Months before we all became familiar with the amazing effort put into sport by paralympic athletes this summer, Matlock Cycling Club rider Emily Thoday was offered the chance to train as a tandem pilot for a visually disabled rider Alice Hayden.
The plan, masterminded by British Cycling, involved a group of young East Midlands riders starting from scratch and training to race tandems both on the road and on the indoor track in the velodrome with disabled riders.
Last weekend saw the culmination of the young riders’ season at the National Track Championships in Manchester, which included the national paracycling championships.
Emily and Alice have spent the season chasing Alice’s sister Lydia, piloted by Heanor Clarion rider Ana Gill, hot on their heels but unable to catch them, but this weekend saw the tables turn with Emily and Alice beating them and recording a new personal best in the first event, the 1k time trial.
Day two’s race was the flying 200m and Ana and Lydia fought back beating Emily and Alice, despite both pairs recording personal best times yet again.
The final event on day three was a 2km pursuit with youth and senior riders competing in the same race on both tandems and solo bikes. Emily and Alice set a tough schedule for their ride and stuck to it. This gave them the edge over their rivals Ana and Lydia, beating them by one second and, much to their surprise, a podium placing with a bronze national medal for the event.
High Tor was the venue used for this year’s British Schools Cycling Association (BSCA) East Midlands Hill Climb Championships on Sunday morning.
Alex Harrison of Queen Elizabeth’s Academy won the Boys Over 15s category with a time of 1 minute 10.5 seconds.
Ed Hoon of Anthony Gell School was first in the Boys Under 15s, finishing in 1:29.1.
The Under 13s Boys event was won handsomely by Highfields’ George Swindell, as he climbed to victory in a time of 1 minute 11.3 seconds, beating second placed rider Callum Gore by over 18 seconds.
Third place went to Highfields’ John Hurtstone, who was just under five seconds further back on 1:34.4.
Ellie Smith of Anthony Gell School won the Girls Under 13s event with a very impressive time of 1 minute 18.7 seconds.
Smith’s time was the third fastest time of the day, irrespective of the age or gender categories showing just how strong she is this season. Marriane Kuszynski rode well to finish in second place.
Whaley Bridge Primary School’s representative Alexander Barton did his school proud as he recorded a fine win in the Boys Under 11s race. Barton edged out Joel Hurthouse by just under 45 seconds with the pair finishing on 1:42.9 and 2:27.4 respectively.
Amelie Wayte of Lea Primary School narrowly beat Wirksworth Junior’s Libby Smith with the pair finishing on 1:28.8 and 1:36.5 respectively.
Third place went to Sara Briggs of Derby High School, who wasn’t far behind either on 1:40.7 making it the closest fought battle of the day.
Louis Swindell of Lea Primary matched his elder brother’s performance as he took the win in the Under 9 Boys event, finishing in a time of 1:45.1.
Ben Mellor of Darley Churchtown CofE Primary School won the Under 7s Boys race in a time of 2minutes 58.4 seconds.
In other news, Dominic Wibberley is the 2012 Matlock Cycling Club Road Race Champion as he finished comfortably ahead of the chasing Matlock riders on Saturday’s event held at the Darley Moor Circuit near Ashbourne.