A club social night has been arranged.
Saturday 30th June
The Byre EK
7.30pm for meal and drinks
9pm for drinks
Hope to see as many people there as possible.
A club social night has been arranged.
Saturday 30th June
The Byre EK
7.30pm for meal and drinks
9pm for drinks
Hope to see as many people there as possible.
After a couple of months of swanning around, the realisation that we weren’t fit enough, and then three weeks of flat out training, the day of the Etape Caledonia 2012 dawned.
Having spent the week obsessively checking the weather, we were fully kitted up in waterproofs and thermals with a generous supply of Kinder Buenos our energy product of choice, sport beans and the secret weapon, caffeine shots. Pauline in charge of training, technical and kit, and Virginia in charge of nutrition and race strategy.
The first hitch hit before we even got over the start line, and managed to get herded into separate pens and had to set off in different groups! But after a few minutes wait we were back on the road again.
The first section was undulating but with lots of trees so not too badly affected by wind. The view up Loch Tay from Queen’s view was spectacular. Our agreed strategy was to pick our victims, finding “a wheel” to follow where we could. We soon realised that the ideal was two big guys riding two abreast so we could conserve energy and chat at the same time.
We might not have performed to our best abilities as the Sprint section saw us stuffing down first of the Kinder Buenos- when the going gets tough the tough turn to chocolate, watching with amusement as a guy with a very unflattering skin coloured skin suit sped past.
It was a hard push up the North shore of Loch Rannoch into a 20mph plus gusting wind, narrowly avoiding being blown off our bikes on a couple of occasions. Although drizzling so far, it had now started to rain in earnest. We politely thanked the guy we had been drafting for the last ten miles and offered him one of the Kinder Buenos but I guess he thought we were stalking him as he sped off at top speed!
A relaxing run down the South shore of Loch Rannoch provided some respite and a further Kinder Bueno energy boost and get us past the second feed station and up to the top of Shiehallion. Alan and Davie were nonplussed when we cycled straight past station two waving- we subsequently found out they had bananas and water and were waiting for us, oops!
The King Of the Mountain section didn’t see us setting any records but we avoided the “walk of shame” and got to the top for first stop of the day. The punishing runs down to Sorn had paid off. It was very cold and windy at the top so we set off again as quickly as possible having refuelled and topped up with water.
Although steep we actually had to peddle hard to get down Shiehallion, facing into the strong wind again for a punishing ride up to Fortingall before turning round and cruising back down Glen Lyon with the wind behind us, admiring the view.
The slightly more benign conditions gave us the chance to chat and for Pauline to teach me the finer points of cycling with no hands until I realised that not really sensible 70 miles into an 81 mile cycle!
We had pinned our hopes for a spectacular finish on a strategic caffeine shot 15 miles from the end, I’m not sure if it didn’t work or whether we had just used most of our reserves getting that far!
We were both prepared and in low gear for the hairpin bend and immediate steep hill at Logierait which has claimed many a scalp. Four nippy hills over the last four miles into Pitlochry and the finish line and we clocked in at a respectable 5 hrs 39 minutes.
Although a tough day given the conditions, it didn’t take long to confirm that we would be signing up again for next year.
Sorry to advise you all that Sunday’s session has had to be cancelled because Alister Watson has been taken ill and the
track is going to be closed.
We are looking into sharing a booking at Manchester velodrome with St Christopher’s CC, probably on a
Sunday morning, later in the autumn. Everyone will be emailed when we get further details.
We had a nice day for the 10 mile, but were faced with a bit of a head wind for the main part of the route, but luckily it stayed dry. Typically, it was pouring on the day of the hill climb!
Well done to all those who took part in both events.
