The InternationElles- working to close the gender gap in cycling

- by Lucy Ritchie

Last weekend, the cobbled classics kicked off with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium. Following the women’s race, won by Anna van der Breggen, the InternationElles published a pie chart on social media highlighting the gap between the men’s and women’s prize money- €16,000 for the men and €930 for the women. This inspired Cem Tanyeri to start a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of boosting the women’s prize fund for the upcoming Strade Bianche. Promoted by The Cyclists Alliance and the InternationElles, the final prize pot ended up at €26,633, exceeding that of the men’s.
 Source: InternationElles 
Whilst crowd funding to supplement the prize money for every race is clearly not sustainable or the solution to closing the gender gap in women’s cycling, which has many other challenges such as minimum wage, funding and more TV coverage, at least for a week, social media was alive with thought provoking discussion on this subject. 
This is precisely what the InternationElles are trying to achieve, we are a group of ‘ordinary’ women doing extraordinary things because we want to make a difference for future generations. Our mission is to change the perception of the capabilities of our gender and normalise women in cycling and sport in general. We also want to inspire others to become more active through cycling, recognising the physical and mental health benefits.
 Photo Credit: Attacus Cycling 
The InternationElles were established in 2019, a group of 10 women aged between 24 and 46, amateur racers and endurance athletes from the Netherlands, the UK, Australia and the USA with one mission- to raise awareness of gender disparity and to highlight the fact that there is currently no female equivalent of the Tour de France, the pinnacle of the professional cycling calendar. 
For the last 5 years, a French team, Les Donnons des Elles au Velo have been riding the full route of the Tour, one day ahead of the pro men’s peloton to lobby for an equivalent female race.
 Photo Credit: Nicholas Mortreux 
On the 5th of July, 2019, having never ridden together as a team, self-funded and accompanied by 2 hire vans, 4 crew and many crates of bananas, we joined the Donnons and 21 days later on the 27th of July, rolled up the Champs Elysees, having conquered 3,460km and 55,783m of climbing. 
In fact, we rode higher and further than the men, whose last 2 stages were cut short due to adverse weather conditions. The riding was challenging but the conditions we lived under for those 21 days were what made it really tough. Long, uncomfortable transfers, 5 hrs sleep a night maximum, often not eating dinner until 11pm, one massage the entire tour, maintaining our own bikes and washing our kit in the shower to name but a few! Having said that, it was undoubtedly the most incredible experience and whilst I felt that we had made progress in raising global awareness (we had whispers from the ASO that a women’s race was being planned for 2022) when I watched the men thunder up the Champs Elysees the day after we had dodged the traffic on our way to the L ’Arc De Triomphe, I felt hugely envious. 
I’m not a pro-rider, I get that, but I had just conquered the Tour, albeit slower than the men but I wanted to race to the finish. Whether it’s the Tour de France or a new, but equivalently majestic, Grand Tour for women, we need an equal platform. 
Photo Credit: Attacus Cycling 
Riding the full route of the Tour de France the day before the pro-men in 2019 was the catalyst for our InternationElles mission but we don’t want to stop until women have the same visibility and opportunities as men. 
We proved that as amateurs with day jobs and families, which is what many pro-women currently have to contend with, we convincingly and with minimum support, managed to ride the entire route. We made the point that women are physically and mentally capable. As someone who was the first female in an Air Cadet Squadron in the 1990’s, has a PhD in a science subject and in my subsequent career in the Oil and Gas industry, was often the only woman on an offshore rig, and still often the only woman in the boardroom with at least ten men, I understand what it is to be a woman in a stereotypical man’s world. 
I find it quite astonishing though, that it wasn’t until in my 40’s, when I started racing my bike at an amateur level that I became distinctly aware that as a woman I was being treated differently. I qualified over the same distance as the men to ride for GB at the UCI Grandfondo World Championships, yet in the actual race I only had to ride 100 km along with the 60 year old men, yet the rest of the men rode 160 km, why? It feels as women in cycling, we are just an inconvenience to the main event: the men’s race. Yet anyone who has witnessed women’s racing can’t deny its full gas from the start, no peloton promenading, it’s exciting and it’s very watchable. 
This weekend I watched the women’s Strade Bianche. Although the TV coverage only started 108km in, what was shown didn’t disappoint, but it would have been great to see more of that race rather than a repeat of the 2020 men’s race, whilst we waited for the 2021 men’s coverage to start. In 2020, coverage of the Covid delayed Vuelta and the Giro was broadcast concurrently, so in theory, if there was appetite, we could have men’s and women’s race coverage at the same time. 
Is there an appetite for women’s sport though? In 2019, 1.12 billion viewers tuned in to watch official broadcast coverage of the Women’s football world cup (, therefore I would suggest yes, is the answer to that question. Through our work as InternationElles, we often receive comments that we are expecting too much too soon, and we need to be patient. But do we? 
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020 states that true gender equality will not be achieved for another 99.5 years- that’s 2121! That reality is stark and disappointing, waiting is easy, making a change and choosing to challenge is the harder path but one that we, the InternationElles are willing to commit to. 

