Phoenixville resident Dana Walton has never been afraid of hard work.
A three-sport star in high school, Walton toiled at field hockey, basketball and track and field in high school and was actually accepted at Vet School at Virginia Tech out of college.
But it was cycling that ultimately grabbed her, and wouldn’t let go.
So when Walton came home from the 2017 USA Cycling Masters competition with the prestigious Stars & Stripes jersey, it was further evidence that the sport had a hold on her like no other.
“Velodrome racing is my favorite part of the sport,” Walton said. “They have a 250-meter track and it gives the spectators the chance to watch the entire race.
“You go at higher speeds and you have to think a lot. And the participants are riding on top of each other.”
When Walton was accepted at Virginia Tech in 1993, she was introduced to cycling.
“I’ve never shied away from working hard, and I saw that cycling was going to be part of the Olympics in 1996,” she recalled, “so I started training.”
That training eventually put her in the race in Trexlertown to qualify for the Olympic trials. Needing to finish first, she placed fourth.
But the seed had been planted.
Since, Walton has won some eight major competitions, with the most recent coming June 29 in Rock Hill, S.C., when she earned the prestigious Stars and Stripes jersey.
“It was great, I was able to wear it on the Fourth of July,” she said proudly.
Of course, with so many cyclists going so fast and so close together, crashes are inevitable, and Walton has endured her share.
“I broke my collarbone in two places,” she said semi-proudly, “and I’ve had teeth knocked out. And there have been times when I wanted to quit.
‘But I can’t let it go. To me, there’s nothing better than an hour on a bike.”
So the married mother of three keeps on pedaling, five times a week, with no desire to slow down.
And the competitions have taken her all around the world.
She has participated in races all over America, and even as far away as England.
And there’s no end in sight.
“Sure, I’ve thought about stopping,” she said. “In most of my races, I’m competing against women in their 20s. But to me there’s nothing better or more fun than cycling.
“There are a lot of races coming up, and I have a great team with me. Among them is the Piscatello Law Firm in Philadelphia, who Walton said has been invaluable.