The Battle of Balloch Castle 2016 – Winner!

Photo Credit: Callum Seargent

Photo Credit: Callum Seargent

Battle over!

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.

Lessons learned

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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