Racing together, fuelled by a shared vision
12 September 2017
By Nicolette Mok
TeamSG Cyclists Delia Kang and Jeynelle Lee tell us more about their sport and training for the upcoming 9th ASEAN Para Games, showcasing the importance of being in tandem both on and off the bike.
Speaking to TeamSG cyclists Delia Kang and Jeynelle Lee for the first time, one might find it difficult to believe that they had only gotten to know each other this year. Bantering animatedly throughout the interview, the tandem cycling duo revealed not just a firm friendship and various similarities, but also a clear alignment on their goals and motivations.
Jeynelle (front) and Delia (back) at Nilai Velodrome (Photo Credit: Athena Han)
Delia, who had taken up open water swimming at the age of 37 and progressed to completing a full triathlon despite being diagnosed with macular degeneration when she was 39, will be competing at the ASEAN Para Games (APG) for the first time this month, filling the role of the stoker. Piloting the bicycle will be 44-year-old Jeynelle, a competitive triathlete who had only gotten started in the sport of cycling when she was 39. She has not been to the SEA Games or APG as well.
Nonetheless, the dynamic pair has been training hard together, improving not just in terms of skill and speed, but also rapport, as they looked to gear up for the regional meet in Kuala Lumpur. Taking the time to share some insights, they spoke about the coordination needed in a sport that was much more than just pedalling.
“It was a challenge learning to balance on a longer [tandem] bike with another human at the back of it. Even starting and stopping was difficult! We have to learn each other’s riding styles, a more efficient pedalling cadence, how to communicate better, how to balance the load, et cetera,” explained Jeynelle, who also practices with the national training squad.
Elaborating further on the intricacies of the sport, she continued: “The [tandem] bike is bigger and heavier to handle, be it for stopping, swerving, or making any change. You can’t make split-second decisions. You need to communicate all your movements to your stoker. Every single movement requires the extra effort of coordination.”
Unsurprisingly, beyond individual strength and conditioning sessions, both make time to train together and keep each other updated on their progress. Jeynelle’s day job as a personal trainer also means she has been a source of expertise for the pair to tap on.
Jeynelle (left) and Delia (right)
Photo Credit: SDSC
“One thing I really appreciate about Jeynelle is that she’s very specific. She tells me exactly what she needs me to do. That’s very good for me, because I don’t see much,” Delia quipped.
And, despite the initial difficulties and intense training, the process was still one treasured by both athletes. Sharing what they valued most about the sport, Delia and Jeynelle talked about the bond they had forged, as well as the fulfilment of working alongside a teammate.
“What I love most about this sport is that I get to work with someone else. To me, that’s interesting – getting to know another person and to work together to achieve a common goal. We’re always learning something new all the time,” Delia enthused.
“It’s difficult, but it’s rewarding when you achieve certain milestones together, such as the first time you stop successfully. There’s always something you learn each time, and that’s a thrill in itself,” Jeynelle added.
Indeed, it is the entire experience that Delia and Jeynelle are relishing, beyond the medals and the competition. Acknowledging that their rivals at the APG would likely be strong, they are simply aiming to give their best in KL.
9th ASEAN Para Games Cycling Contingent
In fact, Delia hopes to achieve something larger than a satisfactory performance at the Games, as she expresses: If someone comes to me and asks about my experience, I’ll be very glad to share. In a way, you’re promoting the sport, and fitness, and the people involved! I’m not going to stop at the APG. I’m hoping that we will continue beyond that!”
“This is just the start of a very long but exciting journey,” Jeynelle concurred.
The KL ASEAN Para Games will take place from 17 to 23 September, so get behind our TeamSG cyclists Delia Kang and Jeynelle Lee as they race together towards the finish line! Get the latest updates from the Games by following our Team Singapore Facebook page!