EVENT REPORTS - 2012 Race Reports
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 JULY to OCT 2011.
Event reports from FEB to JUNE 2011.
Event reports from JUNE to OCT 2010.
Event reports from MAR to MAY 2010.
Bute Cycling Festival (by David Griffiths)
The island of Bute cycling festival is for many, the end of the race season. For me however, it was effectively the start: it contained the first hill climb of the year. I've had a disappointing road race season: I've suffered with Achilles tendon problems the whole year and whilst I've managed to put in strong showings in road races, for one reason or another, I've not got the results I'd like to show for them. The hill climb season is an opportunity to redeem myself!
The weekend of racing consisted of 4 events: a 0.4 mile hill climb and 22 mile 2-up TT on the Saturday and a 10 mile TT and 44 mile APR on the Sunday. Having bought a TT bike the week of the races, I went in with 2 objectives: to win the hill climb and the overall. I failed on both accounts!
The 'Serpentine' as the climb is known, is notoriously technical, with 13 very tight 180 degree switchbacks and every year, at least someone falls over at the first corner. Those of you who know me will realise I'm not a technical rider!
When the time came to race, I managed to negotiate the bends without falling off, but I didn't do it well. I ended up braking into the corners, for fear of taking them too fast and overshooting. It was very frustrating, knowing I wasn't able to put down the power. Towards the top of the hill, I really opened the tap, and full on sprinted the last 200m or so. Once I had recovered enough to gasp "Am I the fastest so far?!" to the timekeeper (the answer is normally yes!) I discovered that 2 people had beaten me - Chris Smart of Paisley Velo by a resounding 7 seconds and Euan Pope of Glasgow Couriers by 1 second, clocking 1:55 and 2:01 to my time of 2:02. The results remained that way - I had come 3rd.
Later on in the day came the time to try out my new time trial bike in the 2-up TT. I had managed to find an excellent partner on the day - Daniel Smith of Velo 29 - he's raced pro in France for several years, so I had no excuse!
The time trial course was quite hilly, and the pace was high. Initially, I was able to share the work equally with Dan, but come half way, I began to struggle. I sat on his wheel for longer and did short, fast turns when I felt I'd recovered enough. The last few miles were flat or downhill and we held a really good pace - very rarely dipping below 30mph. Finally, the finish line came, and we finished with a flourish. It was rather hard! We had completed the 22 miles in 49:12, and it would be interesting to see how we compared. The winning time was set by Jim Cusick and Jamie Kennedy of Glasgow Couriers: 47:54. We had finished in 4th place. I was pleased.
I finished the day 2nd overall and was early to bed in the Bute backpackers lodge, which I found very comfortable and well equipped (I was worried beforehand by horror stories riders had given me - I think they were winding me up!). I would need the 10 mile TT of my life if I was to remain in contention for the overall.
10 Mile TT
The next morning I woke up feeling pretty refreshed, and ready for action! Unfortunately autumn had arrived overnight and when I stepped outside I was met with torrential rain and howling wind. Not pleasant. My aim was to post a time better than my personal best on a road bike in the 10 mile TT, so I had a time of 22:30 to beat.
After a brief 'warm up' in the torrential rain, I set off. I got off to a good start, immediately sitting at about 34mph and almost instantly caught my minute (wo)man! However, my legs soon began to sting, and the going began to get tough. There was a small hill about 1 mile into the course, which put a sizeable dent into my average speed, but I managed to build up decent velocity again after that, passing a few riders that had set off before me. The course was an 'out and back' affair with a dead turn where the road turned into some single-track, and I didn't cope with that very well, braking far too early and fumbling my turn, losing valuable seconds. I regained my speed, then struggled back the way I had come, into a headwind. Eventually the climb came again, which I took steadily, for fear of blowing before the finish. Once I had crested the hill, I gave it my all in a 1 mile sprint to the finish! I crossed the line thoroughly exhausted. I had posted a time of 22:59, which was good enough for 9th. Sean Childs of the Royal Navy won emphatically with a course record of 21:07, but I was within a minute of 2nd place, so I hadn't disgraced myself. I think my target time was a bit ambitious for that course and the only time trial of the year! My finishing position had significantly hampered my chances of winning the overall though as Jamie Kennedy of the Couriers had finished 5th in the hill climb, won the 2-up and come 4th in the time trial...
After the TT I had little time to recover for the APR as I had to change my race wheels and brake pads between TT and road bikes, but managed to drink a milkshake and eat a few handfuls of popcorn.
The APR course was 2 laps of the island, though in both directions. The scratch group had around a 10 minute handicap on the first group of 5 on the road, so it would be hard-going to reach the front of the race. We set off at a good pace, though before long riders began not to cooperate. I did my share of turns on the front, but no more, as I was feeling the efforts of the previous 3 events in my legs!
About 5 miles in, we came to a tough, uphill section into a headwind, and Dan Smith, along with friend and ex-wheeler Andy Whitehall, attacked! I gave it everything and just about managed to cling onto their wheels. Unfortunately for me and my prospects of the overall win - so had Jamie Kennedy. Before we knew it, we were away. We worked really well together, effectively riding a team time trial. We quickly ate into the advantage of the groups in front of us and rode straight through the first group we caught. However, when we got to the next group, which had merged with the groups in front, we were significantly more fatigued and they just sat on our wheels, doing no work!
As we entered the final quarter of the race, there were around 15 riders in contention. Both Andy and Dan had put in speculative attacks, which I had been able to follow. However, on a slight rise, whilst I was taking a drink from my bottle, Dan put in a big attack and rocketed past me, with Andy in hot pursuit. I hesitated. Too late. I waited for the other riders to chase, they didn't. After about a minute of panic trying to get other riders to help me pull the duo back, I tried to bridge the gap on my own. I couldn't. I was too tired. I resigned myself to the fact I was racing for 3rd place, and returned to the bunch. After that, Jamie Kennedy and I very nearly got dropped from the group on a long drag - proof that we were definitely beginning to struggle.
