WoSCA at the Errigal International Youth Tour

Friday, 17th August, 2012

Great performances all round by WoSCA riders in their first overseas Tour, in a 200 rider field over tough country roads and big circuits. Three days and four stages of racing was a great way for our young squad to continue their learning curve – and it was steep. As an example, check out the profile for stage 3: http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=444315

Under 12's did one lap of this course, u14's did 3, and u16's went round 5 times. Fierce!

Ellie Park of the Glasgow Riderz was the standout of the squad, taking three stages and second place overall. But for a crash in the final stage it could well have been the top step of the podium…

Thanks again to the Braveheart Fund for making it all possible.

Final results for our squad after 4 stages (2 kermesse, 1 hill climb and one crit):

Ellie Park GLASGOW RIDERZ / WoSCA: 13th on GC, 2nd under 11 y.o. & 4th female
Sarah Bradford JOHNSTONE JETS / WoSCA: 38th on GC, 12th under 13 & 11th female
Danny Mulholland JOHNSTONE JETS / WoSCA: 26th on GC, 5th under 13
Calum Shackley GLASGOW RIDERZ / WoSCA: 29th on GC, 7th under 13
Lewis Mulholland JOHNSTONE JETS / WoSCA: 32nd on GC, 10th under 15

Rhys Donnelly of the Glasgow Riderz also raced, travelling with the ESCA / Basque squad. He kept up his fine record, finishing 23rd on GC and 6th under 15.

Here’s what the riders had to say about their race…

Callum Shackley, Glasgow Riderz (youth B)

Stage 1- The first stage was a 3 lap road race with a lap being around 6 miles long the total distance was around 18 miles. The course was quite hilly but near the start but there was a steep descent into a tight first turn of the three turn. The laps had a lot of short hills and a few drags. The race started off neutralized but before the race had started there was a crash on the first turn and the stage was postponed until the ambulance could take the rider to hospital. The eventually started and it started off fast. I manage stay on to the main bunch for a bit but got dropped before the end of the first lap. I finished a bit behind the second bunch.

Stage 2- The second stage was a short hill climb at just under 1 mile long, we were set off at 1 minute intervals. The course may have been short but it wasn’t easy as it was all up hill until a small bit to the finish line. It wasn’t that steep until you turned onto the high street which leaded to the finish.

Stage 3- The third stage was another 3 lap road race over the same distance but this course wasn’t so hilly. The course started off with a small hill then it was all downhill to the turn to the second leg which was all flat, up to here it was quite easy until we turn on to the final leg which all uphill to finish. The bunch stayed together until the last which was very steep that I was dropped. Then I manage to stay in a group just off the main bunch until I had a mechanical (a broken shifter) just before the last lap so finish quite far back.

Stage 4- The fourth and final stage was a criterium 20 minutes + 5 laps and unluckily my shifter couldn’t be fixed so I started the stage without the luxury of being able to change my gears. The race started off neutralized for a few laps and then it started off quite fast. After a few laps I was off the back of the main bunch as i couldn’t cope with the accelerations because I was stuck in too easy a gear I got lapped once and finished quite far back.

After the three days of racing I was shattered but I enjoyed the experience and I hope that soon there will be more events like this a bit closer to home. I especially like the road races as it’s a change from racing in crit all the time. Overall this is an event that I would recommend to riders who want a step up from the Scottish events.

Sarah Bradford, Johnstone Jets (Youth B)

Our Errigal International Youth Tour was an experience I will never forget! Lasting for a total of 3 days, the trip consisted of 2 road races, a crit race and a short time trial.  Our first day meant travelling by ferry to Belfast, Ireland and so an early start for all of us (much to Ellie’s disgust). As soon as we arrived in Donegal, we set out trying to find the house we were staying in and thankfully succeeded after 20 minutes of knocking on doors and calling the landlord! Once we had settled in and unpacked (now discovering that me with my blonde memory had forgotten the bolognaise), we went and checked out the course, walking around the corners as if we were on our bikes, some of us taking it more seriously than others! Next, we travelled to the Gartan Centre to check out the competition and admire Rhys’s new wheels! Emma managed to keep us all entertained by trying to chat up some of the young South African boys……..

