bryan the lion

Crash, Bang, Broken!

Crashing is no Fun!!

During my last race, I crashed and came off the bike.  I now have learnt a valuable lesson. Crashing is expensive!bags of cashHaving had my rear mech snapped, cycling kit ripped and a base layer needing replacing.  I thought that was all I needed to get fixed and get me back on the bike.  While I had the bucket of soapy water out after replacing rear mech, I noticed that the cloth kept catching on one particular part of the frame.  Imagine my horror  when I noticed my frame has cracked.

Options open to me!

Crash replacement scheme from Felt.  Contacted the retailer where I purchased my bike. They have been in touch with Felt and if you ever wanted to use your bike racing your frame warranty will be void.  What they have offered is a new frame at a third of the RRP.  £550 is the price to get it fixed.

Frame sent off for repair.   Having spoken to a company in England and for £240, I can strip the bike and send the frame off to be repaired.  This is an option I am thinking of doing as I can save half the cash plus the bike can be serviced and rebuilt for the new season.

New frame.  Last option for me is to scour the internet trying to find a frame for less than £200.  This way I can then strip down my Felt then re-build onto new frame set.  This was something I was looking into as it’s got that “buying a new bike feeling”.  Not seeing much under my budget so the repair to the frame is starting to make sense.

insurance risk

Insurance or Risk, you decide!

I went for the risk when I started racing. I thought paying X amount per month/year was not worth it “as nothing will happen to me” (I know).  Now being saddled with a big repair bill or replacement frame, I really wish I went for the £170 to insure my Cyclocross bike. Once my bike is back to being a full bike, insurance will be something I will think about again. More cash!

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A quick search on Google comes up with these for options.

This is something I will be looking into over the next few months so if anyone has any recommendation’s I would be glad to hear from you.

With a few possibilities on the table about getting my bike back on the road I would love to hear what you would do.  If anyone knows of any more places I could get carbon repair work done in Scotland that would be a massive help too.

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This is just a little warning to anyone out there thinking of racing or even old pros at it, be careful with your pride and joy.  You don’t want to be buying new frames every season. Next time when I crash and I know there will be a next time, I will do my damndest to land on my body and try and hold my bike off the ground as long as possible, as I am cheaper to fix.

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Cyclocross Season 2015/16

wpid-wp-1444837321620.jpg 28th February 2016 I am done!

What a great few months of Cross racing that was, a few good dry races with some nice sunshine at the start of the season.(Haugh-Cross, Beveridge Park GP)  Then the mud fest started and I now get the true meaning of “Riding Cyclocross” (Lochore Meadows, Plean).  January brought with it some snow/ice to start off the new year (RGCX), which then thawed out taking us back to mushy grass and mud (Doonbank, BPGP The Return).  The final race was back to drier conditions (Dig In At The Dock).  Pretty much going full circle.black-heart-tattoos1

From my first race, way back at RGCX 2015 I knew this was a great form of bike racing. I have done a few races since then, every race I get to know more faces from Facebook groups.  I can now happily turn up on race days on my own knowing that I can wander about and people will stop and chat.  I will always remember racing Callender Park, hearing a few people shouting “Go, Bryan“.  It felt good people knew my name and were encouraging me on.  I try my best to give the same back when other people are racing.  As it could snap you out of the dark place in your racing brain, spur you on to win that battle of mid-pack or the difference of having a finishing place instead quitting and receiving a DNF.

Other Things I Liked

What I enjoyed over the last few races was the Competitions in the competitions.

HTCC guys with their little league going on. Definitely not the league of Gentlemen! They were all out to get one over on the other.  The last few races it was all to ride for, I am not sure who got the win, or what they won!  It seemed a great idea for inter-club bragging rights. Happy Trails Cross Collective take a click see how the madness unfolded on Facebook page.

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Getting Pump’d
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The other competition that was ongoing was with David Hamill and Owen Philipson and maybe some others, not so sure what happened to the prize/booby prize. (if you could call it that) It was more like a relay baton of shame being passed about!

If I am right it went like this, the person in possession of this baton (pumper) was to pick a victim (pumpee) Race would commence and if the pumper finished above their pumpee, they would be PUMP’D! Simple yet something you don’t want receive or talk about at on a Monday morning at work probably.

Not sure who the final person getting pump’d was and I wonder if that bottle got cracked open or will be passed on next season?

Maybe something on Scottish Cyclocross Facebook page.

