David Harrington, Luca Holmes, Killian O’Brien and Patrick O’Sullivan were selected to ride for Orwell Wheelers at the London 2 Day on 2-3 June. Ivan O'Brien (as team manager) and Dmitri Griffin (mechanic) travelled with them for an amazing weekend of racing.The two days were split between Redbridge Cycling centre in Essex and Cyclopark in Kent: both amazing facilities for all sorts of cycling disciplines, and unlike anything we have in Ireland. There were other Irish riders who had made the journey from Waterford, Cork and Belfast, but the vast majority of those racing were from throughout the UK: it was a key race in their national youth crit series, so all the best riders were there. The atmosphere throughout was relaxed, friendly and welcoming, while the racing was REALLY hard in each of the large fields of Under 14 and Under 16 boys and girls.We had lots of highs and lows, probably more than our fair share of bad luck, but huge amounts of learning and excitement: the whole trip certainly felt like a lot more than three days! The generous support of Orwell Wheelers made this possible: thanks so much!

Here’s David’s report on what happened:

There were 99 riders on the startlist for the u16 boys race alone, making it the largest event I have participated in by far, most of whom I had never raced against before. None of us had ridden the prologue course, but we all finished close to each other with Patrick taking the best time, despite unfortunately crashing over the line.  
The second stage was on the same circuit as the TT but in the opposite direction. The course was fast and smooth with an uphill finish and the pace was high throughout the whole race. Killian was doing really well in the bunch but was taken out on a corner about halfway through the race and broke his helmet, forcing him to drop out. It was a hot day, which did not suit me, and I suffered a lot as a result. Patrick managed to keep up with the high pace for longer, despite his injuries, and Luca had a great ride, staying in the bunch until the last few laps. 
The circuit on day 2 was flatter, which I appreciated, but very technical. This meant there was a constant fight to move up through the massive bunch before the corners, and a huge acceleration out of them, particularly toward the back. Killian and Patrick put in huge efforts despite their injuries. I managed to stay in the shade and drink more, which helped me in the races. Luca had a great day and finished the highest on GC out of all of us. 
Aside from the racing, it was great to travel for an event and spend so much time with my teammates, as well as Ivan and Dmitri who provided great advice and encouragement. Overall, this race was a fantastic opportunity to experience an extremely high level of competition and racing in large groups. It was the hardest race I have done so far, but I think the team can utilise what we learned to great effect in future races. Thank you so much to the club for supporting us to make it all happen. 
I hope you get a feel for the sheer thrill of riding in races like that from David's report!