In 2020, we were all set to ride the Tour again with the French team and also a Dutch contingent- Peloton Orange, which would have seen over 30 women riding the route the day before. Like most plans in 2020, Covid forced us to initiate Plan B. On the 29th of August, when the Tour started in France, with an InternationElle on the cover of the The Daily Telegraph sports supplement, we started to ride the total distance of the tour, 3,470 km as a virtual relay all over the world on turbo trainers. 
Passing the baton from the UK to the Netherlands, Australia and the USA, we covered the entire distance with 2 hour stints, full gas, in just under 100 hours- it was brutal. Following one day of rest, we then embarked on an Everesting attempt to cover the elevation of the tour; three team members (Julie-Ann Hazlett, Heather Sawtelle and Michelle Noble) on Zwift, and seven outdoors (Carmen de Campo- Netherlands, Jen Whalen- California, Jess Fawcett, Jules Cass, Rhian Denton, Lucy Ritchie and Louise Gibson- Wales). Nine of us successfully ‘Everested’ and joined the Hells500 hall of fame, significantly increasing the number of women who had done so. 
Photo Credit: George Galbraith 
Riding the full Tour de France again in 2021 was our plan, but COVID dependent it's looking increasingly like we may need another Plan B. But one thing is for sure, in 2021, having already seen special women’s editions of popular and typically male dominated, Rouleur and Cycling weekly magazines, the time is now! 
We plan to continue our drive for gender equality by bringing awareness through our riding challenges, but we also have an ambition to reach out to a wider audience including cycling clubs, youth groups and schools, sharing our experiences, promoting cycling and working to make it safer and more accessible. 
You can follow the InternationElles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: , @InternationEll2 and hopefully join us on the road someday soon! 

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Vanishing Point!

Alistair Speed Memorial 50 (incorporating SVTTA Harry Roberts)

words and images: The Press Room

Ali Speed

It’s every organiser’s nightmare: everything is in place and all the t’s have been crossed…and then a set of roadworks appears. Compound that however with nine different sets of roadworks dropping onto the course, anywhere from two weeks before the event right up to the day before and you begin to understand just some of the problems faced by Mhairi Laffoley and her team at Fife Century.

Just as in the Stuart Turvey Memorial, if the race had been cancelled, we’d all have understood but, again, this was no ordinary time trial. The Fife 50 was changed to the Ali Speed Memorial 50-Mile TT to mark the passing of a man who epitomised all that we’ve come to expect from the bedrocks of our cycling community.

Ali Speed and his nephew Gavin Laffoley, Fife Century RC (image supplied by Mhairi Laffoley)

I never met Ali…but I feel like I did because Mhairi has told me so many stories, and I’ve heard of lots of exploits from others too. There might be those among you who will read this and think that I’ve missed so many important elements of the man but my experiences come from understanding what he meant to those around him.

Like many of us, Ali was introduced to the sport at an early age, by his dad Archie, and pretty soon he’d joined the Fife Century. They were a real cycling family and he grew to find a special place in the cycling community in Fife and beyond. It gave him immense pride to see his nephew Gavin follow his lead into cycling and into the Fife Century. To listen to Mhairi talk about him is to understand just how keenly his loss is still felt by those close to him.

Others though mention him in casual conversation which helps to make the point about how central he was to cycling in this part of the world.

Alan Thomson speeding back towards Auchtermuchty at 47mph!

The course initially seems complicated as it approaches the Melville Lodges roundabout three separate times and from two different directions but it could be summed up by saying “left first time, straight on second time, and right on the third.”

Leaving Freuchie and heading north, the course took the left fork and went through Giffordtown and Kinloch before the left turn onto the main A91 road heading west…and straight into the blustering headwind. As the riders headed down to Milnathort they passed the point where Alistair was killed, on a road that he knew like the back of his hand and this would have been in the minds of those who have ridden this event every year since, in his honour.

Early out, late back! Martin Lawson and David Kirton

Heading back from the turn at Milnathort the riders picked up the incredible tailwind and literally shot back through Gateside and Auchtermuchty on the road to the Melville Lodges for the first time. We spoke to Alan Thomson afterwards and he said he realized he had to back-off when he saw that his speed was sitting at 47mph, scared that he might overcook before turning north.

Up to the Parbroath Junction where Mick Nally was helping see the riders through the sharp left-hander, the riders then made for Lindores before turning south and climbing away from the loch, back over the rolling hills before descending to quite possibly the most difficult junction of all at Trafalgar.

The marshals there, like the rest of the course, did a fantastic job to keep the riders safe as they dealt with competitors coming down the hill and onto the main road while the later starters were still approaching from the west…top marks guys!!

