Jody Wilson – Keeping things fresh!

Local cyclist Jody Wilson was born in Wiarton and grew up in Sauble Beach, Ontario with his parents and two sisters. Jody has managed to keep his passion for biking front and center for his entire life by re-inventing his participation and keeping things fresh.

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Jody’s love for riding bikes started early on in life “I remember always being on my bike, we just loved it, like any kid we would bike around town and stay out until the street lights came on”. He also recalls “Cutting grass and saving every penny of my allowance to buy a new BMX bike from Canadian Tire”. During his High School years Jody pursued mountain biking and just loved it. After High School Jody attended Wilfred Laurier University and continued to ride & commute until his bike was stolen which resulted in a break from cycling. During his Uni years he met his now wife Laura and work brought them both back to the area and in 2005 where they settled in the Town of Collingwood.

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During the winter of 2008 Jody’s cycling journey took a huge turn. While out skiing with friends he recalls a conversation with friend Mike Wheatcroft who suggested that he ‘try’ road riding in the spring with a great group of cyclists that go out every week. “I remember this light bulb went on and I thought why not? On that first ride with Mike I recall not knowing what to expect. The distance was only 45 km but that seemed like a lot back then. We got past half way and I wondered whether I was going to make it! That ride killed me but also ignited a new inner desire to pursue road riding. That first year was  great, taking in all the information I could and loving the adrenaline rush. I saw that I could get better at it and that was so motivating!”. A simple switch of equipment changed the landscape of the sport for Jody. He rediscovered the sport through a new discipline and spent the next 8 years immersed in the Collingwood road riding scene!

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In 2010 Jody, along with fellow local cyclists PJ Kings, Noelle Wansbrough, Holger Meiche, Nancy Newman, Jay and Stu MacLaren reformed the Collingwood Cycling Club. They poured their positive energy & enthusiasm into the organization and this resulted in massive growth, from 50 members to over 450 in 2016. For those 5 years Jody was on the Board of Directors where he acted as Vice President for 3 years and President for his last 2 years.  . “It was so great to build on the foundation that had been laid by generations before us, if you look into the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame, The Collingwood Cycling Club is there! They rode Penny Farthings, the legacy goes back that far”. Jody’s five years with the CCC were filled with weekend rides, planning, social gatherings and making friends that would last a lifetime!

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In February 2016 Jody stepped down from his role within the organization to take a year off and get some more solo time in the saddle and also to ride with his wife Laura “We just love riding together, we incorporate it into our daily lives, truly it’s the reason why we work.” Jody and his wife have enjoyed many cycling trips together including incredible experiences riding in France and Italy.

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During 2014 and 2015 Jody and his friends were having fun riding in virtual indoor cycling training sessions from the Sufferfest throughout the winter months. “It was  a lot of fun, there were 5 of us, Laura, Evan, Garnet,, Jess, and myself, we would complete in Sufferfest virtual challenges  like the Tour of Sufferlandria and the Sufferfest Knighthood”. This indoor training became a very friendly way for the group to compete against each other but also provided time to talk, brainstorm and build on their already strong friendships. During this time, Evan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and this launched the idea of creating a new event that would raise funds for the Davis Phinney Foundation & ParkinGo Wellness Society. This seedling of an idea became The Growling Beaver Brevet which takes place in Collingwood and the Beaver Valley each fall with distances ranging from 40, 100 or 200 km. The vision was to keep the event small in participatory numbers and create a really special experience that encourages all ages and ability levels to take part! Last year alone over $300,000 was raised and Jody hopes that this number will increase even more in 2017. This season’s event was sold out in one day but there are still plenty of opportunities to volunteer and or sign up on the wait list.

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It’s truly inspiring to hear about a person’s exploration and evolution through sports. Jody is constantly mixing it up and experimenting, which in turn is keeping the cycling flame alive in his heart!

What’ next for him? “At the end of June this year Laura and I, along with some great friends are participating in an Amateur Stage Race in Colorado, The Mavic Haute Route Rockies, I have never done an event like this before.” With a total cycling distance of 815 km with 15,000 metres of climbing over 7 days, it’s a new challenge that we know he will be successful at. That’s what Jody does and we are sure proud that he is a part of our cycling community here in Collingwood!

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