Former Trinity Western University track and field and cross country runner Alison Jackson is trading her running spikes for cycling shoes as the now graduated multi-sport athlete recently signed a contract to ride with Twenty16 Professional Cycling.
Jackson, who head a breakout season on the bike this past summer, will join Twenty16 in January as she looks take her cycling to the professional circuit and, ultimately, aims for a spot on Canadaâ€™s cycling team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
â€œAfter graduating from TWU, I always wanted to pursue professional athletics, but for the past couple of years I didnâ€™t know in which the sport that would be,â€ said Jackson, who has proven herself to be an elite level runner, cyclist and triathlete. â€œDespite not having a whole lot of specialized training for cycling, Iâ€™ve managed to do quite well. So, after winning some races this summer, I got this opportunity to ride for an American pro team. Part of it is a dream come true because I can actually say Iâ€™m a professional cyclist.â€
The summer of 2014 was a cycling season to remember for Jackson.
The five-year TWU athlete won the three-day Tour de White Rock Omnium, while also finishing second and sixth in the criteriums and ninth in the road race in the Tour de Delta. Jackson also finished 15th in the Gastown Grand Prix.
This past fall, Jackson also competed in the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Age Group Sprint Championship, finishing second, and, two days later, the Age Group Standard Championship, finishing 24th overall.
Most recently, at the university level, she helped the Spartans womenâ€™s cross country team to a second straight Canada West championship and a program best CIS silver medal. Individually, Jackson finished seventh overall and second in the conference.
In March, Jackson also raced in the world university cross country championships in Uganda, finishing 17th overall and helping Canada win a bronze medal in the team competition.
Jackson capped off her CIS indoor track and field career last year by earning a Canada West gold medal in the 3,000-metre race and a silver in the 4x800m relay.
The Twenty16 team is the only U.S. based road program to win two Olympic medals in the 2012 London Games and, similar to the previous cycle, the team is aiming to send as many athletes as possible to Rio. The teamâ€™s high performance director Kristin Armstrong is the two-time reigning Olympic champion in the womenâ€™s time trial, having captured gold in both 2008 and 2012.