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Author Topic: Lothian Flyer RR 27/6/09  (Read 4161 times)

Jonny May

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Lothian Flyer RR 27/6/09
« on: June 30, 2009, 09:45:40 AM »
Gavin Shirley was a comfortable winner of Edinburgh RC's Lothian Flyer RR with a well timed last lap breakaway. An early attack from Steve Nutley saw the Fife Cycling 2000 TT specialist out in front for the first three times over the Dreva climb but his lead never stretched much beyond 40s. The return leg by Drumelzier was into a headwind which saw Steve sitting up and waiting for the bunch on the third lap. Halfway round the final lap Gavin Shirley attacked after the Rachan junction and rapidly opened a gap which was not going to be bridged despite the final sapping climb to the hill top finish.

1,Gavin,Shirley,Nevis Cycles RT,Sen
2,Chris,Bown,Stirling BC,1st Vet
3,Steve,Nutley,Fife Cycling 2000,Vet
4,Trevor,Wilson,Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn,Sen
5,Adam,Chmielowski,The Bicycleworks,Sen
6,Neil,Crawford,Dundee Thistle,Sen
8,Matthew,Ball,W Lothian Clarion,Vet
9,Lindsay,Gordon,MusselburghCC,1st Jun
10,William,Bowers,Stirling BC,J
13,Paul,French,I Cycles,Vet
14,James,Meek,Fife Cycling 2000,Vet
15,Dave,Muir,Fife Cycling 2000,Vet
16,Karl,Mott,The Bicycleworks,Sen
17,Neil,Baxter,Tyne RC,Vet
18,Alex,McAllister,Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn,Vet
19,Keith,Hood,Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn,Vet
20,Graham,Veitch,Kelso Wheelers,Vet
21,Ramsay,Muihead,Johnstone Wheelers,Sen
22,Andrew,Kilpatrick,Fife Cycling 2000,Vet
23,Stephen,McDowall,W Lothian Clarion,Vet
25,Barry,Renwick,Hawick CC,Vet
26,David,McIntyre,Cairgorm CC,?
28,Colin,McLellan,City of Edinburgh,Sen
30,Andy,Douglas,Pedal Power,Vet
31,Iain,McMullen,Dooleys Cycles RT,Vet
34,Graeme,Lawrie,Gala CC,Vet
35,Robert.B,Kelly,Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn,Sen
36,Bill,Young,W Lothian Clarion,Vet
39,Neil,Adamson,Glasgow Couriers,Vet
40,Sandy,Auston,Loudon RC,Sen
42,Ross,Strachan,Loudon RC,Sen
48,Michael,Ewart,W Lothian Clarion,Sen
49 @ 1 lap,Mark,Paul,W Lothian Clarion,Vet
DNF,Adam,Pratt,Border City Wheelers,Sen
DNF,Sadiq,Mir,W Lothian Clarion,Sen
DNF,Tim,Caine,Auchencrow Thistle,Vet
DNS,Mark,Ainsworth,Rock & Road,Sen
DNS,Scott,McDiarmid,Sandy Wallace Cycles,Vet
DNS,Jamie,Keenan,Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn,Vet
DNS,John,McQuade,Falkirk BC,Vet
DNS,Andrew G,Ralston,Perth United CC,Vet

« Last Edit: June 30, 2009, 09:57:02 AM by Jonny May »

Bill Wilkie

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Re: Lothian Flyer RR 27/6/09
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2009, 08:29:01 PM »
By popular request, well Colin's request, here is a slightly belated report from inside the peleton of the Lothian Flyer race, although Colin probably has more idea of what went on from his motorbike vantage point.

This event was cancelled last year due to a lack of entries. This year it was oversubscribed. 9 ERCs took part, this being the first road race for some. It's a tough circuit for a first race. "It always ends in a bunch sprint finish up the final climb", said Neil Muir - a man who knows what he's talking about when it comes to everything cycling, although not on this occasion, as it turned out.

It was a misty, drizzly morning in Edinburgh. At this point I would normally have given up any crazy thoughts of bike racing and joined the DNS list with some of the others put off by the unpromising conditions. But I've missed more races than I've entered this year due to cycle-ombrophobia, so I headed over to Stobo, hopeful that the east wind wouldn't have carried the drizzle that far inland.  Amazingly, Stobo was dry, with a strong sun occasionally poking through partly cloudy skies and no sign of any rain.

Having managed to park precariously on the verge of the narrow dirt road that formed the race car park, there was plenty time for a warm up. I took a pleasant ride up to the finish line in the sunshine with Scott Bell. We checked our watches and realized we only had five minutes to cover the two miles back to the start line. A frantic charge back to the line, against the headwind, saw us back at the assembled peleton with only a few seconds to spare. At least we were well warmed up.

