Wednesday March 21, 2018

EVENT REPORTS - Spring 2013 to Present

GWCC Reports Section

Welcome to the Glasgow Wheelers Reports section. If you have an event to report on, you can download a GWCC report form HERE, fill this in for you road, time trail, social or other event - add photos if you have them and EMAIL the webmaster!!.

Event reports from JAN to OCT 2012.
Event reports from FEB to JUNE 2011.
Event reports from JUNE to OCT 2010.
Event reports from MAR to MAY 2010.

Aug & Sept Results Round Up
17th Sept 2014 (by Jamie Drever)

By no means is this a comprehensive round up of the past two months but it gives you a flavour of some of the top performances Wheelers have been delivering. The latest good news comes from David Griffiths who secured his 1st Cat license last Sunday with a great 2nd place, just being pipped on the line in the Jolibar Trophy in Aberdeenshire which took in the tough haul over the Cairn O' Mount. This is a fantastic achievement and richly deserved. A month earlier David also clambered onto the podium, this time at the Battle of the Braes near Callander.

With 2 wins under his belt from earlier in the season, Jason Roberts has had one of his best seasons for a long time. Perhaps it's his revised work commuting arrangements or adoption of the Obree training plan. Either way our evergreen doc is doing a 'Horner' (non-pharmaceutically...), turning back the clock and showing the young guys how it's done. Most recently Jason scored a 2nd place at his 'home' race, the Sam Robinson Memorial. This race is synonymous with the Dukes Pass, a climb known to our Aberfoyle man inside out.

Rob Friel has concentrated on mountain biking this year, his first with the Wheelers. On Sunday he became Scottish XC Champion at Dalbeattie and with that event took the 2014 Cross Country Series too. In August Rob also took a 2nd place at Lochore Meadows behind the winner, Rab Wardell. Rob is now preparing for the 24hr world championships. Best of luck, all I can say is rather you than me!!!

Ten Under the BenWOSCA (MTB)
21st June 2014 (by Bob Drummond)

Saturday 21st of June saw my third attempt a tackling the day of pain that is Ten Under The Ben in Fort William. Seems like an odd choice of an event for a guy that never goes mountain biking (had to remove my race numbers from last year when I was prepping the bike last week), but really enjoy these marathon endurance events after doing the Leadville 100 a couple of years back. TUTB is a ten hour mountain bike marathon using a ten mile loop encompassing many of the trails at the base of Ben Nevis (often using large portions of previous World Cup tracks). It can be tackled in pairs, triplets or quads...I entered solo (along with another 260-odd on the day).

The run up to the race didn't go quite to plan. Took the Epic for a spin round Pollock park on Wednesday evening before the GGCC road race and noticed a wee bit of clicking from the derailleur but didn't think much about it at the time. Had a quick look over it on Thursday night (with a plan of driving to Fort William on the Friday pm) and noticed that the chain was skipping off the bottom jockey wheel. Cleaned the whole thing down, but still couldn't get it to work properly. Decided I might as well change the brake pads in the meantime. Front changed fine...rear was a different matter. Got the pads back in but they were almost touching. Separated the rotors with a flat head screw driver, repositioned the pads but still no better. Time for panic bike, no racing for Bobby...

Next morning, stuck the bike in the car, did a ward round then sat outside Thomson's cycles waiting for the shutters to go up. Once they opened, Gary stuck my bike up on the stand and got to work while I went back to continue the first case of the day. Called at lunch time only to find that he'd managed to separate the rotors, but couldn't find they're kit to re-fill the hydraulics. Queue more panicked calls around the bike shops of Glasgow to find somewhere that had the kit to do it and also could do it on the spot. My first call to one of Glasgow and the UK's 'top independent cycle shops' was less than helpful (despite the purchase of said £3000 bike a couple of years back). Fortunately, Andrew at Alpine bikes in the West End however didn't even hesitate to tell me to bring it straight in and he'd fix it straight away for me. True to his word, 40 mins later he called me having fixed the brakes and realigned the sprocket. Race back on!

A wee bit of prep and packing (mostly Mrs D to be honest) and we were on our way, a cool box full of a selection of Shot Blox, Honey Stinger Waffles, Honey Stinger chews, Cliff Bars, ProBar protein bars, Perpetuem solids, 500mls of Hammer Gel and 10.5litres of Perpetuem weighing down the back of the car (plus the obligatory PBJ sandwiches).

The next morning we were up bright and early (mostly due to Jamie repeatedly yelling 'HIYA!' at us at 0645). Wheelers kit on, bike back on to the roof and a drive to the Nevis Range. Picked a spot in the solo pits and laid out my bags and spares followed by a hug from the wee guy and Mrs D and it was time for the 0930 start.

This year we were lead out down the Tarmac road for a change, preceded by a pipe band and an original Model T ford...then the race began...

Now the thing about TUTB is that unless you're at the front, as soon as the course tightens, there's some serious bottlenecks on the first lap. I was probably about a third of the way back so it wasn't too bad, but if you're near the back, it can seriously slow you down. Problem is that there's always some fannies trying to pull around people (frequently ending up in ditches for their efforts). There's also the obligatory first mile mechanicals where at least 5 or 6 guys will be standing at the side trying to figure out why their bike is buggered after only turning the cranks a handful of times. Then there's also at least one casualty who's tried to pin it too much on the first descent (often trying to follow someone with Wardellesque skills) and is lying in a heap in the bushes. I don't mind the relatively slower start though, as it gives me chance to recce the course a bit, plus stops me killing myself in the first lap and struggling for the rest of the day. My target isn't to win this thing, it's more to survive, to not get injured and to try to improve on last year (and beating loads of people on the climbs is also fun too).

Really struggled on the first few descents as I really wasn't handling the bike all that well. Braking at the wrong point and picking rubbish lines really didn't help either. It's also a skill to try and let the other (more talented) descenders through as well. Eventually made it back to transition in one piece with no mechanicals.

At this point it's probably worth mentioning my mountain bike mechanical history. Starting with Leadville where I snapped my chain 10 miles into the 100, then shortly lost all of my repair kit after I didn't close my saddle bag properly resulting in soft pedalling for the remaining uphill segments. First attempt at TUTB saw a total of 5 flat tyres on the day taking me up to my final spare inner on my last lap. Last years TUTB saw a switch to tubeless, which still punctured on the first lap (spraying a high pressure jet of sealant about 20 feet into the air to my dismay), resulting in a 4 mile run back to the pits to put in an inner...

The next couple of laps went well, with a 5 min break in between each for some food and fluids (as well as refilling bottles). Started to feel it a wee bit on lap 4 as I was now around 5 hours in. After lap 5 things started to get hard. By this point I find it difficult to get much food in...pretty much everything makes me feel sick other than water, and I didn't fancy the old 'heave and ride' from last year. Managed to carry on with the Perpetuem and some gel enough to keep going but was starting to drift down to around 4mph on some of the steeper climbs. The descents were starting to hurt like hell now as well. Lacking significantly in upper body strength, my forearms and grip strength were taking a battering on every descent, and I was starting to struggle controlling the braking. Upside was that I felt far more comfortable with my lines and riding the the more technical bits. Suspect that my times on the descents were far better on the later laps and hopefully made up a little for my slowing in the climbs.

