crit

Double Army Down to Doonbank. 

2nd Quarter Of Quaich. 

22.1.17 Rozelle Park, Ayr.

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A trip to Rabbie Burns neck of the woods today, Ayr Burners are hosting the second round of the Super Quaich Series.

Today I am joined by Clare Campbell racing in the B race.  I missed this race last year with being away topping up on Vitamin D in the sun, so I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the course and see what’s on offer fo an hour of pain in the park.  We go get our timing chips and numbers, while on the way we suck in the smell of freshly cooked pizza.  Pretty sure I will return after the race to sample what’s on offer.  Back to the car and we get on with getting set up for race day and Clare’s second Cyclocross race.

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A slow wander up makes us a late to get to the start line, have to head to the rear of the already assembled group.  There are 91 riders today, we exchange some banter while the other riders fall in behind us.  My nerves build with each second ticking on the clock, as we wait for the start of the race.  The nervous chatter dies down as we are told we will be let loose in 30 seconds.  Quickly tell Clare to get foot clipped in, while I battle with my cleat and pedal combo (some mentor me, can’t even clip in).

Before we know it the front is off and moving, it trickles down to us and it’s our turn to push off and get racing.  Today I shall try something a bit different from other races.  I am going to take it steady from the gun and try not to be blowing out my hoop after the first 100 meters.  It’s hard not to go and attack every bit of space I see and by following wheels it does mean I catch a lot of mud to the eyes (glasses would have been good).  We have a nice big bit of solid tarmac to start us off, this gets us up to speed before we hit the grass and off cambers to come.

Ride down to the first obstacle, a bottleneck happens as we are squeezed through a small gap in the hedgerow.  Off the bike and scurry through.  Hoist the bike up onto the shoulder and set off running uphill.  After making it to the top I am glad to see some downhill taking me around to another run-up.  This one being slightly steeper, I will definitely have to run this one every lap.  Doing well for positions as I still take it easy, feel good as I crest the climb.

Swing past the pits with a group of riders, a nice looping bend means I get to suck in some much-needed oxygen.  Next up is the triple steps, dismount the bike and with some big strides, you are at the top.  Do your best flying remount in front of the ever growing crowd and back to the business of peddling.  A small decent, 180 degrees turn to the right, you are out the saddle riding back up the gradient.  Hang a left and recover while you take the long bend and lines you up for the small wooded section.  Nice quick downhill through the avenue of trees is next. It gives your legs a quick rest before you hit a short mound to ride up, taking you out the canopy of trees onto the ever softening grass.

I am starting to find a good rhythm to my racing.  I peddle past Gordan Dalglish of HTCC (hope I make it on to HTCC TV ).  Next to tick off the list of must-haves on a cross course are the barriers.  Dismount and hop, run, hop and keep on running to find some firm ground for me and my one gear to get going again.  Back on the bike and we are into the woods again.  Ride up the start area and past MYlaps timing van engulfing the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and pizza.  A sharp turn and your weaving your way through the trees (like riding a speeder bike in Return of the Jedi, awesome part of the course).

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Out from the trees and around the off camber, trying not to get sucked into the black scrim that seemed to act as magnet for my bike.  Fast ride through soft mushy grass and now the hedgerow was congestion free.  Ride through the gap, now to try and ride as much of the incline as possible.  Halfway up it became apparent I would be quicker to get off and run.  I seemed to be riding this course well and singlespeed appeared to be well suited to this course.  Still keeping it calm and not feeling like death fifteen minutes in seems to be a good way to race.

After the third lap, the bike was clogging up with mud.  So with a shout to Victoria (my new pit crew) “You need to clean my bike” with a reply “Aye fuck off, you can clean it at home”.  I suddenly shout “No I need you to clean the shit off the wheels and cranks” as I dump my bike, strip off arm warmers, then take my spare bike.

At the bottom of the woods, I see Clare.  I am about to shout and give her some encouragement as I go by but she pulls off just as I get to her.  She looks fine and it’s not until the next lap she tells me her rear mech hanger has snapped. (well it was more like, “bikes fucked” as I go past)  Get to pits and Victoria is waiting with my bike, a quick change and I’m back racing again.  A great job was done for not knowing or having anything to clean it with apart from my gloves and arm warmers.  Though I did notice on the next few laps and one more bike change she was nowhere to be seen.