We both managed to cling on and soon came the typical hesitant build up to the sprint. I kept looking over my shoulder at Jamie - I was certain he was going to try something - he didn't. The sprint started late and I was in about 6th place. I tried to unleash the power to come round the line of riders in front of me but there was nothing there. I finished 3rd in the group, 5th overall. Jamie finished in 8th place overall, but not far enough behind me.
I finished the weekend 2nd in the overall standings, with a 3rd, 4th, 5th and 9th place. Whilst I had not met the objectives I'd set myself before the weekend, I wasn't too disappointed with my results.
Podium Pedaller - Jason Roberts In Form(by Jamie Drever)
Date: 31st July 2012
When he's not too busy wielding an orthopaedic mallet or rearranging someone's pelvic girdle in theatre, Jason is a rider to be reckoned with! During the last month the Aberfoyle man has hit a rich vein of form, especially in some of the recent hillier road races.
Jason on the podium at the Moray Firth Stage Race (right)
First we report from Roseneath - 24th June and the Hugh Dornan Memorial. Close to the Clyde's nuclear arsenal, our own pedalling medic was about to go atomic, only losing to a 30 year old flying Dutchman. Simon Van Bellen managed to complete the course in 3:06:07, 23 seconds in front of Jason.
But the course never allowed for anyone to pull away for long and the many breaks and attacks that occurred during the race made for a thrilling spectacle.
A starting field of 45 was whittled down to 26 as the tough course and ultra-competitive nature of the race took its toll.
Despite heavy rain in the night, the sun shone throughout the race, warming the riders as they raced round the track which offered little respite at any stage.
The circuit took in rolling hills, a big climb, narrow country lanes with broken surfaces and a devilishly fast descent which saw riders reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Only a Bellen' (say it with a Glesga accent)would claim this was his first road race, but our winning Dutchman said just that!
First up was the inaugural campsies road race, O'er the Crow 'n Doon. The name gives away the basis of the race, which follows our own
Campsies TT course around the famous Campsie circuit twice. A quality field lined up to tackle the double ascent challenge of the Crow. With the advantage of regular 'Crow-down' training sessions, Jason and David Griffiths were not short of practice in tackling the ramp out of Lennoxtown. David finished a strong 8th while Jason indicated his fitness with an excellent 3rd in a small breakaway group, beating a number of big names in the process.
Next in line was the Moray Firth Stage Race. Jason was the sole Wheeler, personally I would have loved to have ridden but a knee niggle meant rest and recover was the only option. The only blot on the copybook for Jason was the opening 4 mile TT, won by Sandy Wallace's Silas Goldworthy. Jason more than made amends in the next two road stages with strong placings and attacks to get in the breaks netting another 3rd place - this time on the overall.
Keep going Jason - the big win is coming!!!!
Roundabout Cup (by Kallen Kerr)
Date: 11th July 2012
Well I wasn't sure what I'd get from racing in this one. Apart from one lap of a disaster of an APR over in Haddington at the end of May, this would be my first race in just over two months. Partly due to circumstances beyond my control with regards to a certain bike manufacturer! The course wasn't available before-hand, and so I had no idea of which roundabouts we'd be racing in between. I was dreading the thought of racing up through Fenwick and up the ramp onto the A77, eight times! Thankfully that wasn't what it turned out to be. The course was very simple. When you rejoin the A77 from Fenwick, there's a bit of a drag and at the top there's a roundabout. From there to the next roundabout towards Glasgow. There and back eight times which would end up being around 35/36 miles. Some very small undulations, but given the unusually low wind for this part of the world, this would turn out to be a fast race.
Jamie Drever had pulled out due to a knee problem, and so I arrived thinking I was a lone wheeler, until I saw Nicky Cronin in the HQ. He'd decided to enter last minute. I thought "great, Nicky's experienced, follow him in the race". I would need to follow someone experienced, as most of the Dooley's crew and GJS had turned up along with a certain Andy Whitehall, so I knew it would be tough.
So we made our way to the start line and set off promptly. The pace was fine to begin with before people started testing the bunch. Inevitably a breakaway opened up consisting of Andy Whitehall (Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers), James McPake (GJS), Rich Semple (Dooley's), Ronnie Todd (Loudoun RC) and, erm, Nicky. So the plan of following Nicky had been screwed for now. I just sat in the Peloton and made sure I was in the top half of the field for when we entered the roundabouts. That way I wouldn't kill myself sprinting out of them. Being at the back wasn't really an option, as we were sprinting from about 16mph to 30-35 mph in the blink of an eye. I just made sure I was sheltered, and for the next three laps, everything was hunky-dory until Nicky could take no more in the breakaway. He was brought back and then we ended up being stuck together for most of the remainder of the race. In fact at one point we were maybe a bit too close for each others liking, thanks to my amazing bike handling skills in an attempt to avoid a pothole. A sudden swerve nearly forced him into a ditch! Sorry about that Nicky!
With about three laps to go the inevitable happened as I could feel a bit of cramp coming along, although thankfully I never quite cramped. Martin Lonie (Dooley's) and Ewan Minty (Berwick Wheelers) opened up a gap on the peloton and gave chase on the original breakaway. Apart from James McPake in the breakaway, the GJS riders were doing a splendid job at the front and closing down everything that tried to get away. On this occasion though, it must've proved too much for them. As we entered the penultimate lap, I expected the guys at the front to really turn up the heat, as with little under 9 miles of racing to go, it seemed that if the two breakaways were going to be brought back, then it would have to be done pretty soon. The gap was 20 seconds to the main breakaway and 10 seconds to the two chasing riders. However, nobody really took control of the front of the peloton. The final lap was a big battle for position, especially going into the final roundabout. We sprinted out as normal and then it all came together. For a brief moment I got my breath back and then we charged for the line. I wasn't in a terrible position for the bunch sprint, but not exactly ideal either, and so I finished 21st (15th in bunch sprint). Nicky finished 43rd.
Overall I was pretty chuffed with my placing, considering that I'd not raced for a while, and because it was my first 2/3/4 race. In a way the course suited me, as whilst I'm not a big rider to power along the flat, I've got a reasonable turn of pace, and so I think I coped a lot better than a lot of the guys when it came to sprinting out of the roundabouts. Nicky seems to be going well considering he's only recently started his racing for this season due to other commitments. Finally, thanks to Icarus Racing for putting on a race with a difference. They're looking at putting on a longer version of race towards the end of this season, and also starting up a small race series for next season, along with GJS racing, which should prove interesting.