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Other good thing is the amount of people going to the races, taking pictures and also shooting some great footage of the races.  Onboard with GoPro’s and then adding on footage from the side lines. Some great images from the Scottish Cyclocross Flickr Group.  HTCC TV has some good footage on their YouTube channel.

hand ups

First race I done was RGCX,  there was Beer HandUps!  More of these please!  I fucked up and punctured on the first 100 meters of RGCX 2016 and didn’t even get to Beer Hand-up Hill.  Gutted!  See a lot of this in America, Dollar bills, new cycling gloves even open cans of beer being offered as hand-ups. Get me some of that!

Roll on Cross Season 2016/17! Can’t wait!

The-End

The End

How long, is too long?

Time off the bike is a must for me. How long before it has a negative effect on my levels of fitness built over the year.

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Since my last race at Irvine Beach, the bike has been redundant with the exception of a couple of work commutes.  A few weeks have past and I am beginning to miss hitting the road or out on the Cross bike finding some new trails. The past few days have seen me planning my next ride, a good few miles in the saddle.  Being reunited on the bike for a day is something I am really looking forward too.(I am a weirdo)

This is the second year I will be doing this ride, finishing the year with the longest ride I will do. Going to make it my annual goal.wp-1451386649213.jpg

On to my Question then.  How long is too long to stay off the bike? Technical Analisis say that you start losing fitness after 2-4 weeks.  Is it as early as one week off?  The longer you are not riding will affect your fitness.  No doubt about that.  On the other hand, maybe you will appreciate your next ride more.

Physiological effects of 2-4 weeks of detraining (Cycling Tips)

  • VO2 max: down 4-10%
  • Blood volume: down 5-10%
  • Heart rate: up 5-10%
  • Stroke volume: down 6-12%
  • Flexibility: Decreases
  • Lactate threshold: Decreases
  • Muscle glycogen levels: down 20-30%
  • Aerobic enzyme activity: Decreases
  • Economy: Unchanged

For me that’s all gobble-de-gook, I work on feelings, keep it simple.  If I am not feeling up to riding I don’t.  2015 was a long race year/bike year.  I think a few weeks off, recover, eat food, have some beers and enjoy being with the family this time of year is long overdue. stories-behind-words-hogmanay

My Hogmanay Hundred ends my year on the bike, also signifies the start of my build-up to the first Cross race of the season.  A new and exciting series of races SuperQuaich and first race being RGCX. 

Plan to work my ass off for the first 15 days of January.  Then a few days to recover before the race on the 17th.  The next day I fly to Gran Canaria for a family holiday.  I have managed a one-day ride pass, road shoes and Garmin will have to make their way into my suitcase, helping me to ride my way to the summit of the Island.

Roll on 31st, getting me back to being outside and enjoying some fresh air. Would love for it to crisp up a bit, stop having saturated roads.  Nothing better than a cycle out in the Scottish Countryside when it’s been covered in frost.  Looking forward to 2016.

Wish everyone well and enjoy the last few days of 2015.

 

 

 

 

Tale Of Two Wheel Army

 

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2015

Begin with my first ever Cyclocross race, I got a new shiny bike for my Birthday so had to try it out in anger at First ever Rukenglen CX.

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I entered the race not having a clue what to expect, lots of YouTube videos of Dig In The Dock. Gave me some idea of what was to come.  Race was where I was to cut my teeth, had a great time in the snow and frozen mud, managed to finish 22nd so not a bad result first time out. 

March

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Crit on the Campus was my first road race.  I watched this from the sidelines in 2014, from then on I knew I wanted to race some Crits. Was a hard race, once you loose the bunch It turns into a dogfight just to keep going around and minimize the amount you will be lapped.  Finish 39th and absolutely spent.

May

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Next on the road was Crit race in Motherwell, this was a big boy race.  Pearl Izumi Tour Series is in town.  This is a warm up race before the main women’s and men’s go ahead.  I am still struggling Cat 4 racer, this was to be an open race.  Cats 2, 3 and 4 were all scrapping it out in this race.  Good course nice and fast but a brutal headwind on the back half of the course, then you had a bit of a climb coming up to the finish line.  Same as previous Crits I can’t hang with the bunch so try to slip in behind others to help with hiding from the headwind.  Finish 36th.

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May was also to bring my first ever road race.  Wee Run Out Before The Morra.  36 miles was to be the race distance today, my biggest test of fitness yet.  Race being held on the A77 at Fenwick, this is also a Cat 2, 3 and 4 races. With also an open road, adding cars into the mix as well.  We’re racing in a loop one roundabout to another.  Try my best to keep with the bunch, sit in and keep out of trouble.  Even feel brave enough to have a little attack and help reel in a two man break.  Then disaster strikes.  Wrong gear coming off the roundabout, the bunch sail past, I am now being gapped.  From now on it’s a time trial for me.  Seeing the bunch gain and they eventually go past on opposite sides of the road.  Struggle on and finish the last rider home 49th for me.

