The first ride I did with Ione was in the depths of winter while one of those miserable Southerly storms was ravishing Wellington. She was 13 and her Dad asked if she’d be able to join our Sunday Wheelworks groupride but the weather was so atrocious that only her, Mike Naylor, and myself were at the meeting spot. As Mike and I cruised and chatted up the first climb Ione was fully red-lined, panting and shifting gears looking for one which would ease her pain to no avail. On the ride home into a ferocious headwind she sheltered behind Mike and I like a PRO, her experience from track cycling clearly evident, until she punctured. We all stopped to lend assistance but Ione politely declined help from Mike or I as her Dad had taught her how to fix a puncture. After battling her way up the climbs she battled her way through fixing a flat tyre in freezing rain and it was clear to Mike and I that with such an awesome attitude she’d be able to join our rides whenever she wanted.
As she progressed through the under-15, under-17 and finally Senior ranks both on the road and track she faced no shortage of challenges with health, fitness, and teams falling apart. Despite the numerous setbacks she kept a positive attitude,kept battling, and yet still managed to find time between training and study to bake and deliver brownies for us.