Superb performance by all the marshals on a tricky course!

Onto the roundabout again, straight through and then a left turn just up the road at the Bow of Fife. Nature reserve on both sides before turning left and back to the roundabout for the final time. Now it was into the wind again for the short run back to Trafalgar, turning left and up the short rise…there’s a warning sign for ‘ducks’, probably meant specially for Kyle Gordon on this course!

A run-down to Heatherhall Woods where the riders turned right onto the back road, left at the triangle and then the short final dash for the line.

As is tradition now, there was no number 1, left vacant in Ali’s honour and then proceedings were kicked off by Martin Lawson of the Dundee Thistle. We’d set up just west of Auchtermuchty where we could catch the riders going in both directions and Martin was the first to come past. Second man off, and another to have ridden every running of Ali’s TT, was Dave Kirton (Kennoway RC). We’ve mentioned Dave always shouting “thank you” as he passes but we also realized that he shouts “good morning” to other riders as they pass each other. We were also told of a time when Dave carried a can of beer in his bottle cage and Ali had to intervene to stop him being disqualified…but we’ll save that for another time.

Stuart Ashley passing Scott McCord before illness struck

The fastest rider of the early starters was undoubtedly Stuart Ashley (Loch Leven Cycles RT) as he swept past riders on the way out to Milnathort. He was still looking sleek on the way back but unfortunately illness struck a short time later and he had to retire.

There were a couple of fast riders up early in the proceedings with David Ross (Falkirk BC) being the early pacesetter. He finished in a time of 1:55:09 and held the top spot on the board for the best part of 40 minutes, eventually claiming 5th overall.

Brian Muir speeds to the SVTTA Harry Roberts!

Another early turn of speed came from the Royal Albert’s Brian Muir as he churned a huge gear into the wind. He finished in 1:57:37, good enough for 11th position in the end. Forgetting that this race also incorporated the SVTTA Harry Roberts, Brian had headed off before he was later told he’d won that competition.

Another early starter was Orkney CC’s Olga Hamilton who finished in 2:17:26 and while this saw her finish in 40th spot, she claimed the prize for the best V40 Woman. Running behind her on the road, but ahead on the watch, was another Royal Albert rider, Joanne Clark. Her 2:16:01 put her in 37th position overall but saw finish as 2nd best woman. There was no stopping Patricia Baird (Inverclyde Velo) though as she took just over a minute and a quarter out of Joanne to come home in 2:14:45 and take the top award for best Woman.

Patricia Baird powers to victory

Another early starter was local rider, Kinross CC’s Miriam Rennet, and her time of 2:23:19 saw her win the V50 prize.

(l) Olga Hamilton, V40 winner (r) Miriam Rennet, V50 winner

We were watching for Ali’s lifelong friend Graham Jones (Edinburgh RC) and he came by in his usual superbly aero position. His 2:08:30 would eventually see him take 24th position overall on what must have been quite an emotional ride.

Two riders to have ridden every running of the Ali Speed Memorial: (l) Paul Hornby and (r) Graham Jones, Ali's friend from the age of 8

Ali’s nephew Gavin Laffoley (Fife Century RC) was also off relatively early and we could only feel for him when he passed the place on the road where we lost Ali Speed. Gavin’s 2:17:40 was a decent ride but his day wasn’t really about the time.

Following in the footsteps: Ali's nephew Gavin Laffoley riding for the Fife Century

Special mention to a couple of Fife stalwarts: Sandy Wallace (Fife Century RC) punctured down at Milnathort and was unable to continue while Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes’ Ross Thomson snapped a gear cable and couldn’t give it his best. It was great to see Scottish Cycling's Paul Zarb there wearing his commissaire's hat and representing his Kinross club. He collected Sandy and got him back to the HQ.

Fife regulars: Sandy Wallace (l) and Ross Thomson (r) both suffered mechanicals

We were into the last of the fast riders now and it was a toss-up between Eddie Addis (RT23), Jason Roberts (Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes) and Andrew Underwood (Carse of Gowrie Velo) as to who was going fastest. Watching them speed back in the opposite direction there really wasn’t much in it, Andrew Underwood possibly a shade faster at this point.

Eventual second fastest rider, Andrew Underwood was looking smooth and fast

There was a standout rider at this point though…Alan Thomson (RT23) has ridden this race every year since Ali died and he’s been desperate to do him justice by winning it. And every year he’s come close…seconds and a third stopping him from picking up the trophy. This year though, he was measuring his effort and was looking focused all the way around.

(l) Jason Roberts takes 3rd in his first ever 50 and (r) Eddie Addis shows his all-round skill by coming 4th

We repositioned to the Trafalgar junction and marveled at the way the marshals ensured that the riders coming down the hill were able to track safely onto the main road…a top job from these guys, not to mention the stories they were telling us about Ali.

Alan Thomson approaches the line and victory!

