Easter Parade

words and images:The Press Room

Fastest Man in the World: John Archibald

John Archibald brought a touch of UCI European Tour glamour to the Borders village of Eddleston on Easter Sunday as he broke his own course record and handed out a near 5-minute beating of second placed, and local rider, Grant Ferguson.

In the women’s race, defending champion Lynsey Curran could do nothing against Catriona MacGillivray, just back to racing after having a baby last year, but it was Vicky Smith who made it another successful trip home to pick up the Tour of the Meldons Trophy…with only 12 seconds separating her from the RT23 rider.

AeroCoach's Vicky Smith takes the title by 12 seconds

Sunday was the warmest day of the year so far but the women, off first, had probably the best of the weather conditions. The sun was hazy and the breeze light to begin with but as the morning progressed, the temperatures rose along with the wind. The men especially reported that it was a strong headwind on the run down the valley from Whim to Blyth Bridge.

The Tour of the Meldons, organised by Juli Rourke and her team of helpers at Edinburgh Road Club, often suffers from poor road conditions coming so soon after Winter, and while there were potholes and rough patches in places, the Shiplaw hill itself had been newly resurfaced and was very smooth.

Catriona MacGillivray is back! Grant Ferguson powers up the Barony Castle finishing straight.

Up at the top we waited on the first rider and it was the host club’s own Lucie Hrnickova who was first to come passed. Lucie was looking good and this type of effort will see dividends back on the track in her role as tandem pilot. Her time of 1.11:18 saw her finish as the fastest woman rider from ERC.

Starting just four minutes later was Teri Bayliss (Muckle Cycle Club) and her time of 1.12:17 saw her take the prize for first woman vet. Lucie’s time was standing until Katie Priester (Glasgow Nightingale CC) came in just under half a minute quicker and this would keep Katie on top for ten minutes until the faster women began to arrive.

Catriona MacGillivray (RT23) was absolutely flying, so much so, than when we first spied her through the long lens we assumed it was her teammate Aileen Clyde, off two minutes ahead of her. Not so as she sped by us at our favourite spot atop the Shiplaw and she went on to set a superb time of 1.01:29. Ordinarily, this would have seen her take the win but Vicky Smith (AeroCoach) was also tearing up the road and would eventually take the title by a mere 12 seconds in 1.01:17, a superb tussle on this very hilly course.

Defending Champion Lynsey Curran finished in 3rd.

Lynsey Curran (Dooleys Cycles), off last as defending champion came home in 1.04:25…an excellent time but she couldn’t hold off the challenge from Vicky and Catriona. This will develop into a season-long battle for titles and honours…a battle that could see the titles being shared around between them.

Juli’s race always has a good supply of prizes and the first woman vet over 50 prize went to Stirling BC’s Katherine Wren in 1.18:08, the first woman on a roadbike category prize to Katie Priester in 1.10:51 with the woman’s team prize going to the RT23 pairing of Catriona MacGillivray and Anna Fairweather in a combined time of 2.10:21.

Unusually for this race there were no junior riders to finish so the first male rider to pass us was ERC’s Karolis Dedura, desperately shouting for an allen key as he went by. He’s recently joined the Edinburgh Road Club and was riding in a non-club skinsuit. The Commissaires have discretion to allow non-team strips but there was a significant number of riders who competed out of their club colours, with quite a few in very dark skinsuits, that a decision was taken to exclude their times. This would cause an issue for last year’s defending champion as we’ll explain later on.

Jim Cusick: first vet over 50 and Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes Oliver Murray

There was a healthy mix of TT bikes and ordinary road bikes…but the first rider to come home under the hour was an early starter. Ever youthful Jim Cusick (Dooleys Cycles) was off number 35 and returned to the timekeepers in 58:22. This would see him sitting at the top of the sheet for a considerable time but it was Sparta Breda’s Brian Duncan who eventually topped his time in 58:15.

This would see Brian finish in 9th place overall with the final top-ten spot going to Ali Merry, resplendent in the orange of Dundee Thistle, finishing just 3 seconds later.

Now we were into the fast guys and it was a lucrative day out for Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes rider Andy Bruce. A seatpost mix-up meant that he opted for his road bike and he put in a blistering time of 58:08 to take 8th overall, first vet rider, first male rider on a roadbike and one third of the best male team of the day…ka-ching!!

Ka-ching!! Lucrative day out for Andy Bruce!

