving across the country to follow his dream of professional cycling.

18-year-old joining professional development team based in B.C.

Colin Fowlow is moving to Victoria, B.C., once he graduates high school. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Colin Fowlow of Corner Brook has his sights set on racing bikes on a national stage — but first, he needs to graduate from high school.

The 18-year-old plans to chase his dream to become a professional cyclist by moving out west to join a development team, Dr. Walker Cycling, after he finishes up at Corner Brook Regional High later this month.

Which, to say the least, isn't a common choice for someone from Newfoundland. 

Shifting gears

Fowlow started out as a cross-country skier, and as a way to keep fit during the summer months, he used cycling as a way to train. It turns out that the more his pedals turned, so did his passions. 

He eventually traded in ski poles for wheels and shifted gears to make cycling his primary focus.

"The thing that kind of set it apart was just going faster — racing. I was always a bit more competitive on the bike," said Fowlow.

A focused young athlete, Fowlow spends most of his free time working with his cycling coach Peter Ollerhead, or hitting the gym with personal trainer Chris Neal. 

He never spent much time on skis this winter. Instead, he rode his bike outdoors during the frigid months, and inside on a stationary bike trainer. 

Go west

That hard work and determination paid off for the young athlete. When he steps off stage with his diploma in hand from Corner Brook Regional High's graduation ceremony, he'll be boarding a plane to fly west.

Their goal is just to up our calibre, and move us on to the next level.- Colin Fowlow

Earlier this year, Fowlow signed a contract with Dr Walker's Cycling team in Victoria, B.C. which he describes as a development team to push cyclists to the next level, one step closer to his dreams of going professional. 

"Their goal is just to up our calibre and move us on to the next level. So it's probably more like a stepping stone for a few years, but some really great athletes have come out of Dr. Walker," he said.  

Fowlow said signing with the team was similar to applying for a job, and he was surprised when he landed the final spot on the team. 

Racing fast, learning faster 

Fowlow spent his Easter vacation with the team in Victoria, and unbeknownst to him when he arrived, the team manager wanted him to race that week in Vancouver. 

Despite coming down with an illness, Fowlow was eager to lap up the experience.

As well, he did quite well. 

"I was working for my teammate and he came second overall — first in the sprint — and my job was to lead him out. It was a pretty good experience." 

When Fowlow lands in Victoria later this month, his learning curve will be put to the test on a track bike, a much different experience than riding on the road. Track bikes don't have breaks and use only one gear, something that Fowlow has only tried just once before. 

He'll have just a few days to get comfortable on the bike before his first test in a velodrome race that same week.

About the Author

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.