A final set-up at the finish line enabled us to see some of the riders coming home and it was a privilege to see the final starter Alan Thomson come to the timekeepers in the fastest time of the day. Finishing behind him and topping off the rider list were the two riders that had taken to the course at the beginning of the day, Martin Lawson and Dave Kirton.

A delighted Mhairi Laffoley presents her brother's trophy to Alan Thomson

A quick check of the timesheets and the delight from Mhairi Laffoley was evident when we realized that Alan Thomson had taken the victory with a time of 1:49:04. He was baulked a little by some vehicles on his final run-in and but for that he would surely have gone under the 1:49:00 mark…no matter, again, it wasn't the actual time that was important but rather the victory to mark Ali’s loss.

Andrew Underwood took the 2nd spot with his time of 1:51:28 while Jason Roberts, riding his first 50-mile TT, took third in 1:53:31. Eddie Addis was 4th in 1:54:10 while David Ross finished in 5th with 1:55:09.

Patricia Baird takes the prize for fastest woman

The men’s vets prizes were: Andrew Scott (Musselburgh RCC) in 1:55:43 to take the V40, Angus Wilson (Dundee Thistle) in 1:57:34 for the V50 prize, John Newton (Leslie Bike/Bikers Boutique) in 2:23:50 for the V60 and Robert Brown (EH Star Cycling) in a superb 2:16:47 to claim the V70 prize.

In the Harry Roberts, top spot went to Brian Muir in 1:57:37 plus 24:22, second to Angus Wilson in 1:57:34 plus 21:53, third to Eddie Addis in 1:54:10 plus 20:57 and fourth position to David Ross in 1:55:09 plus 20:27. The team prize to EH Star Cycling with Robert Brown and Bill Groves.

One last prize in common with the earlier Stuart Turvey Memorial is a prize for the rider to get closest to Ali Speed’s best time in this event at this distance (2:07:22) and this year it went to Angus Swanson (Stirling BC) who finished in 2:06:22.

Back at the HQ, as the prizes were presented, the emotion in Alan Thomson’s voice was evident and the smile from Mhairi said it all…Ali Speed would have been immensely proud that all these riders had turned out to race in his memory.

Alan Thomson remembers the man

It seems only fitting that we leave the final moment to the man himself...not everyone would have realised that not only did they pass the site where Ali was killed but his ashes are buried at the finish line just outside Freuchie so that he could see all of the riders finish safely. His final race was the evening before he died and his final conversation with Mhairi was only 40 minutes before the accident. His loss is still very raw to all those fortunate enough to have known him and he'll be remembered for a long time in the Kingdom.

Gone but definitely not forgotten!

image gallery here

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Forever Young!

The John Davies Memorial RR/Scottish National Vet Men's Championship 2019

Words and images: The Press Room

Andy Bruce shows us why he's a 1st Cat!

We’re sure John Davies was looking down on Newton Mearns on Sunday as his club VC Glasgow South organised the race in his memory, a race that this year incorporated the Scottish National Veteran Men’s Championship. He’d obviously put in a request for decent weather but you don’t get everything, as the usual blustery wind from the Southwest would make the run down the Stewarton Road hard going each time.

We’ll get to the race in a minute but first some words about John…

John Davies was my friend. I’m not going to say we were best mates but whenever I met John over the years, he had that ability to cut through the awkward talk and get to the meat of the subject. It was this ability that, in part, made him a friend to so many people.

I first met John in 2006/2007 when he would come in to the bike shop and we would talk bikes, bike racing and bike racers…subjects he was passionate about. He always had two coffees and we’d shoot the breeze and put the cycling world to rights. All I knew about John was that he owned a café on the south side of Glasgow, named Café Coppi if any more proof of his love of bikes was needed, and that he was planning to sell up and spend the cold half of each year sunning himself in Spain.

He also told me about the plans to set up VC Glasgow South and break the perception that clubs were elitist and non-inclusive…that’s not to say that they were but the perception among many ‘new’ cyclists was that some clubs could be less than friendly. Thankfully, through VC Glasgow South and many others, that perception has changed.

Past and present club sponsors: much missed Adrenaline Bikes and Glasgow's own Dales Cycles

It was about this time that John was first diagnosed with cancer and it’s such a cruel condition in that the sufferer goes through illness, treatment, recovery and, if they’re lucky, remission. John went through quite a few rounds of this but never lost his focus or love for the sport.

I next came across John Davies when I started The Press Room in 2013 and realized that John was both a highly qualified UCI Commissaire and a member of the Scottish Cycling Board of Directors. He was really pleased that The Press Room had come into being as it filled a gap in the coverage of Scottish racing. Of course there were and are other guys doing good stuff, most noticeably Martin and Ed at VeloVeritas and while their coverage is always great, who can blame them if they get the chance to go and cover races in Europe.