By hour 8, everything hurts. Every little point of contact becomes a burning chaffing point or a blister. Every muscle in my back starts to spasm. Every clatter over some rocks rattles through your whole spine. Feet start to hurt since they've been wet from the river crossing at the start of every lap. Hands and forearms are starting to stiffen they're so sore.

By this point, I was climbing some of he steeper inclines so slowly that my Garmin thought I'd stopped!

Nevertheless, I finished my final lap at 2000 (although the tenth hour finishes at 1930, all laps started before this point can be finished, provided they're completed before 2030). This gave me 8 laps, totalling 80 miles for the day. I was initially a little disappointed by this, given I'd managed 92 miles last year...that was until I saw the total elevation. I though the course this year felt a little more 'climby' than before but really wasn't expecting that much of a difference. Last year I covered around 6,500ft of ascension over the day, this year was almost 11,500ft.

Covered in dust and dirt, bitten all over by midges, aching from top to toe, a good few scratches, cuts and bruises from toppling over a couple of times, and completely and utterly exhausted I sat on a rock in the pit area after my last lap and it all just drifted away, watching the wee guy wander over holding Mum's hand. A hug from them both, and thoughts turn to how to better my performance next year...

Overall: 58th of 233 in the solo category. Final time of 10:28:29 for a completion of 8 laps (80 miles and 11,500ft).

WOSCA Series RR - GGCC RR Part One
18th June 2014 (by Niall McAlinden)

This is my first report on the wheelers website so be nice. The race had an abundance of strong Wheelers entered so I figured it would be good fun. After sign on we all headed out for a warm up together and had a chat about tactics. It was decided that a Wheeler should be in every break and if it was a bunch sprint at the end we'd look after Nicky due to his strong showing in recent sprints. The start was great fun. I tried a move early but only stayed away for about 3-4 km before being swallowed up by a Nightingale driven bunch. After the roundabout I got a little boxed in and was stuck midway down the bunch back along the A77. I could see a lot of action on the front with lots of groups getting away before being pulled back.

By the turn off the A77 there was a group of 10ish about 15s up on the group. Thankfully I was much better positioned at the left turn off the A77 and made up a huge amount of ground before jumping off the front up the hill on the Stewarton Road. Nicky who had tried to bridge was the first rider I passed and he confirmed that there wasn't a Wheeler in the break. Initially I had a VC rider on my tail but when he refused to come through I jumped again and dropped him. This was then possibly the most painful 2 minutes of my cycling career as I slowly closed the gap on the break. The last 10m were particularly painful as the break was shelling riders up the hill. When I got on I took 3-4 minutes to catch my breath and then started coming through and taking turns on the front. The pace was high but I was OK and the 9 riders were all working. However, coming up the Clunch road someone snapped their derailleur and we were down to 8. Along the A77 we were almost in TTT mode and it was great to be in a group working so hard. We had the comm tell us we had 1:30 which made us all work even harder, averaging well over 30 mph along this stretch. Back onto the Stewarton Road and the hills were starting to hurt but we stuck together and by the Clunch we were told 2:45 - I don't think anybody really believed this. Up the hill on the Clunch I pushed the pace in an attempt to split the break but although we were briefly in two groups of 4 about 5s apart the move never really got away. After regrouping the pace slowed dramatically with people saving it for the big sprint.

I knew that I would not stand a chance in a bunch gallop so made a decision early that when people weren't looking I would go. About 500m before the finish I took my chances but with one of the two Nightingales working for the other and chasing me down I didn't really stand a chance. It was a little disappointing to be last in the break but still a fantastic race. Back at the pub I heard stories of Wheelers and Nightingales riding false tempo on the front and disrupting Glasgow Green in their attempts to pull the break back (they were the only big club not represented in the break). Apparently it was good craic... Next time I promise to do better in the sprint!

May 14th 2014 (by Nicky Cronin)

This was changed circuit from last year and consisted of 3 x 13 mile laps around Strathhaven. A full field lined up with 3 Wheelers on the start line. Things were pretty settled over the first couple of laps with a few moves going away but never really gaining any ground on the bunch. The 2 climbs in each lap were enough to make things painful but a large bunch was still together at the end of lap 2. At this point there were 2 lads up the road and 1 rider trying to bridge over. Feeling pretty good at this point I jumped over to the lone rider Steven Robertson thinking if we could get a working group of 4 together going in to the final lap it could stick to the end. However Steven was pretty spent and the two of were only gaining slightly on the 2 leaders and the bunch was about 20 secs behind. Within a couple of miles it was all back together again and straight away Jason Barnes from the gales attacked with about 8/9 miles to go.

Knowing Jason's strength on the track and TT I thought definitely a man to follow. The Gales had been pretty attentive in chasing moves so getting in break with Jason I knew his team would not react. Still feeling surprisingly ok I jumped over to Jason giving it pretty much everything to make it. Very quickly we had a good gap and we agreed a minute on the front each full gas to the end. I'm not sure how long we were riding for like this but it felt like for ever! We had no time gaps at this stage so we just rode absolutely 100% with the odd look back at the road. Every so often we encouraged each other with a few words but we didn't really need it - I think we both believed we had a good chance.

We navigated the 1st main climb at a pretty steady pace and noticed we still had a good gap at the summit. There was tail wind now into the finish so we were flying towards the small climb before a flat sprint to the line. Just before the climb a motorbike came past and it was clear the bunch were gaining ground. The outrider stopped at the corner mid climb advising we had 30 seconds which we both knew was more than enough at this stage to hold them off.

Coming into the finish Jason was leading which was perfect for me. I jumped onto the other side of the road and opened up the sprint gaining maybe a yard on him before he reacted. That gap didn't really change for about 250 meters until the line when it was probably half a wheel! My first RR win and what did I learn - it's as much about the heid as the legs!

BUCS Track Championships 2014 & Caird Park Spring Meet
May 11th-12th 2014 & May 4th respectively

Representing Glasgow in the annual BUCS Championships at Manchester were our very own David Griffiths and Neah Evans. They would find an extremely high standard with some stand out performances from some of the competitors. Both however equipped themselves admirably with some excellent results of their own.

David clinched 4th in the men's individual pursuit with a fine 4m48s.759. Neah entered a number of events, ranging from the 500m ITT to the scratch race and demonstrated her real versatility. She caught her rival in the bronze match for the 3km individual pursuit, took silver in the 500m ITT with 38.962s, then took bronze in the elimination race, another silver in the scratch race before finishing with a gold in the team sprint! A performance that screams out omnium rider!!

Speaking of which at the British Cycling Spring Track Meet at Dundee's Caird Park on Sun May 4th, Neah did enter the omnium, the multi-disciplinary cycling event equivalent of athletics decathloan/heptathlon. Two brilliant performances to mention are her first places in the 20 lap points race and the ITT. Well done! The picture above is from the outdoor Caird Park track.

Tour of the North, Northern Ireland (by David Lang)
Date: Easter Weekend

The 50th edition of this prestigious international stage race, traditionally held over the Easter weekend, once again attracted a high class field of both UK & continental based teams. This year's race was based in Ballymena, and our team representing Glasgow Wheelers CC, comprised David Griffiths & Andy Whitehall together with guest riders, Jack Beezer & Steven Lawley. Regrettably, Rob Friel had been forced to withdraw at the last minute due to a close friends sudden death in a tragic skiing accident in the Alps.

