LESS than 12 months ago, Tennille Falappi was lying at the bottom of Brisbane's Chandler Velodrome, adamant that she wanted to give it all up.
The teenager had just taken a horror fall in the keirin, tearing two tendons in her left hand and leaving her face and side bloodied and bruised as she helplessly slid from the top of the track's embankment.
"I remember laying on the track, Dad above me. I thought 'I don't want to do this anymore'," she said of the January incident.
"That was my first thought, the first thing I told Dad."
But returning to Cairns this week after successful campaigns at the Queensland and Oceania Track Championships, Tennille was glad to have thought twice about an early retirement.
"I realised that I love it. No matter what happens, I love cycling," she said.
"Crashing is part of the sport; you've just got to accept it and move on."
"In the end I wasn't hurt too badly and I only missed one national titles."
While she claimed two golds at the Queensland titles, it was her bronze in the same race, on the same track that she had crashed on earlier this year, that gave her the most satisfaction.
"It was very scary, a bunch of irrational thoughts went through my head," she said.
"I freaked out a bit, but it felt great to overcome that fear."
The 17-year-old thinks she has improved since the setback, adding a degree of caution to her racing while remembering that sometimes "you have to suck it up and take a chance".
A sub-12 seconds in the flying 200m at Adelaide's Oceania Track Championships was proof of her advancement.
She was the only under-19 woman to break the barrier and it was a goal her coach Sean Eadie, a world sprint champion in 2002, had set earlier this year.
Like her coach, Tennille excels in the sprint and took home gold in that discipline from Adelaide, as well as silver in the 500m time trial.
Eadie, as part of the National Sprint Academy, has nurtured the Cairns talent for the past nine months and said she was impressing in all the right areas.
"It's her attention to detail, her application and execution of race plans (that impresses)," he said.
"There are a lot of fast riders out there, but you need to be able to put together a race as well."
Eadie, famous in his racing days for his intimidating beard and imposing physique, said his protege's ability to recover from that crash would prove to be pivotal.
"That's what sets apart the good ones from the best. It's how you respond from something like that (that) is telling; whether you give it up or come back and have a real crack," he said.
"Because it gets harder all the time; you've got to keep getting faster."
Tennille has a real-life superhero in her corner to help, someone who can certainly relate to the adversity.
Anna Meares, who famously recovered from a broken neck in 2008 to win silver in Beijing and gold in London, has kept one eye on the Cairns cyclist's rise through the ranks.
"I spoke to her in Brisbane before my race and then again in Adelaide and she congratulated me on my times," Tennille said.
The sprinter will graduate to the elite women's field in October, meaning she will start racing against Meares and "the rest of the big guns".
"It's a bit scary, but I'm looking forward to racing the girls with the experience. Anna races with a mindset that you are enemies on the track and friends off."
"That is how I'll be approaching it as well."
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Overcoming adversity:Tennille Falappi has bounced back from a horror stack and will represent the country at the Youth Olympic Festival with fellow Cairns sprinter Kiara Dundas.