Report from a Proud Coach
The British Cycling National Youth Circuit Race Championships were held at Redbridge Cycling Centre near Ilford on Saturday 10th August. The long journey south was made by 5 DTCC Youth riders who are becoming quite experienced travellers these days. This is the second cycling specific facility that they have raced at over the last two weeks – if you are looking for advice on how to design a road circuit (oh, how we would love to have one up here) then please consult these riders. The Redbridge circuit is approx 2km long including a short hill with the summit also being the finish line – the riders said it certainly felt hard after 60 mins of racing.
The track was great and appeared to be quite grippy even when the rain fell which was a huge relief to many of the parents there. However, along with the rain came the small flecks of flint rising to the surface of the track causing numerous punctures. The number of punctures increased with each race with the last race of the day having at least 40 riders suffering at least one puncture. It was easy to spot the locals as they had multiple wheel sets positioned around the course as this is a common occurrence on wet days. They were also very experienced with fast wheel changes allowing riders to get back onto the bunch.
Tubeless was definitely the order of the day as the sealant was doing its job for many riders. Fortunately our riders escaped without incident but came home with trashed tyres (that’s another £100 per set before the next race!!!).
The order of events was different from the usual order which kept us all on our toes. The first race for us was the Youth A girls (U16) where we were represented by Evie White and Millie Thomson. A slightly longer than usual race of 75 mins meant a rather conservative approach by many early on. The nature of the course started to take its toll as did the flint on the surface. Riders were going out the back each lap rather than riders going off the front which led to a reduced bunch as the race progressed. During the latter part of the race Millie worked hard to stay with the bunch but after several chases to get back on she succumbed to fatigue along with many others. Evie was determined to hold her position and fought hard to stay near the front of the group but this became harder towards the end of the race.
This race was much longer than our riders are accustomed to in Scotland so the effort required to ride a race of this length was starting to bite! Evie maintained her focus and came in with the bunch at a very creditable 22nd. Millie kept the effort going and finished in 32nd place.
The next race was the Youth B girls (U14) where we had Arabella Blackburn and Hope Thomson. Both Arabella and Hope have been racing other events in the British Series so they went into the race knowing what to expect. Arabella has had a great run of wins this season so was clearly the rider to watch – this was evident as nobody was prepared to ride at the front with her. Hope is riding her first season at this level and isn’t daunted by the standard of riding by the older riders in her group. She isn’t scared to work hard and just gets on with whatever comes her way – today it was a rather sharp hill every lap!! Nobody was going to let any riders get a gap and it would appear that they were all more focussed on trying to get the better of Arabella in the sprint. Unfortunately for them they did not know quite how much Arabella wanted this win!!! She kicked hard and took it all the way to the line to claim a well deserved victory which nobody could argue rightly belonged to her. So, there it is – we have a British Champion in DTCC Youths!!!!! Well done Arabella we are very proud of you and look forward to you inspiring others in the club to work hard. Hope continued to battle on and never gave up, coming in a well earned 18th place.
The last race of the day was the Youth A boys (U16) where Elliot Rowe was the sole DTCC Youth representative out of a field of 99 feisty testosterone fuelled boys – I’m sure I can smell the testosterone but that’s probably too much info! The start was fast and as often is the case there was the inevitable first crash. The race was stopped whilst the riders were tended to and the track was cleared. After a period of time waiting for the the commissaires to decide how to proceed the race was restarted with 3 laps being neutralised to calm the riders down. However, the rain continued to fall lightly but the flint was in full flow and there were puncture victims even before the real race started. For the next 75 mins (25 laps) there were attacks every time up the hill with riders desperate to get away. None of these stuck but the pace was taking its toll as riders were being dropped every lap. Elliot maintained good positioning near the front of the bunch right from the beginning and dug deep to hang on to 14th place when it kicked off for the final sprint.
Well done to all the riders, parents and long-suffering siblings.
Photo credits to Huw Williams and Grant Speed