A Tale of two 50s (by Graeme Cockburn)
Date: 11th June 2012
With my work taking me North to Montrose I found a local 50TT hosted by Granite City so chose to ride this the week prior to the National 50, I'm glad I did this as it highlighted some issues with the bike which I had set up in my 10 position, I'll have to lower the saddle nose and adjust the aero bars for the forthcoming National.
The race itself was based in Fourdon, headed North up the A90 to Stonehaven which seemed very much uphill and into a strong wind, meaning a blissful return South downhill and wind assisted but a finishing 12 mile slog North back into that wind. At 25 miles I started suffering in my aggressive 10 position spending more time thinking about that than pushing the pedals, at one point I was at 33mph and only 140bpm. As I got nearer the finish I was calculating if I would beat the 2 hour barrier, it was looking close and had to keep knocking out 2.45 miles or lose out, on some of the drags I was putting in 3 min miles but fortunately with a few miles to go the road flattened out and I was knocking out the times I wanted so stopped the clock in 1:58.59 for 5th overall. The hardest task of the day followed, that was trying to get warm, I was shivering uncontrollably and couldn’t feel my fingers, fortunately my accommodation is only 15 mins from the strip so was in a hot shower thawing out in no time rather than facing the long drive back to Glasgow.
Having done last weekend's race 50 and a long mid-week training ride I hoped to have a bit better form for the National 50TT, once again based in Freuchie heading out to Milnathorp then re-joining the Mackie Tankard 25 circuit. I was seeded for this event meaning two minute gaps which always leaves me with a lonely ride, this year was nothing different. Conditions were pretty atrocious with heavy rain, soaking roads and very cold, then it would completely dry up then be soaking again, for me this just meant freezing cold feet and hands, even with gloves on, I found out how wet I was when I rung out socks and gloves at the finish.
As for the race, I was caught at 20 miles by my two minute man who went on to finish 2nd, I didn't catch anybody apart from one rider at 35 miles. Once again I seemed to lose focus and my effort dropped off mid event, this resulted in another panic that I'd be struggling to break 2 hours but in the end I managed 1:57.50 but it was for a lowly 14th place, this was disappointing having gone in hopeful of a top 10. Andy Underwood also rode this event, his first ever 50, clocking 2:01.45, I'm sure if he does another he'll know how to pace it better and get under the 2 hours barrier.
St Christopher's CC, Willie Rafferty Memorial 10 Mile TT (by Allan Maclean)
Date: 6th June 2012
24 Allan Maclean 24mins25secs
46 Isobel Fletcher 27mins28secs
Winner: Silas Goldsworthy Sandy Wallace CC 20mins57secs
Report: Excellent night, so calm that the midges were out in force!
Full result at http://www.braveheartfund.com/Community/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=10536
Millport TT (by Allan Maclean)
Date: 3rd June 2012
39th Isobel Fletcher 28mins58secs
Winner: Tam Gordon Dooleys RT 21mins29secs
Full result at http://www.braveheartfund.com/Community/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=10543
Coniston Standard Distance Triathlon (by Allan Maclean)
Date: 2nd June 2012
1500m Swim: 28mins 43secs (33mins 07 last year)
25 miles Bike: 01 hour 23mins 04secs
10km Run: 47mins 09secs 71st
Total time: 2hours 48 mins 34secs
Winner: Beau Smith, total time: 2 hours 04 mins 27secs (Swim 17mins13secs/ Bike 01hr13mins45secs/ Run 28mins31secs)
Report: Warm, but not scorching. 87th after the swim, improved to 49th after the hilly bike ride, but fell back to 71st by the end of the run, mainly due to stomach cramps making running very difficult. Nonetheless, a 14 minute improvement upon last year, although it was a better day, using a slightly different course (possibly harder, with an extra run section).
Birmingham Circuit Races (by Kallen Kerr)
Date: 29th April 2012
(PHOTOS courtesy of http://aandh-photography.blogspot.co.uk/)
Better late than never with my report! When I said at the end of my last report that I was itching for a 4th cat only race, I said it because I thought I could maybe get one or two points from my next one with a bit of luck. I didn't think I'd win one! I had my eyes on this race since my entry was accepted, mainly because I saw it as a great chance to get some points with a slightly reduced field of 60, and because it was in my hometown and I'd be racing in front of family. The race would take place around Solihull Parkway, a short 1 mile circuit which is as flat as a pancake! This was going to be the cycling version of NASCAR! The forecast looked dreadful with 25mph winds, torrential rain and a maximum 4 degrees C! Something that was pointed out to me beforehand by one of my pals, as a bit of an advantage to me. Fair point, as I'm not so sure many riders in the Midlands are used to such atrocious weather. Whereas I'm starting to get used to battling against strong winds in the Malletsheugh chaingang, especially when the likes of Rab Wardell attack! Prior to the race I had a quick look at the teams in the race, as I had no idea who any of the riders were, so I was just going on reputation. Quality sides such as Halesowen (who have produced and still continue to churn out riders for GB), Birmingham CC, Solihull CC, Lichfield City and RMCC (Tamworth) had a few riders in there. However I decided the main threat would come from the new team NFTO, who not only have some of the top talent in the Midlands, but also had five riders in there, outnumbering every other team by at least two. I presumed they would have to be watched, especially after looking at their website, which seemed so far up their own backside it was unbelievable! NFTO are Not For The Ordinary...apparently.
During the short 6 mile trip to the race HQ I wasn't feeling too confident, not because of the conditions, but because I felt my preparation was awful. I hadn't trained since Tuesday and my Birthday was the day before, which meant an extremely rare helping of booze and takeaway food. I couldn't help but feel I was going to suffer for it. I arrived at the HQ, signed on and then got to grips with the course before we were called in for briefing, and then off we went for 34 laps of the circuit.