An exciting first stage of 68 miles was held in glorious sunshine, with the route taking the riders along the Antrim coast. However, the riders didn't have time to admire the view as they raced along at an average speed of 27mph. Early into the race, a group of 7 riders went away and began to open a gap on the chasing peloton. Unfortunately, our riders all missed this important break and despite several attempts to close them down, this group gradually opened a winning gap. In the closing stages, Fraser Duncan (Northern CC - Dave Kane) and James Cullen (Velosure Giordana) eventually broke away from their break group of 7, with Duncan taking a well deserved win. Our team all finished in the bunch, with Andy 12th, David 20th, Jack 31st & Steven 39th, all recording the same time as the winner. However, the damage had been done, with the breakaway 7 riders establishing a significant lead in the GC.

Sunday morning, saw us up and ready for a short TT 2nd stage. Just before the start, Andy's gear cable snapped but thankfully the excellent service provided by Chain Reaction had it replaced in time. Marcus Christie (North Pole CC) recorded the fastest time of 4mins. 38.45 secs for the 2.4 miles course. Of the 105 riders, our guys all rode very well with Steven 7th fastest (4:56), David 18th (5:07), Andy 24th (5:09) & Jack 38th (5:16).

The third stage (67 miles) on Sunday afternoon saw continual attacks throughout the race, with David Griffiths doing far too much work during the first half of the race, which was to prove his undoing towards the end. All of these attempted breaks came to nothing with the leading teams following every move. In the end, it came down to a large bunch sprint, with Fraser Duncan again showing his explosive sprinting power to take the win from Peter Hawkins (Cycling Ulster) and Richard Hepworth (Velosure Giordana). With the first 76 riders all being given the same time, Steven placed 16th, Jack 23rd (despite an early crash), Andy 34th with David struggling in for 84th. However, with 3 riders counting towards the team classification, we were now lying 5th overall from 23 teams, which was very good, with everything to ride for in the last stage.

The good week-end weather continued for Mondays final stage, from Galgorm on the outskirts of Ballymena. Early into the 72 miles stage a group of 6 riders had opened a gap over the chasing peloton which at one point had grown to 40 seconds, before they were pulled back by the main GC teams. As a result, there were no further breaks and we again witnessed another large bunch sprint which saw Fraser Duncan take a remarkable 3rd stage win from Richard Hepworth & Brian Stewart (Phoenix CC). However, despite winning all 3 road stages, Duncan's loss of 11 seconds in the short TT 2nd stage, resulted in his finishing runner-up in the GC to an excellent overall performance by James Cullen ((17th in this stage) who maintained the yellow jersey. Our riders again rode extremely well with Andy an excellent 10th, David 34th, Jack 43rd & Steven despite a crash & hard chase back, 47th, all recording the same time as the winner.

The team maintained their excellent GC 5th place (Steven 9th GC, Andy 15th & Jack 25th) behind the professional winning outfit of Velosure Giordana. Hopefully, P & O Ferries will resume their sponsorship for 2015 which will encourage other Scottish teams to experience Northern Ireland's most important stage race.

David Lang
Team Manager

WOSCA Series Rd 2 - Fat Lads Last Chance(by Campbell Rae)
Date: Sun 30th March 2014

Next up was the 2nd round of the WOSCA RR Series, the 'Fat Lads Flat Chance' - with a name like that I should have been in with a shot! With a brutal headwind heading north nobody wanted to work, so at times we were doing less than 24kph, which is a bit weird for a relatively flat race! All became clear on the return leg though, where we were averaging 60-65kph. This repeated itself for the whole race, with big sprints into and out of each turn. Unfortunately on the way into the last roundabout about 5km from the finish I touched wheels with the rider in front while in the top ten and nearly came off leaving me at the back of the bunch and chasing like crazy to get back to the front. By the turn about 1.5km from the finish I was back in something like 30th further down than I would have liked. I had maybe moved up to the top 30 when the sprint started, I somehow managed to get 5th in the sprint! Which leaves me wondering what could have been if I hadn't touched wheels...Oh well, next time!

Was really good to see so many Wheelers racing too, with 5 riders on the day. I think both Neah and Graeme were in their first road race, and with Bob Drummond coming back after a few weeks of illness it was always going to be a hard day for them! Kallen was going really well and was unlucky to get hit with a hamstring problem on lap 6/7. It's still good to get some early season points, and to find out where I am after a winter fighting through the constant rain and wind! Next up it's the 2nd round of the Scottish XC MTB Series at Cathkin Braes on April 13th, on the Commonwealth Games course. If anyone fancies trying out a bit of XC racing or heckling you should come along!

Scottish XC MTB Series - Forfar(by Campbell Rae)
Date: Sun 23rd March 2014

Bit of a change to the usual reports here with an update from the first round of the Scottish XC MTB series in Forfar. With my race starting at 2pm, there was plenty of time to drive up on the morning of the event and get a lap or 2 of the course in before sign on opened and the morning races kicked off. The course was good, a mixture of tight rocky singletrack in an old quarry and faster rooty descents through the surrounding forest. The lap was about 5.8km with 190m of climbing, so it was always going to hurt!

To be honest, I'm not really sure what happened during most of the race, it's a bit of a blur, save for hitting the deck on lap 2 and damaging my rear brake, making the steep/technical descents even more 'fun'. In the end, I finished my 4 laps in 1hr33:20, a bit slower than I had hoped but with no rear brake it's not too bad. My average heart rate of 188bpm with a max of 212 shows that I was at least trying hard enough! Finishing 3rd in my category was a nice surprise though!

Corrieri Classic 10ml TT(by Kallen Kerr)
Date: Sun 16th March 2014
(Photo courtesy of Stirling Bike Club - Owen Philipson)

My first event of the 2014 season took place on the Stirling flats for a 10 mile TT. I set off knowing that I needed to stay above 20 mph going out into a 20 mph headwind to stand any chance of clocking a quick time. That didn't happen as the first 5 miles were brutal and I struggled to get into a decent rhythm. After only 2.5 miles I was passed by Sadiq Mir - West Lothian Clarion CC and whilst I knew he was a strong rider, I couldn't help but feel that I wasn't going well at all. The roundabout came into view and I knew that things were about to get a whole lot quicker, which was just as well given that my average speed was only 18.2 mph! The warp drive kicked in upon exiting the roundabout. My speed kept rising gradually until I was spinning away merrily at 30 mph. Miles 6 and 7 were done at 30 mph average, getting up to 34.8 mph at one point! I was working slightly harder on the way back, with my heart rate at 190-195 bpm. As the finish line came into sight I tried to stay in the saddle and power towards the line, but I knew I'd be quicker sprinting. I crossed the line in 26:59, although my Garmin says 26:55 - average speed of 22.3 mph. Average speed for the 5 miles back - 28.9 mph! Winning time was Alan Thomson - Sandy Wallace Cycles - 21:32. Thanks to Stirling Bike Club including the organiser, volunteers and numerous photographers around the course!

