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A Canadian super fan knew Derek Gee was going places at 10 years old

Sheri Jay figured the Ottawa boy was a future star, way back in 2007

A Canadian superfan knew Derek Gee was going places at 10 years old Photo by: 7th Groove

Sheri Jay, a long-time member of the Canadian cycling community recalls fondly the day she met Derek Gee. The now 26-year-old, who just wowed everyone at the Critérium du Dauphiné with a third place finish at the G.C. is originally from Ottawa.

Jay was racing the local Thursday night time trial. “So,  a very long time ago in September 2007 I was racing an Ottawa Bicycle Club TT. Towards the end of the race I came upon a boy also racing and attempted to pass him,” she said. “He wouldn’t let me. We pushed each other all the way to the finish. Derek won.”

A young Derek Gee was already fiercely competitive

Gee, who would have been 10 at the time, was already showing his competitive spirit.

“Being the extreme extrovert that I am, I of course headed straight over to introduce myself,” she explained. “I was stopped by an older British man who berated me for sprinting the kid.”

“Really?” she said. “He loved it, and I loved it, and he won.”

She then introduced herself to the boy and asked if I could have my picture taken with him. “I knew then he would one day be a star bike racer,” Jay said. “And, he told me his name was Derek Gee. The young man had just turned 10 years old. He hoped to one day win the Giro D’Italia. I loved him immediately.”

The Giro!

In her experience, Jay found most aspiring bike racers want to win the Tour De France, not the Giro, her favourite bike race.

“He indicated he would need to ask his father for permission to have his picture taken with me. Smart kid and of course you should ask permission before having your picture taken with some crazy Super Fan lady you just beat in a time trial,” Jay said. “John Gee, his father let us know this was Derek’s very first time trial.”

The next big star

Derek Gee and Nat Faulkner

“Interestingly I had my good friend Nat Falkner with me,” Jay said. “Nat’s claim to fame was he had raced Pro with Jet Fuel team which was the first pro men’s team in Canada. I was gushing over Derek while Derek and John were gushing over Nat.  And I had my picture with Derek and Derek had his picture taken with Nat.”

Jet Fuel Coffee turns 32

Jay went home and told her friend Samantha Warsket she had met the next big star in Canadian bike racing. Warsket laughed at her.

“And here we are today. So, I would like to put myself forward as an early identifier of Canadian cycling talent,” Jay quipped.

Turns out, the Chelsea, Que., native called it.