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Take the last lap bell and now I have to get a shifty on.  Got to try and make up some lost ground with my slow pit changes.  In am in a little battle with a Glasgow Green rider and just ahead is Russell Mowat from Walkers Cycling.  We hit the barriers neck and neck.  Russell gets back on the bike while I have to run a few meters as can’t ride the soft bit straight after the barriers.  He stretches the gap as we enter into the trees.  I give it my all as we both sprint along the tarmac with the finishing line rapidly closing in.  Russell gets over in 16th place and I take 17th.  Not too shabby from where I started.  Maybe just maybe there is something in this new structured approach to racing.  A little part of me does wonder if I could have finished slightly higher up if we got to the start line slightly earlier and we got a space at the front.

Feel a bit gutted for Clare, having been there and had this happen, it sucks big time!  She was not alone in the broken bike finishers as it seemed Rozelle Park had a taste for rear mech hangers that day.  The main thing is she rolled up to the line to race and gave it her all.  It’s all experience in the bag and will just make her want to come back and avenge the park that killed her bike.

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Huge thanks to JP Baxter and the Burners team for hosting this race, from what I heard the changes to this course were well received and made the course more flowing.

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3rd Quarter is at Foxlake on the 5th of February.

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Sunday Going Down The Spiral.

4th December 2016.
Lochore Meadows, Scottish Cyclocross Championships.

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My second year racing at Scottish Champs. Pretty sure I will not surpass last year’s position, but I shall give it my all.

It’s a nice crisp winters morning drive through to Fife.  Last year’s course was eating a lot of rear mechs for lunch.  I escaped incident free last year so hopefully by the time my race comes around the course won’t be too badly churned up and I’ll escape with my bike intact.

A quick warm up along the road reveals my front break is super loose.  Head back to the car and fix it as I’m pretty sure it will be needed at some point today.  Drop the pit bike off and head off to get to grips with the “Spiral of Doom“.  This part of the course wasn’t here last year but it’s made its return for the Champs.  Basically a lot of riding to your left for two minutes then ride to your right for another two minutes.  If I was to stake that out I would have been there for a week.  Well played Paul Zarb. 

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After a few dizzy laps of the Spiral its time to hit the start line.  I manage to squeeze quite far up in the grid.  My highest place of the year so far!  A quick brief was shouted out, now it’s time to wait for the bang of the gun.

BANG!  We are let loose, I get a solid start on the inside.  Keep up with the guys who were in front of me on the line.  It’s a mad dash down to the first corner, a tight left taking you into a small wooded section.  A bottleneck happens and we all slow to a stop, find a space on the outside and I’m off racing again.  Once out of the woods the low sun makes spotting the best line for the next turn a bit hard.  Ride over some soft grass and back into the woods and out into a small clearing.  Dismount off the bike, run around the sharp left and right chicane.  Stay off the bike and continue running through the mud out to the main arena where the low sun makes for difficult viewing.

The flat grass in the main arena gets you back up to speed, hang a sharp right and you’re now eyeing up the ever growing double hurdles.  A quick run with some big leaps over the hurdles, hop back onto the bike and get the gear turning again.  Ride past the timing van and over the finishing line with the sun burning your retinas.  I am with a group of riders as we hit the solid tarmac and race up to a sharp left keeping you on the tarmac heading back to the woods.  I lose some distance here, one gear can only get you so fast!  Drift to the back of the group as we ride under the canopy of the trees once again.

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Ride out from under the tree cover and past the pits and into the Spiral for the first time. Halfway through the spiral, I am closing in on the leader of the pack Ross Johnston from HTCC, taking some positions as I go.  Then disaster strikes!  I’m down on the deck!  I over cooked it on one of the turns and front wheel slipped out, back to the end of the bunch I go.  The group have a small gap on me by the time we go past the start line and into the woods again.  At least there is no bottleneck at this point again.  Manage to catch back onto the group as we come back into main areas and eye up the hurdles for the second time.

Take another lap and we are starting to split.  By the time the tight corners and woods are dispatched, we are back onto the tarmac path.  The front riders have pulled away again and now I am being caught by riders behind.  I know losing too much speed and time in the corners but I don’t want to push it and take a tumble.  Into the Spiral again and this is where I am making ground on riders (if you took the wide line there was more grip).  An Ayr Road rider is my target. I pull him back, but over the next few corners, he’s away again. This happens each lap (really need to work on keeping the speed up on corners or applying the power out of them).

