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Racing update from Irfan Zaman

posted 25 Mar 2015, 14:50 by Bigfoot Go-Ride   [ updated 27 Mar 2015, 06:55 ]
Irfan Zaman first joined Bigfoot Go-Ride in 2010 when he was nine years old. That year he took part in the first ever Bromley Go-Ride Racing League, finishing second in the under 10 category. With some Go-Ride coaching helping to focus his natural talent and competitive spirit, he went on to win his age group in the Bromley league for the next three seasons.

During that time, Irfan was also successfully riding in London X League events and taking part in various higher level races, including winning the cycling time trial at the London Youth Games in 2013.

This season, Irfan is entering a full programme of national level junior road and circuit racing. At the time of writing he's currently ranked the 3rd best U14 in the country for road cycling, which is a fantastic achievement.

We asked Irfan to jot down a few words about his season so far, which we've published below. It's great to see just how far he has progressed from those early days in Pickhurst School playground, and we hope it provides some inspiration to our other young riders. Good luck for the rest of the season Irfan!

Irfan Zaman in action

My name is Irfan Zaman and I am currently ranked the 3rd best U14 in the country for road cycling.

For the past three months I have been racing regionally at Hog Hill (Redbridge cycling centre) and Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. I have had an eventful few races and will write a few sentences about each race.

My first race was in Hillingdon and I was racing with the U16 age category as well as my age group (U14). It was a perfect day for cycling with barely any wind and a moderate temperature. Despite not having raced for around a month and not having done a major road race for nearly 5 months I did very well as I was the only U14 rider who managed to stay with the U16 and I finished fifth out of the U16's. This was a great start to my road season.
A week later I had a race at Hog Hill on a rainy, cold day. Within the first minute of the race I was in a breakaway with two other riders and rapidly pulling away from the group. After half the race had gone by we were around one minute away from the group and still pulling away, but unfortunately my chain jammed going up the hill and this lost me a lot of time as I was now on my own trying to catch the other two riders. I managed to catch one of the two riders who had been dropped but realised I had been riding on a puncture! I had to pull out as there was still around 10 minutes of the race left but I was pleased with the race as one of the riders I was in a break with came second in a National Track Event in Wales a few weeks before. 

My next race was at Hillingdon and was a perfect day for riding again. As I had a problem with my derailleur I was racing on an U12 gear restriction. Despite this I managed to break away from the group early on in the race. We worked together and in the sprint he beat me by a bike length.

I then raced at Hog Hill two weeks later. It was very cold and we only used the flat bottom circuit as a new BMX track was being built at the top. I broke away with the same rider as I did in Hillingdon a few weeks before. On the last lap I punctured again but decided to carry on riding and ended up winning the sprint by an inch!
About a month later I was racing in Hog Hill again. I had just recovered from an illness so didn't know how I would do. I made two attacks and pulled away from the group each time but no one wanted to go with me and I couldn't stay away on my own so I dropped back. As my fitness wasn't at its peak due to my illness I struggled to stay with the group but had a strong sprint. Another rider and I pulled away in the sprint and he beat me by half a bike length. The rider who beat me is the under fourteen Cyclocross National Champion and his older brother is National Champion for road, mountain biking and cyclocross. I was happy that I was competing with such a rider.

Now that I am racing at this level, training is becoming increasingly difficult. I am hoping to be able to ride with some of the Bigfoot CC Level 1 or 2 riders, and we're working with the club to find some suitable ride buddies.