Youth cycle racing

Bob Muir has circulated a set of photos he took at our local cycle track, Salt Ayre, on Tuesday evening. With his permission, I’m putting two of them here. Bradley Wiggins presented the prizes, straight after the final Youth League racing of the year.

This season of youth racing has been made possible through the sterling efforts of people from various local cycling clubs working together as Salt Ayre Cycling Association, with sponsorship from Vanilla Bikes and Leisure Lakes Bikes.

Thank you and well done to all – helpers and riders alike – who have contributed to such a fantastic series of events. There were some very chuffed kids on Tuesday night, and quite right too. But racing at this (indeed any) level is not about winning. (There are some important debates to be had about that, and a requirement to examine the very meaning of ‘winning’, but this is neither the time nor place … ;-))

Suffice to say, all children are welcome at Salt Ayre (half-way between Lancaster and Morecambe), and all are given wonderful encouragement and affirmation, by other kids as well as adults. There’s helpful advice and support aplenty should it be wanted, but not if it’s not. So, assuming and hoping the Youth League runs again next year, it’s well worth giving it a go. Maybe see you there?

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2 Responses to “Youth cycle racing”

  1. Jonathan Abra Says:

    Oh my goodness! Winning? Can open, worms everywhere…

    But how about the example of my own daughters, neither of whom is setting the racing world alight with their performances thus far? Both of them won their categories in the race league by dint of turning up and racing week after week (‘90% of success in life is about showing up’ – who said that?), gradually accruing points and being cheered on as they did so. They are now on conversational terms with a whole range of adults who they know only through cycling: commissaires, signers-on, time-keepers and league organizers. They experience the buzz of intense (although not intense enough in the case of my daughters!) physical exertion followed by the mellow after-glow of chillin’ and chatting with their mates.

    And how about this? My elder daughter raced last Saturday and got dropped on the third lap of twenty four, eventually being lapped twice by the bunch. She was never going to be on the podium but kept slogging away and as others dropped off the back managed to reel some of those in; her target then to un-lap herself and finish on the same terms as so many as she could. Last year at the same race she cried when she came last. This year she was last but-two and knew she had worked hard for those two places. Sport as metaphor for life? Why not? After all, what else do we achieve by going round and round a town centre for an hour and finishing where we set off from? (Maybe the metaphor is more powerful than I thought!)

    • Dave Horton Says:

      Briliant, thanks Jonathan, for sharing your thoughts. And well done to Bethan for persevering and improving on her previous performance last weekend.

      As a bit of a philosophical existentialist, believing that (there is no God and therefore) it’s incumbent on us to make meaning and thus to build a meaningful life, I agree entirely with cycling as a metaphor for life. I find it amazing how I can set off from my door, ride for 2 or 3 hours, and return to my door having done something which in most respects there was ‘simply no reason’ to do. An outsider could look and say ‘well what was the point of that?’. Yet there is so much experience and meaning in those hours on the bike, and in everything which surrounds those hours spent on the bike (such as all those connections and relationships which you so rightly note get made and built as a result of our participation).

      Best wishes

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