YOUNG GUN: 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 GUN: 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

24 hour Clarence Valley Ride for Youth kicks into gear

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

Clarence Valley mountain biking star Morgan Pilley helped create the 24 hour event five years ago after deciding to give back to his local community.

"It came about when I started talking to a few friends back here about doing some sort of charity event and we wanted to do something with mental health, specifically in the youth and we went from there,” Pilley said.

Morgan Pilley working away in the opening hours of the Clarence Valley Ride for Youth at the Junction Hill criterium track on Saturday.
Morgan Pilley working away in the opening hours of the Clarence Valley Ride for Youth at the Junction Hill criterium track on Saturday. Mitchell Keenan

Pilley said he has enjoyed watching the events rise in popularity from the inaugural edition.

"The first year was a bit of an unknown in terms of how we would do it but each year it has just continued to grow, not just with people coming out to help support it but also with people helping to organise it all,” he said.

"We've got so many great volunteers, especially Skye (Schatzman Sear) because she really puts it all together. But the event has been getting better and better every year.”

The track in Junction Hill was touted by Pilley as the perfect location as it was a surface for all and a good base for a great event.

"With cycling, it is something everyone can do and with cycling as my background it's a great way for me to get involved with the community. With it being a 24 hour event it gets people curious and it's just a really fun event with a great cause,” he said.

"It's a great track, it's nice and wide and it's really easy so anyone can come out and do a lap or two. It's not a race, the emphasis is on participation. It was important to do it somewhere short and this is a 700m loop so you can stop and go whenever you want,” he said.

Pilley has put in some mammoth efforts on the track over past years but he was hoping to go even further this time around.

"We'll have to see, each year I aim to do more than the previous year and last year I did around 650km. Hopefully I can get around that mark again, I do like to have a chat and be social so during the night I might have to pull a few hard laps to try and rack up a few kilometres,” he said.

The event will carry on through the night and will finish at 12pm tomorrow, make sure you get down to join the fun and support a good cause.



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