Six Reports in One!(by Kallen Kerr)
Date: AUG-SEPT 2013

I have done quite a few races since the Blair Road Race back on the 28th July. The following report may look long (it is) but it actually is 6 race reports in one! Just under 10 weeks have passed since I turned a pedal for the first time in 3 and a half months. I can safely say I'm starting to get back to a decent level of fitness, just as the season comes to a close (typical). I have had no base training at all and so I've just gone straight into lots of hard training and races, which can be a dodgy move if you're not careful. I have needed to train and race wisely and listen to what my body is telling me. I know when enough is enough and so on a few occasions I have pulled out of hard training sessions and races when I'm on the verge of severely cramping up in both legs. I know it would do me more harm than good if I were to continue that little bit more and subsequently cramp up severely. It's not worth it, especially for the sake of doing another turn on the front during the Malletsheugh chain gang or putting one last tiny effort in during a race, only to get another quarter of a mile down the road. So how have I got on? Well it's definitely been mixed!

A77 Rumble, 3rd/4th (44 miles), 07/08/2013

A last minute change of course due to roadworks resulted in us not turning a single pedal on the A77 during the A77 rumble! We used the Moscow APR circuit instead. Big difference already within a week of my first race back, although I wasn't able to influence the race. A strong display from the Wheelers with Graeme Neagle, Nicky Cronin, Niall McAlinden and myself all turning in decent performances. Graeme in particular had a great ride and managed to get in a breakaway along with Barry Crumlish - Glasgow Road Club and Sean Gordon - Team Thomsons Cycles. They managed to stay away and Graeme finished 3rd. I was pleased despite puncturing 30 miles in (back to back punctures), as I stayed near the front for the vast majority of the race and never really got caught out in terms of fitness. I rode the final lap with the bunch after I punctured before pulling out around a quarter of a mile before the finish to avoid getting involved in the bunch sprint, as I had no right to. So that was 37 miles in the bunch and I have no doubt I'd have finished in the bunch if I'd not have punctured.

Abbeygate Developments/Corley Cycles Series 19, 3rd/4th (1 hour (25.5 miles)), 22/08/2013

This race came after exactly six weeks back in training. Now England, or more specifically the London – Midland region, is one where every 3rd and 4th cat cyclist is a "diddy" according to Martin Wilson of VC Glasgow South! I would agree with him, at least in comparison to their counterparts in Scotland. As a result I went into this race thinking I could get some points on the board. The race was held on the MK Bowl circuit (we could really do with one of them up here). It's used for small concerts and so the circuit literally goes around the outside of the arena. It's essentially a short, sharp descent followed by a short, flat section followed by a short, sharp incline. Fairly simple but for the fact that this would be raced in similar fashion to a criterium as opposed to a normal road race. The field size was around the 40 mark which was more than I expected. The race was in fact classed as a 3rd/4th cat race, but no 4th cats were present as there was a 4th cat only race on beforehand. We completed 37 laps and every lap apart from two there was an attack on the drag up to the finish. At times it was brutal as people would then counter on the descent that followed. It was a lap every minute and a half, so the two laps without an attack up the incline were literally recovery laps. Everybody needed them. I'm glad it was only an hour. For the most part it was fairly enjoyable and I felt quite strong. In the back of my mind I wondered “how long can I keep putting in these efforts for”. Thankfully I was near the front for the most part and so I was able to respond well to any attacks and surges. Normally the race is 1 hour plus 5 laps but because we were late in starting they made it 1 hour instead. The bell rung for the final lap and there was a big surge just so people could try to get in a decent position for the sprint. I find that positioning myself for a bunch sprint is one of my strongest areas, certainly against other 3rd cats and obviously 4th cats. I managed to position myself perfectly this time. Two riders from North Bucks RC took off directly in front of me which was handy, so I was first to get onto the wheel of the guy who was being led out by his teammate. We hit the bottom of the drag up to the finish at 36 mph and behind me I heard tyres screeching and just general carnage, at which point I thought "light up the afterburners"! Unfortunately six weeks back on the bike wasn't enough to get me the win. Give me the same race now and I'm pretty sure it would've been a win. I couldn't hold the wheel of the guy who was being led out. He went on to win. Two more riders passed me at the same time up the drag to the finish. Never have I experienced a more agonising double-overtake! It was a battle for 4th between me and the guy who had led out the sprint and it ended with me taking 4th place. 6 points on my license after 6 weeks back. I was a happy bunny. The crash at the bottom of the drag was a right mess. Karla Boddy of MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling later tweeted that it was the worst crash she's ever seen (I only know that because I was a bit of a pervert and wanted to know who the MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling girl in the race was). One guy had a broken collar bone after hitting a lamp post at 30mph head on. Thank goodness the lamp post was padded. A few other riders were in a bad shape with cuts. Not a nice sight at all. Hopefully they've had a quick recovery. Apparently one rider was forced off the road onto the grass and stupidly tried to get back on to the road. He obviously didn't think that one through!

Wanlockhead RR, 2nd/3rd/4th (56 miles), 25/08/2013

After a great result down in England on Thursday I came into the Wanlockhead RR feeling good and with a bit more confidence. I had rested on Friday before doing an easy 30 minutes on Saturday. My legs felt reasonably fresh as a result. Everything seemed to be going fine apart from the fact that from the start I had found myself towards the back of the bunch. Nobody was allowed over the white line at all and so it was extremely hard to move up. I managed to move myself up the field of 80 after we turned off onto a farm road from the A70 at Glespin heading towards the B740 near CrawfordJohn. Half way down this road was the first big climb of the day. I was now in about 35-40 place and we hit the first climb at a ferocious pace (as confirmed by many after the race). I was directly behind Sean Gordon – Team Thomson's Cycles and he appeared to be struggling at first before slowly pulling away from me. I managed to maintain contact with the peloton until about 2/3 of the way up. I had gone way into the red and had to sit up. The peloton agonisingly moved further and further away but I could go no harder on the pedals. At the top of the climb I looked down to see that the peloton had long gone. There was no way of even catching the guys who were trying to get back on to the peloton. I sat there for about 10 minutes wondering what had just hit me. I knew that there were about 30 2nd cat riders in the race, but even so I couldn't quite understand how I had gone from coming 4th in a 3rd/4th cat race 3 days earlier to getting dropped on the 30 minute mark in a 2/3/4 race. Maybe I didn't rest enough? Perhaps I should have thought better about even attempting the race? I spoke to Martin Wilson of the VC Glasgow South at the top of the climb as he was a spectator. I said "I don't get it I came 4th in a 3rd/4th cat race down in Milton Keynes on Thursday night and I come back up here and get dropped within half an hour". He replied "aye but they're all a bunch of diddies down there"! I said "yeah I suppose that's true actually". So I put it all down to the fact that I wasn't anywhere near fit enough and that the result in England meant next to nothing! After the race I was relieved to hear many people say that the first climb was the hardest by far of the day and that everybody was suffering, including the guys at the front. The Mennock Pass was easier I'm told.

