The cycle of cycling…

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Opinion, Racing
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Well, its that time of the year again… track season is almost done and road season is calling  juniors with the promise of a fresh start and what might be.  For some, the track will continue right through to early-March for Junior Nationals in Adelaide – congratulations to all those that have made their respective state teams – but for most, the road ahead is taking up most of their thoughts.

I think this is one of the great things about the sport, as one season draws to a close the next offers a new beginning and a chance for improvement.  It keeps the kids (and their parents) fresh and enthusiastic.  Throw in opportunities to race mountain bikes or cyclocross or even BMX throughout the seasons and what is there to get stale about?!?

On the national front, the junior road season kicks off proper with the National Mountain Climbing Championship (aka Alpe D’Buffalo) on the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of March – a week earlier than usual due to Easter.  The timing definitely gives the kids who aren’t racing Track Nationals an advantage to take a break and get their climbing legs.  It’ll be tough for those coming from Adelaide to go straight from the velodrome to a 20km climb!

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Some of the winners from the 2012 Junior Mountain Climb Championships >> Photo courtesy Tony Reeckman Photography

One event that is missing this year is the Australasian Schools Cycling Cup (ASCC).  Not sure what happened here, but last year it seemed to lack the support of either State or National federations.  It didn’t help that the organisers had moved overseas, but the event had locked in long term sponsors (rare in these times) and was a terrific pathway for schools to get into the sport.  I think this is a major loss and will be sorely missed.

The first junior tour of the year is Adelaide’s historic Santos-Central Districts Junior Tour (13-14th April).  2013 will mark its 46th running and it really seems to have found its home on the calendar as well as its geographic home in the Flaxman Valley.  A real highlight is the road stage that climbs Menglers Hill (oft used in the Tour DownUnder) but really, this tour rivals Canberra for the best run junior tour on the calendar.  My advice is to make the trip if you possibly can.

The season enters a regular rhythm following this with junior tours across a variety of states.  My favourites are:

  • Wagga Wagga Junior Tour (27-28 April 2013)
  • Goulburn Workers Junior Tour (25-26 May 2013)
  • Mersey Valley Junior Tour (8-9 June – not confirmed date)
  • Canberra Junior Tour (6-7 July – not confirmed date)
  • Eildon Junior Tour (13-14 July 2013)

There is still some discrepancy between how different states run their junior tours.  Some use time gaps, others use points.  My feeling is points for the under-13s moving to timed tours for the under-15s and above.  Most tours offer two grades for age categories so blow-outs are less likely.  IMO, points for the under-15/17s lead to desperate bunch kick finishes, which in turn leads to crashes.

Any how… get ready to welcome road season.

 

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