Racing Metro 15
Racing Metro 15 has been set up with the aim of developing and inspiring riders in their region. Sport in Profile Magazine recently caught up with Team Representative Steven Walton to find out more about the good work they’ve been doing lately.
He told us, “I’ve personally been involved in coaching for around twelve years now, coaching riders from the age of five upwards. One of the riders I used to coach in the early days is now a member of the Great Britain National Team.
Although instances like this are rare, there are more riders coming into the sport as its public profile is much greater now, which makes things more accessible. I set this club up last winter to address something I felt was lacking.”
“Giving young riders the benefit of your experiences is one of the most satisfying parts of coaching, If you can prevent someone making the same mistakes you did when you were starting off, it can save years off a riders career.
The challenges are that often you know you’re doing the right thing, but there’s sometimes little support as people sometimes want to see evidence that what you’re doing is working. People are more liable to latch onto something they can see is already working.”
Aims and Objectives
“We set Racing Metro 15 up to provide a level of support that we felt riders weren’t getting in the area around Newcastle. Some clubs feel they can’t or don’t have the experience to coach riders to a level they really need to prepare them for the eventual jump to Junior, and then Senior level.
When there are some set ups catering for this, often only the best riders are selected. As long as the rider shows some promise and is prepared to work hard, we’re prepared to give them a chance and show that anyone, with the right level of support, can achieve things that they could never have thought they could. That’s not to say we don’t want a few winners as well, just to show everyone how it’s done, but it’s not the main aim.”
“So far I’d say it has went quite well in the first five months. We’ve received lots of positive comments around what we do and the design of our race kit. We’re having to balance the fact that some riders have had to take more time out than they anticipated for exams which have disrupted their season more than they would have liked, but obviously we’ve allowed for the fact that this is their future so sometimes, training has had to take second place.
We’ve shown them though that taking an hour out of constant revision and getting out on the bike can have a beneficial effect. Our links with our supporters give us links into coaching and training programmes that would allow any rider to go to the very top if they have the ability. While this won’t affect most of our members, it’s an example that there’s no upper limit to what someone can achieve.”
“As we only started this winter and made a conscious decision not to ‘poach’ riders from other clubs, its gone quite well. The main aim for this year is to let everyone know what we’re about and get the name around. We’re trying to attract riders of the 14-18 age range that we can start with a complete 1-1 coaching and training programme immediately and some in the 12-13 age group that we can prepare for the time they reach 14 years.
We still need to build on our current rider base and position and further reinforce what we do. Our main focus, those that will form our race team will be relatively small. The rest will still support this as a larger club base, so riders can drop in and out if they feel it’s too restrictive for them or takes up more time that they feel they can give.
We’re planning a series of ‘workshop’ type of days when we’ll get named people in to inspire us even more. Some of our riders will start to focus on Cycle-Cross shortly while the rest will require a weekly road ride, and there’s always mid-week Turbo sessions when the weather gets bad and the nights are too dark to train outside.
We’re planning a few come and try it sessions. Anyone can find us on Facebook as Racing Metro 15 or we often assist with sessions with Newburn Racing Academy.”
“Youth development is an essential part of what we do. There is huge evidence to show the beneficial effects of exercise at a certain age and how this carries on into adult life, even in those that don’t exercise past their teenage years. It’s also been shown that those that have taken part in a sport at that formative time are more likely to take it up again in their late thirties and forties.
It’s not so much just getting involved in a sport; it’s something that’s going to stay with you for life. At the same time there are a number of people who will coach you to go fast in a straight line, but don’t reinforce the skills and techniques aspect of riding a bike. The abilities to focus, spatial awareness, confidence and communication are essential life skills a person needs whether in sport or just life.”
“We’re more of a team than a club although anyone from the local community could apply to join. A rider would have to be quite involved with the sport already as our programme means we’re trying to fill a gap to riders towards the end of their Youth years, so at the moment, we don’t teach the basics as there are lots of very good Go-Ride clubs already doing this and there wouldn’t be any point in us duplicating that, but there are some riders who’ve never joined a club as they feel it’s not for them.”
“One of the greatest challenges over the next five years is accepting that some of our riders may have to leave the club as they go to University in other parts of the country. Hopefully some will have to move on as they achieve their ambitions at the top of the sport. In that respect all we can hope for is they remember where they came from! The other problem is that if we can’t find the facilities that we need, we’re always going to have to find ever more innovative ways to get our riders up to the standard they expect us to.
Ideally, we’d like to be based at a dedicated facility which we’re working on with British Cycling and Local Authorities already. Newcastle is one of the few major cities in England that doesn’t have at least one. It’s been shown by example that this is a massive boost to recruitment. Aside from that, I’d like us to have shown at least one male and one female rider to have made one of the Great Britain national teams.”