Held under the rattle and bang of M&D’s Theme park in strathclyde country park, the …
A year on from my fourth place, I had a bit of unfinished business at the Battle of Balloch Castle. Stevie Couper and the team at Glasgow United once again put on a superb event on a course that’s up there as one of my favorites of the year.
Having had a bit of a slow start to the year I’ve barely raced, so I didn’t have any idea what my fitness looked like in comparison to my fellow competitors. I’d dropped some weight over the last couple of months and even if my handling skills were off at Blairadam last month, my legs felt strong.
Last year tactical naivety lead to my 4th place (that and excellent rides from Colin Seargent, David Lindsay and Dave Smeaton) I went out too hard too early and was unable to sustain it for the full 50 minutes.
This year I’d decided on a more conservative approach, and with Jimmy Mac’s words ringing in my ears saying I just had to “be there” in the last third of the race, I avoided going for the glory of the “holeshot” and targeted being in the top 6 at the end of the frantic start scramble.
As it turned out I found myself in third as we swung onto the single track for the first time behind Paul Leavy and Alan McLean from Johnston Wheelers. On the steady climb to the top of the course, I settled in behind them watching where they were strong and where I could consider making a move.
At the end of the second lap I was sitting 4 seconds off the pace, with Paul leading, We’d put some clear space between us and Alan who had settled into his own pace.
On the climb on lap three I decided to take a turn at the front, passing Paul on the gravel climb at the top of the course ahead of the switchbacks. Paul stuck with me through there and on the descent to the hurdles which we hit together, Paul unshipped his chain and lost perhaps 5 seconds sorting it. Although earlier than I would have liked, I saw this as the opportunity to put the hammer down. And stuck myself into the red zone for about 30 seconds managing to get a small gap on Paul.
By the end of the lap I had an 11 second lead, and settled into a rhythm of driving hard on the climbs and using the descents and flats to recover, always looking back to make sure I was holding my position against Paul.
I can do this…
At no point was I confident that I’d done enough to avoid getting caught, and was completely paranoid until about half way round the last lap where I knew that if I could avoid making any mistakes I would be able to bring it home. I even managed to have a bit of a chat and a laugh with Bryan Hutton as I stuck a lap on him after he had a nightmare again on the first lap getting snarled up in a crash.
Clearing the hurdles for the last time, I remounted straightened the jersey and let about three years of pressure I’d put on myself release and just enjoy those few seconds, arms aloft as I freewheeled over the line.
Job done, I was a race winner!!! I’d fulfilled the aim I set out to achieve when I decided to throw myself back into cycling again in a big way.
Over the course of those three years things have changed quite a bit and I feel more motivated than ever to push on and see what I can do in some of the bigger national races. I believe that the race win finally got the monkey off my back and will help my self-belief no end!
I’ve been super lucky to have a bunch of great people that have removed a considerable amount of stress and expense to help me fulfil this daft project. Keith Murray and Phil Stevenson at SCOTT Sports for giving me the chance to represent SCOTT wear their kit and ride their incredible bikes. Even when I was unfit and unproven! I’m delighted I could finally repay some of that faith.
A big thanks to Richard Foxley who kick started me training seriously, and James McCallum who’s fixed my mentally as much as physically this year, and continues to encourage me that we’re just at the start of what’s possible.
All the guys who turn up week in week out and race around fields year round in mud, rain, snow and minus conditions, there are too many of you to mention, and of course my family who’ve never said, you are a bloody idiot just give it up, and have just been there as a constant source of motivation.
OK gushy post over, last thing to do is stick the results up!
Now the hard work starts #noshortcuts
Results – Battle of Balloch Castle – First Skirmish Race
|pos||start no.||competitor||laps||total time||diff||best time||best lap||best speed|
|1||168||Ed Vickers||8||49:54.000||06:16.715||2||22.9 km/h|