We left the house the next morning, after Ellie had taken a century eating her breakfast, and headed for Churchill, the race venue. After practicing on the course for a while, and congratulating Ellie on her successful race, we finished off our warm up and made for the start line. As the neutralised car went down the hill, there was a massive crash in the middle of the bunch, leading to the race being stopped for 40 minutes while ambulances took away casualties. Thankfully, no Scottish team mates were involved. When the race was finally restarted, I managed to stay with the main group but was falling off the back. Suddenly someone swerved in front of me and I ended up in the rough on the side of the road. I soon got back onto the course but thanks to my dying body and the fact that my chain had fallen off twice in the space of 3 laps I had, what can only be described as, an awful race.  Thank goodness for Flora’s dad standing at the finishing line with a can of coke – what a legend! After the race we watched the Youth As finish and were then kept entertained by DJ Mulholland and his fabulous chicken dance with a 50 year old and two 4 years olds! Then came the prizegiving where we watched Ellie receive her prizes, listened to many interesting name pronunciations and watched Francis Webb win the female race! To be fair, he was wearing pink oakleys!

On the Sunday, we headed to the Gartan Centre for the beginning of the time trial, yet again having had to wait a century while Ellie finished her breakfast. The short and sharp 0.9 mile time trial was really challenging – hills are definitely not my forte! After a Richard ham sandwich, we warmed up and began the 3rd stage, another hilly road race which was, yet again, pure torture. But, I didn’t finish last (or second last ) because of the encouraging  cheers from the crowd. After an encouraging talk from martin we left early leaving Ellie and Richard at the prize giving as Ellie had yet another successful day. When we all arrived back martin went and got the dinner as I had forgotten the bolognaise, he then came back with all of his favourite foods…anchovies and this potato and egg thing. Yum!?! But he made an amazing bacon and pepper thing it was so tasty, I might even consider forgetting the bolognaise again.

Monday was the earliest and the busiest morning of the week we had to pack and leave the house for good. This time the race venue was in the town of Letterkenny. We set up the gazebo and the rollers, checked out the course and did our warm ups there were several laps with the motor bike speeding up I managed to stay at the front of the lead group with the jerseys until there was some boy who’s cleat snapped and he swerved all-over the road pushed into me. I just missed the cone but ended up on the wrong side of the road, and lost the bunch, thankfully I only had 5 laps to go. It was my best race of the weekend as there were no hills.

Our team performed brilliantly over the weekend all having ups and downs, unfortunately Ellie missed out on the top spot after a series of unfortunate incidents and annoying commissars but over all I had soooooooooo much fun.

Ellie Park, Glasgow Riderz (youth C)

The International Youth Tour of Donegal is a race spread across three days and 4 stages. A field of nearly 200 riders competed including riders from South Africa, The Basque region of Spain as well as the UK and Ireland. The race was held on “real” roads, not closed road circuits like we race on here every week. The stages included two hilly stages, a hill climb TT and a crit. In Ireland if you are a girl then you ride down two categories if you’re going to race with boys. I only had to ride down one cat because of my age but that meant I was racing under fourteen girls  (I normally ride in u12). I raced as part of the WoSCA team of 5 riders; I was the only one in my category though.  We stayed as a team in our own accommodation and travelled together to the stages and on the ferries.                         

Stage one: One of the hilly stages! We started on a place called Churchill, there was a neutralised start until the first sharp left corner then the neutral car would speed up and the race was on. This stage was a rolling stage (lots of hills) although it was only five miles it was still hard because it was constant up and down then a little downhill that takes you back up to the climb into Churchill again.  Though I didn’t stay in the front group I worked in a little group of three; me and two girls from the Irish 2020 talent team (under fourteen girls) the other under fourteen girl from the talent team stayed in the front group, but me and one of the girls dropped the other girl that was with us on the downhill but then the girl that was still with me bet me in the sprint.  I won this stage for my category, so it was great to be on the podium and be given a trophy for the stage win; it also meant I led the race in my category beating all the boys in my cat too!

Stage two: Today there were two stages; the hill climb was first. The hill climb was one mile long and started at the Garten outdoor centre then after about a minute went back on to the hill we came down yesterday back up to Churchill, I did really well in the hill climb stage winning my category!  I also put ten seconds into the u14 girl that bet me in the sprint the day before.  I extended my lead in the overall competition.

Stage three: Another hilly stage!  We started in the Churchill again but this time in the opposite direction. The race was a tad longer as it was six miles long with no neutralised section either. The first top ten were gridded (I was eighth in the combined GC) so I had a good start.  It was down the hill we came up yesterday and then straight back up again. The rest of the stage was really just downhill and flat till the end when there was a big hill and I mean a big hill! The crowds gathered here and it was a great atmosphere to ride in (just like the tour!) I did very well in this stage; I stayed in the front group and dropped the girl behind me on the hill to the finish.  The podium presentations were again in Churchill and I picked up two stage winner trophies for today.

Stage four:  The crit. This was a race round the town centre of Letterkenny. It was completely flat course with a roundabout in it; our race was six laps, one neutral lap and two laps of winding up the pace and then go go go. Coming into the finishing straight on lap two of our racing laps I crashed!  I kept going but when I went for my lap out they held me and waited for the bunch to go by then let me go, which was really annoying because I was never going to get back on to a group that was going at twenty mph! In the results they said I was a lap down so that means they didn’t give me my lap out after they held me and everything. I still got second in the overall classification for my cat because I was leading by over a minute. I was still disappointed but I had a great weekend of racing.

