McLeod up with stars
MELINDA McLeod has taken her place alongside the likes of Cadel Evans and Anna Meares as Australia's greatest cycling achievers of 2011.
The dual world champion was named the Junior Female BMX Cyclist of the Year when the Jayco 2011 Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards were announced last weekend in Sydney.
The award capped off a stellar year for the Walkerston BMX Club member.
"It certainly has been a pretty good year," McLeod said.
"You don't go out riding for these awards, but it's nice at the end of the year to sit back and take a bit of a look at the year."
McLeod savoured her dual world championship triumph in July, at Copenhagen in Denmark.
She won the junior women's race and junior time trial gold medals.
McLeod graduated to the elite class after the world championships and now races in the open elite division.
In further recognition of her outstanding year, she was also nominated for the Female Elite BMX Cyclist of the Year.
McLeod was in awe when she attended the awards night in Sydney.
"There were such great athletes there," she said.
"Anna Meares and Cadel Evans were both there.
"I was almost there as a cycling fan, as well as an athlete.
"To see them speak and just what they had to say about their years, and about heading into London next year, was really inspiring."
McLeod was in Mackay last month to spend time with family and friends.
She has returned to Brisbane to resume training with the Australian high performance team.
"It is lots of hard work, but next year is coming up super quick," she said.
"So we have to just knuckle through this section and get all our base preparation done, so that we can focus on race fitness towards the start of this season.
"It's very full-on. We're in the gym three times a week for a couple of hour sessions, so that's pretty intense."
Mackay Pioneer BMX Club rider Corey Frieswyk was nominated for the Junior Male BMX Cyclist of the Year.
He claimed the bronze medal at the national championships and fifth place at the Oceania Championships.