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McMullen sweeps at Youth Cycling Cup

 McMullen sweeps cycling Cup races


   The St. Thomas cyclist wins three gold medals in local event's top division

    amidst a busy summer competing in elite races across Canada



  July 14, 2022


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By Rob J. Ross

ST. THOMAS - Sweeping the gold medals in the top division, at a recent Youth Cup summer criterium cycling event, is just the latest accomplishment for Jayden McMullen.

The 16-year old from St. Thomas, has been active this summer, cycling in races across Canada, and even a road race in picturesque Vermont.

Riding with KW Cycling Academy, McMullen won each of his three Grade A races, time trials, skills time trials and criterium, at a Youth Cup, Saturday, July 9, in London.

"My endurance," said McMullen, as one of his strengths, adding, "Basically, you have to find the right gear, so you're not pedaling too hard, but you can have a fast acceleration."

Endurance was key for the student, who just finished Grade 10, at St. Joseph's high school, as the very next day, McMullen finished fourth, in an Ontario Cup Elite Three 45-kilometre road race.

This summer McMullen has raced against the best young cyclists in Canada.

In late June, McMullen was the youngest in the field, placing 14th, in the junior men's criterium race and 18th, in a 116.8-kilometre road race, at the Canadian road championships, in Edmonton, Alberta. Both races featured members of Team Canada.

"I felt pretty good, because there was a lot of people I finished ahead of that went to Team Canada," said McMullen, a Cadet-aged rider (16 years old), who received an upgrade to compete in the junior races (17-18 year olds).

His results caught the attention of Team Canada officials, a team McMullen would love to ride for down the road.

"One of the Team Canada coaches talked to me about it," McMullen said.

In early June, McMullen finished 14th, in a Canada Cup U17 cadet mountain bike race, a hour east of Quebec City.

"Mountain biking isn't really my territory, but I did well," said McMullen.

At his first international event, McMullen placed fifth, in a stage race, in Killington, Vermont, in late May. His second race was derailed, due to a broken bike chain.

"I was feeling really good because it was one of those races where I came in front of a lot of older people," said McMullen, who did slow down enough to take in the scenery. "It was cool. Everywhere around you, there was big mountains and hills and really interesting sights. The mountains had trees growing off of rocks. There was still snow on the mountains. It was pretty nice."

Up next for McMullen are the mountain bike Nationals in two weeks, outside of Barrie and an international cyclo-cross event, in Wisconsin, in September.


Youth Cup

The Youth Cup featured four Grades (divisions), A to E, with the top grade having the longer distances.

Three riders from St. Thomas and one from Thorndale, with Attack Cycling, out of London,  had results that placed them on the podium.

Brody Mann, of St. Thomas, won the Grade B Criterium, finished third, in the time trials and fourth, in the skills time trials.

Eve Buczkowski, of St. Thomas, won the Grade C criterium, finished fourth in the time trials and sixth, in the skills time trials.

Thorndale's Harry Langford placed third, in the Grade D criterium, and fourth in both, the skills time trials and time trials.

Ben Buczkowski, of St. Thomas, placed second in both the Grade E time trials and in the criterium and fifth, in the skills time trials.

Matt Cole, of Mt. Brydges, finished second, in the Grade B skills time trials, and third in the criterium.

London's Linden Spence won the Grade B time trials and placed second, in the criterium.

Tomas Liska-Gardiner, of London, was second, in the D grade time trials and third, in the skills time trial.

Time trials is a race where riders go one at a time and are racing the clock.

Skills time trials is somewhat of a obstacle course, including slalom around cones, a tight turn, a complete stop in a box without putting a foot down and performing a wheel lift over a board. This event is to encourage bike handling skills.

The criterium is a mass start race, on a short, tight course, 1.4-kilometres for this event, where racers do a predetermined number of laps or race for a predetermined amount of time.