Onto the last lap, I brave it more in the corners and keep some speed up (smooth is fast). Franco Porco shouting to me to keep the wheel of riders in front. It spurs me out the saddle, and I catch on to Darren Lindsay’s wheel (and his shrinking seat post) as we tackle the spiral, we catch the Ayr Road rider again.  Now it’s time to work my socks off and try and gain two places before we finish.  We hit the last wooded section, off the bike and run the bends, sling the bike on the shoulder and run the ever-thickening mud back out to the main arena.

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Only a few corners left and the double hurdles.  Head down and pedal like mad!  A clean dismount off the bike and attack the barriers.  I can see that I have gapped the two riders chasing me, now I know that I can’t lose any positions and could ease off.  I don’t!  I keep my head down and speed up, going for a fast lap.  Roll over the line absolutely spent to take 54th place in the Senior male race.  I think I qualify for V40 races with me turning 39 in a few days time so could be my last race as a Senior, could be wrong though.  The sound of a 40-minute race looks much appealing.

That’s my racing done for 2016, but have the Super Quaich Series starting in January at Rouken Glen Park to keep training for and also keep me off the Christmas cakes.

2016 it’s been eventful, started shite, broken bikes but finished last few races in one piece, which was my primary objective. 

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

 

 

 

Kilmarnock Killzone Krits

Sunday 27th September

This is the day that Twowheelarmy become a race team.

We have me racing in Cat 4 race and feeling good about the race.

The team has its newest member Clare of Clan Campbell

CC DogTags

CC DogTags

Taking up position in the Female race.
This is Clare’s first ever race, first ever experience of a what a Crit race will be like.
If this was a swimming pool, she is being flung off the 10 meter Diving board into shark infested waters.
Due to the low numbers of female riders, the race is run with an open field, Elite – Cat 4 Riders. There will be some tough opponents in the race.

My best advice is to try to go out fast and stay strong on the first lap. Hang with the group or back marker as long as possible. Then from there get over the 15 minutes mark, then the countdown to the checkered flag will begin.

The main aim for Clare would be just to Finish the race, no DNF.
Clare is eager on a Sunday morning and walks the course with her little mascot Mini one of her 3 little whippets. The other two, Medium and Large are away to their own race day.
What she see’s is a fast course with not much elevation but a lot of areas to take into consideration. Lots of little bullet holes in the park surface along with a massive bomb crater on an exit from a left turn.
Course length is roughly half a mile with all left-hand bends, some tight, some fast with the right racing line.

So we gulp down some caffeine gels and tackle bottles of water, try to keep our fluids up as it’s strangely hot today.

Ready to Race

Ready to Race

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Clip in Please

Clare rides the course to get a feel for it and also gets some inside tips from a race marshal.
Then before we know it is time to grid up and race face is firmly on.
I head back to little barking Mini, who can feel the tension and she’s yapping encouragement to her Mama.

Then there off, the field gets away clean, good old Mr. “I don’t want to clip in” appears, Leftenant Campbell keeps her head and peddles on.

From here on in her eyes have been opened. Clare is a gritty fighter who can hang on in Watt Bike sessions and is regularly at the front of group rides.
Crit racing is a different beast!

Within the first 2 corners, Girls from Johnston Jets are in control. Even opened a slight gap at the front. It was a dominating ride by one of the jets. Managing to lap the full field in the end.

Clare is now in a proper battle, a battle of the mind. She’s lapping about 1:26-1:30 but other girls have the advantage of the group working together and pull away, so from now on its a tough shift.

Head Down, Teeth Grinding

Head Down, Teeth Grinding

When in the theater of war, Battle Of The Brain. It is super easy to succumb to the Dark Side, pull over and finish. This is what the voice in your head is saying, your heart is telling you it’s a fight against the clock. Don’t give up, keep fighting those laps!
Clare with her grit and resolve gets on with the fight, head down, turns those pedals over and over, keeps adding up the mileage.
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Laps are ticking by, riders keep going past her. It’s not about that anymore, it’s about the end game.

Hear the bell then the pain is almost up. Try to get her to hit the last corner fast, give a final dig for the line, last big push and she takes the flag.

Now she can ease up and take in that she managed her goal. No DNF.

Well in Clare you done well, done the team proud. You are a racer now!

Cat 4 Riders Ready!!

Was the call at the start line, I looked about and yup I have timed the warm up laps to perfection. Back of the group! 50 odd riders in front of me.

Spot me? Nope I am at the back.

Get the whistle and were zooming to the first sharp left. Mr.”I am not clipping in” appears in my race too, manage to keep the momentum going and get clipped in ahead of the oncoming bend. It is a tight little curve, taking you into the narrowest part of the course. At this stage in the race, space is at a premium.