We started off by heading straight into the wind and as there were two roundabouts in the course, I expected people to put pressure on at the front coming out of the roundabouts, but nothing really happened. There were only small accelerations, but nothing to worry about, especially as the guys at the front would slow up shortly after, allowing those at the back to catch up. I sat around 10th-15th to begin with and once or twice allowed myself to drop back a bit before realising I simply couldn't afford to stay at the back. Everything stayed together and with 25 laps to go there was the first sprint prime. I was in two minds whether to go for it or not. On one hand I was feeling good, but on the other hand I thought that if I went for it and did well, then the other riders might be wary of me for the sprint to the finish, and try to box me in. I've begun to realise in the past few weeks that I've got a bit of a sprint on me and I'm quite good at positioning myself for the sprint. Maybe not so much against guys like Rab Wardell and David G, but against every 4th cat and a few 3rds it's something I've been quite good at in training and I'm confident of outsprinting a lot of riders at the moment. So I sat and watched the guys go for it, and got a first indication of whereabouts people were starting to sprint as well as how quick they were off the mark. There was a bit of a tailwind on the final third of the course and a long swooping left hand corner in which riders started to put the hammer down on entry into the corner. Once out of the corner, the finish line came into view and that's when riders started getting out of the saddle. Nothing really caught my eye in truth and we came back together again and continued as normal. A few laps later and some numpty from Solihull CC decided to attack as I think he put it afterwards. He was trying in vain to get away, out of the saddle, gritting his teeth...didn't get any further than a few feet off the front and nobody was even trying to catch him. The word fail sprung to mind. I was tempted to join him but I didn't really want to do any work at the front! He ended up attacking three or four times during the race but nothing came of his efforts. With around 14/15 laps to go there was the second sprint prime. I positioned myself well at around 5th/6th and again decided not to go for it, but just watched as the riders in front and from behind me sprinted. I got a much clearer idea of everything from being nearer to the front. For the next few laps I had thoughts going through my head constantly. I kept saying to myself "Kall you're not going to get a better chance all season of picking points up." This thought then progressed to "Kall you're not going to get a better chance of winning all season" and then to "Kall for god sake this is here for the taking". I started to think about breaking away from the peloton, as I knew that nobody would catch me if I really put the hammer down. I could see no really strong 4th's like Steve Macluskie, George Roberts or Ronnie Burns of the VC Glasgow South that would be able to spoil my plans! In the end I decided that I would just contest the sprint, knowing that I would be fine as long as I didn't get penned in, stayed in the top 5-7 riders, and as long as I stayed upright. There were some dodgy bike handlers in the peloton, especially with the strong gusts of wind. Already I'd had two close calls with riders in front of me wobbling all over the place under the pressure from gusts.
A few laps before the end and there was another attempt at a breakaway, this time from one of the NFTO riders who aren't ordinary! Damn it looks like that rider is getting away, he's surely going to make something of it because he's no ordinary rider you know...oh wait no, just another false alarm, he's knackered. What an absolute disgrace to his team! Once that had finished, the pace upped a fair bit as we came out of the last corner into the start of the final lap. I was about 15th but after exiting the first roundabout I made a swift move on the outside and moved up to about 7th. The second roundabout quickly followed and that's when the pace dropped as everyone moved along cautiously. I was on the right flank and seemed to be positioned well until someone crept up from behind and boxed me in. I tried to force him to move by barging my way through but he told me "no stay there m8"...erm nah I'm alright thanks! I had to move back behind the rider behind him in order to get out, but it's just as well I did. I moved up on the right and made sure nobody boxed me in again. I had one eye on pretty much everyone on the left and the other on my outside in case anybody attacked from there. We hit the last corner and Jody Bett of VC Lincoln took off. I gave chase staying in the saddle. We were now doing 30mph coming out of the corner and I was at least five bike lengths behind him. I heard a clatter behind me and welcomed the sound. I knew points were in the bag thanks to that clatter, but I wasn't interested in that. The finish line came into sight. I was still about four bike lengths behind the leader with 600 ft to go. I knew if I didn't get out the saddle now then it was finished, and so I got out the saddle and locked onto his wheel. The guy realised what I was doing and moved out so now we were neck and neck with 200 ft to go. I looked across at him and he looked spent. I was like "cmon what are you gonna do, I've still got that wee bit more to give if needs be". He had one last little burst which I dealt with and that was it. I crossed the line and heard over the top screaming from my embarrassing mum! I went mental too, shouting like a mad man. In truth I was more relieved than anything. Thank god I'm out of this 4th cat malarkey I thought! A few riders met up and congratulated me. Hypothermia followed along with hugs from my sister and mum, as well as £50 prize money. In with the big boys now, which I'm quite glad about as I found that race to be quite comfortable and dull in truth. I need more of a challenge which is guaranteed now. For the more demanding races I think I'll stick to my pre-race preparation of booze and takeaway food, as it clearly works!
Fullarton Whls 10mls TT - Eglinton (by Allan Maclean)
Date: 20th May 2012
10th Jon Clarke 22.26
20th Allan Maclean 23.34
46th Isobel Fletcher 27.20
Slight headwind on the outward leg, faster on the way back, but still cold at about 9 degrees.
1st Jim Cusick Glasgow Couriers 21.00
Boomerang 2up Trophy (by Jamie Drever)
Date: 6th May 2012
I've always been intrigued by the concept of moto-pacing. Latching onto the speed of a multi horse-powered vehicle seems much more appealing than the usual solitary slog up and down a dual carriageway. My moto came in the shape of Graeme Cockburn. Sporting beads of sweat on his forehead after his routine pre-event turbo prep this was an engine firing on all cyclinders! My challenge was not to blow a gasket keeping pace....
Starting and finishing in Thornhill the course simply followed the Stirling road out to the castle before looping back around a couple of roundabouts and retracing the route back to the start. A headwind stymied our outbound leg but never quite gave the assistance we hoped for on the return leg. We started quickly - perhaps a little too quick for me. It's always easy to do with fresh legs but Graeme has a bigger engine, so to avoid going into the red I let him take most of the pacing over the first mile. Once onto the Stirling flats we established a nice rhythm, sharing turns with Graeme spending slightly longer at the front.
