CYCLING: The annual Clarence Valley Ride for Youth took place at the weekend with riders from all walks of life saddling up at the Junction Hill criterium track to raise funds for local youth mental health initiatives.

The event was a huge success, with 142 riders coming together to battle rain and beaming sunshine in humid conditions to complete 13,796 laps of the 800m track to combine for 11,036km, 1520km more than last year's event.

Event organiser Skye Schatzman Sear from The New School of Arts said she was expecting another rise in numbers but couldn't believe the support they received at Junction Hill this year.

"We were aiming for 10,000km this year but they smashed that out of the park with a total of over 11,000. Everyone worked really hard so thanks for such great efforts to all involved," she said.

Clarence-born mountain biker Morgan Pilley chipped in with another top effort in the fifth year since he helped conceive the event and he was pleased with the input from the community.

"This year once again we've had more riders than ever and we've done more cumulative laps than ever before. In this moment we've raise more money than past years," Pilley said.

"It was fantastic this year, we've had so many more riders looking to push their limits and beat their personal bests and we've had a lot more younger riders come out and do a lot of laps, it's been a great year."

Young Thomas Brady-Smith hits his straps in the opening hours of the Clarence Valley Ride for Youth at the Junction Hill criterium track on Saturday.
Young Thomas Brady-Smith hits his straps in the opening hours of the Clarence Valley Ride for Youth at the Junction Hill criterium track on Saturday. Mitchell Keenan

Young riders combined for some excellent efforts, with seven-year old Leo Smajstr kicking off the training wheels to produce 93 laps and nine-year old Thomas Brady-Smith adding a whopping 202 laps himself, alongside a number of other junior stars.

Pilley didn't quite reach his distance goal but he was pleased to have been able to share the experience with the community before completing a final 'victory lap'.

"I did about 500 kilometres, I didn't push it too much this year because I wanted to spend a bit more time riding with riders and enjoying the event this year. It was certainly good to get amongst everyone without needing to put my head down and do too many kilometres myself," he said.

"It's a good way to get everyone together, it's a group event so it's good to celebrate together on one last lap."



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