walkers cycling club

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.

Januaryimage

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

 

 

 

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Duels in the Dunes at Jocksijde

Irvine BeachPark Round 5 Ding Ding.

Family trip to the seaside today, hoping “Storm Desmond” has disappeared.  Forecast for strong winds (40mph+).  At least, we will have a break from the constant rain.  December and Beaches don’t really mix in Scotland.  Must be another round of Scottish Cyclocross Series bringing the two together.

Jockskied (Irvine Beach)

Jocksijde wordplay on Koksijde in Belgium

This round is incorporating Scottish Championships.

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Do the usual routine on race day, bike out the car, grab my race license then follow the bikes and music to the sign on area.

Junior/Women and V50 are blasting around the course.  While they battle it out for the win there was an older creature battling through the sand.  A Loggerhead Turtle has been washed ashore, presumably by the strong seas with the Storm battering the coast for the past few days.

Cyclocross Is Turtly Great

Cyclocross Is Turtley Great

He/She got looked after by some race marshalls then picked up by S.S.P.C.A and taken to The Sealife Center at Loch Lomond.  Where it will be looked after and recuperate.  Then I think will be sent onwards to Spain for its winter holidays, possibly to Benidorm with the rest of the wrinkly old folk who flock to the sun.

Mass Start

Mass Start

V40 Race.

This must be the most popular age group, the start line was packed with racers getting ready to tackle the course, see who will be triumphant and crowned Scottish Champ?

98 in total wait for the gun to go off, then endure 40 mins of pain, suffering and wondering why this is a good idea.

Gun goes and the mayhem begins, on with my turn to let the butterfly’s grow and try to get a warm up done.

V40 has a winner Gary McCrea congratulations on the win.

The course is now open for me to have a little ride around, find out what delights are in store for me.  I don’t do a full lap of the course, I was keen on giving the sand a try.  Wish I didn’t! Fell off on the first sand trap, not enough speed to get me through.  Come to a complete stop and flop off my bike onto the soft deep sand.  At least, I learned something.

One other feature I want to try out was the infamous “Big Dipper”.  I shall be calling this the “Big Diaper”.  As I shat myself every time I came to it, my first attempt I used my brakes, only managing half way up before I bailed out, got off and had to slip slide up it.

Warm up is done, time to head for the start line.

What Am I Doing

What Am I Doing

Grid process begins, front three rows being brought forward to the grid, once they have sorted out the fast guys the rest of us fall in behind. Managed somehow to get into the fourth row.  All I have to do now is keep up with the guys in front of me and don’t lose places by being slow off the mark.

 We are off!Being the champs, they have upgraded the whistle to a starting pistol.

We get the marks, anytime in the next 30 seconds the pistol will go the race is on!

Wheels get turning, dash for the hole shot is on and I am in a fight to keep my space, seem to be losing this fight, I am going back the way. Get your finger out Bryan find the space.

 Hole Shot

Hole Shot

Nice wide left bend taking you out onto the mud fest next to the car park, slip and slide past the portaloos and down over the road and past the start/finish line.  That part was super soggy, a lot of people off and running.  Something to remember when I come back around to it.

Next, on the list of challenges was the winding right and left uphill bends taking you up past the pit area.  This part is tough going also tight for space, some shoulder rubbing going on. Fighting to try and stay away from the tape, the other rider trying to stay wide on a good line and avoid the mush of the inside corner.

Getting Close

Getting Close

Try to suck some air in and try to calm my nerves as the Big Dipper is on its way, time to attack. Fingers off the brakes, this time, freewheel down, then pedal like a mad man to get to the top. No luck.  I am off and scrambling to the top.  Toe studs now all of a sudden feel short, should have stuck the bigger ones in.  The Big Dipper doesn’t look that bad when you are looking back at photos of it.  It’s when you ride over the edge, see a big soggy downhill.  Try to pick your line, then you’re looking at the sky, praying not to come off as bikes are chasing you all the way down gathering speed to make the top.

No Success This Time

No Success This Time

Back to riding the bike now, well for a short while.  Next, on the Cyclocross Challenge list was Off Cambers.  Lots of them on this course.  Very hard to ride and you were destined to take a tumble if you pushed it too fast and hard.

You then have a respite, ride through the Valley of Doom!  The Irvine Dragon sitting high on your left with another great hill to your right and a headwind blowing sand at your face.  This lead you down to the exposed beach area hanging a right to head along and eye up the longest run up I have ever seen in a cross race.

Dragon

Irvine’s Dragon 

Here is where the super size studs would have come in handy.  I end up running this with my feet turned out to try and get extra grip. Keeping my momentum going to get summit, get back on the bike and suck lung fulls of sea air in.

Nice little bit of riding through the grass at the peak of the park, hit a slight off camber section  taking you onto a left turn onto the trickiest part of the course.  Mega long off camber sections, this was hard.  I think I have been watching too much Sporza as I try riding one legged with the other hanging out like a counter weight.  It actually worked!  Then had to admit defeat and get off to run up a small incline, bombing back downhill to take you along to the  Duo of Dunes.

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Hup Hup Hup

The mighty Sand Traps.  The first section is quite a short but rather deep.  Have to go for it build the speed and drive through.  Manage to get to the end on my bike.  Now it’s onto the biggest sand section.  Figured out on this one you have to stay left as is most compact there.

The only problem is at the end, there is a left turn taking you into a downhill sand section that was soft again, so back on the power and struggle through.

Soft Sand

Soft Sand

Hard Sand

Hard Sand

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand is finished, Bringing you back out to where we began, hit the grass path then hang looping left.  Bounce out into the muddy mess at the carpark, slog your way past the toilet corner then up and down over the road to take a lap.

Lap 1 complete.  Another 5 laps till I get the flag.

Blood & Mud

Blood & Mud

Five more laps of falling, sliding and some bike riding going on.  Every lap I get better at one part but worse on another part.  Falling off at easy corners trying to push it, end up losing more time detangling myself from the bushes.

On the last lap, I have a shocker.  Two minutes slower than my fastest lap, my third lap was my hot lap.  My lost minutes were in the bushes losing skin on my legs.  Then at the end of the long sand section I go over my handlebars, go head first into the side of a sand mound.  Scratch the side of my head and stub my thumb a belter. The worst part was losing about Four places.  Shake the sand from my head and get going try and catch the riders in front before the line.

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Last Race Of 2015

To no avail, roll over the line and take 40th place in Scottish Senior Cyclocross Champs.
Free Bike Wash

Free Bike Wash

Time to clean up, go see my fan club who ran to the car after the first lap, Due to a hailstone shower soaking them to the bone.

Big thanks to Walker Cycling Club, Neil Walker, and Scott Kerr with their band of merry Sand People for putting on a fantastic Cross race and Championship level course.  Would love to see a British Champs being held here.

Congratulations to the new Senior champ Grant Ferguson, Davie Lines taking second and Rab Wardell taking the third step on the podium.

Up next in the Series is Weekend in Mull.

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Mull is to be the last race of the Series, I won’t be at that weekend in Mull.  Though the racing continues on through to February with a new exciting race series.

 

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Thanks to Graham Milne for the use of his pictures.

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.

Game-Over-Broken-Mirror-Photos

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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