Coles-Lyster’s significant improvements this season are due to physical and mental factors, like being another year older, fitter, and more experienced, but the young speedster credits her invigorated drive to her late coach, Jeremy Storie, who tragically passed away in February. In fact, she dedicated this past weekend’s success in Victoria to Storie, who always encouraged his athletes to make the competitions more exciting for racers and spectators alike by animating the races with attacks and gutsy tactics. Coles-Lyster took her coach and mentor’s words to heart and puts them into practice in every race she enters.
“If she’s in the race, everyone knows Maggie’s going to attack,” said Coles-Lyster’s father, Barry Lyster, who owns Maple Ridge’s Local Ride Bike Shop and is the reason all three of his daughters and his wife are passionate about cycling.
And attack she did, relentlessly, during both Saturday’s Westhills Cycling Classic road race and Sunday’s Bastion Square Grand Prix. Her efforts in each race succeeded in splintering the field and putting the odds in her favour at the finish. In the 40km road race, Coles-Lyster reached the line first with only one other rider in contact, whom she craftily out-sprinted. In Sunday’s Bastion Square Grand Prix, her hard pace and aggressive attacks pared the group down to four riders and she won the final sprint after 15 laps of the challenging circuit.
In Friday evening’s 5km Rumble individual Time Trial, the only possible tactic was all-out pedaling as she raced against the clock and powered out a personal best time and the win.
Coles-Lyster’s early season is a similar story of success, starting with a dedicated winter of training and strong showings at the Escape Velocity Spring Series races in the Fraser Valley, which began in March. Later in the spring, she took on the Phoenix Velo Club’s weekly Wednesday training race series at the Mission Raceway, where she quickly graduated from racing in the “B” group to hanging with the top riders in the “A” group.
At Race the Ridge, April 27-28, the first major competition of her season, which is organized by her father and sponsored by his shop, Coles-Lyster put all of her training to the test, placing second in the Cat 3/4 women’s competition after three stages behind Anika Todd (Triple Shot Cycling) of Victoria. Coles-Lyster employed the aggressive tactics encouraged by her late coach, solidifying her reputation as a force to be reckoned with. The fearless youngster was not in any way intimidated by the fact that she was racing against women many years her senior.
Coles-Lyster continued to train hard and earned another impressive result at the Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race, May 18-19, in Enumclaw, WA. She competed in a strong field of Cat 4 women to finish third overall, placing third in the time trial and third in the 30-minute criterium. On the final stage, a 48km road race, she finished seventh after a risky breakaway attempt to gain time over the general classification leaders. Her escape almost succeeded, but she was reeled in by the chasing pack on the final lap to finish third in the final standings after all three events, only 32 seconds behind first place, Gillian Ellsay (Trail Bikes) of Courtenay.
With many years of racing ahead, Coles-Lyster is on a fast track to becoming one of Canada’s top cyclists. She is motivated and inspired to pedal on, with aspirations of one day competing at the OlympicsŠ as long as it remains fun, she said.