The Youth tour of Scotland is a three-day, four stage road race around Perthshire. It features two sixty km races, a team time trial and a forty km Kermesse. One boys team and one girls team travelled over with Jen, Terry and Gillian in the Orwell van. It was a fantastic opportunity for all of us to experience the top level of youth racing and to work as a team

Andrew flat out!


Stage one was a six km course which we raced nine times, the course started off flat, it had a few hills and a gradual decent to the finish. There was a huge bunch of eighty riders starting off at the start line. We started off very fast and because it was such a large group of riders it was hard to get to the front. After the first hill the bunch split, and I found myself in the second group along with my team mates Andrew and Conor. We had fun working as a team. We even took turns attacking while the others stalled our group.

On the third lap my chain fell off and got stuck between the crank and the frame. I was left on the side of the road for a few minutes trying to get it out. Finally, I got the chain out and I was left to chase for a lap until I caught another rider and we worked together for the next two laps until we got back into the group.

The breakaway was so far ahead that it caught our group so, we did one less lap. I got confused and didn’t know we were doing one less lap so, I dropped to the back of the group to throw my bottle and missed the sprint. I really enjoyed the weekend. We had a good team of 8 riders across the boys and girls categories.  The racing was fast and good fun.

Ronan leading the way


Stage two was a team time trial set over a 6.5km loop. Hopes were high as we had been training and practicing our technique for it. On the day we studied the course and discussed how we should take every corner and straight. About half an hour before our time slot we began to warmup, we arrived at the start gate well in advance.

Adrenaline was running high before the start but once we were underway we began doing what we had practised. We got off to a great start and were running like a well oiled machine. Unfortunately I was dropped on one of the sharp corners but kept on driving till the end. In the distance I could see my teammates going hard and looking out for each other. We were proud of ourselves after the stage.

Stage three was a fast course designed for sprinters, we warmed up half an hour prior to the start of it. We left early to get a good position in the bunch. There was a great atmosphere before stage three but when the whistle blew we were all fighting for positions. My teammates were doing great and we were all looking forward to racing. We finished the stage knowing we had done our best.


Dylan in the zone


Stage four consisted of sixteen Laps of a two and a half km course. This stage took us down a technical decent with sharp corners, into a long winding flat section which kicked up at the end to make a steep and difficult finish to each lap. This stage was gridded with the jerseys and top 20 on GC at the front, with everyone else filling in behind.

The race was fast from the gun and I wasn’t quite able to hold the pace of the bunch, after settling into a group of three we worked together to catch some riders ahead and I soon found myself in a group of about 10 riders including my teammate Andrew.

On the last lap I positioned myself well and attacked at the base of the climb, I managed to cross the line first in our group with Andrew third across from our group.

Conor digging deep


Our bikes and bags were all loaded into the Van and car and we headed home with a well-earned bag of chips. Thanks to Scott, Joe Daly’s and Scott Orwell Wheelers for giving us this amazing opportunity.

Thanks also to Jen for organizing the trip, Gillian for ensuring we were all fed and Terry for cleaning our bikes after every stage and making us feel like pros.

Final thanks goes to my teammates: Caoimhe, Annie, Katie, Clara, Conor, Dylan and Ronan for making the trip much more enjoyable. I hope we can get to go next year again!

The boys and girls teams 2018


Our weekend away with Scott Orwell Wheelers started early on Friday morning at 6 in the morning. It started off well with a laughing fit in the back of the car after our girls Team manager, Gillian Baker, chased the team van to ask how to start the car. We made our way up to Larne ferry port and we all enjoyed a mess about on the windy deck catching our hats before they blew away!

Friday evening came and our first meal at Strathallen school was thoroughly enjoyed. After sleeping as best we could on lovely brick beds, we woke up the next morning to some lovely Scottish sun which surprised us all as we expected rain just like we get at home.

Stage 1 was a hilly course which us girls had 5 laps of. After a warm up it started off better for some than others. Team member Clara Rock was unfortunate enough to get caught up in a nasty crash in the neutral start of the race resulting in a broken helmet. However we all manged to laugh it off as she told us funny stories of race organisers asking if she’d like a bike service mid way through racing.

Sunday came and we were all buzzing for our team time trial. We finished in a time of 11.35 and yet again were amazed by Clara’s performance after managing the whole time trial with rubbing brakes that resulted in her front wheel barely moving!

The girls team in the TTT

Later that day we had stage 3 using the same route as our TT earlier that day. Finally I had myself a good race and after hitting into the side of the road with 1.5k to go I managed to pick myself back up to my bunch and win the bunch sprint. Chuffed to say the least with that particular ride!

Finally Monday came and we had yet another 6 o clock, early morning. We had previously been told stage 4, the Kermesse, was a fun one... however after a practise lap we decided cyclocross bikes would’ve been a better option! We all managed to finish all 4 stages dead but alive and home time came later that evening. After yet another entertaining car drive back to Cairnryan ferry port and enjoying some quality Scottish chipper chips we all got onto our ferry home taking plenty of ‘end of trip pictures’ including all our team managers coaches and mechanics. We said our goodbyes and looked foreward to the next weekend of racing, Rás na Nóg.

Caoimhe in Stage 4

And finally I’d like to thank Gillian Baker, Terry Reilly, Joe Dalys, Dave Tansey, the event organisers and finally Scott Orwell Wheelers for making the trip happen and giving us all such an incredible experience as a team at a big international event. And last but certainly not least we’d all like to thank Derek Webb print design for providing us all with team polo shirts and jumpers to help our coaches identify us all in the crowd of riders!

And to round it all off a report from Clara:

The Youth tour of Scotland, was probably one of the best experiences of my sporting years, it was a fantastic experience meeting new people and making new friends in the cycling world. It was my first race at stage racing.

Stage 1

This was probably the most eventful stage for me, I crashed my bike the first 100m down from the start, with the help of Liz Roche and a gentleman whom picked me up and encouraged me to continue on I tried to focus on the race ahead. The crash and the cuts to my arm and leg knocked my focus for the rest of the race which was hard considering it was the first stage. I tried hard to get back into the race and I was determined to finish the stage because if you don’t finish a stage you can’t continue the rest of the race and stages.

Clara in an eventful stage 1


Was the TT (time trial) we went off as a group but about 2km into it I couldn’t keep up and got dropped, but I was later to discover after the race, that my brake pads were rubbing whilst I was cycling the TT which overall would have slowed me down. This happened when another rider brushed of my bike at the start of the race.

Stage 3

This overall was my favourite stage of the whole 4 stages it was all descents and straights and I stayed in a small group with one of my team mates which made the race more enjoyable.

Stage 4

This was the last stage of the YTOS it was a CRIT race and was very enjoyable and exciting, the massive hill at the end near the finish of each lap made the race much more challenging, but I was determined to finish all the laps with as much positive drive as I could find. We had to do 10 laps it took a lot out of everyone as we were very tired from the 3 previous stages.

Over all I am so happy and grateful to have been offered a place and to gain so much experience.

The opportunity to race at an amazing event for an amazing club was just fantastic.

Clara & Katie in Stage 4