Tour of the Campsies - Alex Hendry Memorial Race Report

9 September 2019

Ha, you thought with the midweek series over that’d be me done for the year! You don’t get away that easily, I still have the website admin login remember.

I wouldn’t usually write a report for an open TT but with a decent ERC & friends of ERC gathering present I thought it apt to do so. Also because I could go into full Agony Aunt mode and use this report as a personal woe is me, aren’t I are bloody wally blog.

Sunday in Lennoxtown morning greeted us with low hanging fog and ‘damn I should have brought leg warmers to warm up in’ temperatures. No wind though, that was a bonus, especially for those of us who are used to racing at Tranent where some weeks it feels like you have a SSE wind farm blasting you in the face.

ERC had Alan Dean, Sandy Waller and myself present. Familiar midweek racing faces were also there - Michael Perkins of EPNP, Charlotte & Sandy Anderson of Ronde CC and Arran Gannicott of Gala CC.

With Chris Smart and Douglas Watson racing it showed there was some big TT names present. Unfortunately, merely warming up in the vicinity did not seem to induce some kind of gravitational wattage effect whereby I could gain some of their power which I most desperately would have needed. Maybe I need to invade their personal space a little more effectively next time. Whenever such prominent TT racers of the UK scene are around, it is always mildly amusing to watch Sandy go into full fanboy mode and watch with eyes agape at the likes of Douglas and Chris’ kit, bikes and routines. I think I caught him blushing at one point. Though saying that, we were both hopeful we might have spotted John Archibald during the day, considering his Dad, Ian was racing. I can only imagine the levels of swooning that Sandy and I would have found ourselves undertaking. Think overly misogynistic viewpoint of a swooning, fainting Victorian housewife and multiply that a few times.

68 riders had signed up, with 50 official starters/finishers, for a near 40km course which started with Crow Road. If you don’t know it, it was used for the 2018 Scottish National Hill Climb Championships. Also featuring in one of Simon Warren’s ‘100 Best Climbs Books’ the 5.6km climb, with an average gradient of 4.8% and peaking at 19.4% - this is exactly the kind of thing you want right at the start of a time trial. Especially if you were like me and only had a 1x 56T chainring. Following the descent of Crow Road the remainder of the course followed rolling countryside roads with the odd pitch & roads about as smooth as my chat up lines (in case anyone is in doubt, that would be not smooth at all)

Sandy and I began our warm ups, we had start times of 10:45 and 10:53 respectively. We have pro style warm ups, Feedback Omnium rollers & headphones with bangin’ tunes. I say bangin’ tunes, I was listening to Gabrielle Aplin and Dutch Europop (Links Rechts by Snollebollekes in case you were interested) & Sandy the kind of rock music which after listening to it for a few moments you have an increasing desire to offer the lead singer a Strepsil. Alan on the other hand had taken the train and his warm up was far less structured and musical, though this doesn’t seem to harm him much when it comes to the actual racing – this is a man who won one of the Midweek TT’s with an infected leg last year.

With the warm up complete, sufficiently caffeined up to the eyeballs, the tunes still in my head - I took my bike of the trainer and headed for the start. I felt good, it wasn’t a day for a PB, 56:20 this course is not. But a solid time with an effort deserving of a fancypants IPA in the evening was what I was after. From here my day got progressively worse. I headed for the start, not entirely sure where it was but reasonably so. I saw an oncoming rider and asked where the start was. His reply of ‘it’s this way’ made me think, ah, so I need to turn around and follow him. I didn’t need to do that. He obviously meant by ‘it’s this way’ – ‘carry straight on’. And thus, I ended up turning in the road and following said rider (I found out later the start was about 100metres around the corner). A minute or two later I was riding up something quite steep and with 10:45 surpassed the realisation dawned on me that I had made the mother of all cockups. That was my day over. To TT effectively you need to put yourself in a position mentally where you embrace the fact it’s going to hurt, you have to push hard and be reaching near vom mode (that’s a technical term) by the end. With my 2019 goals hit I rode the course, without much venom nor an official time but I did it in circa 1hr 7mins ish. Considering I have been approached to run the overall Aerocoach CTT Scotland Series for 2020, it might be worthwhile me not DQing at events and I somehow doubt I set a glorious impression of my administrative skills either.

The Tour of the Campsies (Alex Hendry Memorial Race) does also include a prize for the fastest rider up Crow Road. Chris Smart (GTR Return to Life) was the fastest with a time of 12:08. Murray Lawson (East Kilbride RC) came 2nd with 12:35. Douglas Watson (GTR Return to Life) just beat out Alan Dean into 3rd place with 12:54 to Alan’s 12:56. Sandy Waller and Arran completed the climb in 5th and 6th places respectively with times of 13:06 and 13:07. Sandy Anderson was 9th with 13:28. Michael Perkins 18th with 14:13 and Charlotte Anderson 32nd with 15:11. The Female prize was won by Natalie Stevenson (EPNP CC) in a time of 14:05 also placing her 16th overall.

And so, to the rest of the course and the overall results. It’s quite difficult to write a report for a 40km TT which I personally spent most of the time thinking about how many cookies I’ll stress eat when I get home & how badly England have buggered up the Ashes. But at least I could bask in the knowledge I had the best cycling shoes on show – nobody be toppin’ my Delirium Beer shoes anytime soon. Oooh, maybe that’s a prize I can implement for next year…….

After completing the Crow Road in the fastest time, Chris Smart continued on his merry way and finished in 1st place overall with a time of 57:15. Douglas Watson made it a GTR 1-2 completing the course in 57:50. Alan, the recent winner of the ERC Midweek Ian McCulloch/Alan Dean Inevitability Trophy (it’s never too late for me to recycle my gags) finished a very impressive 3rd and under the illustrious hour mark in 59:55.

Arran Gannicott came 4th in 1:00:19 and Sandy Waller 5th 1:00:37 which meant it was a solid day out for ERC Tranent regulars.

The overall female podium was topped by Natalie Stevenson, doubling up on her Crow Road prize, she finished in 1:10:00. Fiona Cockburn (Velopreda) was 2nd with 1:15:45 and Aileen Clyde (RT23) 3rd with 1:16:22.

Sandy Wallace came 22nd overall with 1:08:34, Michael Perkins 25th 1:09:00 and Charlotte Anderson 41st in 1:16:34.

Full results can be found below – looking at it, it seems Chris beat his own course record and Natalie set a new female course record – well done to you both!

That’s me done now for the TT season - I went home, stress ate cookies, had a strop and withdrew my entries for the remaining races. So very adult of me. I will however be embarking on my first ever season of Cyclo-cross, expect more tales of woe – especially if TweedCross was anything to go by, where I quite literally got a taste for Cyclo-cross by essentially having a few mouthfuls of the course each lap.