Puffer teams muck in
A large group from Walkers Cycling Club formed the major part of the Ayrshire contingent at this year’s 24-hour mountain biking marathon in the Highlands.
Seventeen riders headed north for the 11th running of the Strathpuffer endurance event based around the village of Contin on Saturday and Sunday.
The Walkers crew was made up of a solo entrant, a team of two, a team of four and a team of ten, all competing in laps amid unusually mild and sunny weather. The course is a mix of long climbs, technical singletrack and fast swooping descents.
The better weather this year (Puffer riders normally have to contend with snow, ice and freezing temperatures) resulted in a new challenge – vast sections of the course were covered in gloopy thick cement-like mud, much of it unrideable. After the seriously hard-going mud stretches, came the long climb back to the top to repeat it all again.
A few mechanical problems and minor injuries took its toll on the teams, but all who took part are already deep in discussion about the next challenge.
The weekend also saw a major addition to the list of top-rated Scottish Cyclocross venues – Rozelle Park in Ayr.
Irvine had become a favourite because of its location beside the sea but the new Rozelle location will also have claims of its own, again relating to water properties.
As a result of torrential rain in the week running up to Sunday’s Doonbank Trofee event, the park’s old pitch and putt course presented riders with the perfect CX challenge of giant puddles, swathes of mud and the occasional section of solid terrain.
More than 230 cyclists of all ages took part in the event – which forms the second round of the Scottish Super Quaich Series – among them some of the best riders in Scotland, including David Lines (Wheelbase), Anne Ewing (WV Breda) and Gary MacDonald (Hope Factory Racing).
Walkers Cycling Club were represented by seven of our regular CX stalwarts.
Lorna Sloan and Catherine Logan represented the club in the first of the main races with Lorna reversing last week’s result and leaving Catherine unable to hold her wheel in deteriorating conditions. By the time the club’s five representative took to the start grid for the “A” race the mud was knee deep in places, requiring as much running as riding. The ground was even more slippery than the previous week’s snow, but the riders managed to churn through the mud for the 60 minute race with Scott Kerr finishing 15th, Russell Mowat 49th, Brian McCutcheon 52nd after suffering a mechanical incident, John McCracken 59th and Jim Goldie pulling out injured.
Round three of the Superquaich is at Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy, on February 7, and round four is at Boness on February 21.
Walkers CC also had two local rides on Saturday. Sandy Muir led a 60-mile road cycle from Kilmaurs to Strathaven and back while Alan Woodison’s 30-mile trekking run followed riverside and woodland paths around Crookedholm, Galston and Newmilns.