I have four trophies, new racing experiences, some great memories and new friends!
I would like to say a big thanks to my Dad, Braveheart Cycling Fund, WoSCA, Wm Mortons and Martin Mulholland.         
Lewis Mulholland, Johnstone Jets (Youth A)

The 1er Errigal youth tour was a fantastic experience, with three days of racing over four stages, including two road stages a criterium and a short time trial. In my category there were 80 riders who started which made for a big bunch on "open roads", however the course was made largely traffic free as the locals were very considerate and cooperative.

Day 1 saw a road race on a circuit roughly 6 miles long and we did 5 laps of it. The circuit was rolling and full of many short steep rises and a large hill at the back corner of the circuit. The race was delayed due to a crash in the neutralised section of the under 14 race, but it eventually got under way. I didn't have a very good day, I was at the front of the peloton until the hill where I went straight to the back, and I found myself chasing back on to the peloton more than once but I was dropped near the end of the second lap. I was in different groups for the rest of the day but I found myself in 51st place and 11"55 down on the leader, who had won on his own after making an attack on the second lap. I was about 8 minutes down on what was left of the peloton.

Day 2 started with a short hill climb TT and after finishing my TT I was in third of the riders who had gone so far and I got to sit on the podium until my time was beaten a few riders later.
The TT was followed by a road stage and same as the day before it was a 6 mile long circuit over 5 laps. The circuit was basically a triangle: one side was flat, one side was a descent and the other side was a long hill and at the top it was apparently 18%.
Every time the race hit the hill I was dropped along with a few other riders and we chased back on on the descent, before recovering on the flat section and then doing it again. On the last lap the peloton splintered on the climb and came over the line over a minute or so, and I finished 35 seconds down in 32 place.

The final day was a criterium in the town centre of Letterkenny on closed roads. The bunch was large and made moving about difficult, especially since there were a couple of tight corners. The pace was high from the start and the bunch was lined out for most of the race and it ended in a bunch sprint I managed to finish in the peloton in 32nd place.

Overall the race was a great success and it was truly international with riders from Scotland, England, the Basque country and south Africa. It was very enjoyable and the stages were well thought out and very well organised, except when it was delayed. The WOSCA setup we had was very good as we had hired a house so we had good accommodation and we had 2 showers to ourselves.

Danny Mulholland, Johnstone Jets (Youth B)

We woke up early on Friday morning after racing at Bellahouston the night before which acted as a good warmup for the tour of Donegal, which was where we were going. It was a very long drive, including a 2 hour boat trip but we finally managed to get to the holiday house where we were staying and have dinner at around 6 o'clock. Then we went for a course recce of the next days 5.88 mile race circuit. We viewed the u12 course first, and then we went round again and did the same to our course, which had another mile or so that went up a vicious hill.

The next day, our Race was of at 1:00pm, and we were doing 3 laps of the hilly 5 mile circuit. It started off with a neutralised ride for about a mile and then we would start. In the neutralised zone there was a steep downhill with a left turn that turned in on itself, and was a bit sketchy. That's the reason why someone broke 2 ribs and we had to wait for 45minutes to start again. Overall I did pretty good, and I placed 28th out of 60 something starters, so I was better than I thought. The hill really took it out of you doing it three times.

The next day we did a hill climb which went from the outdoor centre which was race HQ at the loch side to Churchill , up the same hill where there was that bad crash and a wee bit more, covering a distance of 0.9 miles. I was of at about the halfway mark and I finished with 4:11, 31 seconds off the leader.

Then it was another 3 laps of a 5 mile course in the afternoon , but this one with a devastating 2mile climb at the end with a gradient of 18% at one point. It really was exactly like the tour, and there was even 3 bars not 100meters away so the "coaches" could get pints of Guinness while shouting "encouragement". That was my best stage, and I got 21st. It was only that night, after the emergence of my dual personality (dancing Danny) that I discovered I wasn't just in the u14s, there is also a category in Ireland which is first year Bs, and I was in 5th in that, which was amazing. The next day was a completely flat criterium, which I'm not very good at, so my goal was to hold my top 5 position. And I did it. Just. I got dropped with 5minutes and 3 laps to go, but there was a first year in the lead group who was 52 seconds behind me! I lost 1:04 seconds on that stage, and I thought I'd lost the top 5, but it turned out someone in front had been behind me, so I stayed where I was. Phew.

I'd say 5th in my second stage race wasn't bad shooting :)


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