Gladiators Ready

From the warm up lap’s I know what is ahead in the next corner, this is the Bomb Hole. Due to the IED (Improvised Explosive Device) that has gone off here in the past. The only safe place to go is on the outside lose a few seconds but still stay in the race.

The bunch hits the long back straight, speed keeps building, I draft a few people surfing their rear wheel while one eye is on the lookout for a gap. The third corner soon comes up, Quick left-hander, I stay a bit wider losing the draft but manage to speed up, taking some positions on the space that is free on the outside.

It’s a quick little straight with another 90-degree bend at the end, I gamble and stay in my wide line rather than follow the bunch. Who stay left then drift over to the right, with me out wide I gain a position, more importantly, I have a better run into the corner.

Move on Up

Move on Up

Out of the corner, out of the saddle is the plan today. Pumping my skinny legs hard to move up. I can see the front of the bunch so I’m doing well in this first lap battle.

Now I am with the main group I can’t ease up or go backwards in the bunch. Have put some good work into getting here, don’t want to waste it, so now it’s time to sit in wait for gaps to appear, then move up to fill them if I can.

Corner No.3 (quick Corner)

Corner No.3 (Quick Corner)

All is going well lapping in the 1:01-minute to 1:09-minute range, sitting 9th-10th position. Right in the sweet spot of the race, can see if any attacks come. Tuck in trying to save valuable energy. Laps along with the time are tumbling down, feeling strong and getting the flow of the course.

Pace Is High

Pace Is High

Handling the course well, know where I have to be and most of the time I can get the line I know I want. Pass the finishing line to knock off another lap, get on the inside to move up. By doing this, I have to gamble my position going into a narrow corner then into Skinny lane.

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Eat The Dirt.

Balls! I have to tackle Bomb Hole head on, I have been boxed into the left, have to take the nasty inside line, look for some space on the left to dive for cover, there is none. SMASH, BANG PSSSSSST, my tyres take a beating, rear takes the brunt of it. In doing so, my rear wheel makes a beeline for the front wheel of the rider who’s drafting me. They touch, his front wheel rejects the advance of my Cosmics, It pulls away resulting in the rider being dismounted, meeting the tarmac with a thud.

The-End

Well, that was my race finished, I look around to see the Rider get up and looks alright, sorry fella! Check my wheel and seems good, tyre pressure feels good with the old squeeze of finger and thumb gauge. I manage to ride the next corner, feel the tyre bounce and know I have punctured, ah crap! Pull over at corner 4 and my race is over.

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Roll my bike over to registration tent, hand over my timing chip while the bunch speeds by with 5 minutes of racing left. Clare is there and she’s more gutted than me, that’s racing. You roll the dice, sometimes it’s a win other times it’s a bust. I am happy with the way my race was panning out, take the positive that I was in the fight, holding a good position at the sharp end of the race. That’s all I can ask for and give.

That was the final road race Team Two Wheel Army will do this year. We move onto Mud Warfare. Cyclocross season.

#CROSSISHERE

Up next is

Glasgow United CC scottish cyclocross

Like to thank Adrian Dow for use of some great pictures, more are on flickr

https://www.flickr.com/photos/134750157@N04/sets/72157658771076798

Also huge thanks to Dale Stiling for making up BRYAN THE LION.

Watch out for Bryan The Lion he will be in a lot more posts and social media.

Check out his amazing graphics and designs https://instagram.com/dalestiling/

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Tour Of Duty

Sunday was going to be a long day in the saddle.

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I understood this, but somehow I didn’t expect it to be so long. My derrière is letting me know that it was miserable being next to my saddle for so long.

My alarm set at 1 am (then changed to 1:15 am) that extra 15mins was going to be needed.
Beep beep I am up, after 3hours slumber.

Creep about the bedroom and get out and stretch without waking the boss and the little bed hoppers, (even in a super king size bed the little boys manage to take up all the space).
Get my new team kit on and grab my 2 bags, feels like an expedition, not days Cycling.

So your wondering why I am up at this crazy hour, well I foolishly said I would do the graveyard shift on Mark Beaumont’s Cycling challenge for STVAppeal.

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Mark set a goal of Cycling 450 miles in 24 hours, also with a total target of 2400 miles Glasgow to Africa ridden by more insane folk. I had the slot of 2am-4am I was pleased to do this time at the time of sending the tweet, not so much at 1 am.

mark beaumont stv appeal

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The event was held within the showroom at Infiniti Glasgow, with the support these great people show me it was an easy thing to agree to.

