A TEAM of elite young cyclists have powered their way to victory in the first area Wattbike championship.
Staff and students at Carmel College, Darlington, went head to head with teams from Darlington School of Mathematics and Science, Haughton Education Village, Bishop Barrington School and St John’s School, Bishop Auckland, to sprint for first place at the indoor cycling competition.
Comprising of one boy and girl from each year group and two teachers, the teams each took turns to cycle one kilometre with maximum points awarded to those finishing in the fastest times.
Organised by Kevin Kilcullen, Carmel College stormed ahead to take the gold medal position with a score of 82 points over closest rivals DSMS with 52 points.
Assistant curriculum leader for PE at Carmel College Peter Philips, who triumphed in the teachers sprint race with a new schools record of 1 minute 7.15 seconds, said: “Having the Wattbike challenge in school encourages students to try a different sport to those that are available in most schools.
“At Carmel College we already have a cycling club which rides most weekends and throughout the holidays and we also completed the coast to coast challenge last year.
“Cycling is a great way to help young people stay fit and healthy and the Wattbike Challenge is a great way to start to encourage more pupils to take up the sport with an element of good healthy competition.”
Developed in association with British Cycling and used by World and Olympic champions, the Wattbike is designed to replicate the sensation of real cycling and uses the latest in digital technology to monitor speed, cadence and distance to track the cyclists’ progress as they race.
The inter school’s challenge is an annual event organised by Darlington Borough Council’s Local Motion team to increase cycling amongst secondary school pupils.
Local Motion communications officer Laura Kane said: “The Wattbike challenge forms part of our work in schools to encourage young people to be more active.
“This is our first ever grand area final which is the culmination of a series of challenges in schools across Darlington and South Durham.
“The students really love being part of the competition and they really give it their all.”
Winning rider Jonathan Abbott, 16, of Carmel College, added: “I was really up for the challenge but it was a lot harder than I thought.
“My legs started to burn towards the end and I really had to push myself to the finish but it was all worth it.
“I started cycling about a year ago and ride about 40 to 50 miles every weekend now. It’s a great
sport and great way to keep fit.”
The competition has been a useful training exercise for Carmel Cycling Club for its Edinburgh to Newcastle charity ride in aid of St Teresa’s Hospice, for which fundraising is under way.