The winter Cyclo-cross season is underway, but without a drop of rain, no chilling wind and certainly no mud, riders at round 2 of the South West Cyclo-cross league could be forgiven for not realising. Undeterred by these mild climes, the Taw Velo youth team achieved further outstanding Cyclo-cross results; this time at Court Fields School, Wellington.
Another good turnout for the U8s saw thirteen riders line up for the first race of the day. Following a fast and frantic start, a group of six young riders moved to the front and started to pull away. Within half a lap though, this group had split as Taw Velo's Louis Garnsworthy and fellow competitor from Team Tor 2000 broke away. Louis stayed close in second place until the final incline on the final lap where, out of the saddle, he powered to the front. With energy level falling, and wishing he'd had that extra Weetabix for breakfast, Louis was caught in the closing stages and crossed the line in second place.
Two Taw Velo riders - Edward Armstrong and Ellen Garnsworthy - took their places at the start line for the combined U10 and U12 race. After another fast start, Ed was one of a group of five riders that quickly established itself at the front. Ellen, fuelled with confidence from her win at Bodmin, moved up from the rear of the field to be part of the chase group within two corners of the start.
The rapid pace, combined with some tight and technical sections, caused the lead group to string out during the second and third laps. Initially sharing third place, Ed's consistent speed, along with a hint of an attack saw him edge away and make third place his own.
Stamina appeared to be the key ingredient for Ellen as she moved ahead of tiring legs in the mid and final stages of the race. Stamina rewarded Ellen with 1st place U10 girls and 2nd place girls overall.
In the final 200 meters of the race, Ed had the chance to lap Ellen but, showing great team spirit, they raced side-by-side and the Taw Velo duo sprinted over the line together.
With youth coach Darren Armstrong acting as line judge, Ellen and Louis's Dad, Graham, was Taw Velo's adult representation. In only his second cycle race (the first was almost 25 years ago!), Graham was one of six riders that rode in the novice category; a new addition to the South West Cyclo-cross league this year. The 30 minute race was closely competed but as the final-lap bell rang, Graham had just enough left in his legs to stay ahead of the second place rider.
Cyclo-cross is often cited as the fastest growing cycling discipline and, with the enthusiasm of both the organisers and riders witnessed this season, it's easy to see why. Let's hope this growth and enthusiasm continues as we move to next round, promoted by Taw Velo, on Sunday, 5th October at West Buckland School.
Full details of the league can be found on the South West Cyclo-cross website.