Scottish Circuit Race Championships, E/1/2/3 (55 mins + 5 laps), 31/09/2013

Once again, I perhaps should have thought better about even attempting this race. However nothing else was on that weekend in terms of 3rd/4th cat races, and so I thought I'd head over to Ingliston with Graeme Neagle and David Griffiths and give it a go. Why on earth they moved the circuit from Paisley to Ingliston I will never know. As far as I was concerned Renfrewshire Council were fully supportive of it and the circuit was great. Credit to Edinburgh RC for putting it on, but it didn't have anywhere near the same feel or buzz to it as it did in Paisley. So anyway the race itself was fairly brief for me. I lasted 15 minutes and that included being lapped once! During the first lap or so I found myself towing David Griffiths around. He later said that he started slowly and found himself in an awful position to begin with. We soon swapped places! Once again I quite simply wasn't strong enough and I got caught out early on by the ferocious wind and also being near the back of the bunch. There was no place to hide. George Roberts of the VC Glasgow South dropped at the same time I did and soon quite a few more followed. Just over 20 of the 38 starters made it beyond 20 minutes before everyone saw Andy Whitehall (of all people) drop on the half hour mark in quite spectacular fashion. It looked bizarre as I think he tried to respond to a quick counter which resulted in a big surge from the whole of the bunch. He tried to go with it and it was as though something internal just blew up! Everyone was surprised to say the least and I think that confirmed to everyone how difficult it was, especially with the wind. It was a very select group of 12 that made it beyond that point including David and Graeme. Graeme dropped with a few laps to go but hung on for 12th. A great ride from him considering he also managed to put in a few attacks to try and bring Evan Oliphant back! David managed to finish 9th and said that was as good as he has ever felt in a race. No mean feat either considering that Evan Oliphant - Team Raleigh (this year's Premier Calendar winner) came 1st, Scott McCrossan - Rock to Roll Cycles LTD was 2nd, James McCallum - Rapha Condor JLT was 3rd, and David Lines – MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling was 4th. Well in David!

Georgetown Cup. E/1/2/3/4, Youth and Junior (7 mile TT). 08/09/2013

I came into this TT having won my first Thursday night Malletsheugh chain gang since my return to the bike, which I was quite pleased about as I considered it to be a little milestone/performance indicator. Winning that meant that I knew I was slowly getting back to a decent level of fitness. My performance in the Georgetown Cup was a bit better than the one I produced in round 5 of our club confined Pat McCabe trophy. I rode with TT bars for the first time, which was a strange feeling. I think I'll need to work on my aero position, as well as securing the padding on the right tri-bar, as it was on the verge of falling off on several occasions! I set a decent pace on the way out towards the roundabout at Crosslee. With no power meter, I tried to judge effort by my heart rate. I tried to keep it above 190 bpm which is when I know I'm working my socks off. I averaged just under 25 mph before turning back into the wind which was much tougher. I was hammering away at the pedals and trying to keep my speed above 20mph, which I was successful in doing. I crossed the line in 18:40 with an average speed of 22.9 mph. Average heart rate 191 bpm. OK for starters but I'd like to eventually be able to average 25mph in any sort of TT which I compete in.

WOSCA Series – Gleniffer Road Race, 3rd/4th (37.5 miles), 14/09/2013

I was looking forward to this race for two reasons. Firstly, living in Paisley meant it was on my doorstep. Secondly, the race would go over roads which I have trained on week in, week out over the last three years, including the Gleniffer Road. Despite this I had never been up the Fereneze road, which funnily enough was probably going to be biggest deciding factor in this race. I went out on Tuesday (10th September) to inspect the course and do hill intervals up the Fereneze Road. We would hit it five times during the race, so I hit it five times at a decent pace. However, no matter how hard you hit a hill in training, you always know you'll be going up it harder during a race! This race was short for a reason. Having said that, aside from the Fereneze hill climb the rest of the course was fairly simple. You descend a bit after reaching the top of the climb before a flat section follows on the Gleniffer Road. There is a slight drag up past the finish and then there is a fast descent down towards the Lochibo road. A short flat section follows until a slight rise before you turn off for the start of the Fereneze climb again. The field of 56 riders set off and maintained a fairly steady pace for the first 6 miles, averaging 26 mph. We hit the Fereneze climb and it became evident that a lot of people had never been up it before. People were simply going too hard from the beginning and dropping back when it ramped up to 15%. Myself and a few others including Ronnie Burns – VC Glasgow South, knew better. It was agonising going up it but I had managed to stay in contact with the first 10 riders up the climb. The second time up it was pretty similar as well. On the third lap things started to get a little trickier as the first 7-8 riders at the front were really piling on the pressure all around the course, even on the fast descent down to the Lochibo road. I was sat around 10th-15th every time we made the descent and I really wouldn't have wanted to have been any further back than that as it was so strung out. I actually found myself having to put in a little dig just to get back in touch with the top 10 riders after the descent had finished. We had been warned about loose gravel and a few potholes on the descent and so nobody wanted to descend all grouped together. The 3rd time up the climb I was struggling to maintain contact with the top 10 guys right the way up to the top of the climb. I managed just about, but I knew there wouldn't have been much more room for error. By the time we got halfway up the climb on the 4th time round, I had very little left to give and I gradually began to lose contact with the peloton. I dropped back with a few of the VC Glasgow South guys. I had a bit of a shock when I realised I was the last man. "Where is everyone, there were 56 to begin with?" I knew that a few had dropped in the previous laps and I got a funny feeling that the peloton was slowly decreasing in size as we kept going around the circuit. I had been going around the 3rd lap wondering why very few people were trying to overtake me and fight for a top 20 place? There were only 18 riders ahead of me including a peloton of 9 riders, 2 in a breakaway and 7 others playing catch up! I had to dig in deep to hold onto a couple of strong wheels. 4 of us worked together to bring back another 4 guys further up the road. Together we tried to bring back the "peloton" but we couldn't. I had nothing left to give and so I called it quits at the start of the final lap along with Greg Kerr of Thomsons Cycles and Ross Dymock of Glasgow Green CC. Looking at it, I could have got in between 11th - 16th if I'd have continued but I'm not sure how my legs would've held up on the final ascent of the Fereneze climb. No points outside the top 10 anyway. The two riders in the breakaway were caught and so 11 riders finished in the peloton. The remaining 5 riders in the 2nd group came in 34 seconds down. Everybody else came in as one's and two's. Upon arriving back at the HQ, commissaire John Davies said "15 dropped on the first lap, 20 dropped on the second lap, and a couple more on the 3rd lap". "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" is a U2 album which sprung to mind as I couldn't help but feel that Glasgow Ivy should have filmed the race and released it on DVD titled "How to dismantle a peloton". All in all I was pleased that I had survived so long and I wasn't too concerned about being dropped on the 4th time going up the climb. It was a very select group of 3rd cats (and two 4th cats) in there who made it to the finish in the peloton. Although that was my last road race of the season I will still look carry my season on until late October/early November before settling down. I have the Rothesay weekend to look forward to along with the Tour de Trossachs hilly TT and the Scottish National Hill Climb Championships. I may take the first few track league sessions seriously as well. If I can have a good winter and for once have a full season of racing, then I think there is some fun to be had in that WOSCA series. There's some good riders in there, but there's a load of points there for the taking if you're looking to get your 2nd cat license, which I will go for next season.

Tour of the Campsies (by Jamie Drever)
Date: Sun 8th Sept 2013

Though he trailed by 36 seconds at the top of the Crow Road climb, Ben Peacock (Paisley Velo RT) switched on the nitros over the remainder of the circular Campsie 25 mile pain-fest to best the other riders competing for victory in the Tour of the Campsies time trial and deny Arthur Doyle ( a fourth victory in the event.

