Spartan Athletics Spurred Alumna on to Professional Cycling Success

The younger years

Alison Jackson (’15) grew up on a bison farm, near a little country town in Alberta. Like many kids, she loved watching the Olympics and looked up to the athletes who represented Canada. She dreamed of one day having that honour. Little did she know this dream would one day be a possibility.

Back when she was a child, she never rode a bike, and cycling professionally wasn’t really on her radar. But everything changed when she made the decision to pursue higher education at Trinity Western.

Building a Foundation at Trinity Western

Jackson originally enrolled at Columbia Bible College, but chose to transfer to Trinity Western after earning an athletic scholarship for the Spartans track and field and cross-country running team, as well as the swim team.

“I wasn’t totally convinced to do the transfer,” says Jackson, “but the more I got to experience the school and people involved (coaches, teachers, students) I knew I wanted to be a part of the TWU community.”

This decision proved to be a good one, as the coaching staff in the TWU Spartans program really encouraged her to pursue excellence in a way she hadn’t experienced before.

“I went from the girl who was lapped in the 3km to the girl who won the Canada West title two years in a row,” says Jackson, who credits coach Mark Bomba for much of her success. “Mark believed in me and whispered confidence into me.”

Transitioning to the World of Professional Cycling

In her final semester at Trinity Western, Jackson was faced with a tough question.

“I knew I wanted to be a professional athlete,” she says. “But at what sport?”

She’d developed skills in running, triathlon, and a bit of bike racing, but hadn’t ever committed all her time to focusing on one specific sport. But after a couple of years riding with Phoenix Velo Bicycle Club in Mission B.C., she found she was a natural.

“Everyone [in the club] was encouraging me to try racing bikes,” Jackson says. So, at their urging, she decided to give it a shot.

Jackson rose to the challenge that year when she entered the Tour de White Rock and won first place.

“I had the Olympic dream and when I entered some local races against a bunch of professional cyclists and found myself on the podium, I thought I might jump full into cycling and see what happens,” says Jackson.

It wasn’t an easy decision, though, and she struggled for a long time with doubts and uncertainty.

“A lot of times, I struggle with how to make good things happen for me and try to control the future,” says Jackson. “I really have to remind myself that God has a plan and He is in every situation. The more that I can be wise in the small decisions and let go of my control, the better I am at accepting the outcome—whatever it may be.”

After a lot of dedicated prayer and wrestling with the unknown, Jackson felt God’s peace and decided to leap head first into professional cycling after she was offered her first contract in 2015.

Looking Forward, Looking Back

In 2016, Jackson was named to Canada’s Rio Team as an alternate rider, a major step for an aspiring athlete in only her second year of professional riding. In 2017, Jackson represented Italian team Be Pink and rode in more Women’s Tour races than any woman in the world.

Today, Jackson races professionally for Team TIBCO—Silicon Valley Bank, and sees herself living and racing in Europe for the next 6-10 years. During this time, she aims for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. “That’s the big goal,” she says. “In the meantime, I want to win races and help my teammates win races.”

When asked how her faith play a role in her life today, Jackson says, “My faith in Jesus really spurs on how I try to cultivate my character and how I react to success or failure.”

As she races around Europe and the world, Jackson hopes to inspire faith and truth in her teammates and staff, just like she learned to do while a student at Trinity Western.