|2||134||Paul Leavy||8||50:43.000||49.000||06:12.367||2||23.2 km/h|
|3||148||Alan McLean||8||51:17.000||01:23.000||06:22.492||2||22.5 km/h|
|4||154||Leo Plaster||8||51:40.000||01:46.000||06:20.227||2||22.7 km/h|
|5||129||Ross Johnstone||8||51:59.000||02:05.000||06:29.101||2||22.2 km/h|
|6||108||Andy Brewster||8||52:03.000||02:09.000||06:28.177||2||22.2 km/h|
|7||145||brian mccutcheon||8||52:04.000||02:10.000||06:23.951||2||22.5 km/h|
|8||126||Paul Howieson||8||52:08.000||02:14.000||06:32.158||2||22.0 km/h|
|9||137||Hugh Macgregor||8||52:13.000||02:19.000||06:18.555||2||22.8 km/h|
|10||171||Ruaraidh Wells||8||52:17.000||02:23.000||06:29.541||2||22.1 km/h|
|11||118||peter ferrier||8||52:30.000||02:36.000||06:34.255||2||21.9 km/h|
|12||143||David Mason||8||52:39.000||02:45.000||06:32.968||2||21.9 km/h|
|13||141||Michael Martin||8||52:47.000||02:53.000||06:33.492||2||21.9 km/h|
|14||169||Michael Warbeck||8||53:11.000||03:17.000||06:36.498||2||21.7 km/h|
|15||136||John Macarthur||8||53:35.000||03:41.000||06:28.620||2||22.2 km/h|
|16||123||Caroline Harvey||8||53:35.000||03:41.000||06:42.145||2||21.4 km/h|
|17||106||Lindsay Branston||8||53:45.000||03:51.000||06:48.667||3||21.1 km/h|
|18||135||Darren Lindsay||8||53:45.000||03:51.000||06:39.412||3||21.6 km/h|
|19||147||mark mcgivern||8||54:14.000||04:20.000||06:42.506||2||21.4 km/h|
|20||157||Robert Regan||8||54:16.000||04:22.000||06:51.020||3||21.0 km/h|
|21||161||Calum Simpson||8||54:55.000||05:01.000||06:30.558||2||22.1 km/h|
|22||172||Billy Wilson||8||55:14.000||05:20.000||06:54.113||8||20.8 km/h|
|23||150||Russell Mowat||8||55:34.000||05:40.000||06:35.858||2||21.8 km/h|
|24||162||JAMES SKINNER||8||55:55.000||06:01.000||06:57.875||2||20.6 km/h|
|25||125||David Hordon||8||56:18.000||06:24.000||06:45.334||2||21.3 km/h|
|26||127||Jamie Hunter||8||56:18.000||06:24.000||06:59.749||2||20.5 km/h|
|27||113||Lee Cuthbertson||8||56:50.000||06:56.000||07:08.116||3||20.1 km/h|
|28||115||Paul Davies||8||56:52.000||06:58.000||07:11.034||3||20.0 km/h|
|29||170||Duncan Warwick||8||57:07.000||07:13.000||07:08.352||4||20.1 km/h|
|30||160||Gordon Scott||8||57:25.000||07:31.000||06:55.581||3||20.7 km/h|
|31||167||David Tibbs||8||57:30.000||07:36.000||06:57.386||2||20.7 km/h|
|32||138||Allan Maclean||7||49:58.000||1 lap||07:04.177||2||20.3 km/h|
|33||163||Lorna Sloan||7||50:14.000||1 lap||07:12.144||2||19.9 km/h|
|34||165||George Stewart||7||50:17.000||1 lap||06:25.494||5||22.4 km/h|
|35||128||Bryan Hutton||7||50:21.000||1 lap||06:55.666||2||20.7 km/h|
|36||132||Mike Lauder||7||50:45.000||1 lap||07:02.373||2||20.4 km/h|
|37||124||Michael Hassan||7||50:52.000||1 lap||07:18.515||2||19.7 km/h|
|38||152||John Newton||7||51:07.000||1 lap||07:14.382||2||19.8 km/h|
|39||111||Neil Clyde||7||51:19.000||1 lap||07:18.624||2||19.6 km/h|
|40||140||Craig MacWilliam||7||51:23.000||1 lap||07:22.261||7||19.5 km/h|
|41||164||Gary Smith||7||51:28.000||1 lap||07:25.795||5||19.3 km/h|
|42||120||William Gerrie||7||51:33.000||1 lap||07:24.055||2||19.4 km/h|
|43||142||Charles Martin||7||51:37.000||1 lap||07:16.722||2||19.7 km/h|
|44||139||Rob MacLellan||7||51:39.000||1 lap||07:14.478||3||19.8 km/h|
|45||122||stuart green||7||52:00.000||1 lap||07:23.714||3||19.4 km/h|
|46||109||Catriona Buchanan||7||52:28.000||1 lap||07:34.179||6||19.0 km/h|
|47||166||David Swap||7||52:45.000||1 lap||07:16.499||2||19.7 km/h|
|48||173||Dougie Wood||7||52:51.000||1 lap||07:27.354||2||19.3 km/h|
|49||130||Marion Kennedy||7||52:57.000||1 lap||07:32.031||2||19.1 km/h|
|50||159||Denise Schofield||7||53:12.000||1 lap||07:45.558||2||18.5 km/h|
|51||114||colin davidson||7||53:31.000||1 lap||07:30.002||2||19.2 km/h|
|52||105||Joanne Baxter||7||53:31.000||1 lap||07:33.668||7||19.0 km/h|
|53||175||Lewis Overend||7||54:26.000||1 lap||07:51.202||2||18.3 km/h|
|54||146||David McGill||7||54:47.000||1 lap||07:51.934||2||18.3 km/h|
|55||112||Brian Corr||7||55:12.000||1 lap||07:55.680||2||18.1 km/h|
|56||153||Sharon O’Leary||7||55:59.000||1 lap||07:41.945||2||18.7 km/h|
|57||151||Julie Nelson||7||57:01.000||1 lap||07:58.965||3||18.0 km/h|
|58||107||Keith Breckenridge||7||57:18.000||1 lap||08:04.250||3||17.8 km/h|
|59||176||Katie Allen||6||53:02.000||2 laps||07:36.872||2||18.9 km/h|
|60||174||Hamish McLean||6||55:04.000||2 laps||08:06.646||2||17.7 km/h|
|DNF||117||Craig Donagher||5||33:30.000||06:48.223||2||21.1 km/h|
|DNF||119||Carrie Finn||3||23:17.000||08:12.749||2||17.5 km/h|
|DNF||121||Martin Godfrey||3||25:02.000||08:48.650||3||16.3 km/h|
|DNF||101||Chris Allan||1||05:17.000||0 km/h|
|DNF||104||Allan Barr||1||05:55.000||0 km/h|
|DNF||158||Jack Savage||1||06:04.000||0 km/h|