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The first weekend of August saw local Arran junior cyclist Louie Urquhart-Dixon participating in the International Youth Tour of Ireland in Erigal, Co Donegal.
The Irish Youth Tour is a 4 stage race which takes place over three days and plays host to some of the best youth band cyclists from the UK and Ireland.
Stage 1 is a 47km stage with two King of the Mountain (KoM) sections, Stage 2, a hill climb Time Trial, 3.2km rising up along the road underneath the iconic mountain Erigal, Stage 3 was a Criterium (a closed circuit race), and the final and Queen Stage was another hilly stage of 45km featuring the infamous Keelogues hill climb, a Category 1 climb which maxes out at 17 per cent with one KoM section.
The racing was extremely fast with average speeds of nearly 38kmph, nearing what the professional adult males race at. The weather was kind for most of the time. The weather and winds in Donegal are very similar to what we experience here at home, so Louie was very comfortable with the rain, headwinds and the hills. That said there was a monumental deluge and localised storm which did not relent and saw the cancellation of the Criteruim, I think that all the riders were quietly happy with the decision!
Fifteen-year-old Louie who currently rides with the Johnstone Jets, the youth section of the Johnstone Wheeler’s, gave a sterling performance and held his own, he was racing against youth road champions from all of the nations entered, he is still one of the youngest in his age band (Youth A, 14-16), and stayed with the main bunch through all of the stages raced, and finished over all placed 20th out of 80 riders in his age band, he had a 3rd place in the Keelogues KoM section, the steepest hill of the whole competition narrowly missing out on the KoM.
Louie is currently leading his age band Criterium series in the west of Scotland, with two races left to run. He has eight races between now and the end of September including the NFuse North West Youth Tour at the end of August, a three day stage race in Lancaster which he was selected for and invited to, and in October will be racing in the Scottish National Hill Climb event, and then British National Hill Climb event in Devon, and will be racing Cyclo-Cross and Mountain Bike events through the winter.
Earlier in the year he won the Cycling Time Trials (CTT) Junior National 10 mile Time Trial, then later that day he won the Hill Climb TT. Next year he will move up to Junior 16-18 and will be riding more road races which he is more suited to. The hills and roads of our beautiful island have been, and are the perfect training ground for this talented and aspiring hill climbing cyclist.
You will often see Louie riding the hills brightly clad or commuting to Arran High School or to the Velo Cafe in Lagg where he works, and often going very fast!
Louie Urquhart-Dixon warms up during the event. NO_B33cycle01
Louie keeps both him and his bike dry during a downpour. NO_B33cycle02
Louie out on the open road in County Donegal. NO_B33cycle03
Louie is full of concentration. NO_B33cycle04
Powering his way up the hill during the youth tour. NO_B33cycle05
The end is in sight for Louis in Ireland. NO_B33cycle06