John Davies: a huge loss to everyone who knew him and to loads that had not yet had the pleasure

John always made a point of coming over and chatting at major races and this brought a smile as the other photographers and officials took note. He was extremely pleased when The Press Room first contracted with Scottish Cycling in 2015 to produce race reports and always helped smooth our way at races.

We spoke to John about doing a series of in-depth interviews with notable people in the cycling community…not just a few questions but proper sit-down interviews spread over five or six pages and easily double the amount of cups of coffee. He agreed to be our first but asked if we could wait until he’d recovered a bit from the latest round of treatment. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen but his wife Liz has agreed to do the interview in John’s place so something to watch out for.

In closing this simple eulogy, the last time I saw John was at the Scottish 10 champs in May of 2015 when, as SC Board member, he turned out to the hall in Bishopton to present the medals and prizes at that year’s 10-Mile Championship. He was clearly frail at this point but such was his spirit that there was no way he wasn’t going to be there to honour the riders and everyone else who’d turned out to race in the miserable conditions that day.

I’ve missed our chats, his enthusiasm and support, his love for cycling, and for coffee, and it’s no surprise that so many of his friends turned out to race in his honour over his favourite roads in this part of the world. Thanks John!

Onto the main event and the riders marshaled at the Indian Platform, or Malletsheugh Inn as many still think of it, before the NEG took the race onto the circuit on Malletsheugh Road. A quick run down passed the cottages and then the left turn and south to Stewarton…and into the teeth of the wind.

Early movers Richard McGhee and Gary McCrae

First riders to make a push were Richard McGhee (Glasgow Nightingale CC) and Gary McCrae (Leslie Bike Shop) and they were 20 seconds clear of the field as they came up through the finish line at the quarry for the first time. Anyone who’s ridden this road will know that while there’s no major climb, the constant up and down especially into the wind, soon takes its toll. We remember on a Braveheart ride years ago, there were riders taking shelter from the driving rain behind the quarry wall and the sheep who were there too, didn’t even bother moving!

Greig Brown and Andy Bruce pushing off the Clunch

We next caught the riders where they came down off the Clunch and picked up the tailwind back up the A77. Greig Brown and Andy Bruce (Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes) led through the left-hander and Andy later told us that he and Greig had picked up the pace over the top, not so much to try and break away but rather to stop other riders sheltering in the wheels. Martin Lonie (Nuun-Sigma Sports-London RT), David Lines (Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli), Jason Roberts (Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes) and David Blockley (RT23) were all paying close attention and riding at the front. Andy Bruce obviously liked that point as a launch pad and a plan began to form.

(l) Ross Crook leads up the Clunch for the second time around, closely watched by Martin Lonie. (r) Dominic Hines and Gary McCrae battle for honours in the V50 category

Next time around we watched them coming up the Clunch just after turning off the Stewarton Road and it was Ross Crook (Edinburgh RC) leading the charge. There were a few riders off the back now with a small group having lost contact first time around. Dave Blockley also rode through behind the main field, telling us that he’d punctured right at the turn and despite his best efforts, there was no way he was getting back to the head of affairs.

Unlucky to suffer a front wheel puncture, David Blockley was left to chase the main field

On the dip down just before the final rise, Andy Bruce made his move and got clear. Having made the turn and with the wind at his back, he looked around to see that James McCallum (META Bike Division) was bridging across. Now it’s taken James three years to become a 3rd Cat, and he may have been riding mountain bikes most recently, but there’s no mistaking his talents on a bike and Andy Bruce was worried about taking a seasoned winner all the way to the line. James though said, “lets just ride and see where it takes us.”

Next time back down towards Stewarton, the pair were well away with a close-to two minute gap over the chasing field. Andy Bruce looked to be puffing a bit but James McCallum was looking as serene as ever.

Setting up the win as James McCallum and Andy Bruce fight into the wind on the run towards Stewarton

The bunch came through with Martin Lonie and Ross Crook leading the charge, the Bioracer pairing of Greig Brown and Jason Roberts taking it a bit easier as they had a man up the road.

So the question was, could the lead pair stay away and if so, who would win the dash to the line?

As it happened, a chase group got away and began to hunt down the two leaders. Martin Lonie was pushing it hard with Gary McCrae, Jason Roberts and David Lines all in the mix. Defending Champion David Lines later told us that he’d hit a pothole early on, lost his drinks bottle and snapped the r/h lever clamp on his shifter which meant that he had to ride all the way around on the drops and the shots of the final dash up to the finish confirm how difficult this must have been. 

Four miles out from the finish, James McCallum looked across at Andy Bruce and said, “that’s it mate, my legs are done. It’s up to you now! Good luck!” Andy Bruce went into time trial mode and struck for home but the chasers were bearing down on him. The time gap was shrinking and he didn’t know if he could hang on but eventually the 300 metres-to-go board hove into view and he accepted that he wouldn’t be beaten.