Just 8 seconds ahead of Andy Bruce was RT23’s Ewen MacGillivray, also back to racing, who finished in 58:00 dead. David Griffiths (Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes) and Gavin Shirley (Dooleys Cycles) had a ding-dong battle throughout the race and both riders finished with a time of 57:27. Who could go quicker?

A mis-entered digit initially saw Carse of Gowrie’s Andrew Underwood awarded second prize overall but when the figures were checked and rechecked by top timekeeper Mhairi Laffoley he was found to have finished in 4th spot with 56:35. He’s a top bloke and took it in his stride.

World Champion and World Record holder Rob Friel

Rob Friel (Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes) is a world champion and world record holder but we were just glad to see that he had a sensible skinsuit on this year as he finished in 3rd spot overall in a time of 55:57.

What is it about top mountain bikers that makes them so good at time trialling…or is it just that top time triallists make good mountain bikers? Current Scottish Hill Climb Champion, and local rider, Grant Ferguson (Hope Factory Racing) bettered Rob’s time by 17 seconds to finish in 55:40 but it was the UCI Europe Tour rider John Archibald that everyone was watching. The fastest man in the world was tearing up the course and would eventually tear up his own course record by finishing just shy of 5 minutes ahead of Grant Ferguson…a superb result considering the hilly nature of the Meldons circuit. John Archibald’s time of 50:42 was simply electrifying and his mum has already posed the question of whether he can get below 50 minutes next year…not a bet we’re likely to take given the fact that John is still getting quicker.

UCI Europe Tour and the Jim Wright Cup: some famous names on there!

The team prize was taken by Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes in a total of 2.51:32 (Rob Friel, David Griffiths, Andy Bruce), the first vet over 50 was Jim Cusick and the first ERC rider was Alan Dean in 59:54.

We mentioned earlier about team skinsuits and defending champion Wilson Renwick (Velo Schils-Interbike RT) was to fall foul of this rule and have his time excluded. He thought he’d complied as far as he could with the rules by trying to have a skinsuit as close to his team colours as possible but unfortunately there was another rider on the day in the same colour of kit and this had the potential to cause confusion. It was decided to exclude all riders not in club colours…it’s in the rule book and until Scottish Cycling opt to revisit that particular thorny subject, that’s the way it’ll stay. It’s not a great situation for anyone, rider or commissaire.

John Archibald brought the glitter to Eddleston, courtesy of Ribble Pro Cycling!

And so it was back to Eddleston for the prizes presented by Kathy Gilchrist as everyone enjoyed the sunny day, the cakes and tea and another very successful running of the Tour of the Meldons. A big shout out to everyone who came along and especially to all those that took up marshaling duties and helped to return another fantastic time trial over this course.

Gallery over on Facebook with more images to come

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Top Ten Finishes For Ruairidh Brown In INAS Cycling World Championships

words: Graeme Brown
pics: Luc Percival Photography/INAS

East Kilbride cyclist Ruairidh Brown took two top ten finishes in the 2018 INAS European Games, which incorporated the INAS Cycling World Championships, in the 10km Time Trial and 60km Road Race. The TT was won by Belgian, Lars De Jong, whilst the rainbow jersey was claimed by Erik Sarango Tufino from Ecuador.

The INAS event offers an elite level of competition for athletes with an intellectual impairment and attracts entries from all over the world.

This is only the second time that Ruairidh has lined up at this level after a baptism of fire on the open, windy roads of the Netherlands in 2017. The 19 year old, who is a member of St Christophers Cycling Club in East Kilbride, was looking to improve on his performance last year and give himself the best chance of winning a medal.

The event parcours was within the Parc Bois de Vincennes on the south side of Paris and consisted of a 3.3km triangular circuit of wide, heavy roads. It was not ideally suited to Ruairidh in terms of time trialling but despite that he recorded a personal best time for this distance, which is commonly used in this level of competition, on Monday morning. He finished eight overall, which placed him seventh in the European event.

After a hard time trial for him he then had a 60km road race on Tuesday morning on the same circuit.

The pace at the beginning of the race was very steady with all riders nervously watching each other.  However, after six kilometres the attacks started to come, and were relentless throughout the race without anything sticking. Ruairidh was always in the mix and remained well placed without having to work too hard.

At the halfway stage a group of three riders had a 10 second gap but it only lasted a lap before the French team started to show their hand with big attacks each time the race crossed the start finish line.

