Remembering Lucy John
Last October, Lucy John was tragically killed while out training on her bike. Here her father Nigel shares his memories of a much-loved daughter
Nigel Chilcott lost his daughter Lucy John, 35, in a road accident in October 2022, in Bridgend, Wales. Mum to Caden, 10, and wife to Ivan, Lucy was also a sports lecturer, keen triathlete and CrossFit enthusiast.
Following the accident, Lucy’s tri and cycling clubs – Pen-Y-Bont Tri Club and Tondu Wheelers Cycling Club – set up a fundraising page for her family, raising £17,000.
Nigel will be racing in Lucy’s place at this year’s Long Course Weekend alongside Evan. Here, Nigel remembers his much-loved daughter.
Lucy’s rich life
Triathlon was a small part of Lucy’s incredibly rich life. She was a mum. She was a sports lecturer in a local college, she was a wife, she was my daughter.
The college where she was working had no doubt that she would’ve been running the department in the next five, six years. So that was quite nice to hear.
She was such a wonderful person and she meant so much to the local community. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who have stepped forward and told us what she meant to them and how inspiring she was. It’s incredible.
And what she had to come as well, you know? She was 35 years old, she had so much more to come. I’ll never get over it, but I’m coming out the other side of a dark spell.
The investigation [into Lucy’s death] is still ongoing. There’ve been a few hiccups, mainly down to resources. For example, Lucy’s Strava data for the incident, it actually popped up online. As you can imagine, that was awful for all her friends and family.
She hadn’t travelled far from her house before the incident occurred, maybe six miles. But the police had turned her watch on because they didn’t want to lose the data, not realising it automatically uploads.
Where the incident occurred, it was a straight bit of dual carriageway. There was good visibility, it was around 9:10am and there were no other vehicles. Lucy had ridden it many times.
It might all boil down to, dare I say it, one of those things that happened. But I, we, all want answers, for Lucy’s sake.
She was hugely into CrossFit. They [Crossfit Penybont] were like another family to her. And then of course she had her tri club – Pen-y-Bont Triathlon club, where she used to take sessions in all aspects of the sport.
Her husband’s thrown himself into competition. I’ve sort of done a similar thing. I entered my first ultra marathon, so that gave me some focus.
Lucy and her husband Evan had entered the Long Course Weekend this year, so Evan still wanted to do that and I’m going to race in Lucy’s place in July. But yeah, fills me up a bit.
I did my last Ironman in 2008, so you know, I’m getting on a bit, 56. But I’m training for that as well, which is quite nice.
Lucy used to suffer a lot with anxiety, but through all of her training she overcame it. The training gave her so much confidence and mental strength far beyond my expectations. It put her in such good stead for her future.
It was actually me that encouraged her to get on a bike in the first place. I beat myself up a bit about that. But I really pushed hard to get her on the bike so she could come out with me.
I can remember buying her first bike from Halford’s and trying to encourage her to use cleats. I remember her going around the corner and falling off, she was horrified. “Dad, I’ll never get used to these,” she said, but she overcome all that. She was soon leaving me for dust.
I remember her first triathlon – Tri Tuska Try. I went with her to support her. The weather was horrific and the sea was really rough. And she was terrified of open-water swimming, but she went in. I was terrified she’d be rescued and disappointed but she came through it. That’s a proud moment for me.
Entering The Outlaw
She wanted to do Ironman Wales in 2021 but because of Covid they called it off two months before it was due to happen. She was absolutely devastated. So she went out with a friend, they shared a bottle of wine, and she entered The Outlaw just like that, a week before the event.
When she told me I said, ‘Lucy, what are you doing? You’re not even ready. You’re not even tapering.’ But I didn’t want to be too negative because I didn’t want to introduce lots of doubts. She absolutely smashed it. She really did. Massive proud moment.
She ended up racing Long Course Weekend in someone else’s name last year so she felt she didn’t get the recognition and is why she wanted to do it again. So that’s why it’s important that I need to do it, in her name.
Last year the whole family went down to support her at Ironman Wales, which was a month before the incident. Again, she smashed it. I’m just really happy she got to do that. She actually got her M-Dot tattoo after the Outlaw, but she saw herself as an Ironman.
She actually qualified for Kona at Wales because of the roll-down. But she’d already left at that point. But we like to say that Lucy qualified for Kona.
Her son Caden and my granddaughter, Isabel, will be doing Ironkids [at Ironman Wales] this year, so that’ll be nice.
There’s so much hate towards cyclists on social media. I’ve got to stop myself from commenting because people are just waiting to jump on you. So many just don’t seem to appreciate that you’re not just a cyclist, an inconvenience getting in the way. These are real people.
If this happening [Lucy’s death] has helped prevent one accident… I can’t say it’ll be worth it, but it’ll certainly give us some comfort. We’ve all got to draw strength from her legacy.
Top image credit: OSB Events