He carries one of the more recognisable surnames in Australian cycling. Last month 12-year-old Mitchell Neiwand wrote his own impressive chapter in a story that stretches all the way back to the late 19th Century when Alf Middleton, on the maternal side of the family, won the 1894 Austral Wheelrace on the hallowed turf of the MCG.
Mitchell’s recent effort was somewhat longer than Middletone’s, mind you, with the youngster completing the epic 210km ‘Around-the-Bay-in-a-Day’ Classic in Melbourne, riding the entire way alongside his justifiably proud father, Mark Neiwand.
Mitchell chose to do the ride in memory of his God Mother who passed away at just 51 from breast cancer and another family friend who had suffered a stroke, aged 53. He even designed his own jerseys for the ride to honour each person – and honour them, he most certainly did.
“The longest ride we’d done before was 110km,” says Mark. “So I was actually a bit nervous for him not making it. But Mitchell’s reply was ‘it’s all in your head Dad, you can do anything if you want it enough’.”
Clearly, he wanted it alright. “The hard arse did 70% of the ride on the big chain wheel, because he kept forgetting to put it on the small chain wheel,” Mark chuckles. “5:30am start, 6:18pm finish. It was definitely a father son day like no other!”
Interesting to note young Mitchell managed to beat his dad’s official time by three seconds. Good lad 😉