Will’s tour of duty a wheel adventure
HAVING had a taste of what road racing is like in Europe, Coffs Harbour cyclist Will McClennon is itching for more.
The 16-year-old has just returned from a five-week stint with the Spie Doiterloigne team and raced in Belgium, Holland and Germany.
McClennon rode in half a dozen races in Europe with one of those being a three day tour. His best result was a third place finish in a one day race in Belgium.
The tour event in Germany was an eye opener for the St John Paul College student as he was part of a peleton that had 200 riders in it.
"It was pretty crazy," McClennon said.
"Here it's only 30 or 40 bikes but over there, 200 guys and you've just got to try and stay at the front pretty much otherwise you just don't race. You just sit at the back and you do nothing."
Another aspect of racing in Europe McClennon found as an eye opener was the intensity of the racing.
"We averaged 46 or 47 kilometres an hour," he said.
"They race hard. Over here everyone sort of just looks at each other and waits for someone to go but over there it's just on the gas the whole time."
On some of the downhill sections the Coffs Harbour Cycle Club member said the speeds reached almost 100kmh.
McClennon's goals were already set around riding professionally but this experience hardened his resolve to achieve his dreams.
"I just want to be a professional racer if I can," he said.
"Going overseas at this age was to get a taste of it and see if I liked it. It's a bit of experience too and gets my name out there, be friends with a few teams, that sort of thing."
There was no shortage of positive feedback from his team but rather than pack his bags and head overseas now, the Split Espresso Racing Team member said his education is his main priority at this point.
"They said I could come back but I'll probably go back after HSC," he said.
"I'm only in year 10 but I'll probably go back after that if I'm going alright."
With an Australian time trial title for his age group already under his belt the future looks bright.
This weekend McClennon is in Wollongong for a two day Illawarra Junior Tour.