Veteran Doyle did take some consolation in taking the Jimmy Brinkins prize for the fastest rider up the climb, reaching the top in 8-34 to Peacock's 9-10, but by the finish 32-year-old Peacock, the Scottish 10 mile champion, had turned things round his way to clock exactly 58 minutes for a winning margin of 21 seconds. The two were the only riders to break the hour on the testing circuit, Scott Newman (Inverclyde Velo) taking a close scrap for third place in 1-02-53.

1 Ben Peacock (Paisley Velo RT) 58-00
2 Arthur Doyle ( 58-21
3 Scott Newman (Inverclyde Velo) 1-02-53
4 Barry Wilson (Dundee Thistle RC) 1-03-00
5 Drew Sharkey ( 1-03-44
6 Daniel McShane (Glasgow RC) 1-4-42
7 David Trotter (Lancaster CC) 1-07-12
8 Gary Cross (Falkirk BC) 1-08-37
9 Michael Kinsella (BC Private Member) 1-09-08
10 Dominic Free (Glasgow RC) 1-10-05

Youth: Robert Tree (Deeside Thistle CC) 1-10-27
Woman: Lynsey Curran (Glasgow Couriers) 1-12-27
Hill Climb: Arthur Doyle 8-34

Scottish Team Time Trial Champsionships (by Jamie Drever)
Date: Sun 24th August 2013

These excellent pictures taken and used with permission from Kenny Girvan
The sight of a perfectly drilled, compact team thundering by is one that captivates cycling fans and makes for some for some of the best photos in cycling. Well last Saturday there weren't many fans out on course and some of our grimaces were slightly less than photogenic. We did however enter two squads of four hoping for two top ten finishes and the goal of besting the Wheelers' best recent placing of 5th (2010 and 2011).

Assembling two teams took some persuading as we have many pedalling pugilists who know how demanding this event is from past experience. Over recent weeks finalising the make-up of each quartet was achieved through some drills on the southside's A77. We all agreed that both teams were strong and indeed had other riders been available we could have fielded a third troupe capable of finishing in the top 10. Adding spice to the mix was the intriguing possibility of the B team trumping the As, something which sensationally happened in 2011 with bumper payouts at William Hill's. Keen on not upsetting the apple cart this time were the A squadra of David Griffiths, Andy Underwood, Graeme Cockburn and myself. Plan B fielded Jason Roberts, Graeme Neagle, Jon Clarke and Kristoff Aksnes. Conditions were close to perfect with a slight breeze presenting minimal problems.

The Eglinton course of 29 dual-carriaged miles was fast if uninspiring. For the As I for one found the pace hot, in fact after a recent stomach bug I found this also a little too much to digest. After 10 miles of 30mph wheeling I realised that I would blow if I kept spelling through and reluctantly took the cox's position at the rear. While this is an integral part of a rower's team a tail end charlie in cycling is a dead weight, but I hoped that a mini recovery would at least let me contribute later on and of course with the third man over the line counting there is little room for error with dropped riders. It took another 10 miles before I felt able to take another turn such was the pace. Top performers on the day were Davie G and Andy Underwood who always impresses and is my own inspiration on how cycling is possible with babies/toddlers! The final third included more drags than before which was the only time the unit lost some cohesion. On the whole we felt this was a good performance and our 4th place, behind Paisley Velo, Sandy Wallace and Dooleys kept us in good company. For a podium next year further pace is needed but I think we were all proud of our performance. Personally I undoubtedly felt a few % off my best with recent illness and felt bad I'd slowed the team up a little. Not enough to cost a placing but we finished agonisingly close to averaging 30mph over the whole course.

The Bs had a strong ride too, coming in 7th and just 9 seconds off the 6th place which bookended the prize list. This was also achieved despite Jon Clarke having to drop off with a leg injury. With Kristoff gaining form just in time of the big day and Graeme Neagle and Jason Roberts translating their fantastic road race form to the chrono the finishing trio again worked well together. The in-team news was that Graeme N was on such a super-day that he Cancellared the front end of the B juggernaut. A man on form!

A great event - I sincerely hope we can get another 2-3 teams in next year, hopefully with a Ladies entry too!
Kenny Girvan's Event Gallery

Blair RR - WOSCA Series (by Kallen Kerr)
Date: Sun 28th July 2013

My last race was just over a year ago and I'm glad to say that after my first race back, I have been able to come up with a lengthy report/essay! After three and a half months completely off the bike (due to finishing 3rd year at uni and Royal Navy Reserve commitments), I started training again two weeks ago. Club captain David Lang has told me that I need to "throw myself in the deep end" and I have felt obliged to do so. I look forward to getting back to full fitness ASAP and hopefully I'll have a strong end to the season! So anyway, onto the race itself. The course was fairly straightforward apart from the four very short, steep hills and a long drag up to the finish. These sections would definitely make things interesting. Niall McAlinden and Shane McGuinness made up the trio of Wheelers riders in the race.

After a 2.5 mile neutralised section we were let loose and straight away a breakaway formed. The breakaway consisted of Neill Kemp of Glasgow Nightingale CC, Ewan Tighe of Scunthorpe Polytechnic CC (quite amusing that the Braveheart website covers up the swear word in that town's name), Paul McInally of Rock and Road Cycles and Malcolm Paterson of Glasgow Nightingale CC. This would be the winning move and so that's all you need to know about them! The first steep climb came and passed and I was starting to get a good feel about the race. I was feeling fairly comfortable in the peloton and I wouldn't say that we were taking it easy. It was a fairly decent pace. The trick as usual, was obviously going to be staying near the front of the pack. Niall and Shane were looking quite comfortable. Niall in particular looked very strong and was able to hold his position well at the front. The early signs were promising!

Halfway around the first lap and I started to feel my rear wheel grinding vigorously against the tarmac...puncture! I pulled over and managed to get a replacement wheel. Unfortunately I was now just over a minute behind the peloton and I knew that it would take a remarkable effort to get back on. To make matters worse, this was the fastest section of the course. I set a high pace and found myself averaging 25mph over the next 4.5 miles. I was going over the steep climbs at 20mph plus but I eventually saw far enough up the road to realise that the peloton were long gone. I sat up as I could feel my legs starting to cramp and I knew that I had gone into the red as a result of the effort. Eventually I stopped to talk to some marshals for 20 minutes before heading off again, with the knowledge that the peloton would soon come round again. I had one of Baldrick's cunning plans in the back of my mind which would enable me to rejoin a lap down and use it as good training. Two miles into lap 3 for the field and the breakaway went by. They were looking strong and seemed to be working well together. I spoke to the people inside the lead car and asked them if I could rejoin, but not interfere with the finish if I were to get that far. I was quite surprised to hear that I couldn't, as I could see no harm in doing so as long as I didn't get involved with the finish or any further breakaways. The peloton eventually caught up with me and it was most unfortunate. After a brief chat with Niall at the very front of the field I found myself swarmed by riders at every angle, unable to get out of the way. I was trapped! I had no option but to ride as hard as I could in the middle of the bunch.