Off we went, neutralized for now behind the lead car. After a mile or so the car accelerated away and the race was on. Steve Nutley shot off the front immediately. Everyone else just looked at each other - ignore the crazy guy on the suicide mission was the consensus. No sooner had we got up to race speed and we were neutralized again, as the lead car got stuck in some traffic. A few more minutes of coasting along behind the car and we were off again. Steve shot off the front immediately again. He clearly had a plan and he was sticking to it. Everyone else let him go again. Remembering Neil's advice, a good plan seemed to be to expend as little energy as possible and save it for the bunch sprint up the hill at the end. A few more seconds and we were on the Dreva climb for the first of six ascents.

The east wind meant it was a tail wind up the climb, so no impediment to those wanting to force the pace. There weren't any real attacks on the climb. It was more of a sustained hard pace, especially on the short steep sections. I overheard some Ayr Roads guys discussing tactics - "stay in the bunch up the climb? Yes, for now". Team tactics - interesting concept. We should try and come up with something better than, "don't chase any breaks with our guys in".

After the climb there was the long, narrow descent. This is the scariest part of the race. The road is just wide enough for two bikes and covered in gravel down the middle. There are a few potholes to avoid as well. At least one person punctured there on the first lap. There's nothing you can do but hold your position and try very hard not to crash, especially at the gravelly 90 degree left hander at the bottom. After the climb, this is next mostly likely point to be dropped, as you have to sprint, criterium style, out of this corner to stay in contact. I think it was around this point half way through the race that Scott Bell's legs started to cramp and he abandoned. He's been doing well at the Kirky 10s lately but wasn't used to the constant accelerations and decelerations of a road race. He vowed not to do any more, but come on Scott, you know you want to.

Another 90 degree left hander takes the route back on to the Drumelzier road, heading back towards the Dreva climb. This was a bit gravelly too and I heard afterwards that someone skidded and crashed there. There was a headwind on the flat section so no one wanted to push here and then find they didn't have enough left to stay with the peleton up the climb. It felt like a steady Sunday ride at times. Meanwhile Steve Nutley continued to hover around 30 seconds off the front. Maybe he wasn't crazy after all.

The second time up the climb was the hardest. Legs were still fresh enough for people to have a go at getting away. There were a few attempts and at one point a little group of around ten got a bit of a gap. I was behind Karl Mott of The Bicycleworks and being a strong climber, I expected him to close the gap. They were still getting away and it became apparent that Le Grand Mott might be in danger of repeating his Tour of the Whang mistake of not closing a gap immediately and getting dropped within a few seconds of the race start. I pushed hard and got back in contact with the leaders, but the rest of the peleton was right behind me.

This pattern was repeated for the remaining laps, with the peleton sticking together and people drifting off the back on the climb as the fatigue took its toll. Steve Nutley decided he'd sat 30 seconds off the front for long enough on the third lap and finally sat up. He was quickly swallowed up by the peleton but stayed near the front. That was impressive after such a long solo effort.

By the final lap the peleton had been reduced to thirtyish riders. There were still at least 5 ERCs in the group. One had a go off the front (either Rob or Barry I think) but the peleton was responding quickly to close any gaps now. Gavin Shirley somehow escaped off the front without anyone noticing. He must have gone for it after the corner at the bottom of the descent. This was probably the best spot to mount an attack as you can get out of sight quickly. Suddenly there was a blast from the Jammie Johnson megaphone that he had a 28 second gap. "It always finishes in a bunch sprint up the climb", I thought, and so did the rest of the peleton, so there was no panic to chase. The speed picked up as usual on the approach to the hairpin turn back on to the climb. Getting near the front before the climb was critical as there isn't much room to pass on the climb. The peleton fanned out over the whole road, as riders risked oncoming traffic to get a good position. There was even more swearing than usual on the final hairpin as riders tried to avoid each other but keep momentum through the corner. The speed was high up the climb as expected, and it was difficult to gain even one place. We flew down the first part of the descent in top gear and swung right to start the sprint up the steep final part of the Dreva climb. This is a long sprint. I think I was in about 7th or 8th place with 50m to go, but there was nothing left in the legs. "Bridge to engine room - more power, but there was no answer", as Paul Sherwen will probably say a few times in the next three weeks. 3 or 4 riders passed me in the last few metres but I was happy to finish in 11th. Barry and Rob weren't far behind. I think Tom and Euan were still in the peleton too at the end. Chris Bown stormed through to win the sprint for 2nd place and raised his hands as he crossed the line. I think we'd all forgotten that Gavin Shirley was out in front.

Congratulations on the win to Gavin Shirley. Also to Ted Radford and all the helpers who did a great job putting this event together. It would have been full even if there had been 80 places available. Just shows what a little publicity on the ERC website can do.


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