Hard work pays off for Hamish Keast
A strong performance in his debut Tour of Southland has helped elevate Invercargill’s Hamish Keast into the New Zealand under 23 road team.
Hamish will ride the time trial and road race at the Oceania road cycling championships in Tasmania March 15 to 17.
“I was sitting in the lounge with Mum and Dad and a mate, we were just having some tea and I checked my emails and saw I’d been selected,” Hamish said.
“I’d been waiting a while to find out and I was just starting to lose a bit of hope that I’d got in.”
Keast believes performances through the Calder Stewart Elite racing series and his role as a support rider with Placemakers during the 2018 SBS Bank Tour of Southland helped get the attention of selectors.
“The Tour of Southland was quite a cool experience. I got to ride with pretty much all of New Zealand’s top cyclists and I just got to really put my training to the test,” Hamish said.
“It came up pretty good; I didn’t get too many high results, but in terms of what I was aiming for going in, I felt like I nailed the support role. I learnt a lot about moving through the bunch and how to read a race.”
Hamish is developing a reputation as a strong rider, good on the long flats and punchy climbs, and one who doesn’t mind putting his shoulder into the wind.
He’s no overnight success, however, with plenty of work going in over the past 12 months, both on and off the bike.
“A few years ago I got a coach, Julian Ineson, who took me under his wing and developed me into the rider that I am today. Along the way I got a lot of help from my parents, including my Dad with his Transport South Velo South team which does the Calder Stewart series. Academy Southland have helped out a lot as well.”
Learning how to ride with good and bad legs has been a key lesson in recent times, but it’s not just about riding.
“I feel like I’m almost a different person to how I was 12 months ago, everything has changed. I’ve met new people, developed better people skills. A year ago I would have struggled with talking with people I didn’t know. Those things off the bike have improved just as much as the things on the bike.”
Julian Ineson is thrilled with the way Hamish has developed over the past few years, advancing through the Yunca Junior Tour of Southland and Calder Stewart series to the SBS Bank Tour of Southland and now New Zealand selection.
“He has achieved a lot in a short space of time and it was great to see the way he handled some of the challenges during the Tour of Southland. He had mechanicals, punctures and got caught up in a couple of crashes but he showed some real mental toughness to get on with the job.”
Many of the chats the pair had had about being organised, understanding the importance of nutrition and being resilient had been backed up by Hamish’s time with Academy Southland, Julian said.
Academy Southland co-ordinator Carly Anderson said Hamish had overcome some challenges during his two years with the high performance programme.
“Hamish has grown from a young cyclist into an athlete who fully understands the demands and requirements to help him to perform at the highest level,” Carly said.
“He had some issues with persistent illness which held him back with his training, but after some nutrition support with Academy Southland Sports Dietician Aimee Hall he was able to get into more consistent and intense training, which has helped him get to the Oceanias.”