Cyclist working to his ability, not age

Promising Wānaka cyclist Max Good has been appointed head boy of Crimson Global Academy online...
Promising Wānaka cyclist Max Good has been appointed head boy of Crimson Global Academy online school for 2024. PHOTO: MARJORIE COOK
The Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 prompted Wānaka teenager Max Good, now 16, to re-evaluate his options so he could balance his books with biking. Wānaka Sun editor Marjorie Cook reports.

Max Good says life is good. 

The peripatetic Wānaka teenager and Crimson Global Academy head boy loves nothing more than when it is "just me, my laptop and my books".

And, of course, his bike.

Good recently returned home from Adelaide, where he spent nine days watching and following the Santos Tour Down Under, the first international event on this year’s UCI WorldTour circuit.

This week he has been preparing for next week’s elite New Zealand Road Cycling Championships in Timaru.

He has also just finished the first week of his final year of online high school.

Good did not race the Tour Down Under last month, though he thinks he might give it a go one day.

"But I did do a lot of riding — 100km a day," he said.

He went purely to watch the action and cheer on Queenstown friend Reuben Thompson, 22, who is signed to UCI World Team Groupam-FDJ, he said.

Good can be often seen chasing another of his best mates around Wānaka, New Zealand junior representative Carter Guichard, 17, who is signed with France-based team AG2R.

However, Good is still building to those sorts of goals and is realistic he has a way to go.

The nationals will be his first foray into elite racing in New Zealand.

"I have no expectations," he said.

"People will be older than me. I know they will be a lot stronger than me. I am just along for the experience."

After the nationals, he is planning to cycle in a Challenge Wānaka triathlon team with his mother Kelly and father Duncan doing the other legs.

Then there is Outward Bound in April, and then exams. 

Crimson Global Academy’s online courses focus on international curricula and accelerated learning, so rather then choosing to study New Zealand’s NCEA courses, Good is doing his A2-Levels.

A-Levels serve as a stepping stone for admission to top-tier universities and getting A2 means the full two-year academic programme has been completed. 

Exams in maths, biology, chemistry and English are scheduled for May and June.

In the winter, Good is off to Noosa, Australia, with his family for a warmer season of cycling and racing.

Last year, Good got pleasing results in the Balmoral Tour and the Queensland State Championships, so he is keen to repeat them.

Next year, he is making tentative plans for a gap year.

He has not decided on tertiary options yet.

Working to save money to fund bike gear and travel feels a more immediate priority. 

He has already secured a part-time supermarket job and is looking after storage rentals.

Good said he and his parents chose Crimson’s online education during Covid lockdown in 2020. 

"We were already looking at education options at Mount Aspiring College.

"When I was there, I worked really well online. We looked around to see what else was out there.

"I kind of never looked back. The benefits have been huge.

"I have been able to accelerate my learning level, working to my ability rather than my age. And I get to manage my own time." 

Good interacts online with teachers and fellow pupils on a daily basis and attends weekly assemblies, also online.

When he heads to Noosa, the only adjustment will be a shift in his personal timetable by two hours, so he can attend school.

The Covid lockdown also fuelled his desire to take road cycling seriously.

He became addicted to Wānaka’s empty roads.

"It was amazing. I loved it."

He joined the Southern Junior Development Team and was coached by Alex Guichard to compete at the South Island secondary school level.

"I got demolished but I just loved it."

The team disbanded last year and Good says he went through a stage where he felt flat and found it hard to train. 

But watching the Tour Down Under has reignited his passion.

Val Burke is now his coach and he trains 15 hours a week, maybe two or three hours a time.

"I have got my mojo back and I just loved being in Adelaide. It was just amazing," he said.

  • Meet Max: Max Good will be at a Crimson Global Academy presentation in Wānaka at 4pm, on Sunday, at the Ray White office in Sir Tim Wallis Dr. Academy principal Mark Phillips will also be there.