With nine kilometres to go Ruairidh was in a leading bunch of 10 riders when the Belgian, and reigning World Champion, De Jong attacked hard and split the bunch. Only Sarango Tufino could match him and the pair quickly established a gap. A chase group of six riders formed with Ruairidh working hard, but having rotated from the front of the bunch the riders in front lost a wheel and the chasers broke up as well.

In the end Ruairidh sprinted home to take seventh overall and sixth in the European standings. It was not the result he was after but as his father and team coach Graeme explained it was a very accomplished performance from him.

“We worked out a plan for him and he stuck to it perfectly. He was in the mix right up until the closing stages when the final and race winning attack went and broke up the front bunch. In the end he finished 7th (6th in the European Championships), one place better than last year but just over a minute behind the winners and, save for one missed jump with two laps to go, he could have been in the sprint for a medal.” Graeme said, “In only his second race at this level it was the first time I have seen him really 'race'. He was switched on to everything that was happening, he ate and drank properly and on the whole was in control. The only thing missing was a bit of speed and strength in the last seven or eight kilometres, but that will come. Everything else was really good.”

Those comments were echoed by Team Manager, Tom A’Hara, “Ruairidh rode superbly well. He was always well placed and was covering the repeated attacks comfortably. This was the strongest field that INAS have had for the cycling world championships and for him to come away with a top ten placing, and not so far from challenging for a medal at his second attempt, is very commendable. He is one of the youngest riders at this level and with further support and development there is no reason why he can’t be challenging for a gold medal in the future.”

Ruairidh will now race in the Team Time Trial on Thursday, 19th July, but in a mixed team with fellow Great Britain rider Kiera Byland, who herself defended her World title at this event. The pair will not be classified but should be able to use it as experience for the future but may also raise an eyebrow or two with their performance against the men.

Returning home at the weekend Ruairidh will now focus his attention on the Special Olympics Anniversary Games in Stirling on the 9th to 12th August. He will be hoping to repeat his success at last year’s UK National Games where he won three gold medals.

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Christmas Comes Early in West Lothian!

A 2018 cycling calendar - featuring 13 striking illustrations - has been produced by a Scottish cycling club, as part of a fund-raising campaign to help get a traffic free cycle circuit built in West Lothian.

West Lothian Clarion are asking cyclists to buy the perfect stocking filler with all proceeds donated to West Lothian Cycle Circuit community fundraising target of £25,000.

One of the circuit’s fundraising patrons is Sir Chris Hoy who said "The 2018 cycle calendar is absolutely stunning. I'm looking forward to getting one in my stocking this Christmas! It's all for a great cause, the West Lothian Cycling Circuit will help turn Scotland into a nation of cyclists."

The calendar was the brainchild of Clarion members Matthew Ball and Garry Marshall. Matthew said “Garry and I have been producing our club magazine for 7 years with each cover featuring one of Garry’s beautiful cycling illustrations. We thought it would be great if we could combine all the illustrations into one amazing calendar and raise money for a good cause.

It’s the perfect Christmas gift for cyclists everywhere. Every month features a different scene; cycle cross, mountain biking, club runs and track racing all feature through the year.

This calendar is the latest in a series of fundraising ideas which have seen cyclists of all levels, including Olympian Katie Archibald, taking part in cycling challenges. Over £12,000 has already been raised in 4 months.

Priced at £15 + P&P , it is available at www.cyclecalendar.co.uk
The hope is that the print-run of 1000 sells out, well before Christmas.

Matthew is one of the coaches in the West Lothian Clarion which runs cycling sessions every week for the 85 under 16s. “We’ve been coaching in car parks for seven years but we’ve outgrown where we are and need a better location so our 100 strong waiting list can be reduced."

The Cycle circuit has been developed by the Linlithgow Community Development Trust, a community-led charity. It has ambitious plans to build a 1km traffic-free cycle circuit for everyone to enjoy.

Fraser Falconer, chair of the Trust said “With support from the Council, the community, local clubs and national sporting bodies we are focussed on reaching our fundraising goal.”

“The overall fundraising goal is to raise £681k. With £312k already committed from West Lothian Council, £344k grants/trusts in the pipeline, and a community fundraising target of £25k, we are working hard to make this project a reality.”

“This project will give people of all abilities and from all walks of life the chance to become healthier, more confident and happier, and connected with their community and environment. We know cycling has this impact.”