Club 10 mile Club Championship 2011
1 Russell Walker 26’33″
2 Ross Cunningham 26’44″
3 Lee Gardner 26’48″
4 Kieran Mooney 28’29″
5 Andy Cattenach 30’40″
6 Audrey Meikle 36’50″
St Christopher’s CC
1 Colin Meikle 26’40″
2 David Turner 27’50″
3 Andy Wilson 32’10″
Club Hill Climb Championship 2011
1 Ross Cunningham 4.36
2 Russell Walker 4.59
3 Kieran Mooney 5.12
4 Jonny Grainger 5.34
5 Garry Quinn 7.06
The results are calculated by adding the hill climb time with road race and obstacle course time penalties. In the road race a penalty of 10 seconds was given for second, 20 for third and so on. In the obstacle course each foul earned a 10 second penalty.
Group A H/C R/R Ob/C
Calum McGreggor (Gold) (38 sec) 18sec 2nd 1 fouls
Kyle Mair (Silver) (47sec) 17sec 1st 3 fouls
Richard Neal (Bronze) (57sec) 17sec 3rd 2 fouls
David Teeling (Fourth) (69 sec) 19sec 4th 2 fouls
David Scullion (Fifth) (105sec) 25sec 5th 4 fouls
Rachel Hollywood (Gold) (42 sec) 22sec 1st 2 fouls
Alastair McGreggor (Silver) (77 sec) 27sec 2nd 4 fouls
Robert McGreggor (Bronze) (105 sec) 35 sec 4th 4 fouls
Daniel Scullion (Fourth) (110 sec) 60 sec 3rd 3 fouls
Before I go any further, I have to hold my hands up and admit that we were entered for the 100 mile sportive, but due to lack of training and various other things that life throws at us, we opted for the Challenge ride, which ended up being 48 miles rather than 51miles due to the new finish place being Murryfield Stadium.
So, Jude being the geek that I am had been checking out the weather flow and the plan was to be at Glasgow Green and in the crowd ready to start at 8am, and the main challenge was to get to Edinburgh before the rain!
Lyndsey, Leah and myself were there…all in club kit and ready for the challenge. As we set off the MC announced..” and good luck to the Glenmarnock Wheelers who are the experienced riders here today”……That comment gave us the biggest laugh as we were most definitely not feeling like experienced riders, however was a nice wee bit of free advertising for the club too…love it!!
We headed out and the weather was dry. We got our heads down, lined up and rode out in a lovely style…Pauline, you would have been so proud! Anyway…its was typical mayhem with riders all over the road, but we were on a mission. One thing with these kind of rides is to be aware of people just stopping right in front of you, especially if you are unlucky enough to be stuck behind them on a hill!
Weather stayed kind for us, although the wind was doing some crazy things. The main hill is at Avonbridge… a wee dig in then just a bit of a long drag, and surprisingly we had a tail wind on the first part of the climb, but it soon spun round and was a mixture of head winds and cross winds, so much so that you could hear your wheels whistling!!
A few miles after Avonbridge and the sun came out, which was a very welcome change, although we could see the heavy dark rain clouds coming in behind. At that point we were glad we didn’t do the 100 miles….on that note well done to Martyn for getting through the groggy weather. The last 10 miles of the route got very windy and legs got tired, but we just stayed tight together and battled on, Lyndsey up front making the pace and I was at the back giving my usual motivational drivel to get us to the finish line. I am very surprised the girls were still talking to me when we finished…! But I have to say….looking up and seeing us in a nice cycling formation all kitted up was a great sight.
We didn’t bother stopping anywhere, so couldn’t tell you what was on offer at the feed stations, but the change of finish line to Murryfield made the ride worth while.
After 3 hours 50 mins we arrived….round the side of the stadium….right through the middle and out the other side to be welcomed by a crowd of people cheering and clapping everyone to the end. We made sure we were all together as we passed the official photographers giving a wave and I think a smile of relief.
All in all, for me anyway, it was a great day. We stuck together and rode as a team, we got to Edinburgh before the rain and that’s another 48 miles in the bag! Oh and photographic evidence too!
Next year is the 100 miles and hopefully we can get a load more Glenmarnock people on it too!
If anyone is interested, here is the link to the garmin page that shows our route.
