Published: 29 July 2013
Article: Mark Wyer - Eastern Go-Ride Coach
Image: Tim George
This summer, the Go-Ride team in the Eastern region worked with St. Ives Cycling Club to develop road cluster training sessions, at Alconbury Airfield in Cambrdgeshire. The site is now a huge working industrial estate, however Mike Hoy, Club Coach from St. Ives CC, managed to negotiate the use of the old runway for some road training sessions. Young riders based in Cambridgeshire don’t have easy access to closed road circuits or training facilities, so this was an exciting opportunity.
On the first evening, Mike and Go-Ride Coaches, Mark Wyer and Alison Lilley, were faced with an enthusiastic group of about 25 novices. The site is vast and the first task had been to set up sign posts, so that parents could find their way to the meeting point. Riders came from a number of surrounding clubs to make the most of this opportunity.
The coaches started off with some basics, using a car park adjacent to the Nuclear Bunker – quite an unusual and eerie venue! As the sessions progressed, the coaches were able to utilise sections of the runway perimeter road for more challenging activities. In the following weeks, the coaches were pleased to note improvements in cornering, sprinting and bunch riding.
By the final week, riders had progressed enough to take part in a Go-Ride Racing event. The organising team set up a testing circuit on the main runway, which is wide enough to have a straight along the width let alone its length. The riders started off with a time trial and finished with an exciting road race.
Mike Hoy, Go-Ride coach, said “I am delighted to have been able to use this facility at Alconbury Weald for road training. As a Go Ride club, we are attracting a great deal of interest from young riders whose enthusiasm has been sparked by British successes in London 2012 and the increased exposure of cycling following Team Sky's well publicised successes in the Tour de France.
“We are already fortunate to have the support of Hinchingbrooke Park for our off road training and as road bikes are becoming more accessible for young riders, Alconbury has given us the ability to coach on substantial tarmac areas. This gives us the flexibility to set up different courses in a safe and completely traffic free environment. I believe that this is also producing safer riders on the road by building their awareness of handling bikes at speed.
Mike added: “As a club, I believe that our success in Eastern region mountain bike racing to date would not have been possible without facilities such as those at Hinchingbrooke Park. I hope that we can continue to capitalise on the continued support of Andy Brading and his team, and deliver club successes on tarmac. We are already introducing young riders to time trialling, where the long runways have given them the opportunity to get up to maximum speed and hold the pace, and a number are now regularly competing in club time trials.
“Thanks must go to Andrew Brading of Savills the Site Manager for allowing us use of the venue.”
St. Ives CC has managed to secure the venue again for an Eastern Region Series Road Race (ERYCS) on 17 August. Please see the racing calendar for more details.