I'm not confident turning quickly on my TT wheels at high pressure and lagged behind Graeme through the middle roundabouts - something that cost us some time over the whole event. We did though resume a good pattern on the return leg, both emptying the tank to clock an exact 52:00 for 6th place. Frustratingly 3rd place was only 25secs away. A great workout anyway!
Elaine Lowden partnered Jon Clarke around the course to record the fastest Lady time with 57:39. Dooleys landed 1st prize with Iain Grant and Tam Gordon powering to a 49:13.
Full Results on Braveheart
Margaret Dooley 10ml TT (by Jamie Drever)
Date: 2nd May 2012
And so to the start of the midweek TTs. West Ferry once again demonstrated its magnetic effect on the country's testers, pulling in riders from as far afield as Perth, Fife and Shetland! What a normal Wednesday is like for them I don't know but like many others I arrived at Bishopton after work eager to release the pent up energy a day in the office generates.
A number of Wheelers entered, including five involved in last season's team-time-trial-gate. Of these Graeme Cockburn again assumed the mantle of the man to beat after clocking a couple of 20min rides in this discipline already this season. The other four were thrown into a pot of tasty competition, all riders regularly matching times in the 21-22min brackets. Conditions were the best of any time trial I've entered this season, which is not a ringing endorsement of the weather, more a relative improvement on the windy rides endured up to this point.
The formbook proved consistent with Graeme once again topping the GWCC contingent though by a smaller margin than usual. His 21:26 was slower than normal and behind his normal sparring partners, a leg niggle slowing him down slightly.
Personally I eased myself into the race over the mile - the first few months of using a power meter have shown me how easy it is to start too hard and the detrimental effect that can have. Out to the turn in 10:10 I faced the headwind return leg, churning out a consistent rhythm with a soul destroying last mile during which the seconds quickly frittered away, dashing my hopes of a 21min ride. My 22:04 was still my best of the season and a vast improvement on the last two 10s.
After my time, a nine second hat could have been thrown to cover the next two blue-banders. Craig Dick was 3rd Wheeler with a strong 22:09 and Andy Underwood at 22:13 still looks to have plenty in hand for later in the season. New Dad, Jon Clarke was disappointed with his 22:53 but can blame disrupted sleep patterns and nappy changing (his wife Ali may dispute the latter). Elaine Lowden scooped the 3rd Lady prize with a time of 24:30 underscoring once again her fine form since her early season duathlons. No fewer than six riders registered 20min times. To me this reveals more the strength in depth and growing quality of the time trial fields than benign conditions.
Full Results on Braveheart
Ayr Duathlon (by Graeme Cockburn)
Date: 15th April 2012
My second foray into the world of multi sport saw me take part in the Ayr Duathlon which consisted of a 3 mile run/17.5 mile bike/3 mile run.
Unlike my only other Duathlon where I started too slow, the plan this time was to go off faster and try to stay as close as possible to the whippets then reel them in during my bike ride then hang on for dear life hoping as few as possible would pass me on the final run.
For once conditions were pretty good, legs and arms were exposed with no requirement for gloves. Elaine Lowden was also competing so I used her experience to pace me through run one which I completed in 19.20 for 28th place, onto the bike and I couldn't hide the smile on my face as I knew it was time to get my revenge on those dastardly runners. I passed all bar two but set the fastest time of the day in 45.58 so was now placed 3rd with only the final 3 mile run in my way. I actually felt quite good on the run but was never going to hold off the fast runners, within a mile two had passed me but I used them to try and up my effort, with a mile to go another passed me but that was it, nobody else so I finished in 6th overall with a time of 1.24.50 and 2nd vet.
Elaine Lowden also competed, although not feeling at her best, she finished in 1.37.32 for 34th overall, 3rd lady and 1st Vet, she has still to finish outside of the podium this year.
Event Update(by Graeme Cockburn)
Corrieri 10TT - 18th March
This event is always very popular as it's the first Open TT of the season and the chance to benchmark yourself against your friends and rivals to see how your winter training has compared to others. It was a very chilly day which required gloves and even then I felt my hands were numb after a few miles, the target was a sub 22 min ride and top 10 finish I ended up with 21.42 for 7th which is 17 seconds faster than last year so a happy start to the season. Other GWCC riders were Jamie Drever 23.07, Elaine Lowden 25.12 (1st female) and Isobel Fletcher 28.37
Fenwick APR - 24th March
I always use this event for a bit of early season training, the scratch group normally give 100% to catch the earlier groups which means an eyeballs out training session for up to the full 2 lap distance of 38 miles. This year the scratch group were not that co-ordinated but I still gave me utmost by taking my fair share on the front until at the end of the first lap when I suffered an unusual mechanical with the chain jumping off the jockey wheels and jamming between the jockey wheel and cage so had to stop and relocate the chain onto the jockey wheels, needless to say the scratch group were now well up the road so no chance of me getting back on by my own. I chose to ride the next lap as a TT picking up some riders on route. While on the run in my chain yet again jumped off the jockey wheels jamming as previous, I chose to rectify then chase the smaller groups I had been in but finished in a very lowly 56th position. The only other GWCC rider was Sarah Barry who finished as 2nd female.
Mackie Tankard 25TT - 8th April
I like this course, it has many junctions which makes it technical but also rolls a bit so needs that extra bit of power to keep the speed up on the drags. I was hopeful after my Corrieri TT to do another good ride but knew there were some quality riders in the field so a 55 min ride and top 6 looked like a good result. Another cold day welcomed us with the potential of some blustery conditions. The first 10 miles were run off at near 30mph as I caught rider after rider, you know when things are going well when you feel as if you are going fast without actually feeling you are working that hard. As I neared the finish I was aware I was going to nudge under the 55 mins so gave my all to be the first of the day to stop the clock in 54.39 just 29 seconds off my PB but a new course PB by 52 seconds, shortly after Elaine Lowden was second to cross the line (does that count as a GWCC one/two) in 65.36 which is a PB for her by over one minute. My time gave me 4th beating some of the top Scottish testers, Elaine's time gave her 3rd female behind two very good female testers.