Sunday morning dawned, and I crawled out of bed in the pitch dark and tried not to waken anyone else in the house.
It wasn’t too hard, I had prepared everything the night before, I might add that this is unusual for me. I’m usually a last minute disorganised kind of starter.
Anyway, dressed and pockets bulging with snacks and waterproofs plus phone. I got the shades, I got the helmet, leg over and it was all downhill to Glasgow Green arriving soon enough to enjoy a leisurely tea before the start. By the time 07.00 struck I was under the Gantry and ready to start.
Working on my incredible ability to be overtaken continuously I try to get off first and slip back. This part of the plan worked and off I went with the first bunch. At least this year I knew the route and what to expect. With this knowledge I decided to take it easy getting out of Glasgow and over to Muirkirk.
The MC had started us off in the sun and I decided I would change to a dark lens in my glasses at the first feed, mmmmmmmmmm! By the time we hit Calder Street it was clouding over and the wind was beginning to make itself known. As we approached the A77 I stopped and put my waterproof on. So, onwards and upwards and wetter and wetter. By the time we reached Gorstan it became clear that I should have put my overboots on and not my over soggy socks. I was happy with my progress even though it was into a headwind with the occasional scary crosswind. By the time we were through Muirkirk we couldn’t have been wetter if we had swam there, or maybe, we did.
After the pull out of Glasgow and Gorstan the next few miles I would describe as rolling with the odd sharp pull up. But, for the most part good riding, fairly fast pace, up and down and just round the next bend.
That is until you get to the 60 mile climb!!!!!!!! Yes, at 60 miles there is a hill which I am sure the organisers borrow from the Ardennes for this ride. It’s extremely straight, extremely steep and single track. I openly admit I didn’t make it last year and walked the top 1/3. One thing that makes you anxious is that you can see it for about 1/4 mile before your front wheel becomes level with your nose and you can observe all these fit b**gers who flew past me earlier coming to a standstill and some of them almost falling off their bikes!!!!!!!!(Particularly the fixed). I was dead chuffed I managed to get all the way up it and keep going. After this there was more wonderful cycling country, a bit lumpy but, nothing to compare with the previous 60 miles.
What’s more we had the bonus of the rain stopping and the sun revealing itself, which just gave me a bit more warmth.
This year they had changed the Finish to Murrayfield. So, when I went over the cables for the finish of the timing I stopped and took my waterproof off and replaced it with my Glenmarnock Gilet and set off on the last mile. The bonus was that we cycled right through the stadium to the Finish Gantry on the other side. It was brilliant and loads of people about, riders, friends and family, and for me Irene and a friend of ours, Freddy.
So with Goody Bag on my back, medal round my neck and a plate of veggy Haggis and neeps in one hand and a cup of tea in the other we sat down before leaving for our drive home.
So, roll on next year, honest I will be fit for it by then????? Why not come and join me, it is a great ride. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to meet up with any Glenmarnock Wheelers, although I was led to believe there was some there.
Meantime folks it’s Manchester to Blackpool night ride this weekend, rock on.”
Fellow pedallers and tea drinkers, like myself, here I am recovering from my latest attempt at a Sportive. Yes, last weekend I took part in the Scottish Stage of the Tour of Britain Sportive” and it was excellent, long and lumpy, but excellent.
Irene and I travelled down on the Saturday and I had a wee spin around the countryside of Peebles including a trip to the start to see them erecting the Gantry. There was no optics on it so, I carried on riding.
I’ve cycled through this area a number of times and it really is a beautiful part of the world, with the added bonus that drivers around here are used to cyclists and at least appear to be a little more patient with us. In fact there was a local Sportive just finishing in town and I had a look. As I arrived one of the officials came up to me and asked if I was the last to arrive (cheek, but he obviously was aware of my capabilities) Yes, he must have thought looking at me, there’s a Lanterne Rouge if I ever saw one!!!! Anyway I explained that no, I had just come for a look, to which he turned round and said as he stared me into the ground, “of course, you can’t be, we wouldn’t have allowed you to ride, you don’t have a helmet on” and stuck his nose in the air, turned around and walked away.
