Walkers CC rider Neil Walker was proud on two counts as he finished sixth in a field of 138 in Sunday’s Stirling Duathlon Championship race writes Alan Woodison.
Bike shop boss Neil was delighted with his performance in the colours of Ayrodynamic Tri Club – getting round the Stirling University course just seven minutes behind the winner.
Neil, one of nine representatives from the Ayr club, completed the circuit (10k run/42k bike/5 km run) in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 7 seconds.
He had a solid first run and was inside the top 20 when he reached the first transition area. The bike leg proved to be brutal in the biting cold and wet but he progressed into seventh by the second transition and ran on well to improve a place in the final leg.
It was so bitterly cold that Neil couldn’t feel his gears shifting and, fearing his numb hands wouldn’t be able to open the buckle on his aero helmet, ripped the headgear off in order to keep going after the second transition stop.
The Stirling event attracted its biggest ever turnout for the three races which traditionally set off from under the Wallace Monument.
But the other reason for Neil to be happy despite the arctic blast was that his “apprentice”, eight-year-old son Finlay, was also participating in the event continues Fiona Wallace.
Finlay, proudly sporting his Walkers CC outfit, battled with the elements to complete the course in 8minute 34seconds in the youngest age category, and was delighted to receive a finishers’ medal for his efforts.
His mum, Anna Walker, proudly outlined the back-story to his success: “Finlay first rode without stabilisers at 3, having started off on a balance bike. He’s been out training really hard for for this event, and has even been practising his transitions just like his old man. The two of them most definitely have the same single-minded approach to training and events so it is no surprise that he is doing so well”
Although this was his first ever duathlon, Finlay is no stranger to competitive cycling. He rode in his first ever competitive races at the tender age of 2, when he hurtled round MTB and SXC courses at a speed that would have put some adults to shame – doubly so considering he was on a balance bike at the time.
He has also taken part in the Irvine Beach Cyclocross event on three occasions and although he has not yet managed a podium place, he hopes to do so soon.
While he runs twice a week, Finlay says that he still prefers cycling. Said mum Anna: “It will not be long before he is going faster than me.”
With more duathlons and cyclo-cross definitely on the cards for this year, it is probably true to say that it wont be long before he is faster than all of us.