Dylan Simpson - Commonwealth Youth Games

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Well, Commonwealth Youth Games were an absolute experience and a half! Being able to represent New Zealand in the warm weather of the Bahamas was awesome! Not only being able to ride and race in the Bahamas, I was also able to go to attend all of the other sports that were involved. The Athletes village was a water front resort with an all you can eat food buffet. The start of the games began with an opening ceremony that was short lived by the cyclists as we had to leave early due to our race being the next day. We were there for the teams’ lap around the track with all 1300 athletes from the commonwealth. After we left there were many speeches and then dancing and music with the locals and a live stage band.

The first day of competition was the Time trial which was a 9km ride around a loop that we would be seeing a lot of during the road race. Overall the time trial didn’t go to plan at all and I struggled to put out the power needed to be competitive and finished in 21st place. It was one of those days that I just had no legs. After the Time Trial, a few of us found our way down to the table tennis table and began to play amongst ourselves. Eventually the Anguilla team turned up to play against and my table tennis partner James Croft and I managed to beat the team to take our first Win of the trip.

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The road race four days later was completed in 34-degree heat (in the shade) and was awesome. The race was aggressive from the gun with multiple attacks going on in the first two laps. I gave it a go a few times to try and create a break, but continued to get shut down. A group of 4 managed to finally get away and get out eventually to a 2-minute lead. There was another group that were away with the peloton starting to chase. With the Scottish, Australians, a Jersey rider, and myself driving the chase, we caught the chasing group but the break were able to stay away to win by about one minute. I finally finished in the bunch in 16th place. It was a great experience to be able to race with all these other countries and athletes.

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To conclude the games, there was a closing ceremony with plenty of speeches and some more dancing by the Bahamians. The whole team that went was awesome and they were absolute legends in and out of competition. It was so cool to meet and watch these athletes tear it up.

Overall the trip was awesome and I have so many people to thank who made it happen and helped me get there: My coach Grant Wilson, all those that contributed financially including the Bike Manawatu Junior Development fund, and finally, last but not least, my Family, Mum and Dad, Nan and Grandad and Grandma and Grandad who are all my biggest helper, sponsors and motivators!