The highlight of the WestLothian Clarion Youth 2013 season took place last week when more than 60 competitors of different age groups battled it out for a podium place at the annual Santa Cyclocross race at Linlithgow Leisure Centre - and all in aid of Breast Cancer Care.
Despite the wintry conditions, many riders arrived in festive mood – some in fancy dress, others with tinsel-clad bikes, but all determined to put on their best performance in front of the club’s very own ‘cycling Santa’.
Double Scottish Road Race Champion Jane Barr was this year’s guest of honour at the competition.
Jane, who competed at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and is hoping to qualify for Glasgow 2014, said: “It was fantastic to play a part in the Santa Cyclocross and I was delighted by the enthusiasm and commitment shown by everyone involved. From the youngest riders aged just six, everyone gave it their best effort and, more importantly, had lots of fun.”
The youth race was split into three groups, with the youngest riders tackling a slightly shortened version of the course for 10 minutes.
Youth rider Finlay Turner, a P3 pupil at Linlithgow Primary, said: “It was a great race and so good to have a professional rider and Santa there! The course was quite challenging, but it was great practice for next year.”
After a short break, it was time for the adults’ race, with over 20 nervous riders – some new to competitive cycling (and strenuous exercise) – preparing to tackle the course for a gruelling 30 minutes.
As was widely anticipated, youth coach and riding machine Matthew Ball won the men’s race ahead of Gordon Scott, with Diane Chisholm winning for the women.
The Santa Cyclocross was also a valuable opportunity to raise money for a great cause. A signed cycling jersey and gilet, both donated by Jane Barr, raised almost £300 for Breast Cancer Care. Prizes for the event were also kindly donated by Elevation Cycles of Linlithgow and Pedal Power of West Calder.
Club president David Mason said: “This year’s event was the best yet. The atmosphere was fantastic and everyone had a great time riding the course, except perhaps some of the adults!”
“On behalf of the club I would like to thank Jane Barr for taking time out of her extremely busy training schedule to play such an active role in our final event of 2013. We look forward to cheering her on at Glasgow 2014”.