Andy Bruce crests the final rise to win the John Davies Memorial RR and take the Vet's title for the second time

Delight written all over his face, he still checked to make sure that no-one could come around him as he crossed the line and took the championship title for a second time, later thanking James McCallum for all his help.

Exhaustion and delight all at the same time

Twenty seconds later it was a sprint for second between Martin Lonie and Jason Roberts with Martin finding the power to cross the line with a good few bike lengths’ advantage…not bad for a rider just recovering from illness.

Next sprint was between Gary McCrae and David Lines with the Leslie Bike Shop man coming home first and tying up the V50 title and 4th place overall…a superb ‘special delivery’ from the flying postman! Jimmy Mac hung on for 6th spot overall and in doing so, lifted the John Davies Cup which is reserved for the best 3rd/4th Cat rider.

(l) Martin Lonie outsprints Jason Roberts to fill the V40 podium while (r) a superb performance sees Gary McCrae finish ahead of David Lines, securing the V50 title in the process

Greig Brown finished alone for 7th and then it was a bunch sprint…not just for honours but for medals as well in the V50 category. Leading the charge was Walter Hamilton (VeloClub Edinburgh) but hot on his wheel was Musselburgh RCC’s Ali Watt and this performance secured the Silver in the V50 group. Walter had been helping his clubmate and last year’s winner Dominic Hines and he finished just behind the Icarus pairing of Alan Griffiths and George Roberts with ERC’s Jesse Vernon separating the two of them.

It may not have been Gold this time but Dominic Hines stepped onto yet another podium to claim Bronze in the V50.

Winner, winner as Andy Bruce and Gary McCrae are congratulated on taking the 2019 titles

Bill Craig’s (Organiser) idea of having an uphill finish to make it easier to separate riders didn’t work as the rest of the field crossed the line. We’re sure John Davies, looking down, would have been delighted at the way the race played out.

Andy Bruce certainly was delighted with his win, especially as he hadn’t actually been targeting this race as he’s preparing for the British Masters Track Championship in a couple of weeks time. He was physically exhausted at the end which allowed us to capture a very rare shot of him not actually smiling…thank goodness, the waving has finally stopped!

Prized photo of Andy Bruce without his trademark smile

It was back to the hall to see the medals and jerseys being presented. Scottish Cycling personnel seem to be a bit thin on the ground these days (unless it’s BMX and the boost in membership fees that might bring) and while Fraser Johnson was there for SC, we would have thought such a notable cycling personage as John Davies, an SC director no less, deserved someone in a higher position to present the national titles.

(l) V40 podium: Martin Lonie, Andy Bruce and Jason Roberts. (r) V50 podium: Ali Watt, Gary McCrae and Dominic Hines

No matter, the guys from VC Glasgow South know how to promote their event and a race video is now doing the rounds. We were really happy to be invited and it’s onto the Ali Speed Memorial 50 next weekend.

The Press Room: on the bottom of Scottish cycling...

We were also delighted to see yet another Scottish Champion sporting The Press Room logo on their kit as they climbed onto the podium.

3rd Cat James McCallum wins the John Davies Trophy...he might make something of himself if he sticks at it

The final word goes to Andy Bruce…”I had one of the Bakewell slices before the race, so I’m definitely going to have another now!”

Recipe for success: Bakewell Slice!

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'The Number 23'

Stuart Turvey Memorial 10-Mile TT incorporating Scottish Cycling National 10.

Words and images: The Press Room

The Stuart Turvey Memorial Cup

On Sunday 5th May the great and the good of Scottish time trialling gathered at Monikie to remember a young man called Stuart Turvey and to race in his honour. It also happened to be the Scottish Cycling National 10-Mile Championship…and it was a close-run thing; not just in the result but in the event happening at all.

It was every organiser’s nightmare: a road accident on the original course at Freuchie meaning extensive road repairs and for even experienced organisers, this could have spelled disaster. Throw into the mix that RT23’s Eddie Addis was organising his first event and he would have been forgiven by many for throwing in the towel.

This wasn’t any event though…this was Stuart’s race and the host club was determined to remember Stuart in the best way possible by making sure the race went ahead. Those absolute bedrocks of the Scottish racing scene, Mhairi Laffoley and Martin Harris, threw their considerable talents into the mix and an alternative course near Monifieth was given the okay within a very short time.

Kyle Gordon celebrates his win in the Stuart Turvey Memorial, second and third to Jamie Davidson and David Griffiths

Now Stuart was a special bike rider and it’s in his memory that RT23 get the ‘23’ part of their name…this was the number that Stuart wore in his last race and there’s a special prize every year for the rider to get the closest time to 22:59 (Stuart’s best 10-mile time). It went to Jamie Kennedy (GTR-Return To Life) this year with 23:02.

Listening to Sandy Wallace explaining what the race meant, and what Stuart meant to everyone who knew him, before Stuart’s dad Fred presented the cup to the winner, it was obvious to everyone who could hear the raw emotion in Sandy’s voice, that Stuart’s passing had affected the whole team deeply and that his loss was still very keenly felt.

