‘Man of Steele’: From the Energy Breakthrough to the Commonwealth Games

By November 20, 2018Bush voices
The organising frenzy is in full-flight this week, ahead of the Energy Breakthrough Challenge in Maryborough, which officially gets underway on Thursday.
We’re often asked what educational and life value EB gives to its participants beyond the event itself. Good question.
So, we thought we’d show you, through the inspiring story of one of most successful alumni.

 

‘Man of Steele’ wins Commonwealth Gold with broken back

Past Energy Breakthrough participant, Steele Von Hoff, sprinted to victory in the 2018 Commonwealth Games Men’s Road Race.

His extraordinary feat was made even more amazing by what proceeded it: four broken vertebrae in a training event just seven weeks before the Games. It transpires, Von Hoff’s recovery was enhanced by cycling on a human-powered vehicle (HPV) at his home in Mornington, because the HPV’s position was highly supportive for his fragile back and neck. In light of this, and after winning Commonwealth Gold on the Gold Coast, Von Hoff was affectionately nicknamed the ‘Man of Steele’.

How did the race unfold?

In a tense final 10km, Von Hoff was in the lead group with Cameron Meyer and a collection of strong riders from New Zealand, South Africa, England and Wales. Despite a number of attacks and surges, the bunch came together for the sprint in the final few kilometres and Meyer lead out Steele beautifully for him to launch his attack for the win!

“With 150m to go I thought ‘I’ve actually got some pace here, I could win this’ and the reaction of the crowd told me I’d got the gold,” Von Hoff said following the race.

“I don’t think it’s even sunk in and absorbed yet, the realisation will probably hit tonight that I’ve actually done it.”

 

Remember the days of the old school yard?

Steele was involved in the Energy Breakthrough Challenge over a period of three years with Mt Martha Primary School and The Peninsula School between 2002 and 2004.

At the time, he was also an exceptional rider for Community Teams, winning the Australian International Pedal Prix on a number of occasions.

“My heroes and idols when I was at school were my training buddies that I looked up to,” he said.

“Back then I wasn’t into cycling yet, I was still chasing my dreams as a triathlete.

“But when Human Powered Vehicles (HPV) all started for me in Grade 6 — and I used to train for trikes at lunch times on Wednesdays for a hour — all we wanted to do was have fun, and I think that’s the main thing about the Energy Breakthrough.”

What impact did you see Energy Breakthrough having on other students?

“I saw it bring people together, and (they could then) do things that they normally wouldn’t be confident doing.” 

What would you say to people about EB?

Human powered vehicles gave me so much:

  •  It gave me my trade as a boiler maker, since I loved the steps involved in welding the trikes;
  • It gave me my friendship group, as most of my best friends were involved with the sport;
  • And it gave me my current job as a pro cyclist racing in Europe … ultimately it has paved the way I live my life!

Energy Breakthrough: Powered By Imagination.

 

Britt Ditterich

Author Britt Ditterich

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