Kieran Wynne-Cattanach, aged 20, from Llanfairfechan in North Wales, achieved a bronze medal at the recent BUCS Cycling National Hill Climb Championships, in Stocksbridge, South Yorkshire.
The competition saw 261 university students race to set the fastest time up the steep, challenging gradients of Pea Royd Lane. Competitors cycled 700 metres up the hill, with around 100 metres of vertical elevation gain, at an average road gradient of 14%.
Kieran clocked an impressive time of 02:23.4, earning him a bronze medal.
Just two seconds separated the three riders on the podium. Kieran said: “Different types of climbs suit different kinds of riders, and this one was well suited to my abilities as it is very steep, but not too long. I gave it everything out there, the final minute was a complete blur!”
He added: “I aimed to pace myself for the first minute, then after that, I just wanted to keep pushing harder and harder to the finish line. There was this corner with about 300 metres to go that had a big crowd of students supporting us, so that gave me a boost and definitely helped get every last bit of energy out of my legs. After the finish line I sort of collapsed on the verge and couldn’t really move for at least 10 minutes!”
Kieran started cycling five years ago with his local club, Rhos-on-Sea Cycling Club. He began to race two years ago, starting off with the local time trials and circuit races, and slowly progressing to road races across Wales and the North West of England. At the beginning of the year, Kieran joined Maxxis 4 Racing Team, competing in Greece for the UCI International Tour of Rhodes and also in Ireland for the Suir Valley Stage Race.
Kieran is the President of the University’s Cycling Club and is already looking forward to leading the Club to success in future competitions. He said: “This year we’ve already had some great results with myself at the Hill Climb, but also with our new Captain, Gabrielle Duckworth, who came 14th in the Track Points race last weekend. We’ve got a really enthusiastic new bunch of riders this year and we are planning to do a few charity events. We are looking forward to hopefully competing in the BUCS Downhill Mountain Biking competition and returning to the BUCS Team Time Trial, Road Race and Individual Time Trials.”
Kieran is in the final year of his Sports and Exercise Sciences degree and has recently been awarded a Sports Scholarship from the University, to allow him to progress his cycling career alongside his degree.
Kieran said: “I got the news I had been awarded the Sports Scholarship from the University of Chester a couple of weeks ago, and it was huge for me. I’ve always struggled a bit with how expensive cycling can be, so this got me really excited because I am able to train in a gym over winter, get help from the personal trainers, travel further to races, and also get the opportunity to go on a training camp just before the season starts in 2018. The Scholarship has got me really motivated for next year and I can’t wait to prove that I was the right choice for the panel.”