My cunning plan had now worked and I knew that I could use the rest of the race as good training without getting involved too near the front. Shane was sitting comfortably near the front and Niall was still going strong. A big attack was launched halfway around the lap and the peloton responded swiftly with a big increase in pace which stuck even once the attackers had been reeled back in. We were going into every hill with loads of momentum and absolutely motoring up them. It felt awesome and I had definitely missed this aspect of racing! However, things were about to get even trickier when Sean Gordon of Team Thomsons Cycles put in a really hard effort up the final steep incline, which split the peloton in half. The riders in the front half were all pretty handy and once they realised that a big gap had opened up, they made their intentions clear. Niall had trouble with his gears on the incline and dropped back. As a result I was now the rider leading the charge to try and haul the riders in front back in. I signalled a Johnstone Wheeler to get in behind my wheel, as I knew that I would need support. I had no support for ages but thankfully the Johnstone Wheelers rider recovered and helped me out. Together we managed to bridge the gap. This also brought the rest of the field back together and more importantly it meant that Niall was back in the race. Niall later commented on the effort and seemed very appreciative of it. He said "I had trouble with my gears and you passed me on the climb. At the top it was really strung out and I didn't see who it was, but there was one guy at the front who put in a really strong effort for ages. There was nobody helping him out and he managed to bring it back together". I chuckled and replied "aye that was me, but I did manage to get a bit of support in the end".

We sprinted out of the following corner onto the main road leading onto the drag to the finish. All of the riders were strung out despite a tailwind. The front of the peloton were relentless and at the top of the drag up to the finish my solo effort from earlier had finally caught up with me. My legs completely cramped up and found myself unable to turn on the pedals. The peloton had just started the final lap and so I waited at the finish. After about 20 minutes the breakaway came bursting through the last corner and Neill Kemp of Glasgow Nightingale CC won the sprint. The peloton appeared shortly after (only 22 seconds down) and I could see a Glasgow Wheelers rider right at the front. Niall had managed to put in an attack on the steepest part of the drag up to the finish and had gone clear with two riders. He begun his sprint for the line and in the back of my mind I thought "he's going to get his first points of the season here". He crossed the line in 8th position and 4th in the peloton behind Sean Gordon (Team Thomsons Cycles) and ahead of 2nd cat rider Gary Davidson (VC Astar Anderside). He was also second in his category behind the race winner. A remarkable effort from Niall and well deserved as he looked very strong throughout the race. Shane rolled in towards the back of the peloton in 26th, which again was a good effort considering that it was his first race of the season. So all in all a good display from the Wheelers. I have some positives to take out of the race despite the puncture on the first lap. A couple of really hard efforts, in particular my solo effort after the puncture which put me in the red. It's left me wondering how I would've got on without the puncture, and therefore without that big effort. It would appear that the club is now starting to get a good group of riders for the race team, which is really encouraging.

Eastern Promise RR (by David Griffiths, essay writer)
Date: Thu 6th June 2013

First a foreword - as usual I intended this to be just a couple of paragraphs, but it has ended up as an essay! I apologise!

Hello and welcome to my first road race report of the year! The reason there haven't been any before now is partly because I've been occupied with completing a BSc in Physiology in a year (very pleased to get a 2.1) but mostly because there’s not been much worth commenting on! After a good winter's training, I felt I was in very good shape around February but had a setback just at the start of the season in the form of a hernia operation. Whilst remarkably I was racing just 2 weeks later I think it took my body a lot longer to fully recover.

In March I gained my first license points of the season in a race 'doon south' - the Maureen Bain memorial. Andy Whitehall and I travelled down to Northumbria and set up camp in a very comfortable rural hostel for 2 days racing with fields of Premier Calendar quality. I managed to win the sprint from the reduced peloton (overtaking Magnus Backstedt in the process!) for 13th place and was in the thick of the action in the next day's race when my chain slipped and I slammed onto the saddle, snapping the seatpost clean in half! Somehow I managed to stay upright, balancing on the top tube, both feet unclipped and scraping the ground, at 30mph at the front of the peloton! I was narrowly avoided by the riders behind me and eventually came to a stop in a verge. Race over but I was thankful it hadn't been more serious.

The following part of the season was a write off results wise. Every race I started my legs just seemed to fail me 30 miles in and more than once I ended up abandoning after dropping to the back of the race. I was beginning to come to the conclusion that I just didn't have it in me to compete and maybe I should stop trying. However, I began to get promising signs in the Scottish Champs, where I rode an aggressive race, getting into the main break of the day, before faltering over 70 miles in.

It wasn't until June I gained my first result of the season proper - riding my horrible winter frame (my race bike was being replaced under warranty) I managed to join the chasing group in the 92 mile Anderside classic, eventually getting away towards the end and winning a 3-up sprint for 12th (and 3rd in the West of Scotland Champs), in front of a number of quality riders. I was exhausted, but very pleased. I was beginning to come good.

The following Thursday was time for the Eastern Promise - a 40 mile, 2/3/4 race with 3 laps of a rolling course with the ascent of quite a large hill in the middle of each lap. The event seemed tailor made for me, being fairly strong on the flat, able to go fast up reasonable hills and able to go hard for around 40 miles! On my previous participation in the race I lasted less than 10 miles due to illness, but I knew I was in with a shout of a result this year. Annoyingly I was still without my race bike and aboard 'the wonderframe' as it had been renamed, but knew from the previous race that this shouldn't negatively impact my performance too much.

The race started with a long, neutralised drag, ridden at a fairly brisk pace - I think a few legs were burning before the race had started! As soon as the lead car pulled away to commence racing a trio of riders latched onto it and made a break for it! I was sitting at the front of the bunch and noticed how quickly they built up an advantage of around 150m. They were all strong riders - the seasoned Gordon Murdoch, Andrew Cox of the bicycle works and the promising young rider Bradley Stokes. I thought to myself "that might just work!" so I sprinted off the front in pursuit. It was a fairly hard effort, but I made the junction pretty quickly and we began to work well, albeit with Gordon missing turns, shouting "I'm just getting warmed up".....

We made good progress on the rolling terrain that followed, and the peloton weren't even visible in the long straights! At that point I was convinced we'd establish a significant, race winning gap. We took it steadily on the main climb and drove on the top but surprisingly our advantage was only 40 seconds - the peloton weren't letting us go without a fight.

We continued to push on, although the second time up the hill we could see the bunch in pursuit of us, not far below and we were virtually caught at the top, with perhaps a 20m gap. Gordon dropped back and I considered doing so when my friend Finlay Young from Velo Ecosse bridged the gap and put the hammer down. Andy, Bradley and I latched onto his wheel and continued to push on. As we entered the final lap we had again built up a sizable gap. I began to think "We might just have this!" and continued to work, although tried to encourage the fresher Finlay to contribute more, as he should!