(L) New course record holder Vicky Smith flanked by Catriona MacGillivray and Neah Evans. (R) Pamela Craig and Catriona MacGillivray took the Women's Team prize

Before we get into the racing, let’s dispel a few errors that you may have read in the official report (before someone took the big red pen to it and fixed the mistakes): as fast as RT23’s Kyle Gordon is, he didn’t on this occasion break the course record which is still held by that Secret Squirrel, and behind-the-scenes mentor to many, Jon Entwistle in 19:55. He may have been after the national record but that’s still held by the late Jason MacIntyre: John Archibald hasn’t managed that yet…well, not under SC regulations but he has under CTT!

On the other hand, Vicky Smith smashed the Women’s course record which had previously been held by Amanda Tweedie (this year volunteering her services with the timekeepers). Unless someone had turned Angus upside down, the start left the Ethiebeaton and headed east not west before turning across the carriageway at Muirdrum and returning back to Monifieth. At least the riders knew where they were going…well except the one who missed the big arrows at the turn and continued towards Arbroath before realising their mistake (name withheld to protect dignity but he’s called Neil).

Laura Cluxton piloted by Mr C

So onto the racing…and boy was it cold. Much colder than a day in May should ever be. As we left Argyll at 5am to drive to Dundee, the car was showing 3 degrees and it didn’t get much warmer by the start of the race…a bitterly cold wind was gusting along the road giving the riders a tailwind start and a headwind slog back to the timekeepers.

Many riders spun out on the outward leg but as any time triallist knows, the race is won and lost on the run into the wind. Everyone was talking about power readings and while this is considered to be the best way to train, in race conditions it often throws up some unexpected results. Some riders spun back into the wind, up and over the rolling terrain, while others pushed a big gear and kept it turning…or not so much in some cases.

(L) Janette Hazlett in the new, retro-inspired, Glasgow Ivy colours. (R) Georgia Mansfield picked up the U23 title.

We didn’t have a watch on any of the riders but with the bikes setting off at minute intervals, and the seeded riders at gaps of two minutes, it became second nature to feel when someone was performing well. There were two riders that while they didn’t look much faster, they appeared out of sequence in the time gaps.

The other riders weren’t going slowly; Kyle Gordon (RT23) and Vicky Smith (AeroCoach) just appeared so much faster. We were about three miles in, just before the Victoria Interchange, and it afforded us the chance to get the riders in both directions…with the return being up an incline at that point. Vicky Smith churned a huge gear up this slope into the wind and it was a really impressive performance.

Patricia Baird, in full flight, wins the V50 category

The race started with the non-championship youth riders and then, unusually, we saw the senior Men before the Juniors and the senior Women. So often, the women get the coldest weather conditions with the men getting a comparatively warmer ride later on. Not this time as the sun didn’t make an appearance until the seeded men came through at the tail of their category…but the sun was only out for 15 minutes before it clouded over again.

First rider to approach was Discovery Junior Cameron Brown and he returned a very respectable 25:13. Next was the Royal Albert’s Jack McManus but he was being hunted down by a fast-moving Callum Reid (Squadra Scozzese)…perhaps a bit too fast moving because going in the opposite direction, Jack pulled Callum back and ‘uncaught’ himself. These two then had a ding-dong battle to the finish with Callum once again taking the lead and finishing in 25:36, Jack in 26:47 having started a minute ahead.

Daniel Kain powers to a superb time of 22.04 on youth gears!

The standout performance though came from Daniel Kain (Squadra Scozzese) as he flew along the course, on youth gears, and finished in a superb time of 22:04. This was talked about as riders enjoyed the coffee and cake afterwards and a number of senior riders took note of how fast young Daniel is becoming.

Onto the senior men and the first rider to pass us was sporting the bright pink of Team Andrew Allan Architecture, with Craig Duncan finishing in 23:32 for an eventual 46th place. The times were all very closely packed but if you wanted to get inside the top 15, riders had to post a time inside of 22 minutes. Off number 19 at just approaching 8.20am, Aberdeen Wheelers’ Iain Macleod blasted back to the timekeepers in 21:05. This meant that he sat at the top of the sheet for close to two hours before finally being unseated by Tom Gelati (Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes) with just 3 seconds in hand. This saw the pair of them finish in 7th and 8th positions overall.

(L) Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes won the Team prize with Jamie Davidson, Tom Gelati and David Griffiths. (R) Former multi-champion James Millar back to racing

Tom Gelati would hold the top spot for only around 10 minutes before his teammate David Griffiths came home in 20:27. This put Dr Dave in the hotseat but he would eventually slip to 3rd overall, giving the two higher places to yet another teammate and to the defending holder of the Stuart Turvey Cup.