I get there and I see that I am not alone at this early hour, some guys are on the bikes keeping Mark encouraged and all importantly keeping the miles ticking over.

There was an info wall,  giving you everyone’s pace and accumulative mph, to hit the target the aim was 100mph, info showed they were sitting at 107mph, looks like the target was on and the pace was good. The map was on Italy with the tracker dot making its journey south, down to the sole of the boot as the country looks.

So now I can claim I have ridden in Southern Italy.

Well, I get going and it’s apparent I am going to get hot, Mega hot.

15 minutes in and I am soaked through with sweat, think my skin must have a leak, I am drinking water yet it’s just coming straight back out and pooling on the shiny floor.

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Mark is on fine form, keeping an even pace even though he’s 12hrs in. Chatting away nicely too, making it look so easy, while we’re a mess on the bikes. Other guys are due to finish soon, we wonder who the next victims on the watt bike sauna will be.
Not sure if anyone was booked in or if they just didn’t fancy getting up before the dawn chorus, some of the guys who had done their stint stayed on to turn the pedals over and chip away at some miles. Great effort to do that.

Get through the first hour averaging 24mph not bad going, then it’s a case of tick off the 15mins blocks for the last hour, I don’t know if I have the mental attitude to sit for any longer, 24 hours must be hell.

Get to last few minutes of the hour, try to up the pace, though being distracted by watching YouTube videos of guys in wing suits jumping off the Alps. Think I will stick to the bike!
My 2-hour stint is up, I manage 44.5 miles, happy with that though I would have done the 45 if it wasn’t for YouTube distraction.
Would have loved to have hung about and maybe done another hour, but I had to shoot off with a long drive to Kirroughtree Bike Center, Galloway Forest.

So say my goodbyes to Mark and wish him well with the remaining 10hrs. Wish the lads on the other bikes all the best as the put in a tough shift.

keep spinning

keep spinning

4am and going strong

4 am and going strong

So my second part in the saddle was going to be at Galloway Gallop.

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A quick change of top in Infiniti carpark, armed with hot coffee and a slice of cake I muster a plan.

Set satnav with postcode, point the car in the right direction, off I go. The main thing is I have plenty of time to get there so no mad rush as usual.

The second thing is I need to fill my belly, 4:30 am there is only one place. Yip the shop with the Golden Archie’s.
fat mcds

Rock up to the drive through and order my Double Sausage Egg McMuffin to be told “Sorry Sir breakfast is served from 5 am” What Da Funk!!

So all that salivating over my hashbrowns and morning coffee were crushed. Ok Mr Bad News hit me with a Quarter Pounder meal, yes it will be large!

Hit the M77 with my Dinner (burger and chips are not breakfast) I get to Kilmarnock and all is well, see on satnav I have to take a left soon. To my horror I notice the battery on my phone/satnav is exhausted more than me. It needs some CPR. Cool, I have got this. Wrong! The car charger is not working and the phone gives in. nooo!!!

From now on it was a guess when to turn left! F@#k it, I will turn in Maybole. Should have a sign somewhere! I know its Newton Stewart I have to head near. Can’t be hard.

The Race Is On

The Race Is On

Well those roads sure are tight and winding, this route takes you through some interesting hills, would have been quite a scenic route in the daytime, not at 6am with the full beam on, mad hare’s running in the road. Dashing in and out of the cars headlights, I know there fast, but there were starting to hold me up. Fingers crossed they weren’t racing any tortoises up ahead.

Eventually, I make it to Kirroughtree bike centre, after a few more wrong turns and plugging in my external battery charger for the Satnav/Phone to spark to life and help me out.

Art of getting lost

Art of getting lost

Meet up with Kevin Pugh, he’s not long arrived. Though I think his journey was a lot simpler. This is what can happen, Bryan. If you prepare! Or look at a bloody map!

We get to the sign on tent receive our numbers and a sticker stuck to our helmet. This will record our time around the course. Help ourselves to energy bars and gels, then get our free cuppa, well I get mine but the guy who signed Kevin up didn’t hand over his beverage card, must be saving them up and going to overdose on Earl Gray once everyone was out on the hills.

The course for today will be a nice little 67miles with over 5100ft of climbing or as my Garmin told me 5500ft. There was not so much Galloping going to go on today I think.

galloway gallop 1

Some Of The Terrain

I have never done a Sportive, so this organised adventure cross was all new, I normally just hit the hills with the aim of getting home at a reasonable hour without injury. We roll up to the start line with another few people from Kevins Club, Walkers Cycling Club from Ayrshire, we get a quick briefing then were let loose on the course, we start off going up a few little switchbacks then into the woods, this is pretty much the way the rest of the day panned out, upwards and onwards.

