One of our Brand Ambassadors, Grace Ward, was selected to race at the Youth Tour of Scotland this year. A rising star in the youth ranks, on road, MTB and CX bikes alike, here is her review of the event. Shutt VR were honoured to help support the team supplying a set of our premium jerseys for the event.
Give Grace a follow Instagram - @gracewardracing
The Youth Tour of Scotland returned this year after a 3 year hiatus due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, the prestigious Youth Tour comprising of 4 stages over 3 days was contested between the UK cycling regions and open teams of 4 boys and 4 girls per team, this year hosted 19 female teams and 20 male teams from all around the country, regions that do not have enough riders available to them can enter Open teams made up of riders from mixed regions.
"My favourite part of the event was definitely the opportunity to race a multi-day stage race at high level, having different stages that all had points on offer made it feel like a professional race" - Ellie Harrison - Clifton CC
I was lucky enough to be invited to the event in an open team of riders from 3 different regions, I represented the South West, Ellie Harrison from the Yorkshire Region and Izzy Mayes and Lydia represented the North East, the team had a good mixture of age and experience, personally this would be the biggest event I have ever been involved in certainly on the road as my background of racing has mainly been off-road based.
Getting the team organized at short notice meant jumping through a few hoops, team manager Diane Mayes did an excellent job of organizing this at short notice and getting our entry in to British Cycling, our team name 'LEGI Composite' was decided which is the first initial of each team member, sourcing a neutral kit for the event was proving difficult as it needed to be the same for each team member and neutral, luckily I am the brand ambassador for the premium cycling kit manufacturer www.shuttvr.com, Shutt Velo Rapide were happy to step in and provide kit for the whole team which was a massive boost and very much appreciated.
The tour itself was based at Strathallan School in Perthshire, we were based there for the whole weekend in boarding accommodation with the stages in the local area, an early start on Day 1 for the Prologue and the Hilly road race was a short warm up ride from the school.
The Prologue was a short 1km out and back TT at full gas, based in Forteviot on a rolling fast section of road into the village, this was a real good way to get the legs warmed up and get rid of any nerves for the main event in the afternoon, the event village had good atmosphere with teams from the regions warming up in their team gazebos, the event had a real Pro feel to it which was somewhat intimidating!
I was pretty nervous about the hilly road race in afternoon as the Peloton would consist of 80 riders! Something I had not experienced before. The course was 7km long with a tough rolling hill climb half way round, surprisingly I managed to stay in the main bunch which had split after the first lap, Izzy was doing an excellent job of mopping up the QOM points as well, I was only dropped from the main group on the last lap so was really pleased with how it went, team 'LEGI Composite' did have a jersey in the team at the end of Day 1 so a really good day all round.
"As close as you could possibly get to a Pro Level event as a young rider, an experience I will always cherish" - Grace Ward - Mid Devon CC
Day 2 was a short drive away to St David's, we first had to complete a one lap team TT on the fast flat course, we had never ridden together before so this was not practiced before the event, we did quite well finishing mid way down the order and we all managed to stay together to cross the line.
In the afternoon we raced 5 laps on the same course, Izzy once again attacked every lap to secure the QOM points and Ellie and Lydia had a really strong race, I was almost dropped on the last lap when Izzy dropped back and bridged me over to the main bunch just before the end and I finished in the bunch sprint! I was really pleased with how I raced and the legs felt good, great teamwork!
"Was great to be back racing and testing the legs against the best girls in the country, the courses were super fun to race and added a technical element that you don't normally get at youth circuit racing" - Izzy Mayes - JRC
Our last day of racing was a short 2km circuit around the school grounds with a short steep punchy climb up to the finish, although short it had to be climbed 10 times and after 2 days of tough racing this certainly stung the legs, the stage was completely different to the previous stages with the Peloton splitting after the first lap, small groups were formed and personal battles within those groups were fought out to the end, we all had strong races with Izzy competing in all of the Prime laps for the QOM points and once again securing the Polka Dot jersey.
"Being able to ride as part of a team particularly in the team time trial was a great experience and we had lots of fun" - Lydia Turan - JRC
And Dad of course! :)
Izzy Mayes - 19th - QOM
Grace Ward - 48th
Lydia Turan - 54th
Ellie Harrison - 64th
Grace Ward - Mid Devon Cycling Club - South West Region