Friday 1st April

On the 1st of April I left home to travel to the Youth Tour of Scotland 2016, I was so excited as I have heard some interesting stories from last year about it. The drive didn’t last that long and before I knew it we had arrived at Strathallan school which is where I was going to be staying for the weekend. We unpacked the car and I took all my stuff and checked in at race HQ with my team (Fraser MacDougall, Matthew Running and Douglas Crawford). After checking in we then went to where we would be staying. It was a large room with 4 beds. The parents then all left and the four of us unpacked our kit and got it ready prior to stage 1 in the morning which is at Forteviot. After that we all got called by our team manager, Andy McCaffery, for a team briefing. Then all the teams that were competing (boys and girls) went to the auditorium where we all got a welcoming presentation from Scottish Cycling. Afterwards we had dinner then back to our rooms where we pinned our numbers on our chosen piece of kit and went to bed.


Saturday 2nd April Stage 1-Forteviot (6k per lap)

After a long day from yesterday we were all shattered and woke up refreshed ready for stage 1. After breakfast we went back to our room and got changed appropriately for stage 1 of my first ever national race (almost international as there was also a team from Belgium there). The girl’s race was before the boys. After the girls race we cycled down to the start where our race was delayed because we had to let a local bus through! Eventually the race could begin and it was a rolling start until we were off! The race route had a very steep hill in it and when the car that was pacing the peloton pulled off, the race was on. I tried to get a good position in the bunch, which I did, until the hill arrived where a massive crash occurred taking out almost half the bunch. All of a sudden it went from a road race to a cyclo cross race as riders were lifting their bikes over the people who had crashed. Fortunately I still managed to maintain my position in the bunch until crossing the line after the first lap where I discovered the race had to be neutralised because of the crash! Anyway, after the rest got back on they started the race again. It of course had to be lead out by the same car from before. After the car pulled off the front, the pace dramatically increased. I got myself in a good position yet again and it wasn’t until a couple of laps later of the 6k course that I had to stop for a minute because I had to be sick! I think its was just due to me being nervous! Luckily it didn’t last very long and I got back in a bunch. I stayed in it until the finish. I thought I did pretty well despite the fact I was sick! After the race finished we cycled back to Strathallan School where we washed our bikes.




Sunday 3rd April Stage 2 and 3 – Coupar Angus (6km per lap) and TTT (Team Time Trial)

We once again woke up and got changed into casual clothes for breakfast, after breakfast we did gear check just outside the main hall where breakfast is. After gear check we went back to our room where we put our kit on, then down to the bike shed to collect our bikes. After we all collected our bikes, we went to find a place to do our warm up. The warm up we did was 15 minutes with several of sprints in it. Once we finished our warm up we put our bikes on the roof of Andy’s car and drove to Coupar Angus as it was 30 miles away. The drive lasted about 45 minutes. Once we arrived we set up all our stuff and the club gazebo and immediately started our warm up for the Team Time Trial as we were the 1st team to set off. Once we finished our warm up we cycled up to the start line and waited till our team got called. I was leading it out for the first straight just to get it up to a reasonable speed. Once we got to the first corner I pulled off and joined the back. Once we turned the corner, there was a headwind which made it really difficult to maintain speed causing us to lose a rider but before we knew it the wind was on our back and we were flying! (To finish we had to have 3 riders which we did) the finish line was insight and we gave it our all to the finish as we would get our time from the third person to cross the line. Our time for a 6k lap was 11.44. We then cycled back to the gazebo where our bags were lying which had clothes to get changed into for lunch. Lunch was getting held at the town hall just a short walk from Coupar Angus. Once we finished lunch we walked back to Coupar Angus to get ready for the road race.


After we recovered from the time trial we could start our warm up for the race. It was the same warm up as before 15 minutes with a series of sprints. Once we finished our warm up we made sure we had everything for the race, and cycled up to the start yet again. We didn’t have to wait long before the start. All the riderz team were comfortably in the bunch for 2 laps until out of the blue a pile up happened in the middle of the road. The bunch had now become a string, luckily I didn’t crash which is always a good thing! The race then became neutralised but no one knew at the time and were still at race pace. Suddenly the pace dropped and we stopped at the start/finish line. We waited until the crashed riders got back on and the race restarted from the number of laps that we stopped on. It was a slow pace for 1 lap then after that there was constant attacks but there was so many that I couldn’t keep on (something to practise for next time!) but I wasn’t alone and I was in a group of about 20. Unfortunately disaster struck for me and I punctured my front tyre! It took a long time for the service car to come which I got pretty annoyed about. By the time it came the bunch had lapped me. After a quick wheel change (once the car came!) I made my own way around the course and I finished, meaning I could do the following stage the next day.


Monday 4th April Stage 4 – Kermesse (2km per lap)

The last stage was in and around the grounds of Strathallan School. We could easily cycle there but the weather was terrible which made it seem a lot worse. When we arrived we sorted out all our stuff and watched the rest of the girl’s race. Once the girls race finished we started our warm up which was the same warm up as before. After our warm up the 3 of us made our way to the start line where we were gridded into 2 groups with us being in the group behind. The first half started then 10 seconds later the rest of us set off. Obviously it was quick as many of us wanted to get in the front group. We all made the move to the front group and were comfortably in the bunch, everything seemed to be going well until the hill arrived. It was a narrow short steep path and I am not a hill climber, I am more of a sprinter, so I was out of my comfort zone! Anyways after going up the hill I just managed to hang on in the bunch until there was an attack….. Yet again I couldn’t hang on and I lost the wheel. After that I dug so hard to get back on a wheel but it was no use. I didn’t give up and continued all by myself to the finish, so I can now say I finished the YToS 2016!


I am grateful for being given the opportunity to take part in this fantastic event, and I hope that I have the chance to do it again next year. I want to thank Andy McCaffery for being there for all of us when we needed him, and Douglas, Matthew and Fraser for being very supportive. I recommend this to club members as it gives you the experience of riding with some of the top riders from the UK. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend, despite the weather!


Scott Moffat



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