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Matthew Wells at the youth circuit nationals

My summery of this year’s Youth Circuit Nationals so far,

Hog Hill, A long travel down to London for a hilly race. Roughly a mile long circuit with a short but steep climb in it. After being gridded at the back and someone not being able to clip in in front of me, I was 10 meters of the back by the first corner. However, once the top of the hill on the first lap had rolled around I found myself comfortable in the group again. Tired from that big exertion the rest of the race was cruel, constantly being dropped on the hill and having to chase hard on the flats. When the chequered flag arrived I had finally dropped of the group but was only 20 meters or so behind. I finished 36th overall in the first national of the year.

North West youth tour, First of the prologue. A nice day turned into a terrible one just as I was starting, the rain was bouncing off the ground and it had suddenly gone dark. The course was 3km along the sea front at Morecombe Bay. Luckily the rain didn’t last long and after a couple of seconds it was over. I rode well and finished in a time of 3:36, placing me 31st after the first day. The second day was a very hilly road race, roughly 2.5 miles every lap. We were supposed to be doing 9 or 10 laps but after our race was delayed due to crashes, then stopped as an ambulance needed to leave, it was shortened to 5. After the first lap of the hill everything was smashed up, I found myself in a group of about 10 and in the end I finished 29th, moving me up to 29th overall. The 3rd and 4th stages were supposed to be on the same circuit on the same day, but due to the wet weather and an air ambulance needed on the circuit it was shortened to one stage. All I needed to do was not crash and finish in the bunch to finish in the top 30. And that’s what I did, finishing 39th in the stage but on the same time as everyone else, this meant I finished 29th overall, which was an improvement from Hog Hill.

Hillingdon, Another long drive down to London but for a not so hilly circuit this time, it was about the same in length as Hog Hill but without the climb. Not my favourite races as they typically stay together a one massive bunch until the end and it becomes very difficult to move up. This meant I spent most of the race at the back of the bunch. However with 3 laps to go I managed to find myself leading the peloton down the home straight. This didn’t last long as the Sprinters started storming past me. Coming into the last corner I was in the middle of the bunch. But then a big crash sent at least 15 riders to the ground, luckily I didn’t go down, but I had to slam on and veer onto the grass. This meant any chance of me getting a good position was over. The race organisers couldn’t figure out where I came for some reason, but I thought I ended up around the late 30s.

Crit under the Castle, up in Stirling this time but for a great race, closed road underneath the castle, if you didn’t guess it by the name. The course consisted of two climbs, one cobbled and one normal one making up an at least 2 mile circuit. The fast pace at the start meant I was dropped from the leading group but managed to find a smaller group a bit further back. The unbelievable pace being set at the front of the race meant that we had to push hard not to be lapped, unfortunately we were lapped with 2 laps to go. Even though we had been lapped by the leading group, there weren’t many riders in it, this meant that I finished 22nd overall, my best national yet.

With four nationals down I only have one more to go, Scarborough. Laps around Oliver’s mount; if anyone knows it they know it is steep and long. Hopefully I can get into the top 20s. This would be really good as most nationals consist of 70-100 riders. I will write a race report on that one too and I would just like to thank the club for their support for me, from the little tips on Sunday rides to the other racers who turn up on race days, thank you. Matthew Wells.

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