Weather is favourable, no rain but no blazing sun either. We get to the first feed station. Stock up on gels and bounce bars, then tuck into the sandwiches and cakes. I hear the guy say “fill up with gels and energy bars” being the typical Glaswegian I head back and fill my bag.

Mmmm Cake

Mmmm Cake

Understand why it is called feed zone, the dreaded midge has been invited and there out in force having a banquette of arm and leg.

After eating and being eaten were back on the trails, it has became apparent that the bikes of choice are 50/50. Cross bike, Mountain Bike.

There is pro’s and con’s to both bike set ups. Me and Kevin being on Cross bike seem to be making up time on the flats and hills, whereas the MTB folk are spinning like crazy going uphill, getting nowhere fast (think Chris Froome on a chunky bike, stuck on the same spot)

MTB’S would then zip past on the few downhill sections due to extra weight, but the crucial thing is having the shocks to deal with ruts and stones on this terrain, making for a more confident downhill experience.

galloway gallop 3galloway gallop 2

Halfway round now I can feel the back wheel start to bounce, now I am riding the rim of the wheel rather than nice cushion of air, I have now received a puncture thanks to a bump in the road. AAAAAHHHH, I dig in my bag and pull out an innertube for my road bike, NAW!

Kevin gets me sorted with his spare and were back on the bumpy road again, it’s mostly fire roads and little trails, before we get to next feed station we have to get through the old railway section.
muddy puddle

“Parts of this are underwater”, we were told at the  start. Mate, it wasn’t parts of it, it was all of it!

This is what Adventure Cross is all about, beating back the grass, surfing those muddy puddles, riding those hidden gems of disused trails.

Final feed station, the mud is acting as a barrier, keeping the midges at bay, long enough for us to grab some sandwiches, cake. Kevin fills up his water supply in his bag, I try to drain mine so I can squeeze more energy bars and gels into it (do have a few races coming up so it’s all needed). Back in the saddle and were off, we did hear chat about tarmac, nice smooth tarmac, would be a great relief on the old buttocks. This little bit of joy comes after a few more hills and tons of gravel.

The joy is short lived as now were into a nice headwind, we draft each other and pick up a fellow cross rider, work as a trio to pick the pace up the only galloping we will do today. Soon another hill appears back to spinning in top gear again. After this hill the only hill we want to see is a downhill, we were going to find a nice little surprise with a mile to go, a little lane covered in pine needles with the added bonus, an incline of about 20%, Think Kevin has enough of the hills so jumps off and gets some running practice in for the for 3 Peaks Challenge. Where I struggle on, zigzagging up trying to find grip in the needle nest. Manage to crest the last of the hill, then it was a few trails and roads back down to the Kirroughtree bike center, Under the inflatable banner, across the finishing line. 6hr 44min since we left off.wpid-wp-1443084263704.jpg

Get my first ever cycling medal (well everyone gets one), head over to cafe fo a hot strong cup of black coffee.

Cleaning process goes like this: Removal of soggy socks, use for wiping the muck off legs, chuck the manky bike in the car. Done!

Now for the journey home, wish Teleportation was real. For now I will just have to drive the 2 half hours home.

Once home and in the land of Wifi, I go on twitter to find out how Mark has done with his record attempt and STV Appeal, well he has just smashed out 470 miles in 24 hours. Some effort to get those miles clocked up and congratulate you on the attempt, and new watt bike record.

Infiniti QX70s

Infiniti QX70s

Massive well done to Arron at Infiniti, he was there for all the setup, the whole event, along with the odd hour on the challenge too. Well played Sir. Alastair from Team Cycles, was the man with the plan, making sure data was all correct, doubled up as the event setup guy too. Wasn’t sure how long their shifts were but I am sure it was a record attempt as well.

470 miles in the bag

470 miles Done

Twowheelarmy Kit

Twowheelarmy Kit

Long hot shower and fueled by pizza it’s time to get comfy on the sofa, Let the recovery process begin. Well for a little bit, long day out on the bike but had such a great day spinning about in the new kit.

Up next is Kilmarnock Crit, 27th September

Hosted By Walkers Cycling Club.

I am racing in the Cat 4s, Team Two Wheel Army newest recruit Clare Campbell is doing her first ever race. In with a tough field but is going to give it all she’s got!

CC DogTags

CC’s DogTags

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