Like me, you probably know ‘Darren-the-mechanic’ - the friendly face in the iRide workshop.
You may also suspect that he’s a pretty decent rider because, even when you’ve not seen him out on the bike much for a while, one day he just rolls up and pedals along ‘oh-so-smoothly’ - never getting puffed - even when he’s at the back of the bunch giving someone a helping hand up a hill! You only suspect his palmares though, because he certainly isn’t one to brag about his achievements.
When asked for some information about his cycling career to include in the TCC Hall of Fame, Darren (Mr Modest) Rolfe simply gave me a list of placings on the back of a used envelope! So, although I don’t have a lot to go on, it's the basis for some very interesting reading.
Darren began proper cycling in 1998 – before that he’d been competing in triathlons for five years. Almost immediately he was recognised as a major talent by the AIS and raced with them in Italy for two seasons - 1999 and 2000. During his first year in Italy he placed first in an individual uphill time trial and first in a road race. (If you want more details in relation to gradients, distance, etc. you’ll have to ask the man himself.) At home, as a Junior Under 19 rider, he won both the NSW State individual time trial and road racing championships as well as the Australian National individual time trial championship. He also placed second in the Australian National road race - plus, he won all the National Series races - three in total. In addition, Darren competed on the world stage – taking 9th in the World individual time trial championship and scoring second place in a stage of the Tour of Austria.
But wait, there’s more ….
By the start of the year 2000, Darren was in the Under 23 category. He won the Australian individual time trial championship for his age group AS WELL AS the open men’s event! He also placed first in the Coota classic – the biggest handicap race in NSW - and took the prize for ‘Fastest Time’. On the track, Darren placed third in the Australian open men’s Points Race.
In 2001 Darren raced in the only international event hosted in Australia – none other than the now famous Tour Down Under - and then ......................... in his words (not mine) he “hung it up”!!
Darren – you’re a legend – we salute you.