Meet Linda Jackson, Director Sportif of Team Tibco Elite Women's Cycling Team...former world class cyclist now
coaching the next generation of talented riders.
by Stephanie Gutowski
Photos by Thien Dinh
Linda Jackson comes to coaching from a very successful professional riding career. Though quite productive as a pro, her path to cycling and racing was anything but
Linda grew up a competitive swimmer in Nepean, Canada. She gave up competition in her late teens and had no plans to remain competitively active. Instead she went on to college and
eventually moved to California to complete her MBA at Stanford University. She began working as an investment banker for Alex. Brown & Sons in San Francisco, successfully moving up the
corporate ladder to Vice President in Biotechnology Investments.
It was not until she was recuperating from a skiing accident that she took up riding. Her knee injury required extensive surgery and physical therapy. Riding a bike was the key to
getting better. What she discovered in her recovery was a true joy for racing. Linda entered a local road race, her very first, and finished second. "I came across
that finish line and realized that it was in my blood," Linda stated. "I knew I had to ride my bike. From then on I knew my life would be different."
For two years Linda continued to work full-time while trying to squeeze in training. She would start her commute at 4:30 am, riding about 50 miles to work each way. It was a way
to get the miles in her legs. She would put in long hours at the office and then ride home each day only to get up and repeat the cycle. "I would be so tired that I would go to the
gym next door and rent a suntan bed. It was not to get a tan but to lay down and get some rest. Training and working was really hard."
Brooke Miller gives DS Linda Jackson a hug.
©2007 Thien Dinh
In 1992, Linda entered and won a bronze medal in the Canadian National Road Championship. "When I won the bronze I knew that not only did I love racing
but that I was good at it. I knew from then on that I would be racing. I remember calling my coach from my office in San Francisco in tears telling him that I could
not keep working and training like this anymore. I decided to give up my career so that I could ride the bike."
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Linda stated, "Instead of working all those hours and feeling like crap, I'm having a life seeing different places and
competing against the best. I've never looked back."
Linda rode professionally from 1993-1999 and was quite successful. Her decision to focus solely on her riding proved to be fruitful. She earned six
Canadian National titles (3 road and 3 time trial), a bronze in the 1996 Road Race World Championships, 1st GC - 1997 Tour de L'Aude, 2nd GC- 1997 & 1998 Giro d'
Italia and competed in the 1996 Olympic Games. She was named VeloNews North American Female Cyclist of the Year in 1997 and 1998.
In the 1996 Atlanta Games, Linda was one of the pre-race favorites in the road race. Unfortunately Linda crashed early in the race when a Russian rider tumbled
ahead of her. Linda was catapulted over her bike hitting her arm. "I'll never forget coming up to the tent. When I saw my coach, I put my bike down, put my head on his
shoulder and just burst into tears because I had given up so much to get there. I was devastated. It was amazing though. I was able to turn it around within the hour.
It was a bittersweet race." At 37, an age when many cyclists were long retired, Linda was competing at a high level. Although she suffered swelling and tendon damage,
she was able to compete later in the Olympic individual time trial. She went onto finish ninth.
Linda retired in 2000. When asked if she ever wondered what if she had started racing at 23 instead of 33, Linda responded, "I don't dwell
it. I was able to get my undergraduate degree in business, my MBA, be an investment banker. I had this whole aspect of life before I began
©2007 Thien Dinh
"This is what I coach now," Linda continued, "You never want to wonder. If you really want to see how far you can go you have to give everything.
For me it was a matter of age and for others it may be a matter of opportunity. They should give everything they have. They don't want to look
back and say, 'I should have trained harder,' or that 'I shouldn't have worked 10 hours a day.'"
"After I retired, I did nothing cycling related for three years. I went back to investment banking, working as a Director in the Technology Group at Credit Suisse First Boston from 2000 to early 2003. I then got involved with Palo Alto Bicycles and met Amber Rais (now racing for Webcor). I started coaching her and realized that I had the same passion for coaching that I once had for racing. Now my life is about coaching."
Team Tibco is a tight-knit group of very supportive riders. Linda is very much the "Mother Hen" of the group, so much so that her riders have nicknamed their coach,
Tibco Nickname for Linda Jackson.
©2007 Thien Dinh
This year, Vivek Ranadivé, Chairman and CEO of Tibco, and longtime supporter of cycling, became the primary sponsor of Team Tibco.
Team Tibco returns 3 veteran riders. Winner of stages at Mt. Hood, Nature Valley and Altoona, as well as the Womens Prestige Series Sprint Leader, Brooke Miller returns for 2007. The team also returns Stacy Marple, winner of the Bermuda
Grand Prix General Classification, as well as climbing phenomenon, Victoria Bastide: 2006 was the first season of racing for both riders. The team adds depth by bringing on powerful NRC veteran riders,
Marissa Asplund (formerly CPT-Colonago racing), Katie Lambden (formerly TEAm Lipton), Yukie Nakamura (formerly LGBC) and Liza Rachetto (formerly TEAm Lipton).
"My goal is to take Team Tibco to be the #1 team in the country," Linda stated, "and then go to the world level." With Linda's determination, talent, enthusiasm, and with the support of her riders and
sponsors, Team Tibco is very much a team on the rise.
Training in Northern California
©2007 Thien Dinh