June

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June brings me into another Crit I have been wanting to do, Crit Under The Castle.  Stirling Castle.  Battling up the cobbled streets was great, a brilliant crit course and great crowds out cheering us on, think we even had a “Dutch corner”.  Manage to hang with the bunch, doing well top ten looking achievable.  Then disaster struck, dropped my chain after the cobbled climb.  Dropping down a whack of positions and finish the race disappointed but still 22nd.  That’s racing for you!

Having caught the racing bug fully now, I enter another road race.  John Davies Memorial Road Race, held by VC Glasgow.  50-miles, 5laps of a 10-mile loop around Kilmaurs.  The weather was horrible, heavy rain and wind.  It was a struggle to get out the car and warm up.  Think I manage two laps then get dropped again.  Manage one more lap then after a wrong turn I end up throwing in the towel.  Not got the head to last another 20 miles on my own.  Once I am changed the sun comes out and the riders flash by for the final lap.  I receive my first DNFwp-1450429404855.jpg

 August

This month was a massive month for me, not only did it bring me some Cyclocross but also Two Wheel Army was born.  Racing at Haugh-Cross Festival.

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Click To Read More Two Wheel Army

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Click To Read More Haugh-Cross

September

One Cyclocross race, one Crit race and an Adventure Cross ride this month.  Talking all the cycling options.

Click To Read More Of Tour Of Duty

Click To Read More Of Tour Of Duty

Click To Read More Of Kilmarnock Crits

Click To Read More Of Kilmarnock Crits

Click To Read More Of Beverage Park GP

Click To Read More Of Beverage Park GP

October

Click To Read More Of Callender Cross

Click To Read More Of Callender Cross

Click To Read More of Battle Of Balloch

Click To Read More of Battle Of Balloch

A-race and a B-race this month, Seen me getting a top ten place again.  Then during Big boys race, I reside to mid-table again, though still moving up the placing ladder.

November

Scottish Cyclocross is in full swing, rounds 4-5 taking up the month of November.  Both proper mud fests, lots of broken bikes after these rounds.

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Click On To Read More Of Strath-Mud Bath

Click To Read More Of Lochore Meadows

Click To Read More Of Lochore Meadows

December

Click To Read More Of Irvine's Dragon Riders

Click To Read More Of Irvine’s Dragon Riders

This was to be my last race of 2015.  Now I will focus on the Super Quaich series, starting in January.  It has been a good year for me on the bike.  Not doing as many longer rides like 2014, but I have been more constant on the bike, keeping my fitness levels up.  I liked the way my results went as there was always an improvement within every race.  Now it is time to trying and get fitter and keep the momentum going for 2016.

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Hope to see you all on the start line in 2016.

The End

The End

 

 

 

Callender Cross

Sunday Morning, Getting Cross This Weekend.

Cyclocross!

This Sunday it’s a drive East through to Callender Park, Falkirk.

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Great little location, haven’t been to the park before but have visited the Kelpies. Also done a brutal ride on my road bike along the cycle path from Glasgow to Falkirk Wheel. (Do not do this! the path has more craters on it than a teenagers face).

Do the usual drill – park car, hunt for the sign on area, get a timing chip. Number 437. Return to the car, administer acupuncture on my fingers while safety pinning my number onto the sleeve. Then usher little family in the right direction to the course. Though boys are happy to stop and visit the play park on the way.

There is a race on just now with the V40s hammering the course.

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Watching closely as how the guys are riding the course. Haven’t been to this race before.
wpid-wp-1444660362183.jpg Try to get the lay of the land.

I have only raced a few Cross races so far.  Always amazed at how the course builders and planners have the vision to turn a park into a race course, armed with only tape and some pins.
Callender Park is no exception, from what I see every rideable bit of grass will be in play today (well not all as it’s a big park). With a Photographic eye, there will be some amazing images captured in this location.

Once the battle of Grey Hair is done (sorry guys I will be there soon) the course is open for a little spin.
First up is to have a bash at the mighty Oak Tree Turn.

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Tick, I can manage it. We’ll see how I get on when I have riders in front and hopefully a few behind. Next to have a go at is the stairs, they’re not massive steps probably could be taken two at a time. Until your legs are dead, then you have to drag them along with your bike up the four steps.

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The Course is looking good and held up well with all the racing that it’s seen today. 477 riders I think I seen posted somewhere. From under 8s all the way to V50. An excellent number of riders show up. #CrossIsHere.

