Dan Fleeman makes a trip to Scotland to ride the Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race.
The Giro is just a memory.
Reality, work, bills and the Transit; tomorrow, Dan Fleeman is coming up for the Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race, part of the Scottish Super Six series – best grab some sleep.
Where am I?
There’s no wi-fi in the house, need to go to McDonald’s for the free connection but I’ll be strong – no sausage, egg and cheese bagels.
Maybe just one?
Send the pictures to Martin, make the ‘workie’ phone calls, send the emails and bolt to the airport.
Dan is standing by the carousel – perfect timing.
Batter the Micra up to the Trossachs; Dan needs a leg loosener so he’s going to ride the big circuit of the Sam.
We set up training camp at Thornhill; Dan’s riding his training bike – which was last cleaned when it left the factory.
Where’s the baby wipes?
Off up the ‘mini Braes’ as Janette calls the climb out of Thornhill.
I stop at the top to grab a pic of Dan; the sun is warm on my skin, there’s no traffic, a cuckoo sings with song thrushess and bees on backing vocal, the views are wonderful – not such a bad place, is Scotland.
Loch Venachar is beautiful; Lendrick Lodge offers massage – that could be handy on Sunday?
Brig o’ Turk tea room looks cool, the first time I’ve seen it – I usually go round in the opposite direction.
Half way up the Dukes I draw along side Dan; ‘this is the Duke’s Pass.‘
‘Oh yeah? when does the climb start?‘ – he’s a cheeky monkey.
Why is he descending The Duke’s one handed? He’s on the phone – silly me!
The bobby in Aberfoyle wasn’t impressed, shaking his head in disgust.
‘Haste ye back’ says the sign at the foot of the Braes – along through Ruskie to Thornhill and job done.
I have to work; Dan goes for a spin with Evan Oliphant on the Edinburgh Road Club bash down the coast, from the Commie Pool.
My plasterer, Kenny, has a new T-shirt – “Please drink responsibly, don’t spill any.“
The Giro stage is a good one, more upsets – and it would be wrong to write off Liquigas, just yet.
Barbecue with Pete Jacques at night, can’t be bad.
Porridge with raisins, nuts and bananas; scrambled egg on toast and two double strength ‘instant filter’ coffees – that boy may be skinny, but he can eat.
Meet Martin at the Little Chef, mad dash to Stirling; there’s a test on the Kippen Flats – takes me back to my youth and time I went over the handlebars coming out of the Raploch.
Anyway, show Dan ‘The Top of the World’ and then get to the start.
Say ‘hello’ to the guys, Evan, Jamesy, Paul Coats, Paul Rennie and Alex Coutts who’s just back from five stage races in the Far East – and a deportation from Iran.
We’ll need to explore that one !
Get Dan organised, clean the bike, rub his legs, organise the bottles – and it’s start time.
Graeme McGarrity looks cool in his Super Six leader’s jersey – but what’s that number he’s covering up?
And they’re off, we follow them down the Stirling road, then left at the Kippen roundabout.
We try to pass the race so as we can get pics on the ‘mini Braes.’
‘Drop back behind the convoy, NOW!‘ the commissaire instructs us – funny how Martin and I have just come back from a week working from a press car at the Giro d’Italia without any hassle, but within ten miles of the start of the Sam Robinson, we’re in big trouble.
It just goes to show that Johny Foreigner has got it wrong again.
Who needs race reports and photos, anyway?
U-turn, at the bottom of the Braes and back up towards the Lake of Menteith, and along the Tour de Trossachs route to the top of the Dukes.
Good job I got my Loch Drunkie picture on Friday.
Evan is in the lead group with four others, three Glasgow Wheelers…
…but Dan is trapped in the bunch.
Back down The Duke’s and out past the Rob Roy Motel – six get the mallet, there.
And there’s a crash at Port of Menteith – he’s OK, though.
Blast across to Arnprior, left to the Kippen roundabout, up the ‘Top of the World’ and park up.
Evan with one; group of 12, but no Dan; Paul Rennie then the bunch, there’s a split with Dan in the back half, he pedals past Martin looking unchuffed.
We follow them – there’s a crash at Fintry and as Martin puts it; ‘the fire has gone out‘ in the bunch.
An ERC punctures – not a bad wheel change.
The finish circuit, we go the wrong way to catch them on the climb.
‘No feeding…‘ shouts the girl from the car, ‘…not allowed!‘
Evan is clear – again – with Rob Wilkins, they’re the winners.
Davie Lines leads group two – not sure why – from Alex Coutts and Rob Hassan.
Dan is in what’s left of the bunch, which explodes on the last climb.