Meet Cooper Jessen, one of those 'nice' young men that you would be stoked if your daughter brought him home!
Polite, conversational, happy demeanor, interested in others and always willing to learn.
He has signed up to the Forrest 6hr in the 3hr Under 19's category and we hope to see a strong field contesting this as there is currently a large contingent of these young men being trained under the tutorlage of Adam Kelsall.
Its been a pleasure watching Cooper from the sidelines blossom into the young mountain biker that he is now with loads of potential still awaiting him.
Reminds me of a time back in 2007/2008 where I rocked up to a Bendigo club race. You nominated your grade and they randomly put you with another person to race a 3hr in a pairs race.
Lucky for young Tasman Nankervis, he got me as a partner. Anyways...Coops reminds me of Tas, quiet and easy going, and rides his bike with style. No pressure eh Coops?
Coops - you could do whatever you wanted...what do you love doing?
Yeah, living on the Surfcoast you can do many things, for me I love Mountain Bike Riding with my mates and just having a good time but I also love racing and competing.
How did you get into Mountain biking?
My mum and Dad had been riding from before I was born and every now and then I would get out for a small ride with them, I wasn't very good back then and I didn't really enjoy the uphill I just liked to ride down the hills.
Got any secrets on how to get loose and feeling fearless on the trails?
Haha, I don't really have many secrets at all, just pick a line, charge and hope for the best! Having some mates that are at the top end of Downhill Mountain Biking in the state probably helps when I go and ride with them but some of that stuff is way to crazy for me!!
What about fitness? You have progressed hugely over the past 12 months, whats your secret?
I was racing maybe 2-3 races a year just a little over 12 months ago and didn't really get into it that much but one of the races I have been racing for 3-4 years is the Forrest 6hr with my mates and my dad. I have only been really training for the last 10 months properly, some advice I would give is to train really hard, don't give up when it gets hard (and believe me it will) and enjoy it because you have soo much freedom when you ride!
Since your parents bought a house at Forrest, whats your fave loop there?
Mum and Dad bought a house in Forrest just down from the Brewery on the Main Street and I think that has helped my development as a rider to be able to ride such world class tracks like Forrest. My favourite loop would probably have to be up to Red Carpet and getting loose on the downhill back into Forrest or going over to Yaugher and having a fun session around there!
Who are your fave riding partners?
I ride with many people, some of my favourite would be Conor Flett, Dad, Adam Kelsall and the Bike Matters Social Ride.
What are your hopes and dreams in the world of bikes?
I will continue to train and try my hardest for as long as I can and I'll see where it takes me because I've already been to some spectacular places because of riding bikes.
What year are you in at school and how are you coping with training, life and study?
School, well I'm in year 10 currently at St Joseph's in Newtown. I don't find it too difficult to balance school study with training and racing and my social life but sometimes I have to rearrange things or in the winter get up really early to fit a ride in before the bus arrives!
If you weren’t riding bikes, what would you be doing instead?
if I wasn't riding bikes I actually don't know where I'd be or what I'd be doing. I used to play cricket and surf heaps before I discovered bike riding so I think I would probably still be doing one or both of those sports.
Tell us about some of your race results, what you learnt, what you gained from them.
Some of my best race results would be getting top 20 in 3 races at the Australian XCO Mountain Bike National Series in the Under 17s category and getting on the top step of the podium at the 2017 Forrest Festival in the U/16 category. I believe that you learn most from the races that you don't do particularly well in and I've learnt all about preparation because of a horrible race.
Anyone you want to thank for the fame?
Yes, firstly I would like to thank Mum and Dad for everything they do to help me out and for helping me get to where I am now, thanks to Adam Kelsall, HeroDirt cycle Coaching for coaching me and sticking with me through the good and bad times. Thanks to Bike Matters Torquay for all their continuing support and for taking me in! Thanks to all the race directors of all these great races because without them we wouldn't be racing at all, thanks to Geelong Mountain Bike Club for their support and lastly thanks to all my other competitors for challenging me and that has helped me a lot!
Like I said...what a great young man Cooper Jessen is!
Will you be joining him for the Forrest 3hr Under 19's category?