Let me assure you all that normally I always wear a helmet but, in my rush to get out I had come out of the Hotel and left it in the room.
Sunday dawned, well actually it was still dark when we dragged ourselves up and breakfast plans went completely pear shaped as the kitchen was locked. Never make plans with a Landlady who, to put it mildly was as drunk as a Lord!!!!! To make it worse in my effort to be “organised” I had forgotten all my bike food!!!!! So, I stuffed a couple of bananas down my throat and Irene drove me to the Start. Luckily I met an old pal who gave me a couple of Gels.
Irene delivered me to the Start in good time. It was very foggy and a little nippy but, I managed to get started at 07.00 with the first bunch. Nice steady pedalling for the first few miles and although I had got away smartly and had no intention of racing it, just enjoying it and so, I tried to get into a rhythm, low gears, high revs, cadence, cadence, cadence, continually repeating itself in my head. As we approached the first hill the fog lifted and the sun broke through and it was to remain like this for the remainder of the day. “Up, up and away” I sang as it seemed my front wheel was never going to come back down to the same level as my rear one. Nevertheless, I got to the top and thus followed a brilliant downhill and some more steady riding until we started ascending again.
We had been warned at the start that the descent off this was peculiarly nasty and to be careful. They weren’t wrong it was single track, twisty, covered in grit with water washing across it and extremely steep. Try and watch the Pro’s do it in the T of B, it will be very interesting to see how quickly they go down it. I’m pretty reasonable at going downhill but, really held back on this hill, my main problem being that I couldn’t feel my fingers. It was surprising how many, who had passed me going uphill quite easily were slowed down on this and even off their bikes and walking.
Just a few more miles and we were at the first feed which was excellent with water, energy drinks, a choice of energy bars and Soreen fruit cake, unfortunately, no tea.
But, steady away and another hill before the ascent of the Devils Beeftub which I have to say was not as bad as I thought it would be and the descent into Moffat more than made up for it. Another equally good feed where I met some Glasgow South that I had passed coming down the hill. I have to say that this was possibly the friendliest Sportive I have done. I think of all the folk that passed me and I have to say, there was a lot, only 3 or 4 didn’t speak at all. I have to say though that there breathing appeared quite laboured at the time!?!?!?!?
After Moffat it was another 30 K to Dumfries and then another 70 K loop back to Dumfries. This was all steady rolling countryside with a few short sharp hills which, after the softening up of the big hills were actually quite hard. But, the countryside and views are brilliant and more than make up for the hardship.
Eventually all good things come to an end and there I was going under the Gantry at the side of the river in Dumfries to pick up my well earned Medal and Goody Bag. It was a really enjoyable day even with all the aches and pains. Apart from a dry chainset that sang to me for the last 70 K. I had no mechanical, and it wasn’t as hard as I had expected. In fact, some fellow riders agreed with me that it was not as hard as the “Ken Laidlaw” which is always my benchmark.
So folks, on to this weekend and it is Pedal for Scotland which I hope some, if not all of you are going to do. I hear that they are still accepting entries so, come on, it’s a great ride and I look forward to seeing you all on the Start line.
First up was the Gifford Super 6 B Race, 5 x 8mile laps around some lovely East Lothian country side. I’d had lots of racing advice from people in the club – Garry: Stick to the outside, away from the kerb. Stephen: Try to stay in the first 15. George: Try not to do too much work. Well, within 500 metres of the race starting properly all 3 golden rules had been broken…
I was fairly nervous as I arrived an hour before start time, but soon got changed and out for a wee warm up. The start line was at the entrance to a car park so I got there with about 10 minutes to go, and positioned myself in the second row. “Excellent”, I thought, “in the first 15, slightly to the outside, drafting guaranteed”. However, this plan soon unravelled as latecomers, unable to get into the car park and line up behind, just joined on at the front meaning I was now in the back row! After the race brief we were off. The race was to be neutralised for the first mile or so until we got round a sharp downhill left corner. The roads were tight and there was an awful lot of stop starting making for a nervous bunch. I was trying to think how I’d get nearer to the front and guessed by sticking to the outside I could get round on a straight soon enough. We got round the sharp left corner and the race began!