The closed road cycle circuit will be designed for easy access, suitable for all abilities including adaptive cycles and handcycles, as well as runners. Two thousand people will benefit from this facility every year, with 25,000 visits per year.

Key Features
• 1km of high quality tarmac road, 6m wide.
• 4 loops that can be combined to create circuit variation, or used separately for short    
• Floodlit for year-round evening use.
• Unique cobbles section for an extra challenge, or training for the Paris Roubaix!
• Road markings to aid cycle coaching.
• Storage facility to enable storage of adaptive bikes and hand cycles.
• Cycling Development Officer to ensure accessibility and inclusiveness for all.
• Cycle ramp access to the Union Canal, part of the National Cycle Network.

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Speyside Specials!

words and pics: The Press Room

It’s always nice being back in ‘Monarch’ country and Cairngorm CC had laid on a superb weekend of racing. We were there for the Sunday afternoon races but there were already tired legs from the time trial that morning. Rolling out at 2:30pm we had the APR but this also incorporated the Sally Anne Low Memorial Road Race, which was also being run as the Scottish National Veteran Women’s RR, and it was also the final event in the Scottish Women’s RR Series…races within races within races.

The weather had been threatening in the countdown to the race itself and, Scotland being Scotland, the heavens opened just as the race got going. The course was out from Kincraig and along the B road towards Kingussie where the race would turn south and head past the Ruthven Barracks, turning east again and heading through Insh and then a left down past the Loch Insh Watersports Centre and back into Kincraig with a sprint up the Brae to finish on the second lap.

We’d positioned ourselves just short of the Speyside Distillery beyond Ruthven for the first pass and the rain was bouncing off the ground as the first group came down the hill, across the bridge and round the tricky left hander. The men came through first with the successive APR groupings chasing each other. We waited for the women and the first group headed by Helen Wyld and Louise Borthwick (Edinburgh Road Club) came firing down the hill. This was to be the break of the race and contained eight riders that had forged ahead just after the Barracks. It contained the two ERC riders, Julie Erskine (CT OnForm), Series Leader Genevieve Whitson (Isorex Cycling Team), Emma Smith (Deeside Thistle CC), Flora Gillies (Team 22), Jesse Mitchell (www.Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk) and Charlotte Anderson (Ronde CC).

Chasing a short way behind was the RT23 pairing of Georgia Mansfield and Amanda Tweedie who later told us that once the break had gone they just treated the race like a 2-up time trial as they knew they would never catch the lead group on such rolling terrain. The next group contained Juli Rourke (ERC), Alison Winship-MacKay (RC Cumbernauld and Kilsyth), Louisa Sturrock from the host club and Amy Forbes (Ronde CC). Trying to stay in touch was Zosia Martin (Glasgow Green CC), Natalie Taylor (Aberdeen Wheelers CC), Pamela Craig (RT23), Michelle Highfield (Berwick Wheelers) and Jackie Donald (Elgin CC).

We tried at this point to reposition ourselves back to Kincraig for the second pass but the circuit is so quick that the riders were on us before we could set up. The lead group of the APR was flying and this would settle the race as the Scratch group was unable to catch them. We passed Danny Hedley (RT23) cycling back to Kincraig, having fallen victim to a puncture but he was soon changed and standing at the finish to cheer the others home.

In the women’s race the lead group had pushed their advantage out and the 2-up time triallists of Amanda and Georgia were still doing their own thing. Jesse Mitchell attempted to break away on the run back towards Kincraig but at the bottom of the Brae it was between three riders…and the CT OnForm rider is truly in form. Julie Erskine was crowned Scottish Road Race Champion just a couple of weeks ago but she had another goal in mind.

Firing up the climb it was her head that appeared first over the brow as she led home Louise Borthwick with Jesse Mitchell close behind. Finishing just a little way behind was Genevieve Whitson but she had done enough to secure the overall in the Race Series and she was duly presented with a fresh Series Winner jersey. The prize for Julie Erskine was gaining enough BC points to move her up to ‘Elite’ level and she was quick to offer her congratulations to Peter Dennis and his team from Cairngorm CC for putting on such a fine weekend of racing.

Next home in the Sally Anne Low was Emma Smith and then Helen Wyld as she outclimbed her Edinburgh compatriot Charlotte Anderson. Flora Gillies finished on her own and then the RT23 pairing of Amanda Tweedie and Georgia Mansfield clasped arms as they crossed the line.