One thing I didn’t want to see after a terrible time of it at Battle Of Balloch is the switchbacks (Serpent). Yup, they have shown up again today.  Ah well, just have to work on it before the race. Tyres are more deflated today, so hopefully will help with grip.

Warm up is done, Head for the Startline.

Sitting mid-pack, we are being held and giving the briefing from British Cycling (pushing, biting is forbidden, keep flirting to a minimum etc).
Start as usual. “Gladiators Ready, On my next whistle you shall scrap it out” Beepbeeeeeep! We’re off.
A nice long bit of path to get our speed up, then we dive into the right, onto the course. Love these mad dashes for the hole shot. I will never be in contention, but I love this frantic start to the race.
Best start to a race for ages, no issues with feet/pedals getting together. Taking positions too.

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First time up Oak Tree Turn was tricky due to the volume of riders, just have to pick your line and hope it’s a good one. Made it unscathed and ride down the bank heading along then up a slight muddy incline. Hang a left, down a small lump into long section taking you up to Stairs. Still quite bunched so same again, pick a line that will work and stick with it. All seems to go well, up and over stairs keeping with guys in front.

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Next came my favorite bit of the course. I could have ridden that bit all day. Fast downhill section, if you timed it right you could get a couple little jumps in if you had the balls and space.
Then you were taking in the climbs, up to the highest point in the park. Had to be careful on the left-hander, seen a few people deck it here as the grass was getting slippery (slippery slope). Next to come was a bash down through some trees with a cool little S bend, allowing you to keep some speed going along to my nemesis the Serpent. Manage to come down unscathed and never lost too much distance, Result. Hopefully, I can keep this up.

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Now came the fast section of the course, pretty flat with a few fast bends if you got them right taking you along the front of Callender House. Turn right, onto a little slog up to the top of the Driveway of Callender House, 180° turn and fire back down the gravel path to scoot past the line and commentary team.

Lap 1 complete.

Turns out I have 9 more laps to complete until I see the checkered flag waved and the hour of racing complete. I am knackered but had a great race.  Had a good old battle with someone from Forza Race Team, where we take a position on our strong part of the course then lose it on the weaker area, mine is the corners again. Battling back and forth one falling on one lap at Serpent, then it’s the others turn to fall on the next lap. We are toe to toe until I manage to pick up the pace in the last few laps and break the elastic. With my pace increased I manage to pick off a few people who are tiring.

Aero In A Cross Race

Aero In A Cross Race

Hear that Davy Lines is about to come through and take the win, keep pushing and get through the line before him so I can stay on the course and try to improve my position, “Last Lap Bryan” look around to see I have gapped the people behind. It’s all about the people ahead. Chase them down, manage to gain a position heading into the Slippery slope, need to create a gap so I can take it a bit easier through switchbacks. The plan is going well, all I have to do is keep the pace up. I pedal around past the house, up and down the finishing area and will always be happy to see the black and white flag get waved.

Time to relax. Race complete. Great race today, also great encouragement all around the course with a good few people shouting for me. Cheers folks. Didn’t think I so many friends haha.

My first Scottish Cyclocross Series went well.  Being in the Seniors race you would think that this was the hardest race of the day, that would be totally unfair on the rest of the categories.  One thing I have noticed in the few races, doesn’t matter your age or gender there is always a good race to be had in Cyclocross. With me being beaten by a good few people in the other categories on previous races. So all categories are a tough old fight and have the claim to be the hardest race.

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Once the mud and sweat had dried, it was time for the results. A quick hop on https://www.mylaps.com/en/events/1213814  to find out I was 51st. Not bad but not the best was hoping for top half of the field. More work on the cornering to be done.

Big thanks to all the set-up Monkeys and organizational Chimps, who take their time out to help put a race on. Davie Lines, Franco Porco with their team of helpers you have done a great job and have put a lot of pressure onto the rest of the series events I think. The only thing I feel it’s a bit shite for the winners. As by the time they go to collect prizes there seems to have been a mass exodus of the park.

A Relaxing Cycle

A Relaxing Cycle

TwoWheelArmy will have a few weeks R&R until the next race at Strathclyde Park.

So will miss a couple of races, though I will be on the watt bike, also working on slow bike handling skills if I want to make my way up the rankings.

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http://www.scottishcx.org.uk/calendar/2015/11/8/scx3-strathclyde-park

Look forward to the Facebook explosion of pictures from up and coming  races.

Battle Of Balloch Park.

Back Racing in a Park today, on the Grass and Mud of Cyclocross.

Balloch park is a great location for me. A 20-minute drive away,  I arrive without getting lost this time around, always a good start to the day.

