2019 saw Scott-Orwell Wheelers return to Strathallan with two teams in the Youth Tour of Scotland, a tough 3 day - 4 stage race. As always they pulled together as a team both on and off the bike and once again they have come together to give us a flavour of their weekend away.  Chapeau guys!

CAOIMHE MAY REPORTING: Event Report - as opposed to Race Report!

This year we left on Thursday afternoon rather than Friday morning which gave us an extra day of a holiday before being stuck into racing our legs off around Scottish roads.

We got lots of laughs over the long weekend and really did enjoy ourselves. Being my birthday on the Thursday we had a mini celebration on the ferry with balloons which seemed to be a struggle for some to blow up as well as cake and of course your typical cringy happy birthday song!

On Friday we rolled up to the very posh Strathallan school in our very professional team car and team van looking very much like the pros we are!

We got out in our matching Scott Orwell wheelers hoodies and polo shirts and began our weekend of bike riding. The event was massive and organized in a way that really did make us feel pro. As a team event it was exciting to do our course recce as a group rather than on our own and riding past other teams in the sunshine.

Sadly Friday was the most sun we got for the majority of the weekend and Saturday morning was not the most attractive weather to get me into race mode. So we signed on, got gears checked and pinned numbers on while we waited for my favourite stage to begin.

Still pouring rain, freezing cold and grey, I still decided shorts and a short sleeved jersey would be wise to race in... The flag dropped and away we went on stage 1 of 4. An hour later finishing on the winners time I was chuffed but shivering rather a lot. The struggle of changing out of wet gear was real!

However it was worth getting into warm clothes and back out to support the boys after being praised for our dedication to the team when most riders went back to accommodation.

Dinner in the canteen with all other 159 racers followed by the presentation of stage 1 gave us quite a buzz.

Sunday brought us more grey skies and not a whole pile of luck to me. We rode a strong team TT and got over a minute quicker of a time than last year as well as finishing with all 4 riders.

Later that day I decided shorts and a short sleeved jersey was yet again a great idea however thankfully it wasn’t raining and not quite as cold this time around. Another hour later and I was across the line after winning my bunch sprint which was the second bunch to finish.

I piled on the clothing layers yet again and went back out to support the rest of our team. Another race day - another session of presentations and not so tasty canteen food. Extremely tired meant early to bed to refresh ourselves the best we could before a very fast final stage- the kermesse.

The skinsuit was whipped out and stabbed by pins for the very last race of the weekend! Typically the only race with sunshine being the last.

Unfortunately I did not have enough in me to stay with the bunch and suffered - finishing 1 lap down on Zoe Backstedt who finished miles ahead of every else! After making a bet with Zoe before the weekend that she would more than likely lap me in that stage, I won the bet and got my only prize money of the weekend!

Time came to pack up and say our goodbyes to friends both new and old and start our mega journey home. 4 hours of loud music, traffic and funny texts back and forward from our team van to the team car, we arrived at the ferry port with our well earned chipper chips! On the boat we reflected on what went well, what we learned and what we got out of the weekend and it was safe to say we all gained a lot from the experience of such a massive event. Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who helped us out and got us there and back safely!

Thanks to: Scott Orwell Wheelers, Scott-sports, Aidan Hammond, Womens Commission, our parents, team support and in particular to Gen who made this all happen for us and who thought of absolutely EVERYTHING!!



Here’s our 2019 report from the Youth tour of Scotland, the international youth race based in Perthshire. Consisting of four stages over three days, it is one of the longest races' youths get to race. Our boys team consisted of Ronan O’Connor, David Forbes, Ruairi Byrne and myself Andrew Ryan. We were joined by our girls' team, Caoimhe May, Annie Roche, Katie Reilly and guest rider Aoife O’Brien. First up is Ronan with day one of YTOS 2019.

Ronan in the lead bunch!