VC Glasgow South 10TT - 14th April
Hoping to carry on from my good result last week I was keen to put in another quality performance on the Westferry course at Bishopton where I set my PB of 20.33 late in 2011. All sorts of horror stories were coming back from the course that it was very cold and very blustery with no real head or tail wind sections. As I set off I quickly found my speed was 30+mph and no signs of it easing off which was good news but would it mean I would suffer for it on the return leg? As I got closer to the line it was obvious I was heading towards my 5th sub 21 min ride stopping the clock in a very pleasing 20.40 just 7 seconds off my PB, this was good enough for 3rd place with yet again some top Scottish testers behind me. Other GWCC riders were Jamie Drever 22.27, Alan McLean 23.37, Nick Cronin 26.22 and Isobel Fletcher 28.43
Jack Murray Junior Trophy
Date: 31st March 2012
The Dunfermline RR took place on the Lathalmond circuit just north of Dunfermline. The circuit is hilly with a few ups and downs at the start resulting in a gradual incline before a 180-degree switchback. A slightly flatter section follows before the main drag up to the finish line. Finally a big descent takes you back around to where you join the circuit. The race was nine laps of the circuit. Me, Stuart Baylis and Geoff Martin took to the start line having discussed tactics and taken on Graeme Cockburn's advice before hand. The general plan was to stay near the front at all times, especially coming up to the switchback, the main drag, and the tight corner that followed after the big descent, and if anyone felt strong enough to break with one or two laps to go then we'd go. Graeme pointed out the fact that last years race only had one breakaway, a solo effort with 1.5 laps to go in which the guy managed to win. This race turned out to be a lot different!
The 80-strong field set off and once out of the 1.5 mile neutralised zone the pace shot up. Both myself and Stuart were in the top 20 going into the switchback. After sprinting out of the corner, Stuart found himself on the wrong side of a crosswind. I got the feeling people would move up and attack on the right and shouted "outside" to Stuart. I moved up a bit before Stuart came past and went out of sight. As he reports- "From the first lap I was keen to get towards the front of the group in order to avoid losing time round the savage switchback at the top of the course. After the switchback, I found myself off the front by a few lengths after following Kallen's advice to get out of the gutter, and decided to put in an early test. I made a decent distance on the group, looked back, and was... on my own. I sat up thinking I'd wasted my time when 7 riders (GJS, Team Leslie Bike Shop, Granite City, The Bicycle Works) jumped the gap and off we went. The peloton either didn't notice we'd gone, or assumed that such an early break would be easily brought back."
I didn't notice Stuart had broke, especially as there was nothing in the way of surges or further attacks from anyone. It was only as we came onto the main drag that I noticed the break about 200 meters or so ahead. The gap wasn't getting any bigger or smaller, and so I moved right up to the front and slowed the pace right down. It took people about 15-20 seconds to realise what I was doing and then people started to complain, with one guy replying "of course he's slowing the pace down, he's got a man in the break, he's trying to help him out". At that point more attacks were launched up the drag which proved unsuccessful. A 40mph + descent followed which proved too much for three riders. The gap was now 55 seconds, for which it remained at for most of the race. Geoff tried to bridge the gap around three times, but he could only make up 25 seconds on his own and so he was reeled back in. Around 4/5 times each lap small groups would try to break off from the peloton, but none could stay away for long.
As the race wore on a few strong 3rd cat riders and junior Aidan Quinn came to the fore and tested the resolve of the peloton with quick bursts of pace before the switchback. At first it was agony but after doing it twice in the same spot each lap, everyone clocked on and was prepared, so nothing came of their efforts until about 3 laps to go when a group of six riders including Aidan broke clear and stayed away.
On the penultimate lap Stuart was still hanging in there in the breakaway but things were about to take a turn for the worse. "The 8 of us worked well together and stayed away (with 55 secs up on the main group) until the final lap, where I bonked on the climb up to the finish line. I rode the last lap on my own, until I was picked up by an exhausted looking 6-man chasing group. I didn't have it in me to go with them when they put the hammer down up the last climb before the finish line and rolled in 14th on my own, but still 58 seconds up on the main group". The penultimate time up the long drag caused concern for me as well as I got cramp in my quads. At the top of the climb I managed to shake it off thankfully, although I was now the last man in the peloton on the descent. A quick glance back to see nothing but one of the race cars made me get my act together. I said to myself "there's no way you're going to drop now so close to the finish", before David G's words of "don't get dropped, there's no need , your strong" sprung to mind. I hauled myself back up to the front where I was now spinning as fast as I could up the inclines, unable to grind away and put much pressure down on my quads. Thankfully there was no sprint out of the switchback. The pace dropped considerably as the bunch came together ready for the sprint to the line. We moved along cautiously and at the foot of the drag, the pace increased. I moved up to the left flank behind Geoff's wheel. I knew I wasn't going to be able to sprint but still wanted to come as high up as possible. We hit the steepest section at the end of the drag when everyone went for it. Geoff burst off and finished 7th in the bunch sprint placing 21st overall (1:44 down on the winner). I was going as hard as I could without cramping up and rolled in 19th in the bunch sprint and 33rd overall (1:48 down). I was chuffed as that was the first time I'd managed to finish a race in the peloton. Geoff was in mixed moods as he was a bit gutted he missed the break at the start, and then couldn't bridge the gap thereafter. Stuart needed a few minutes lying down on the floor to recover before he could speak! A fantastic ride by him. All in all a good showing by the wheelers and some invaluable experience gained, especially for Stuart. Looking at the results, this race leaves me itching for a 4th cat only race now!
For full results go to Braveheart Results
For a short, YouTube video of the race go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gnHi9_UfdM
The Lake APR(by Kallen Kerr)
Date: 18th March 2012
The Lake of Menteith APR is an early season classic which often proves to be quite popular. This year was no exception with a field of 80. After a look at the start sheet I knew this could turn out to be my toughest race so far this season. Guys like Peter Murdoch (1st cat) and a host of 2nd cats including the Dooley's cycles lads, Finlay Young and Tom Arnstein (winner of the Gifford A race this year) were in the field along with around 30 or so 3rd cats. Thankfully I wasn't a lone Wheeler, as I was joined by Stuart Baylis who made his debut in blue & white. I was placed in an 11-strong 3rd group mostly made up of 3rd cats, with Stuart in a ridiculously overcrowded 31-strong 4th group.
