CYCLING: Irvine event a huge success
Feb 24 2012 By John Woods
THE first competitive event on the 2012 Scottish Cycling calendar attracted a bumper entry to Irvine on Sunday for Fullarton Wheelers’ Icebreaker two-up ten-mile time trial.
A total of 53 teams and an unaccompanied rider enjoyed a sunny but cold few hours of cycling on the by-pass straight from Eglinton Park to the roundabout at Caledonian Paper.
First placed were two riders from a new team in Paisley followed by two from a rival Renfrewshire-based outfit. Best times for an Ayrshire club went to third-placed Neil Walker and Charlie Vincent of Walkers CC, one minute and 44 seconds behind the winners.
NINE teams from Walkers Cycling Club took part in Sunday's Icebreaker TT. Unfortunately the very mild winter had changed to very cold but dry and the temperature at 9.15am was just 0.9°C and there were patches of ice on many roads.
First off from the club were Pete Forsyth and Tommy Gribbon, who's back in "third fastest man" mould after a leg operation. The conditions on the course were pretty good for the early starters with little to no wind and bright sunshine despite the cold. Each junction of the route was marshalled and those that went the wrong way were promptly shouted back on course. The wind picked up later in the morning, providing many of the participants with a reasonable excuse should they have needed it.
Two Walkers teams managed to miss their start times and had to be slotted in later in the proceedings. Luckily, no time penalties were added to their finish times. The event was well supported with teams entered from as far away as Edinburgh and Stirling, although Walkers had the biggest contingent.
No surprise to the Kilmaurs-based riders was the phenomenal performance of Neil Walker and Charles Vincent who finished in third. Pete Forsythe and Tommy Gribbon were fifth vets while Catherine Logan and Russell Mowat were first mixed pair.
Special mention should go to another Walkers duo, James Stenhouse and Dan Howes, who posted a great time of 25.49.
The Icebreaker trial had ensured a good turnout for Walkers training session at Marine Drive, Irvine, the previous Thursday.
Thirteen riders tackled three laps of a new, slightly longer circuit avoiding the seemingly never-ending roadworks on Ayr Road. Seven riders set off first, James Stenhouse and Dan Howes in the middle, and three riders chasing from three minutes behind. The scratch group were starting to question the handicapping on lap two, as the gap to a flying David Kaminski was still quite big, but the catch was made just before the half-way mark on the final lap, with seven riders finishing within a handful of seconds. It was to be a profitable training exercise for the club who went on to do well on the Sunday.
On Tuesday, the club's fast night saw a dozen riders take the Barrmill route and suffer a series of potholes on the road approaching the village.
One bright spot on the 30-mile outing was the sighting of fire and flames coming from a farm. On further investigation this turned out to be no more than a pile of rubbish being burned next to a barn.
The group, now entertained for the evening, took the hilly road over to Burnhouse and, after re-grouping at the crossroads, eight riders headed back to Kilmaurs via Stewarton, with four turning right half a mile or so on to follow the Aitket Road back to Irvine.
Attendance on Saturday's road run was depleted due to the time trial action the next day.
Just five set out from Kilmaurs for a coffee and cake break at Langholm Farm, battling a strong wind all the way to Symington and being pelted by hailstones on the descent out of the village going towards the Corraith road-end.
On arrival at Langholm Farm, water was dripping from their sodden cycle clothes and each one had healthy red cheeks from the battering effect of the hail. After a coffee break they finally set off home into glorious sunshine in the freezing cold, shivering as they went after the warmth of the cafe.
The club's trekking section doubled their usual Saturday turnout (from two to four) for an off-road adventure on the hill rising between Balloch and Helensburgh. Their aim was to reduce a 20-mile journey to 13 miles by linking two well-worn paths to form a shortcut on the Dumbartonshire/Argyll hillside.
Path one climbed high up the forest at Ben Bowie, off the Hill House road (B832) going over to Arden, and path two was the Stoneymollan coffin route used at one time to carry corpses over the hill from Balloch to the sacred graveyard at Cardross.
The great difficulty in joining the tracks together was that the land in between was hilly, sodden underfoot and covered by dense but derelict woodland. The going was harder than the map indicated.
A NEW mass participation cycling event will take place in Ayrshire this summer.
The 'Highwayman Challenge' will give local riders the opportunity to sample the route of the David Bell Memorial Race 24 hours before the classic race itself.
The 100km audax starts and finishes in Girvan on Saturday, June 9, and takes in many features of the David Bell race, including Tairlaw summit, Nick o' the Balloch climb and the dusty Carrick Forest drive at Loch Doon. To add to the challenge, riders must get round a series of checkpoints at an average speed of between 15 and 30km/h.
Promoters Ayr Roads Cycling Club hope the prospect of sampling the route the day before the pros along with a bargain entry fee, will attract cyclists from across Ayrshire and beyond. Coming just a month before the second Graeme Obree sportive rides, it will also be a great opportunity for sport cyclists to test their legs.
AYR Roads CC/Harry Fairbairn BMW sent out five teams to compete in Sunday's Icebreaker TT.
The much anticipated event gave riders a chance to shake the cobwebs/icicles from their racing legs and also provide an indication of how their fitness stands with a long season in the saddle ahead. First up on the start line for Ayr Roads were club captain Mark Skilling who was riding with Michael Robb. With both attending many race training sessions over the previous weeks, there were high expectations for the duo. Upon crossing the finish line it was a close run for a top 10 position, Skilling and Robb losing out by a matter of three seconds with a strong 23:07.
Soon after it was the turn of Ed Clifton and Neil Campbell to cross the first start line of the season. This pairing rode the event last year, finishing with a respectable time, but were determined to improve upon that this time round. Intense training paid off, Campbell and Clifton crossing the chequered line in the top 10, a superb effort of 22:42, only 40 seconds from a podium finish.
Lynne Wardrop alongside Toni McIntosh, in her first race, looked to put to use the arduous training of the previous weeks and can be proud of putting in a stellar performance at Irvine. The pairing finished in a time of 28:21, not far behind the winning women's time. These two riders will only continue to improve as the season progresses and will hope to show the colours of Ayr Roads CC at future events.
David Torrance and Owen Ross set off in their first team time trial experience with the veteran team of Alexander McAllister and John Estcourt following not far behind. And so, in a battle of youth versus veterans, who would come out on top? McAllister and Estcourt crossed the line with a time of 25:13, but after Torrance and Ross who finished a minute up in 24:12.
Ayr Roads' Sunday runs (still with mandatory cafe stop) leave Beresford Terrace in Ayr every Sunday at 9.30am. Riders of all abilities are made more than welcome.
AYRSHIRE’S newest cycling club has been wound up – but members have vowed to continue meeting as a bunch.
Eight club and committee members of Dales CRT took the decision at a meeting last Thursday.
Details of the club’s planned events will be announced later.
Weekend rides and midweek sprints will still take place.
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