by Cassis Lindsay
The dark morning hours are reserved for athletes, working hard before the sun peeks over the horizon to whisk them away. Dave Jackson, one of Yukon’s best cyclists, is among those athletes. The category four cyclist, placed ___ in his age group at the 2017 Canada Summer Games. One does not reach this level of athleticism without grit, and the all-or-nothing will to succeed. It seems that Dave’s will to make his mark on the world was born with him. He has overcome an infinite amount of obstacles to become the strong competitor and accomplished man he is today. He lives by his hero Rocky Balboa’s quotes: “Every champion was once a contender.”
In 1996, proud parents Sarah and Graham Jackson, welcomed their baby Dave into the world. He was quite the artist as a young kid and even created and sold his own original comic books, featuring the title ‘Spaceman Spiff’. He would then donate the proceeds to Learning Disability Association of Yukon and Autism Yukon, an early affirmation of what his mother says is his “heart of gold”. In addition to his creative fiction, he drew historical art and delved into carpentry. He was also involved in school sports, but surprisingly, for basketball, not cycling. He acted as the Team Manager for the junior and senior Porter Creek Secondary basketball team and won Manager of the Year. However, school was hard for him, as he found it hard to deal with his anxiety, which some people misinterpreted as anger. It seemed that he just needed something to channel his anxiety into.
In 2012, three years before he graduated, his teacher Trena Irving got him into cycling. He found that it was the perfect way to channel all his anxiety and anger into something positive. Cycling “taught him patience, and preparation, and perseverance,” says Sarah Jackson. Those qualities became evident in his very first race, where he rode the whole 80km with his back brake on! He never gave up, even though it took him three hours to complete. He soon found that his best events were time trials, where he would average a speed of 39 kilometers per hour! What was most impressive, however, was that he basically fit four years of training into one, which catapulted him to the top rankings in the Yukon.
Now that he was one of the best, Dave refined his training schedule and improved his diet. He does two days of yoga, three of strength training and six of cycling a week. He covers between 40 to 80 km per session. He cleaned up his diet but has to consume 3000-5000 per day to maintain energy, which is considerably higher than the average person. For Dave, the more organized, the better. He prefers to know the race course ahead of time, since he is a creature of habit. Once, after getting hypothermia from a race because he was unprepared, Dave learned from his mistake and took care to never get caught in a situation like that again. Another testament to how organized Dave’s life must be is how he fits his job into his life. He works from ten thirty at night to seven in the morning, completing close to 60 hours of work a week. Now that is commitment!
At the end of the day, Dave stands out as an amazing athlete. He has persevered and achieved nation-wide status as an athlete, facing many challenges throughout his journey. And he’s not done yet! Dave’s vision for the future is clear; he would like to make it to the Olympics one day and even compete in the famed Tour de France! We are all confident that this vision will become reality and we will have our very own International Champion Cyclist here in Yukon! Go, Dave!