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Junior cyclist aspires to go pro

As the Tour de France encroaches ever closer, former FC student Jack Maddux dreams of one day riding along side the pros. At the young age of 16, he has already achieved much as a cyclist. Already on the US Junior National Team, Maddux is only limited by how far he can dream.

Maddux, even through his younger years has loved biking. This love and passion for the sport further fuels the flames of his ambitions.

“I?ve always loved biking,” Maddux said. “I grew up with it, and I?ll love it forever. I stick with biking because it is one of my greatest passions, and people always say to follow your passion. All of the winning in competitions is a great motivation too, it just makes me want to go and go and go.”

Allegra Maddux, Jack?s mother, recognizes and praises Jack?s determination and drive.

“I love Jack?s tenacity,” Allegra said. “He never gives up and never makes excuses. He is the only kid I know who can crash at 30 mph and get right back up the next day and win a race. He is really tough.”

A common misconception is that biking is an individual sport, but that is not the case. Biking is a team effort, the team and the individual share a symbiotic relationship, and one cannot survive without the other.

Dave Maddux, Jack?s father, realizes the relationship between team and individual, and is glad his son possesses a strong loyalty to team.

“My fondest memories of Jack is when he had shown selflessness and self sacrifice,” Dave said. “Jack and one of his teammates went off the main field together and were taking turns ?pulling? each other ahead of their competition. The two of them approached the finish line, far ahead of everyone else. They could have raced for it, but Jack?s teammate didn?t have a win yet. Jack decided his teammate should take the win, they crossed the finish line hand in hand, his teammate crossed slightly ahead of Jack.”

Jack?s coach, Felicia Gomez, evaluates his character and determines that Jack has the heart of a true champion.

“Jack is one of the best riders in the country for his age group,” Gomez said. “That doesn?t mean he hasn?t had his defeats, but he doesn?t let that get him down. He picks himself up, brushes himself off and laughs at his mistakes. He doesn?t allow adversity to get him down, and that takes the heart of a true champion.”

Jack?s skill, and love for the sport has taken him all the way to US Junior National Team for biking. He considers himself very privileged to be able to participate with them for two excursions.

“You never have a permanent spot on the team,” Jack said. “It?s invite only. So you may get picked for one trip, but not the next time they go on a trip. They only take the very best when they are performing at their very best. It?s very selective.”

The sky is the limit for this young cyclist. With his skills and determination, Jack?s dreams are not far from reach.

“I would love to go pro,” Jack said. “That?s my ultimate goal. Biking and I will go far together; it will lift me up and I?ll lift it up. We?re like a team.”

Such dreams, no matter the skill and caliber of the one who dreams them, requires sacrifice. Jack decided to start taking online classes and schooling to give himself more time to train. Jack?s parents were hesitant at first, but they have warmed up to the idea of online schooling.

“I was reluctant about the whole idea of online schooling at first,” Dave said. “But I?ve been impressed that he has applied the same discipline toward his studies that he puts into his training on the bike.”

Even though Jack left FC, he left impressions on some of the people that still attend the school. Senior, Dustin Swain remembers Jack fondly.

“He was always a really funny guy,” Swain said. “I love to be around him, he?s just a really down to earth person who is passionate about cycling. He?s the one who got me into it, and I?ve loved it ever since he introduced me to it.”

In pursuit of his dream to become a professional cyclist, Jack gets ready to leave for Europe to ride for the US. As Jack rides to bring pride and glory for his team and the US, he has the undying support of his teammates, family and friends backing him every bit of the way.

This author can be reached via Twitter: @RRoggenstein. Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more features, read the Oct. 4 article, Spectators engage in Big Fresno Fair attractions.

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