The pace began to pick up and some folk in front of me were a wee bit slow on the uptake so I moved into the inside in order to get round. Just as I was doing that there was a crash up ahead and 8-10 riders hit the deck, covering the width of the whole road. There was nowhere for me to go so I mounted the grass verge in the hope of avoiding the collision but went straight into a hedge. With my heart pounding I quickly pulled my bike out and noticed a broken front spoke. I wrapped it around a neighbouring spoke and got back on the road. Weaving between casualties with bloody arms and knees and a few loose wheels I could see the bunch way in the distance. With the adrenaline flowing I took off as fast as I could but soon realised any hope of catching up was gone.
I plugged away, with thoughts ranging between, “why am I doing this, I should just saunter along and enjoy the countryside”, to, “you can catch up, you can catch up…”, with the more positive thoughts happening each time I overtook someone who’d gone out the back. I was on lap 3 of 5 and had overtaken around 10 people when I heard a sudden ping followed by a grinding and slapping noise from the back. I climbed off and noticed that a back spoke had gone this time. I twisted it round a neighbour and got back on. However, all was not right, the back wheel was wobbling and the rim was hitting a brake block with each turn. There was a lot of swearing right about that point.
I cycled slowly back to the finish, keeping my weight off the back and was overtaken by about 6 of the people I’d overtaken previously. Arriving back I decided to call it a day – bike in car, changed, handed in numbers, picked up licence and drove home.
With that experience in the bag, mainly the “what not to do” type of things, I entered the Moscow APR which was three weeks after the Gifford, more determined, and relaxed this time. I managed to get a new spoke fitted to my front wheel but the rear wheel took a wee while longer – they’re wider, bladed type spokes and apparently Trek didn’t have many of them left. On the Thursday before the Moscow APR I still didn’t have a rear wheel so I put Plan B into action – does the club have a spare rear wheel? Cue texts to Garry (on his birthday it turned out, sorry Garry…) and kept that option open. Turns out that the shop had my wheel fixed on the Friday so all good to go.
It was a dry, windless day for the Moscow APR (which didn’t go anywhere near Moscow) and I lined up in the first group of 15 on the A77. It was two laps of the A77 up to near Newton Mearns then back down to Stewarton over some lumpy bits. We were going well on the A77 stretch, dropping maybe 3 people and getting a good chain going. A guy from Dumfries CC told me I was doing too much work and I should take a break. I felt good though, so much so that I even managed a thumbs up to Pauline and Sean who were in their official roles in the car behind us.
At one point as the group was moving along the A77 I wanted to say something along the lines of, “let’s speed up a bit guys” but stopped myself. I’m glad I didn’t say anything because as soon as we turned onto the hilly section of the course the group split with about 8 pulling away. “Ahh, I thought, hills are my weakness, I should really work on hills a bit more”. I ploughed on though, managing a wave for Garry and Terry as they were taking photos at the highest point.
I was overtaken by the now consolidated bunch right on the finish line on the first lap, I tried to join on but the pace was too much. As I got back onto the A77 another group of about six overtook me and this time I managed to jump on. We got a great chain going with all seven of us taking turns along the A77 and going well, driven by a lass from Sandy Wallace Cycles, shouting at us if we let the slightest gap appear. It was a great wee group but alas, again as we hit the hilly bit I went out the back with two others. On my own again I just got the head down, determined to get everything out by the finish.
I finished, ironically it was an uphill end to the race, in 53rd place out of 80, 8 minutes down on the winner. Not great but a lot of learning – either I get my weight down and start hitting hills….or I stick to races on the flat…
All in all a great experience though, from the pre-race nerves to post race satisfaction at having given it a go. We’ve all got to try it at least once huh???