Now that the snow has cleared from all but the deepest nooks and crannies of Ayrshire, it is the season again.
TT buffs from Walkers Cycling Club are back in training for their annual summer challenge which gets underway this week.
There is no club competition that stirs up more passion and friendly rivalry than the six-event Time Trial Series which is held on various locations around North and East Ayrshire.
Once a month the club’s seasoned TT riders battle it out over some challenging courses, from flat 10-mile road sections for the purists to twisting hill climbs for those who need an extra jumper during the winter.
Already the form guide is being studied to see who, if any, can snatch the title from the current champion Midge Gaskin.
The 2018 series will comprise:
Round 1 (Wed 14 March) – Marine Drive, Irvine, a short speedy lap which will have those fast twitch muscles working overtime.
Round 2 (Tues 10th April) – A true WCC classic, the 10-mile Chapeltoun course, with a deceptive profile that catches the unwary out on the road to and from the Stanecastle roundabout.
Round 3 (Tues May 15th) – May will see the first true climbers’ course, taking in the Corraith circuit with a steep start on Dundonald hill to test the legs.
Round 4 (Tues Jun 12th)– A 16-mile course up the A77 for those who can grit their teeth and pedal flat out. Often a windy route, there are no windmills around for good reason. This can be the turning point of the championship and is a good time here can boost standings.
Round 5 (Tues Aug 7th) – British National Circuit. When a national event comes to town, then the route is good enough for mere mortals. A fast but testing course that has found its way onto the local open scene as a season opener.
Round 6 (Tues Sept 11th) – This falls at a good time for the upcoming hill climb season. Riders take on the Eaglesham moor road from the bottom of the hill in the heart of the village. The regulars say … it rips the legs apart from the off.
The series takes a customary summer holiday in July and the gap this year will be filled with a fun, non-competitive event. This two-person TT is being added to the calendar with pairings being decided on the night, which means any twosome can win. Even fat bike riders from Troon.
Anyone interested in joining a bike club to get the best of summer riding should check out the Walkers Cycling Club website (www.walkerscyclingclub.com).
Club rides are held on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. A “chain gang” session takes place on Thursday night and there are various social rides throughout the week during the better weather.
There is something for everything and even an opportunity to have a crack at the summer Time Trial series, in which the handicap system works in everyone’s favour.