Busy times – despite the weather

It’s been a busy week for Walkers Cycling Club since we last spoke.

Last Saturday four riders made the journey out to the shop for the start of the planned club ride, and for one of the riders this was his first outing since the depths of winter.

The riders were hoping for some summer sunshine during the ride, but this was not going to happen as the squally showers seemed to be peppering the west coast all day. As the ride progressed towards Benslie and beyond, the group kept their eyes peeled for the showers and when one was almost upon the group, Eglinton Park Tea Room seemed the obvious point to shelter and have a short refreshment stop. Andy Mitchell decided that he needed a double hit of caffeine before the quad hit the road again.

The route then headed into Irvine, where Andy, fuelled by his coffee, headed back up the Middleton Road to Stewarton. The others decided to take the scenic route towards Troon, but opted to avoid the May showers and headed to Drybridge, Dreghorn, Perceton and back towards Kilmaurs.

Not a long ride, but good chat and a reasonable pace overall and great to see Andy back on his bike. Hopefully he will get back to some sort of fitness and take some of the wind for the others on the next ride.

While the caffeine four were dodging rain showers, clubmateIan Anderson was trying his hand (and legs) in the Ayrshire and Dumfries Road Race Championships: 2015.

Ian writes: Saturday’s Race was decided after 15 minutes by the top of the first hill at Llenmhar cottage.

As soon as the flag went down after a short neutralised start a furious pace was set on the road up to Neilston. There were numerous attacks off the front and by the time the peloton had topped the highest point on the circuit and after only 6 km, the race had split into four groups that would stay largely unchanged to the end.

Misfortune was to strike shortly after, the first time past Commore Dam on a tricky decent when some six riders came together in a crash that saw one rider from Loudon Road Club taken to hospital with suspected concussion and several others with knocks and bruises.

I made it to group three with Michael Curran from ARCC and five others. We safely negotiated the narrow farm road and a steep short Flandrian style climb passing a few stranded riders whose tyres had not withstood the rough surface and potholes. But just as our group was getting itself organised for a fight into the headwind to close the 40 second gap to the second group, my chain jammed in the bike’s gears and I lost a minute before it was running freely again. Joining group four I tried to organise a chase but it was in vain with fierce winds and ever tiring legs.

A strong second group worked well together to reduce the deficit between it and the front group, but the race ran out of road and the lead group came home together with a sprint for the line deciding the finishing honours.  I myself made it into the top half of the starting field. Just.

On Thursday three Walkers members took to the start line of the well run Fullarton Wheelers event, the open 10 Bill Moore memorial event.  David Baird, Frazer Bell and Martin Shields pitted themselves against some of Ayrshire’s finest TT riders. The weather followed the pattern of the previous few days, sunshine during the day turning wet and windy in the evening. Although the wind seemed calmer than previous days there seemed to be no let up, and the Westerly wind seemed to be in your face on both out and return legs, with a rather low temperature for the end of May. The weather managed to persuade 25 people from not starting.

David Baird set the fastest time for the Walkers trio with a top 10 time of 21:48. Frazer Bell managed to knock 27 seconds off his PB with a time of 23:21. Martin Shields finished with a time of 24:30. All in all a good night for Walkers CC.

Elsewhere in club news, the Tuesday night road rides resumed business for the season this year when four club members met up at the shop. This is supposed to be the quickest of all the club rides and with all four riders agreeing to tackle some of the East Ayrshire hills over towards Galston and then Sorn, it made for some tough climbs and sensationally fast downhill sections.

The pace was set by Jim Goldie and Stuart McLean, which allowed everyone to work hard, but also stay as one group. The progression through Kilmarnock took the group across the new bridge at the Dean Park, cyclists beware the speed bumps can catch you out, on the plus side, the accent on the other side is shorter.

Taking to the hills towards Moscow, the pace was brisk but manageable for all four, with Sandy Muir and Bryce Gillen help take the wind on sections. The down hill into Galston saw the group split into two, but this section is very fast and the GPS systems registers mid-40mph as the group took the sweeping left turn.

There was two steep climbs still to be tackled and despite the weather all four riders attacked the climb out of Galston with determination to get over it as quickly as possible. The final long climb took the group form Five Ways over towards the top of Bellfield, again the pace didn’t let up too much.

The rest of the route was more of a rolling ride, through Kilmarnock through to Caprington and Gatehead, before the uphill ride to Kilmaurs.

With an average of 16.6mph over the whole ride the group were pleased with their efforts and look forward to many club members joining them in the coming weeks.

Ian Anderson in action last weekend
Ian Anderson in action last weekend