July 2023 - Adult Racing update

27 July 2023

A summary of ERC's racing at the halfway point of 2023.

Photo: © Various

Well, the Tour has finished, and the Spring Classics are a distant memory, but we armchair cyclists are looking forwards to World Champs and Vuelta. And locally, that’s a fair representation of how far into the Scottish racing calendar we are. So a good time to reflect on how ‘23s gone so far.

Many of you will be aware of the large reduction in road races and racers across Scotland. In 2019 in Scotland, by this time in July, there’d been 56 road & crit races, this year that is down to 32 races. And this seems to reflect the impacts of the pandemic, with a loss of race organisers, volunteers and participants.

At the Road Club, we’ve a long history of promoting races and supporting riders who want to race, but we’re not immune to the wider problems; this year has been about helping to stabilise and rebuild the sport. Hopefully, the interest that the World Champs generates will help us all get back to the pre-pandemic levels.

Club Time Trials

Steve Canney has done a fantastic job of picking up the running of the weekly TTs from Dan’s super efforts over the last few years. With riders of all ages (well, between 14 and 70), these cater for ‘lets have a go’ riders through to folk that take it a bit more seriously, and are run in an excellent spirit out on the A199; sometimes even having cake on offer. And of course, if you get cold feet on the night, you can always marshal instead and not lose face. (Author’s personal tip)

This week’s event will be the 11th of the series with 5 still to go, which are the more popular 9.5m format. The races are open to members and non-members, so it’s been super to welcome riders from 17 other clubs on a Wednesday evening, as well as ERC members and those with no club affiliation. And after a dip in attendance at the start of July – let's go on holiday before English schools break up – numbers were back up last week.

If you’ve never had a go at a time trial then it’d definitely be worth a shot before the end of the summer. No special equipment is needed, and you’re just racing against yourself.....unless you can persuade a few friends to join as well to determine bragging rights.

Steve has done a great job managing this, but it does need help from volunteers, and regular racers are expected to lend a hand....but if you’d like to see what’s involved in the race before having a go, then helping to marshal or time-keep is a great intro.

All the details you need to know are on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ERCTT.

Road Racing

In terms of adult race promotion, we’ve run one crit race out at the new circuit at Linlithgow, and the Pippa Handley RR based in Eddleston.

The Linlithgow circuit only opened in May, and a series of races were put on run by different clubs, and Steve Canney (he’s been busy...) promoted our edition on 16th June, with 58 riders racing across 3 categories. With 2 closed circuits within cycling (well, just about for me) distance of Edinburgh, it gives us a great opportunity to both promote more races next year, but also run coach-led sessions to help folk get the necessary bunch-riding skills needed.

Alan Dean organised the Pippa Handley RR on the 18th of June - a strong field entered ERC's running of the third round of the Scottish Women's series, which made for a very entertaining race in great conditions. It was won by Beth Maciver of the Alba Development Team, after a 2-up break with Abi Plowman. Thanks to all the ERC helpers, without whom the race could not happen.

Our final Road Race this year will be the Lothian Flyer RR on Sat 26 August. This will be held over 7 gruelling laps of the Dreva circuit. So if gruelling is your thing, then details are here https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/283201/Lothian-Flyer-Road-Race. As ever, we will need marshals and drivers for the race, so come along to help out and cheer on the ERC contenders (& enjoy tea & cake afterwards).

And as well as organising races, club members have been pretty active with the following notable results:
• Kirsten Macdonald 2nd in Duffus Road Race
• Harry Mustard 4th in the 3/4 Musselburgh Crit
• Sandy Waller 5th in Scottish 10-mile TT & 3rd in the 2up TT with Douglas Shaw
• Basil Monks 2nd in two GTR 10-mile TTs
• Sarah Emslie 3rd in Tour of the Meldons
• Alan Dean winning Peebles RR and the 3/4 Coronation Crit

There should be a similar update covering our Youth Racing shortly – currently, we’re just behind Deeside Thistle in the Club road rankings, with many of the ranking points coming from the Youth Race Team.

Thanks again to all the organisers and helpers this year, and do think about having a go at helping with or racing in the TTs or Lothian Flyer.
But also thanks to our sponsors Bicycleworks and Goodsons Associates; with the uncertainties of participation levels its great to have their backing.

Alastair Webb