Even better news, the hills leading up to Balloch Castle on the grounds will not feature today, I really thought we would be up and down those suckers! Bonus!

A little lap around the course to find my bearings, it’s a fast course with the ground holding well. Dodged a mud bath for another day.

Chat with a few people, Some RCCK guys are eyeballing me after I took one of their own out on my last visit to a park, Kilmarnock Crits. (only kidding they were cool but did tell them to stay clear just in case)

We’re called to Arms, Dressed in two ranks,wpid-wp-1444030505516.jpg like good Cross Soldiers. I bag a good spot on the front of the line, this is my moment to shine!

21 gun salute goes(well we can imagine that).
Bang goes the starter’s gun and we are off, to a shite start for me, absolute mince! Think I have a drunk foot? It’s got a mind of its own! Wants to turn around, think it likes the start line.
Sober it up with a bang on the pedal, get it clipped in and manage to pull back some space before we hit the narrowing sandy track.

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Surfing The HTCC Wheels

This point I am eating places up. Diving down the inside, belting through the bushes, weaving around the weeds to gain places. I finally get some clean air. Sitting top 15-20 for now I think.

Settle it down, keep picking people off is my aim.

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The course is made up of some gravel paths around the picturesque walled garden, smelled great there too. After that, we came up stone infested path taking riders out into the lush grass hills, down through some zigzag bends.

Hated this half of the course.

I was junk on the gravel, didn’t trust going at any speed there as I felt I had no grip. Then came the hill which was alright but it’s still a hill. I had the same situation on the grass as I did on the gravel. No grip so took it easy. Something to work on midweek.

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Hitting The Hurdles

I think the problem was my tyres were overinflated, so that’s something for future races. (Every day is a school day).
Once zigging and zagging was done with, we were racing down a jungle trail through some long grass. Out onto the sandy path heading for the starting arena. Sandy path sounds tough on the legs, it’s actually held together with square plastic matting making it firm, which gave you a good bit of speed if you could manage it.
Once into the arena, you took a sharp left. Letting you look into the whites of the leader’s eyes while they concentrated hurdling over the trio of barriers.

 

Time for me to do 180° turn to the right and attack the barriers. This was my strongest point in the race. Only if they had a barrier every 100 yards I would have smashed this race.
Back on the bike, hang left then sprint to the line.
Now to repeat for 35 minutes plus one lap.

Race calms down a bit. See the front bunch go over the line for another lap, they’re not too far ahead. Keep pressing on 15 minutes on the clock I’m 7th-8th, good stuff. With my pressing, I am starting to gain some ground on lead riders. I get confident and smart on last grass zag and lose my back wheel, spinning 180° on one knee, a bit like an 80’s break-dancer on lino but with a bike attached to my other foot.

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Don’t Forget To Breath

With that happening, I lose all confidence in my turns in this area. Lose time on leaders too.
Hating on the Gravel/Grass combo half of the course. Loving the barriers, fast sandy sections. Lose a position every time I hit the gravel section to a Glasgow Nightingales rider but seem to have the better speed over the barriers so were locking horns for a few laps until he manages to drift off into the distance.

“Right numb nuts get this finished” is the brief chat I give myself. Two laps left, stop being scared of the course, face your nemesis and conquer it. It appears I bottle it! Another position is lost. Dang!!!

Chase is on

Chase Is On

Still in the fight, I can still see riders up ahead they have just taken the lap bell. “I can do this“, “get them“. Charge! Until I hit the gravel then slow to a reasonable speed. The Wee voice in my head is telling me “don’t fall and lose another blinking position“.

Glad to wave bye to the bad half after easing around it, embrace the good half of the course where I get some speed up. Hop, Skip, and a Jump over the barriers and belt around the lefthander, take the flag.
Woohoo, that was a good ride even after my spin on the grass.

Can’t wait for more manoeuvres in Balloch park next year already. Massive thanks to Glasgow United for being a great host.

As usual, the fun begins with teammates coming over the line. All getting together and swapping stories of race, Some doing better than others.

So I had a deal with the Team Director, I finished top half of the race I get to sign up for Callander Park next week.
wpid-wp-1444033881526.jpgTop 10 baby, just managing to scrape into tenth. That was my goal for today to make the top ten.
Target is done.

 Up next is Callander Park 11th October.wpid-wp-1444038360078.jpg

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This is going to be my first Scottish Series Race.
I will be in with the Senior Men,  defiantly won’t be top ten. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give it my all.
See you all there folks.

Thanks to Kevin Pugh and Victoria Atkinson for letting me use their photography skills.