The final time we ascended the hill we could see our gap was still sizable. Annoyingly, we lost some impetus. Finlay and Andy sitting towards the back leaving it to Bradley and I to reluctantly put in more turns. However, we remained as a group and entered the final kilometre - a slightly uphill road – still with a gap on the chasing bunch. I positioned myself 3rd wheel coming into the finishing straight, confident in my sprint from a group like this. However, the danger man, Finlay, was behind me. With 300m to go I heard the whoosh of accelerating wheels and Finlay shot past. I quickly responded and gave chase. With around 150m to go I got up to his wheel, passed him on his right side and continued to drive desperately, unsure of whether anyone was coming up from behind. With a few metres remaining, it was clear I was going to get my first ever road race win and I punched the air in celebration, before collapsing in a ditch for several minutes to recover from the gargantuan finishing effort I had just put in. Once I recovered, it sank in - I had won! I'd won hill climbs before, but it's a great feeling to win a long-distance, mass start event rather than a time trial, where there is no direct interaction with competitors and also the agonising wait to discover if you are the winner! I rode back to the HQ with a massive smile on my face and may have giggled to myself a little. I'm hoping that this is now a new start to my season and there'll be many more results to come. We'll see...

VC South RR (by Jamie Drever)
Date: Sun 26th May 2013

Though featuring a main climb less steep than the EK race 11 days ago, the Stewarton circuit was maybe even more undulating and with a finish on the summmit of the Ballageich climb the riders knew this was going to be a hard shift. A large field of 80 assembled and ensured this race was frenetic from the start with constant attacks and movement at the front from riders jostling to secure position. A westerly wind also meant the bunch was strung out along the A77, often right up to the white line and frequently over - more on that later!

The first lap of three was tough as expected over the quarry climb and Clunch Road. Once back on the A77 for a second time a number of riders spilled over to the right of the road with the resultant beeps from the motorcycle escorts' bikes and marshals' vehicles. This actually lead to the race being stopped half way up the quarry climb on the second ascent with a warning to the whole group given by the Chief Commissaire. Though a tough race, all three of us were positioning ourselves reasonably well as the group passed the 50 mile mark and turned towards Eaglesham onto the Ballageich road. The bunch was getting nervy though and within a mile and a half of home a rider switched lines and a touch of wheels lead to a pile up which unfortunately accounted for me and Nicky. Paul went onto finish in the front group, while we dusted ourselves off, untangled bikes and limped in a minute or so down. It was to get worse however as both Nicky and I discovered at the finish we'd been disqualified for crossing the white line more than once. In our defence we did so when safe, only just going over and probably in no different way than a huge number of other riders did in both that race and for hundreds of races over the past decade. Hey-ho if that's the new rule so be it but we want consistency.

Steve Gutteridge Memorial RR (by Derrick Woodings, Team Jewson MI Racing)
Date: 12th May 2013

EFGH event (6 laps) 41miles. Weather initially bright but with rain looking very likely, (the weather forecast was for rain starting around 11am) with a stiff south westerly breeze enhancing the run up to the finish. The rain finally arriving on the 4th. lap although thankfully not heavy. Organiser Martin Moore and his team put on a very well organised event, generously sponsored by Hazel Gutteridge and Peter Fawcett, On the long drive up to Saighton, near Chester, Mike Allen and I as usual were discussing the possible outcome of the race. Mick reckoned that Alan Kemp would take some beating on this uphill finish but he was not unduly concerned as Alan is in the younger age category.

I had some very strong (G) opposition today in Pete Matthews and John Ginley plus others with whom I am not acquainted. In the H cat. field evergreen Brian Ellis and track-mate Dai Sankey. The rest of the field was extremely high quality, with Alan Kemp, my travelling companion, Mike Allen, Ken Corbett, track star Steve Davies and Malc. Fraser, to name but a few. From the off the large group of around 40 set off at an incredible pace on the southern leg down towards the bottom turn at Aldford, Although there were many minor attacks the group stayed intact. I just sat on at the rear trying to get my legs used to the much changing pace and knowing that this pace could not be sustained. From my position I could see Alan Kemp in the thick of the action but there was one rider from Glasgow Wheelers, I believe Dave Lang(more of him later) who fascinated me with a strange tactic. One minute he was riding alongside me then the next he was up on the front attacking getting caught then drifting back to the rear, this occurred several times. It was obviously a successful ploy because on lap 5 on the southerly leg Kev. Shand attacked taking Dave with him. These two were never more than 200m. ahead but nevertheless still pressed on maintaining a gap which came down to approximately 50 m. on the sprint out of the Aldford turn with 3 miles to go: I was sure that it would be closed down. But no! none of the E cats were prepared to pull, everyone was obviously waiting for Alan Kemp to administer the 'coup de grace', but it never came, these two sprinting for the win with Kevin taking it from Dave, the bunch coming in a few seconds down, with Alan Kemp winning our sprint from Allan Ramsay and Mike Allen. I don't get involved in bunch sprints , not being prepared to risk my neck or get in anyone's way. I saw Pete Matthews just take John Ginley for the G cat prize and Brian Ellis riding strongly into the H cat win.

After the race discussing the outcome with Alan Kemp, he admitted that he could have gone across but with good grace was not prepared to tow other E cats or the rest of the bunch with him.In my opinion it was the responsibility of the E cats to chase. If they all had put in a strong pull the break would have evaporated. That does not take anything away from Kevin or Dave who rode their hearts out, knowing that it (the break) was rather tenuous with such a slender lead and may not succeed. Indeed this is one of the few tactics I used to be able employ successfully when my legs were a little younger. After the race it was really great to see Les West who sadly sporting a chest injury sustained in a training fall recently, rode out to watch us racing, accompanied by his wife.

1 Kev Shand E West Pennine
2 David Lang E Glasgow Wheelers CC
3 Alan Kemp E Weaver Valley CC
4 Allan Ramsey E RoadPeace
5 Mike allen F Belper Bicycle Club
6 Graham Weigh E Graham Weigh Racing
7 Kenneth Corbett E Wakefield CC
8 Steve Davies E Ferryhill Wheelers
9 Brian Boyle E Liverpool Century RC
10 Alistair Cameron E Leeds Mercury

EK Evening Saunter (by Jamie Drever)
Date: Wed 15th May 2013

After the late cancellation of Round 1 of the Gleniffer RR a few weeks earlier, this turned out to be the starting round of the new WOSCA Development RR Series. Roadworks on the main road meant a revision in the circuit which took in 4 ascents up the steep climb at Dungavel which certainly took no prisoners (couldn't resist the pun....). A fast 3 mile stretch ended with a left turn onto a narrow, rough, undulating single track road which emerged after 5 miles to the bottom of the beginning climb.

Along with Paul Smith and Nicky Cronin we all tried to stay near the front, though the whole bunch tried the same knowing that positioning was vital on this circuit. In fact all three of us got dropped over the course of the race, either very briefly, temporarily or once the elastic snapped completely! After the first lap and climb of the prison climb all three of us had managed to make the selection into the front group of 20 out of the 60 strong starting line up. Each lap was a real battle though with none of us being quite strong enough to stay at the front during the key climb meaning a chase to get back on the splintering front peloton each time over the top. Once reintegrated it was time to go on the tough singetrack section with little chance to make way to the front of the group. Paul was dropped on the third lap and the final time up proved the final straw for myself with Nicky hanging tough. I did my best to chase back on with Barry McGurk. With the group maybe within 10 seconds and flying along the flat at over 30mph I hit a rough section and experienced a blow out of my new tub. A quick wheel change and I was back on in the second group, finishing last in the group with Paul in front. Nicky rode well to finish in what was left of a lead group of 15.This was a leg-breaking circuit and one of the hardest 3/4 races I've done for a long time.