RT23’s Alan Thomson returned in 20:58 but it was the man on the road behind him , his teammate Kyle Gordon, who would chase him home and finish in 20:09, good enough for 1st position overall, the Scottish Cycling 10-Mile title and, most importantly, to retain Stuart’s cup and keep his as the only name on it. Bioracer’s Jamie Davidson took 11 seconds out of teammate David Griffiths to finish in Silver medal spot but, superb time though it was, he was still 7 seconds shy of Kyle Gordon. Defending champion Liam Beaty (Hawick CC) was just 3 seconds off the podium and had to settle for 4th on the day with Wilson Renwick (unattached) a further 4 seconds back in 5th spot.

Adding up the times of David Griffiths, Jamie Davidson and Tom Gelati gave the Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes squad the Team Gold in a total combined time of 1.1:45.

Superb times on a day when conditions, as they so often are in Scotland, were less than ideal. Also, not the fastest course but fantastic performances from all concerned.

Oscar Onley rode to victory in the Junior category

Next up were the juniors and there were no girls represented this year unfortunately. With only five boys presenting themselves to the starter, it was looking like a clean sweep for Spokes RT. Craig Grieve and Blair Whiteside know how to build a development squad and they know which riders to bring to which races (Scottish Cycling take note). Last rider off was Oscar Onley and this young man is simply getting faster and faster…like so many of the riders to have passed through Spokes RT in recent years.

He came back to the finish in a top time of 21:13 to take the title from his teammate Logan MacLean who finished in 22:16. Keeping the rivalry going Logan took Silver from Aaron King by just 3 seconds to lockout the podium places and the championship medals. Matiss Robertson from the host club RT23 came 4th in 23:27 with Edinburgh RC’s Matthew McCullagh finishing in 23:49.

With Oscar and Logan’s times combined to give a total of 43:29, they had secured a new Scottish Cycling Junior Team Competition record by 2 seconds over the old standard!

Flying the flag for Stirling BC, Carole Dick won the V40 title

Last category on the ticket was the Senior Women’s race and first machine along the road was Laura Cluxton on her tandem piloted by Mr C on this occasion. She would return in a time of 24:57, an excellent time considering how difficult it can be to get such a long machine through the relatively difficult and technical turn at the Muirdrum flyover.

Tandems are great training and regular track pilot Lucie Hrnickova (Edinburgh RC) used her track strength to come home in a time of 25:00 dead and an eventual 7th place overall. Next on the results sheet was the host club’s Anna Fairweather (RT23) who posted 24:57 and will no doubt be looking forward to this year’s hill climb championships where she excels.

Defending champion Neah Evans had to settle for Bronze this time around. Taking Silver for 2019 was Catriona MacGillivray

Riding to a fantastic 4th place overall, and keeping it with the host club, was top photographer and cyclist Pamela Craig (RT23) who popped in with a 24:43…a time that saw her finish in 4th place overall but, bonus, her first ever championship medal as she was one half of the winning team…more Gold medals to come for her!

Claiming 3rd overall, and Bronze on this occasion, was defending champion Neah Evans (Team HUUB). Neah is in the middle of a strength training block right now but was still looking very focused and aero on her machine. There was talk of a mechanical issue but we’re not sure exactly what happened but her time of 23:11 was still very creditable.

Continuing her rise to top form after her layoff, it was Catriona MacGillivray (RT23) who took second and Silver in 22:52 and also picked up Gold as the other half of the winning team.

Rider of the year so far as Vicky Smith makes it two from two in Scottish National championships

There was no stopping Vicky Smith (AeroCoach) though as she continues her winning ways in 2019. She has become the rider to beat and her performances at both the Meldons and here at Monifieth (as well as the Westferry with CTT) show that she is very versatile over different terrain and in different weather conditions. Her time of 21:47 wrestled the course record away from Amanda Tweedie and brought her another Gold medal to add to her haul. Her own unique way of appearing on the podium is always a delight to see, and shows that she is very much making sure that she’s having fun with her racing.

The other prizes on the day went to Ali Merry (Dundee Thistle) and Georgia Mansfield (Torelli-Assure) taking the U23 category in 22:15 and 25:58 respectively.

Gavin Laffoley wore the number '23' in honour of his best mate, Stuart Turvey

Vet 40 prizes went to Andy Underwood (Carse of Gowrie) and Carole Dick (Stirling BC) in 21:19 and 26:17. V50 top spots were taken by Peter Ettles (RT25) and Patricia Baird (Inverclyde Velo) in 22:21 and 25:21. V60 awards to Iain Elliot (Hawick CC) and Jenni Nicholson (RT23) in 25:21 and 29:00.

In memory of Stuart...

Final award of the day was to Sandy Wallace who picked up the V70 title in a time of 25:57, fitting then that it was Sandy who, along with Stuart’s dad Fred, presented the Stuart Turvey Cup to Kyle Gordon…a worthy recipient of the trophy that remembers a young man who made a huge impression on so many people.

Gallery here

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