A tough little circuit, more regularly used for motorcycle racing, with a flat semi circuit on the summit, but the full route included a long descent before a short and brutal ascent back up to the top faced the field at the Scarborough Cycling Festival, hosts to another round of the Youth and Junior National Series.
Liv AWOL development rider, Lauren Higham, riding in her Welwyn Wheelers colours, gave the Liv AWOL team a real boost before their race by winning the Youth A Girls National Series round, with what seemed like a very calm and calculated race. Even on her 3rd and final climb up Scarborough’s mini Alpe d’Huez, unlike many of the field, I didn’t see her gasp for air once. An impressive win, and congratulations to Lauren from everyone in the team.
The junior women’s race was an exciting affair, but very challenging. Six times around the summit semi circuit, then six full laps – which meant six climbs! The first couple of laps were relaxed and controlled, with 15 riders starting off just before the memorial.
Really nice to hear one marshal on the course proudly announce the inclusion of local rider Hannah Bayes of Liv AWOL in the women’s junior race. After that, I had to confess my allegiance. Riding for Liv AWOL alongside Hannah were Connie Hayes and Rosie Wallace.
Hannah played it pretty cool while on the top circuit, while Connie and Rosie chased down any attack, and even attempted a few of their own. However, taking on the full circuit was inevitable.
The pace increased as they hit Mountside Hairpin for the first time, and the field started to split. Hannah maintained a consistent position in the middle over the first two full loops, while Rosie and Connie worked hard together to regain some distance lost after the effort they’d made up top.
By the fourth climb, Connie and Rosie were back with the bunch, and the gruelling pain of the uphill effort seemed to becoming easier. Afterwards, they confessed to have resigned themselves to the inevitable by this point. Each rider seemed to be finding their own way to reach the summit, but they endured, keeping in close proximity to the rest of the field.
Words of encouragement chalked into the climb may have helped.
And so with crowds cheering on from the side, all riders climbed the hill a sixth and final time, leaving a 300 yard sprint on the slight incline to the finish line for those that had any energy left. Hannah showed some local grit, and came in 7th overall, Connie 11th and Rosie just behind in 12th.
BigBobbleHats generously provided prizes to the whole Junior Women’s field to ‘cap’ off an end to a great day of racing.