We were still waiting for our Vets champions and the next rider was Amy Forbes but she was closely followed by Louisa Sturrock who crossed the line to claim both the V40 and the V50 titles. Next to her was Natalie Taylor followed by Juli Rourke and Zosia Martin with Alison Winship-MacKay finishing off this group. Pamela Craig finished a further 3-minutes back with Michelle Highfield and Jackie Donald coming home 6-minutes after that.

In the Men’s APR we had a fantastic uphill sprint between Dan Saunders, Richard Harris (both Deeside Thistle CC) and Ythan CC’s Andrew Leith. Saunders led it out and took the win but it was a close run thing between his teammate and the Ythan rider, with Harris just edging Leith on the line.

Next home was another Deeside Thistle rider Victor Allan finishing just ahead of Moray Firth CC’s Kevin Smith, cheered all the way home by his sister-in-law Laura Nicolson. Riders were finishing one-by-one with the unfortunate Alec Marwick walking his bike home having punctured right at the foot of the Brae.

The Scratch group wasn’t far behind but the lead groups had done well to hold them off on such a fast circuit in such terrible weather.

All credit then to the organisers and we can’t wait to come back to race in this beautiful part of the country.

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Jeremy Goes Nuts for SquirrelCross!

words: John McComisky
image: Neon Velo

28 year old Jeremy Durrin, originally from Massachusetts and of the proper pro Neon Velo team, is the first of the flamethrowers to put his hat in the ring and enter the upcoming Squirrelcross event in Dunfermline. 

The event held on Saturday the 26th of August is the first cross event ever held in the park.

His palmares is super impressive having been a major force in US cyclocross before turning his attentions to Europe and World Championship cross events.

Durrin has visited Scotland before from his English base and lapped up the excitement and enthusiasm of the final Dig in at the Dock event held in Bo’ness.

Jeremy will be accompanied at the event by cycling Svengali James McCallum and both are up for the challenge of the compact Pittencreiff venue.

The mile long circuit has benefitted from the input of David Hamill and there is now a full mile long circuit and a course that will hold 80 riders per race.

Entries are filing up nicely, with a surge over the last couple of days.

Enter here :

Ends: For further information contact John McComisky

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Squirrel CX - May Contain Nuts!!!

words: John McComisky
Images: The Press Room

Saturday 26th August sees the return of cycle racing action to Pittencrieff Park in Dunfermline. Back in the day it hosted an International Criterium with the top Belgian riders including Freddy Maertens taking on the local aces.
Latterly it has hosted the iconic Squirrel Crit which looped the park, and threaded up though Dunfermline Abbey.

This year however is all about the 'cross, and Race Organisers John McComisky and Kirsteen Torrance have pulled together a new race on the Scottish Cyclocross Calendar. A summer event with the focus on encouraging newbies and bolstering the Women’s scene by offering for the first time a separate female race. 

Kirsteen Torrance has been working on developing opportunities for women for many years and is very keen to ensure equality and a welcoming experience for newbies and seasoned racers alike.
“There’s no reason why the women’s field cannot be as big as the men's – we create       the opportunities, we just need the riders to enter!”

The park is an ideal location for a close-knit race, its natural beauty and mixed terrain will ensure riders have an interesting and challenging course that spectators can enjoy from many vantage points, all within close distance of each other. The predominantly grassland course has camber and Belgian style switchback as well as an element of speed and technical features…with the all-important tarmac start finish straight.

“The aim was to find somewhere in an area of large population, as well as having some history at the venue. Pittencrieff fits that bill. We have promoted parkland venues before and they have been very well received.” John McComisky (Portage Cycling)
“As the event is the start of the season, it may offer riders a warm up before it gets a bit more serious. The onus is on fun, and we wanted to try a few different things with the format. We have really pushed the boat out and have commissioned stunning woodwork trophies and will have all the usual spot prizes and cash prizes for the podium in all adult categories.”

Kid's racing will be delivered in conjunction with the local club, Carnegie Cyclones and again, the organisers want to encourage as many girls and young women to enter – if this is your first race they'll ensure it is a very positive and friendly experience for you. It’s not about the podium, it’s about having fun and challenging yourself to do your best. 
Event Details and approximate timings are here: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/165896/SquirrelCross-
Look out for further updates on: @SquirrelCX

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