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National Youth Circuit Championship

The National Youth Circuit Championships took place at the Cyclopark in Gravesend, presenting riders with a demanding track featuring numerous gradients and tight corners. Despite a dry start, the weather lived up to its forecast, turning wet as the race progressed.

Charlie Shalders, one of our rising young stars from Stratford Cycling Club faced this challenging course in his longest race yet. The U14 category competed for 1 hour and 15 minutes, with laps of around 4 minutes at a fast pace averaging nearly 25 mph.
Starting from the back of the grid, Charlie navigated the rolling start while still recovering from a lingering winter cough, even though it was now mid-July. As the race unfolded, Charlie managed to hold his position within the lead group for more than an hour, showcasing his resilience and tactical acumen.

As the weather took a turn for the worse, the dynamics of the race shifted when predicted rain began to fall, transforming the track into a slippery challenge. The sudden downpour tested the riders’ bike-handling skills and their ability to maintain speed and control. It was during this phase that the lead group’s pace and the increasingly treacherous conditions caused the elastic to snap, and Charlie lost contact with the lead group. He pushed through the adverse conditions, ultimately finishing 41st out of a 62-rider field. Though slightly disappointed with not showing his best form, Charlie gained valuable experience competing against the nation’s top young riders.

For Charlie and his supporters from Stratford Cycling Club, the National Youth Circuit Championships will be remembered as a significant stepping stone in his cycling journey. The event highlighted his potential and areas for improvement, setting the stage for future races. As Charlie continues to train and compete, this experience will undoubtedly contribute to his growth as a cyclist, preparing him for even tougher competitions ahead as he heads to the European Junior Cycling Tour in Holland next month.

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