Thursday, November 30, 2023

Tour de Trossachs 2007


HomeRaceRace ReviewsTour de Trossachs 2007

Tour de Trossachs 2007 Mile zero: 09.54, and Alastair McNicol of Kelso Wheelers is on the line. Off No.1 at 10:01, he’s not going to miss his start.

It’s six degrees, there are just wisps of cloud in the sky and Scotland has never looked better. Ferns, conifers and beech, lime green to dark brown form the backdrop for the timekeepers; to the north, the hills of the Trossachs wait quietly for the onslaught.

Tour de Trossachs
Alastair McNicol of Kelso Wheelers opened the event.

Alastair composes himself for his effort; three, two, one, go – the 2007 Tour de Trossachs is underway.

Tour de Trossachs
The view from the start – we’re going up there!
Tour de Trossachs
Andrew Whitehall.

Number four is Andrew Whitehall, he’s done a good job with the gene selection, his dad could “push a bike” as we say in Fife; his final time would be 1-12-41 for sixth and best junior. He looks the part too, on his carbon Scott.

Tour de Trossachs
What used to be a series of bends with dozens of club cyclists and supporters, is now a very quiet place to be.

Dukes Pass: around 3.5 miles, the bend where the “gallery” used to stand. If you’ve endured my Trossachs ranting over the years, you’ll be ready for my “…when I used to ride the race, there were a couple of hundred folk on the hairpin”. Today, at 10.20 there are four, if you count us.

Tour de Trossachs
It’s nine degrees, the sun is splitting the sky and the views are breathtaking. We can’t think of a nicer place to be on a Sunday morning.

It’s the girls on the Pass as Arthur Doyle’s wife, Sharon (Ivy) is well on the way to catching Alison Robinson (Berwick), but Pippa Handley (Edinburgh RC) is looking good on her lo-pro, en route best lady’s award.

Tour de Trossachs
Pippa Handley storms up the Dukes Pass.

By 10.30 there are nine ‘tifosi’ on the climb, if you count Martin and I. Our Editor, Martin is a man that knows the Trossachs score; he won here in 1989 when riding for GS Modena/M&M Windows, was fastest up the climb and together with Stewart Whitlie and Davie Gibson won the award for best team, but his best memory of that day is being treated at sponsor John Murray’s lochside retreat with a ‘slap-up BBQ’ and some water skiing behind a powerboat to fill the afternoon, as a thank you.

Tour de Trossachs
Evergreen Jim Leslie wends his way up the climb.

Jim Leslie (thebicycleworks) off 28 looks the part, but Ran Shenton (Team Swift), a minute behind, is up on him; despite his Caygill creaking and groaning in protest about the steepness of the Dukes. At the end, Jim would tell us that, just like the pros say; ‘I didn’t have good legs.’

Tour de Trossachs
Ran Shenton looked powerful on his way up.

Three Lochs Forest Drive: Around five miles, 10.55 and it’s ten degrees now; as the gentleman taking the time checks just said; “You’ll no’ get a better day for it.” Quite.

Tour de Trossachs
Ed always finds a comfy spot to update his story.

Tom Worthington (Nightingale), off 40 is moving well and the sun feels warm on our skin.

Tour de Trossachs
The road heads north, about to start the descent of the Dukes Pass towards Duncraggan.
Tour de Trossachs
It’s scenic alright. If you time it right, you can catch a magnificent glimpse of Loch Drunkie.

Loch Achray: Eight miles or so into the race. The Loch is like a mill pond and the old Trossachs Hotel is reflected in the surface, like a fairytale castle. Tourists take pictures as Martin tries to get shots of riders which incorporate the beautiful view. There are huge gaps in the field but it’s so nice just to be here, we don’t mind.

Tour de Trossachs
The old Trossachs Hotel. It’s now very expensive holiday flats, apparently.

Graham Barclay (Kirkcaldy) swishes past. He’s caught John Walker (Lomond Roads) for a minute. Number 68, Callum Wilkinson (Pedal Power) but clad in a bicycleworks skinsuit, looks good – so does tall Alistair Robinson (Keswick Bikes), off 70.

Tour de Trossachs
Bob Brown enjoyed his first – and last – race of the season!

Loch Venachar: By the water at around 13 miles, we nipped past Robinson, he looks good on that Felt; flat back, good cadence, and his lines through the bends are spot on.

Tour de Trossachs
The view south across the loch. Beautiful.

This stretch is fast, but you have to watch the corners – they just appear without warning; if ever there was a course which repays a pre-race recce, this is it.

Tour de Trossachs
Alistair Robinson (Keswick Bikes) looked smooth, and rode the undulating, twisty lochside roads well.
Tour de Trossachs
Robinson passes an unfortunate puncture victim.

The ‘new’ climb: We’re high in the hills above Thornhill, around 19 miles, the temperature is 12 degrees and we’re getting techical now – there’s a stop watch on the go. We start the watch on 68, Wilkinson. He looks good, but 70, Robinson [below], is 9 seconds up: both are in the ‘tuck’ on the tri-bars and look like they should.

Tour de Trossachs
Robinson cruises up Thornhill.

Robinson’s final 1-10-43 would be good enough for fourth, whilst Wilkinson would take fifth with 1-11-19.

There’s not a breath of wind, it’s like a summer’s day. The bird song and the sound of the odd leaf falling are all there is to disturb our idyll.

Five minutes later, there’s maybe a wee breeze beginning to stir the leaves, but it feels as if it will provide a tail wind home.

Tour de Trossachs
Arthur Doyle.

Arthur Doyle (Ivy) off 84; that pink jersey is easy to pick up in the sunshine and he’s keeping the gear down to go 1-10 up on Robinson – nice work, Arthur. We even give him a time check. At the finish, a 1-8-55, for second, would be his reward.

Tour de Trossachs
Jim Cusick.

Jim Cusick (Glasgow Couriers) is battling the hill but 30 seconds down on Arthur. Jim would be third in 1-9-46.

Tour de Trossachs
Jason closes on us visibly quicker than everyone else.

Almost immediately, a familiar form tracks into sight… Jason!

The man from the Edge is off the tri-bars, on the brake lever part of the bars as the gear flies round. He’s put four minutes into Jim. Superlatives don’t do the man justice.

Ruskie: 25 miles, 14 degrees, and Jason is flying. Off the tri-bars and pedalling still, he never lets the gear ‘bog-down’, he changes down and revs, always on top of the job.

Tour de Trossachs
Consistently pedaling around 90 rpm, on the “drops” for the climbs…
Tour de Trossachs
…and in the aero tuck the rest of the time.

Lake of Menteith: 27 miles. That heart-breaker of a drag up from the Lake. Jason flows past, poetry in motion. We’ve passed him a couple of times now and decide not to do so again – there’s always someone looking for a ‘following car controversy’.

Anyway, we need a Phil Brown (Velo Ecosse) pic. He’s won here twice before, but not today, Phil.

Tour de Trossachs
Phil Brown.

At the finish, the sun shines and short sleeves are the order of the day.

Like organiser, Janette Hazlett said;

“A new course record – again, for Jason Macintyre with 1-04-47.”

Tour de Trossachs
The lean man from Fort William also broke the hill record with 12-37. What else is there for us to say?

What They Said

Tour de Trossachs
Jason MacIntyre.


“I wasn’t specifically out to get the course record; I was more concerned with getting the hill record. The thing about that is that I don’t really like going off like a maniac, it doesn’t suit my style of riding, but I ha