We made our way to the start line a few miles from Balfron in Buchlyvie. There was a delay in setting off by around 10 minutes but once we set off we were flying. 27 mph average for the first 5 miles. We quickly started going by riders who had dropped out of the two groups in front. My group was working extremely well with everyone coming through to take their turn, and eventually we caught the second group a mile or so before the Aberfoyle Roundabout. Going down towards the Ballat Crossroads there was a wee crosswind which gradually became a slight concern. The group became a little disorganised at times with people beginning to struggle, especially on a long drag that we faced. As we approached the café at the crossroads we were caught by the 4th group which also consisted of the scratch group.
As the guys from the 4th group came through I caught sight of Stuart and conveniently got onto his wheel. We stayed in the top 15 along with the Dooley's and Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers lads, and took our turns at the front. The first climb came along going up towards Killearn. Everyone wanted to be in the top 20 riders and so everyone was having to dig in just to hold position. Stuart led the pack up the hill with myself a rider behind him. The Wheelers Sunday run had come to town and so on the slopes we both received encouragement from David Griffiths and a voice that sounded like Alix Drever. At the top we got our breath back a bit before we had to dig in again. We had both dropped back a bit and a group of 25 riders came to the fore and made an attempt to ditch the rest. We both latched on to the very back of the group in single file and descended towards Balfron.
Stuart punctured at the bottom of the descent which I didn't see so I assumed he'd dropped. A climb up Balfron high street followed. I managed to stay within a few bike lengths of the bunch right up until the final incline on the other side of Balfron. That was the final nail in the coffin for me. Further along two groups of six riders that had dropped earlier passed me, by which time my muscles were on the verge of cramping, and I couldn't apply any real pressure to them. I rode back on my own and came 48th, 6 mins 57 down on the winner. The first group of 12 were caught right at the death apparently, but Gary Maher (Ayr Roads) still managed to win. Stuart rolled in about three minutes after me in 54th. He told myself and the other Wheelers lads that he had punctured and had to wait for ages before receiving a replacement wheel which needed truing before he could set off again!
All in all a good, hard race against guys in higher categories. If it was a 3rd/4th or 4th cat only race, I think I would've stayed in the bunch until the end but I need to be riding against the better 2nd cat riders who can put real pressure on to better myself. Stuart appeared to be going quite well so hopefully he won't have too many punctures, and indeed replacement wheels like that in future either!
Drumclog APR(by Kallen Kerr)
Date: 11th March 2012
The Drumclog APR was my second race of the season after the Gifford B race last weekend. Nothing to write home about in that one though. This race however ended up being far more enjoyable due to it being a bit more lively for myself.
After having made the short 6 mile trip over to Strathaven from Larkhall train station I signed on and after a chat with the VC Glasgow South riders, made my way to the start line. I left my Garmin in my bag which I'd put inside someone's car so I had no indication of how hard I'd be working. Probably just as well in truth!
I was one of eleven in the first group and so we set off at 12pm with around a three minute gap between us and the second group (the organisers had decided to shorten the gap down from four minutes due to the people in the first group apparently). Going down towards Drumclog there was a vicious headwind. Everyone was coming through to take their turn apart from two girls who refused to go on the front for whatever reason that may have been. They slotted in further up causing a delay in people getting to the front to ease the pressure on the person out in front.
After about seven miles we started climbing the first hill. A bit of a gap opened up and I found myself up front with two other lads, Martin Wilson (VC Glasgow South) and Gordon Jackson (Hawick CC). At the top Gordon shouted to me "Kall do you want to go?". It took me a few seconds to realise that he was serious. I had a quick look back at the others before shouting "Yeah, yeah, go, go, go! I don't know how long I'm going to be able to do this but stuff it." We were joined by John Dunlop of Loudoun RC who managed to bridge the gap in time.
With a strong tailwind we opened up a large gap. The remains of the first group were quickly snapped up by group two and eventually group three joined them as well to make a group of around 30. We had completed a full lap since the beginning of our breakaway when we were told that the gap was 1 minute 30. This was reduced to 1 minute at the start of the third lap. Going back into the wind towards Drumclog we were eventually caught by the peloton after 21.5 miles out in front. A lot of riders who came past patted us four on the back and congratulated us on our efforts. A few guys said they were surprised at how far ahead we were. We were told to just sit up and recover now. I certainly needed a rest!
After about four miles a large VC Glasgow South lead-out train began to form and on the hill in which we had originally broke from, they put the hammer down, causing the pack to split. I couldn't go with them and so I rode back with John Dunlop to the finish. The two other lads who were with us in the breakaway managed to go with them. Martin Wilson was part of his club's lead-out train and he finished 8th in the end. Gordon Jackson ended up with cramp so we overtook him further down. A few breakaway groups stormed past us from what looked like the 4th group. I finished 35th out of 63 that started. I was chuffed with how things went as I knew I'd gave everything in that breakaway and the quartet worked extremely well. By far my best racing experience so far. Finally congratulations to Ronnie Burns who finished off the move that his VC Glasgow South teammates started with a fabulous win in his first ever race.
Musselburgh 3up(by Jamie Drever)
Date: 10th March 2012
With the thrill of 5th place in the national TTT champs and a clutch of scalps bagged, Craig and I were keen to pick up where we left off. Unfortunately Jason couldn't complete the holy trinity of the B team leaving Andy U to fill the breach as a more than worthy replacement. Two weeks earlier we'd all attended the Club's training camp and spent an hour practising our through and off efforts. Admittedly we were quite race ready but with a fortnight to go progress could be made.
A windy day meant disc wheels were consigned to the car boot. Might have been okay for an ITT but in team formation a sideways gust can deck a crew. Our tactic was to start steadily and build gradually - staying out of the dreaded red zone until a rhythm was established. We managed this and completed the first lap with even pacesetting. A tough headwind section ended each lap before a draggy climb through East Saltoun started the next. By his own admission Craig was suffering on the climb. Still to fully find his TT legs Craig is slightly behind his great early 2011 form - only a matter of time we're sure! Andy has only really been training seriously for a month or so making his ride on Sun impressive. Personally I have worked quite hard on my threshold this winter and felt quite good - I know this because the feel of this ride compared to last August's was completely different. The wind made the ride really difficult with side winds being a problem with deep section wheels. Though we tried our best to squeeze out a faster 3rd and final lap our effort over the 25 mile course only bagged 11th place. Stopping the clock in a time of 1hr02min 51s, we were about 6mins slower than a flying Sandy Wallace outfit fronted by Silas Goldworthy and the newly transferred Alan Thompson. A disappointing start to the year but we all know there is a lot more to come as all three of us have ground to make up on last year's fitness levels.
