PILGRIM Flyers youth mountain bike club are in the running to win a major national award.
The city outfit, who were only founded in 2013, are one of the finalists in the Daily Mirror Pride of Sport Awards.
The Pilgrims are nominated for the Grassroots Team of the Year award. Among their rivals will be Trafford Rowing Club.
The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on December 7.
Representatives of the Plymouth club will get the chance to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in sport, including Eddie Jones and Claudio Ranieri, who are in the running for coach of the year.
Pilgrim Flyers club coach Gary Andrews said: “As club coaches we give up our time on a regular basis for the good of the sport, because it’s rewarding and because we enjoy coaching the younger generation.
“To have recognition on this scale is a really nice reminder that what we’ve created is a bit special.”
Fellow coaches Jay and Maddie Horton, who will be attending the awards ceremony, added: “Taking the trip up to London, and getting the chance to dress up in something other than cycling kit, is really exciting for us.
“We are really proud of what the club has achieved and can’t wait to find out who’s won the award.”
The club still do not know who nominated them, but a judging panel, which included Ben Shepherd, Rebecca Addlington, Martin Offiah and Natasha Baker, were impressed by the work they have done for junior cycling in the Plymouth region.
Pilgrim Flyers were set up by a group of enthusiastic volunteers who came together to find a way to give young people in Plymouth access to cycle coaching. At the time, there were plenty of cycling clubs in the city, but none catering for under-16s.
Initially, summer taster sessions for 10-18 year-olds were set up for both road cycling and mountain biking. Coaches from various clubs within the city were involved, and it proved popular.
After those trial sessions, the Pilgrim Flyers youth mountain biking club was born.
When the club first started it had between six and 10 riders and three volunteers, but now they have more than 50 riders, plus a waiting list, and eight volunteer coaches.
They cater for all abilities with the aim of giving young riders the foundations they need to be able to tackle more and more challenging terrain, as well as improving their fitness and making friends.
They also offer additional sessions for riders who want to compete at national level.
They have set up a good working relationship with Plymouth City Council, who allow the club access to parts of Central Park, as well as other patches of woodland around the city. Also, in January and February they are granted access to the top two floors of Western Approach car park, which enables the young riders to get out of the elements and it also creates some really exciting and fast riding using the two levels and the ramps.
Pilgrim Flyers have also recently been granted a licence by the National Trust to use Saltram estate for coaching sessions.
“With cycling in general becoming a really white-collar sport, with the adverts portraying it as an alternative to golf, we try really hard to make it a fun, accessible activity that you can do on just about any standard of mountain bike, as long as it’s safe,” added Maddie Horton.
More information on the club can be found HERE