Some two dozen members of Walkers Cycling Club braved yesterday’s early morning rain to participate in the club’s Spring Classics ride.
Now in its second year, the event again offered either a road ride or an MTB option with the road route taking riders some 54 miles out to Strathaven and back while the MTBers enjoyed some good old home-grown Ayrshire mud on a John Walker magical mystery tour.
The 17 road riders set off in two groups, with Barry Garner and Jim Raeside leading the field before a mechanical put paid to Barry’s event at Eaglesham. Additionally, another rider who had hoped to pick up the ride at this point had been caught out by an amazing spinning direction marker which, when it finally stopped birling, directed her into a field. Unwilling to take the wrong route, this total wimp of a rider turned back and took an easier route back to Kilmaurs. Undaunted by being thus cast adrift on his own, Jim rode on to complete the route and was rewarded by picking up the Event Winner’s prize, having got round the route without being caught by the second group who were being led by Michaela Baird. In fact, so good was Michaela at exhorting her group to greater things (I think we call that “nagging” generally) that she picked up an award for the most aggressive rider.
The mountain bikers meanwhile were enjoying the unexpected sunshine on their “short” MTB ride which turned out to be a 24 mile tour of Irvine and district. The mystery tour headed out from Kilmaurs through Eglinton Park and on to the wilderness of Ardeer. The group then made their way over to Irvine where they stopped for a group photo at the Dragon at the beach park before taking a route through the paper mill to Dreghorn. The last leg took them along the Killie cycle path and then back to Kilmaurs where I detected a slight air of disappointment that no-one was covered from head to toe in mud and/or no-one had gone base over apex into a burn. The event prize for best MTBer was won by Zoe Nix, whose Strathpuffer experience earlier has clearly made her a seasoned professional, exuding as she does an air of quiet confidence. And only a slight coating of mud.
With beer and frites awaiting their return to Kilmaurs, the day was judged to have been a great success by all the riders, even the one who had carried two bottles of Leffe to the food stop just in case the beer at HQ ran out before he could get back. Ah well. He won the most entertaining award for his troubles.
Other awards were given to Fiona Wallace (she of the amazing birling sign episode) and John McCracken for posing about in Flandrian- appropriate cycling attire. A consolation prize was given to Barry who had somehow managed to get himself back on the road enough to limp back to the event HQ in Kilmaurs.
A HUGE thanks are due to Scott Kerr and his team for organising the event so well. The route staff were Drew Thomson, Neil Walker and Andy Mitchell with Mark Ward acting extremely capably as general factotum throughout the event and chief laugher at jokes at the nosh-up. And an even BIGGER round of applause is due to the pit crew of Julia Kerr and Fiona Rawson who catered admirably for the riders, with the advertised beer and chips being significantly augmented by sandwiches and cakes.
And with a new, improved HQ at Kilmaurs, it was hoped that the event would attract similar numbers to last year. Sadly this did not happen with numbers noticeably down. The weather probably did put a few people off attending which is a pity given how nice it turned out by the late morning. What is certain is that all of those who attended are keen to hold the event again next year. And not just for the bierre et frites.