Hamish Beadle: Pursuing a career in pro cycling and the challenges that come with it
15 June 2021
Hamish Beadle waited a full year to make his professional debut with Team Novo Nordisk. 2020 was his first season with the pro team but when the coronavirus pandemic hit, he made the difficult decision to head back to New Zealand before pinning on his first number.
The trip back home meant he was there from March to October, missing out on racing when it finally commenced late last year.
Hailing from the tiny town of Invercargill, one of the southernmost cities in the world, Beadle says it was the place he felt most safe in all the uncertainty of the pandemic.
In many ways for the 23-year-old, going home was claiming back lost time. Beadle left home at a very young age in pursuit of a professional cycling career.
“I was 15 when I started talking to Team Novo Nordisk. I emailed them and told them I’m a track cyclist and loved riding bikes. I was trying to get some of the new kit because I owned the old Type 1 kit. All of a sudden, they asked for my resume and a couple of weeks later I had plane tickets to the TalentID camp in America. Asking for kit escalated to plane tickets to join the camp in America for a few weeks.”
His performance at the camp led to an invitation to the Team Novo Nordisk junior team and eventually two years later the devo team. “At the end of high school, I got the contract offer to move to the US full-time and didn’t think twice. Straight out of school I was on my way to America.”
Moving to Atlanta from Invercargill, a city of a population with less than 60 000 was “different” as Beadle recalls. “I think my town has more sheep and cows than people, and I went to America, the land where everything is big. It was mind-blowing.”
The sacrifice was an easy one. When Beadle was 7 years old, the teacher asked all the children to write down what they wanted to become and he wrote, “a professional cyclist.”
“Most people didn’t really understand that it could be a full-time job but I come from a cycling family where mom, dad, my brother and uncle all raced. It’s all I wanted to do.”
A challenging pro debut
He finally got his chance in the big leagues recently when he lined up with the pro team for the first time in Tour de la Mirabelle. Beadle has been struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome after overloading himself with too much training in anticipation for the upcoming season.
He knew the French race would be tough, but he was up for the challenge.
“It was great to be back with the team and in that atmosphere with the boys but it didn’t have the best outcome performance-wise. It was a shock to the system. The level of racing has gone to another level, I knew it was going to be a lot of suffering and my main focus was to help the guys and make it as easy as possible for them.”
Despite a lack of racing, he did well in the prologue to finish mid-pack, proving the speed he acquired from a track cycling background still benefits him. On stage one he played a supporting role in helping the team leaders and similarly on stage two until he pulled out of the race.
His Mirabelle debut was special as one of his best friends from high school back in Invercargill was also on the startline. The little town of Invercargill represented well on the other side of the world in professional cycling.
Diabetes chooses champions
Beadle has been living with type 1 diabetes since the age of 3. I asked him if being diagnosed at such a young age has taught him anything. “I definitely learnt at a very young age to be independent. It was a big thing for me because it gave me the freedom and took the weight off my parent’s shoulders when I learnt to be more mature with everything. When my mates wanted to go off to the park to play, I had to say hang on, I have a list of things to get together to take with me – a backpack, a drinks bottle, insulin, test kit etc.”
That independence blossomed into a young 15-year-old Beadle hopping on a plane in pursuit of a cycling dream. A dream he has achieved but a journey that has only just gotten started.