kilmarnock

Man Too Hot.

Super Quaich, The Third Round.

Roukenglen Park, 18.2.18.

Albannach and the Unicorn tamer Jim Cameron are the hosts of the last Super Quaich party.

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Roulenglen Park isn’t my best course, but I always look forward to it as my Mum and Dad come and join the ranks of the Two Wheel Army support crew. (also help with Victoria getting the kids out from the trees) This year’s race is a bit later on in the race calendar so no snow this year but there is still a nip in the air.

Clare is racing in the B race today, the crew and I turn up just as the race has begun. Kevin Pugh and Craig Lewis Hamilton are at the font of the race as they come through the trees and into the main support bowl. RGCX has an excellent location for spectating, 95% of the course is watchable from the sign on the tent. (this year the burger van is on hand to feed the faces of all the spectators)

Clare is slogging through lap after lap for the hour’s race. A head full of determination of not getting a DNF on her last Cyclocross race of the season. Her grit and fighting spirit gets her around the course and rolls over the finish line celebrating that she is the last rider home. Well, news for you CC, you didn’t come last, and you beat the course. That’s always the right way to end the race season.

My turn to race approaches, I say my goodbyes, and I am wished good luck as I ride down to the start shoot. I find myself late to the party, squeeze past the bunch and nestle in the right on top of a sand pit. Great, more sand! I thought I had seen enough at Irvine. Chat away to Owen Philipson, then four by four we get moved out the sand and up behind the 20 gridded riders. While chatting away we don’t hear the briefing, and before we know it, the front has burst apart, and the race is on. It takes a moment to hear the Hoot Hoot Hoot of the starting horns, but they are going off, now It’s my turn to race.

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Sprint up the slog of the tarmac hill, suck in lungfuls of oxygen at the top. Navigate the muddy lines and other racers in this condensed area. Come through the trees and out to the open grass, take a quick left and ride along the treeline and then a right turn has you coming back on yourself. The bike soon dips down, taking in the fastest part of the course, a quick descent heading past the spectator bowl for the first time. Drive up the incline with the rear wheel slipping and sliding all the way and turn right and into the woods. A narrow path keeps us all close and fighting for space. Thanks to those pesky B racers they have churned up the grass and made it sticky and slippy slog. I slowly grind my way through the first section, and as I get into the next HTCC old guard Julian passes by, he forces me off track with a close pass, and I’m leaving patches of skin from my leg in the thick bramble bushes.

I like riding the last section of the woods, I always seem to ride this part quite fast, and I gain some place as we exit the woods and ride past the pits. My tyres roll over the timing line for the first time as we race down and around to the first run-up. It’s a short, sharp climb. My feet skid and slide as I run the mud/grassy incline. Dig my feet in a little deeper, and I get to the top of the hill, again taking a few places as I remount the bike and the TWA crew shout me on.

Run the next half of a hill as some riders go past still in the saddle, (why is it called a saddle when its attached to a seat post?) then ride along to the hurdles. Were still bunched up as we turn and dismount for the double magenta barriers. A lot of riders remount and ride along to the new downhill section. Me on the other hand, I keep running until I reach the brow of the hill, back on the bike and freewheel to the bottom of the hill. Some tremendous sweeping switchbacks line you up for the second longer grassy climb. I usually have to dismount and run this hill, but do you know what, I’m going to give it a bash and try to ride this sucker! And I do! I struggle to the top by some zig-zag riding and seeking out grip, also lots of sheer stubbornness helps at this point. The growing crowd also helps with tones of encouragement to all riders tackling the hill.

Back in the saddle (seat) and ride through the mud soup, that takes you into the trees once again. This links you back up with the tarmac start shoot, I have to walk/run the last of the bog as by peddling I don’t seem to be getting anywhere fast. Get to the tarmac and back to riding a bike race in a bike race. It’s being to string out and riding the top wood section I can pick a decent line with some free space ahead. I am gaining on a small group just a few seconds out in front. Deep down I know I won’t be able to hold on to the group as this course isn’t my fastest to get around.

Eventually lap after lap I run out of gas, I hear two laps to go as I come round to the timing van. (great commentary by @mikefixerpayne) Which probably means one and a half for me as I’m sure David Duggan will catch me again. I manage to ride the big hill a few more times but slowing every time I complete it. The last two times I manage 3/4 of the way up. I don’t have any lying down in the mud today, always a good race when that happens but I do regret wearing gloves and arm warmers.

Man got too hot! Halfway around I have stop and strip my arm warmers down to my wrists to cool down. Then at the spectator’s bowl, I pull up to remove my gloves and warmers altogether. I hate being too hot! It distracts me, I think about it too much instead of concentrating on racing. Also, I get a bit nauseous if I am too hot. I lose a tone of time to the riders in front of me by pissing about, but at least I feel some much-needed fresh air.

David does catch me again, just as we entered the woods behind the pits. I now know my race will soon be over as David is riding along to get the checkered flag and the win. I have someone in my sights, a Johnston Wheeler is slowing, this spurs my legs on and the speed is up as we come through the last section of woods. At the end of the woods and entry into the pit area, he slips and goes down. I dig in and pass him on the inside. Kept the power going, ride around the bend and into the last corner. A quick glance over my shoulder and I see I have some space on riders at my back, let the bike glide over the line in 64th spot and to complete RGCX and my Cyclocross season.

Huge thanks to all the Unicorn helpers and event organisers, RGCX is always special.
Thanks again to Michael Martin again some incredible pictures and also to Graeme Cross for some classic black and white images.
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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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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.
That’s how Twowheelarmy Roll. Fight to the end. wpid-wp-1443549536808.jpg
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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