Kirkliston Duathlon(by Graeme Cockburn)
Date: 10th March 2012
As winter 2011 approached I was of the belief that it would be another frozen winter land like 2010 therefore wanted some distraction from the tedious training on the turbo. Along with the encouragement and coaching of Elaine Lowden, I took up running, nothing fancy just 2 or 3 mile runs, my CV was good but I lacked experience and the legs for running but my times came down and down as I ran more and more, so much so Elaine suggested I did one of the Kirkliston Duathlons. I intended competing in round 2 but suffered an injury so resorted to doing round 3.
The Kirkliston Duathlon is a 2.5 mile run/10 mile cycle/2.5 mile run, having never done such an event before I relied heavily on the advice of Elaine and kept my fingers crossed that I would avoid my nemesis, injury to my calf while running, so targeted splits of 18/28/20 + 2 for transition, making 68 minutes in total but secretly hoped for a 65 minute result.
The main advice I got from everyone that does multi-sport activities is not to go off too fast so within a field of 36 Vets I took it really easy, so much so I was at the back of the field but decided that I didn’t merit being that far back so slowly started moving up, coming into transition after 15.44 and 21st position. It was now time to enjoy my time on the bike leg, which also gave me my first competitive outing on the newly obtained Cervello P3C, the target was to try and move up the field to get near the front of the race but little did I expect to achieve such a good ride, I rode past all my competitors and came into transition in the lead having clocked 24.41 and 2nd fastest time of the day for the bike, my only concern at that point was the twinge of cramp I got in my hip as I was changing into my running shoes but it quickly passed. With a lead of 40 seconds I set off on the run fully expecting half the field to now go by me as I did to them on the bike however it didn’t transpire, after 1.5 miles I could see runners approaching but I could do nothing about them, they were significantly faster than me so I just kept going as well as I could and watched these ‘runners’ disappear up the road, I finished the final run in 15.18 for 10th position and an unbelievable 57.37 finishing time which was well beyond my wildest dreams but even more amazingly collected 3rd vet only 39 and 24 seconds behind 1st and 2nd place. Once all categories had been included in the results my finishing result was good enough for 15th overall out of 84 finishers, so a very pleasing first excursion into the multi-sport events.
What it confirmed to me is a good cyclist and average runner can compete against genuine duathletes.
Kirkliston Duathlon (by Elaine Lowden)
Date: 21st January 2012
The Kirkliston Duathlon was my first race of the 2012 season and the first of a 3 race series, its an event I have competed in many times before so very familiar with the course and format. Normally at this time of year there are freezing temperatures and icy roads but on this occasion conditions were almost ideal at 4C and minimal wind.
Looking at the start sheet I realised that the female who beat me twice last year was competing again so she was the one I was aiming to beat by trying to stay with her during the run and overtaking her on the bike as I am stronger than her in that discipline. During Run 1 I tried to keep her in sight but she seemed to be pulling away from me, I was unable to run just behind her let alone side by side. At transition my Dad told me I was 15 seconds down on her but 50 seconds down on two other females, 4th place wasn't that bad and I had just clocked in at 15:31 for 2.5 miles which was a PB for me.
After a smooth transition and knowing I was a stronger bike rider than the 3rd place female I set off in pursuit of her. After 1 mile I made the catch but now found myself on my own for the duration of the cycle which did not give me that added push had I been in a group, unfortunately the two females ahead had that advantage. At the turn I had to completely stop due to traffic but once going I noticed that the female in fourth place was cycling down the hill to the turn so it was crucial that I kept the lead as I wanted to keep my place on the podium. The time checks I got from my Dad were telling me I was losing a small amount of time to the second female, sadly not closing it, she was in a group and I was solo so I was doing not too bad. The route is undulating in parts with some long drags but going the opposite way these drags act as launch pads to blast downhill and pedal faster on the flat sections. Approaching transition there was a congestion of cyclists as the road was narrow due to parked cars and oncoming traffic, this again slowed me down slightly into the transition area. The bike time was not as impressive as my run times, for 10 miles I clocked in at 29:59 but I had taken 60 seconds out of last years winner putting me firmly in 3rd place. I lost only 40 seconds to the female in 2nd place who was in a group of riders throughout her 10 miles, the lead female was out of sight with a lead over me of 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
My second transition was slightly slower because my bike was not staying upright in the wheel arch, I ended up carefully laying it down on the concrete so as not to scratch my new TT bike. Coming out of transition at what seemed a 'snails pace', I was aware that the female in fourth place was cycling round the corner into transition but knew that I would not be caught unless I slowed significantly or she did a very fast run. Again I was pretty much on my own until the last mile when I caught up to a male athlete allowing me to push that little bit harder, my heart rate was reading 172bpm, the adrenaline was pumping and I kept telling myself she cannot, and will not, overtake me as I have worked too hard not to get a podium finish. Even though Run 2 is traditionally slower than Run 1 I clocked another PB of 15:15 which totally surprised me….I now wondered had I not pushed hard enough for Run 1 and the bike or was I keeping some reserves for the final run?
My target was 1:02, I clocked in at 1:02:20, another PB, beating last year's winner by 62 seconds, achieving 3rd place and podium, plus the added bonus of recently turning 40 (yes it’s hard to believe that I am 40) receiving a prize for 1st female vet crossing the line!
Looking at the results for the second female, her bike time was not much faster than mine at 29:17; both her runs were sub 15 minutes. To beat her I need to break 15 minutes for 2.5 miles in Run 1 and Run 2 with a sub 29 minutes for the 10 miles bike. Can I do it? Of course I can, it's all about going that little bit faster and hurting that little bit more!