We all woke up on Saturday morning looking forward to the race, but all being a bit nervous. We went to breakfast, went to gear check and then signed on for stage one. We headed to the stage start which was only a short 5-minute drive from our accommodation. Stage one of the Youth Tour of Scotland was 9 laps of a 6.5km circuit, a 60km race. The course had some short hills with a descent and a flat run in, to the finish. We started off well with Andrew, Ruairi, David and I all starting in the front two lines. There was a neutralized start of about 1 km, when the flag dropped it was a fast start with a few attacks. It was a fast race with the average speed over 38km/h. I was happy with my result finishing in the bunch with the same time as the leader. After the stage we cooled down on the rollers and headed back to the accommodation for our dinner. Later, that evening we went to a talk in the theatre by Rab Wardell, a former professional cyclist. He shared his stories about how he made it as a cyclist, which was interesting to listen to. After that we went back to the accommodation on campus and recovered for the next stage

Ruairi Byrne walks us through day 2 with two stages, a TTT and a flat road race The long night's sleep helped with the recovery after a hilly stage 1. We woke up to a nice big breakfast which fueled us for the team time trial stage 2. The nerves were building the closer we got to our time trial. We were quickly on the rollers warming up for stage 2. Not long after, as a team we rolled down to the start line. A couple of minutes went by and before we knew it, we were on the start line being held up by some of the organizers getting one of the best team photos we could have gotten. I was the first rider of the block going full gas ahead of my teammates for a minute straight in the red, as you'd say. Next it was up to David, Ronan and Andrew to go into the red. Not to long after (felt a lot longer than it was...) the effort was over in a whopper time of 930. Next thing on our schedule was to recover for stage 3 which commenced later that day.

Stage 3 was by far the best stage for the team with 3 of our 4 riders staying in the bunch for the whole race! It was a fun fast start on lap 1 and 2 where I was able to stay in. But as I said to people when I got back to Ireland, once you get dropped in Scotland, you're dropped and there is no getting back in with the pace they're going on the front. Overall stage 3 was my favorite race of the weekend as I was able to stay in the bunch for a few laps.

Finally, we have David Forbes with his take on the final day of YTOS 2019

The final stage was on Monday. It was a kermesse and consisted of 16 laps of a 2.5km circuit. The course was technical with a lot of potholes, loose gravel and a speed bump. It was a very fun but hard race. At the end of the weekend I was very tired, but I had thoroughly enjoyed the trip and had gained a lot of experience from the racing.

Massive thanks to Jen, Terry and Una who gave up their weekend to bring us to Scotland. Thanks also to Orwell for helping us go to Scotland and for letting us use the car and van. Of course, thanks has to go to all our parents who supported us in going to Scotland and in all our cycling excursions. Finally, big big thank you all my teammates who really made this trip the trip that it was.



“I went to the UK for the Youth Tour of Scotland for my second time. When I was last there, it was a really big shock, the standard of racing is just so high over there with 80 of the top UK female riders including Olympic development riders and even a classic winner (Zoe Backstedt). This year I was a lot more prepared. Scott Orwell Wheelers had selected a really strong team this year, with Caoimhe May, Annie Roche, myself (Katie Reilly) and guest rider Aoife O’Brien from Lakeside Wheelers.

Stage 1 

Forteviot, long circuit road race (lap is 6.63km). We had to do 5 laps the circuit was really tough with a big hill. 

I did really well, I stayed in the front bunch for two laps of the demanding circuit. When I got dropped, I got into a bunch of about 5 riders. Two of the riders kept attacking while the rest of us just sat in. Slowly more groups and other stragglers where caught by our group. On the last lap one girl attacked on the steepest part of the climb. Slowly we were reeling her in. Coming into the finish it was a descent and I saw a gap and attacked. I caught the girl that had attacked on the line and won the sprint.

The conditions were extremely tough with very heavy rain and at points there was even hail stones.

Stage 2

The 2nd stage was a team time trial. I was really happy with it as I finished with team. We came 13th out of 20.

Stage 3

St David’s, long circuit road race (lap 6.9). It was the same course as the team time trial we had 5 laps.

The pace was really fast from the start. I got dropped when Zoe Backstedt attacked on the second lap.  I got into a good group we were a small enough group that could just about see the group ahead (containing my teammate Caoimhe May). Unfortunately, there was a crash in my group and a few riders went down. In the sprint I came third which was really good for me.

Stage 4

Strahallan, short circuit Kermesse race (lap 2.55). the girls had 10 laps. The Kermesse course was very narrow and technical and narrow with a steep hill (12% gradient) at the finish.

The kermesse was really fast and fun it is a really nice course to finish the weekend on. Unfortunately, I had a mechanical and my front derailleur wouldn’t shift into the big ring which was grand for the hill but meant I couldn’t carry speed on the descent.

Overall the weekend was really fun. the racing over there is completely different to what we have here in Ireland. I am really thankful for everyone that made it possible for me to go to Scotland. `Especially Gen, Una and Terry. A special thanks to Scott Orwell Wheelers and the Women’s Commission for their support”.