Alistair Robinson (Team Leslie Bike Shop) was the winner of a damp edition of the Tour de Trossachs 2010 on Sunday with a rapid 1:06:01, putting him two minutes clear of roadman turned clock basher for the day Robin Wilkins (Stirling BC); with evergreen Jim Cusick (Glasgow Couriers) rounding off the podium a further minute back.
The late starters had the best of the day as the cold rain which tormented the early starters cleared, leaving damp roads but fast, mild conditions.
Pre-race favourite and defending Trossachs champion, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys RT) punctured near the top of the Dukes Pass having caught twice Trossachs winner, Phil Brown for two minutes — Brown finished with a ‘12’ leaving speculation about what Doyle would have done, had he not punctured.
But as lots of riders discovered in Geelong over the last few days, bike races don’t always go to plan.
VeloVeritas’ plan was to take pictures all the way round the course, starting with a picture of number one on the start line and ending with Arthur’s winning sprint for the line — we got it half right.
First to brave the rain at 10:00 am on the button was Helen Marie Stuart — and if there’s any doubt about the technical nature of this race then the first few kilometres soon dispel them; twists, turns, lumps and bumps all before the Rob Roy roundabout at around one mile.
There were some really strange looking fans out in Aberfoyle, but having been to a lot of Belgian kermises, I was cool with them.
The Dukes Pass was miserable and I wasn’t envious of Pete Robertson (Forres CC) or Frazer Grant (Dales RT) as they tackled the lower slopes; the cloud clinging to the hillside.
A total of 12 brave souls made up the gallery on the Dukes with Jocky Johnstone of Team Icarus not having to worry about the sun melting the wax on his wings on this day.
Ran Shenton (Team Swift) breasted the Dukes to not so much as a ‘dig in son!’, with just VeloVeritas in attendance; not surprising given the weather and the delights available from Geelong on TV.
And it wouldn’t be a proper report without pictures of Loch Drunkie and the Trossachs Kirk.
Down at Loch Katrine road end a very polite Paul Friel thanked the marshal for guiding him round the corner — but Ian King (Stirling BC) and Andrew Davies (thebicycleworks.com) didn’t have the breath to spare.
The advertising blurb for the Trossachs Hotel says that in 1838 there stood on the site ‘Stewart’s Inn’.
A certain Lord Cockburn who spent the night there reckoned that they whilst they had 60 guests, there was only room for 12 and the ‘pigs were as comfortably accommodated.’
Kelso Wheeler, David Walker flashed me a puzzled look as he saw me reading notice boards with the rain dripping off me.
Andrew Rowat (Musselburgh RCC) gets two pictures, one riding along a wet and miserable Venachar and the other shutting his eyes and hoping for the best at the Inver Trossachs bridge.
The floods coming into the bridge were a bit tricky but good for ‘arty’ pics, we hope you like them.
The marshal on duty told me it was the first time in many years of marshalling the spot that he’d ever heard the river — it was well in speight.
I took a couple more pics and was off to the ‘wee’ Braes of Greenock, as I believe the new climb over to Thornhill is now known.
Gavin Shirley (Nevis Cycles RT) was looking good but not as good as Barry McGurk (Glasgow Couriers) who was handling the gradient well.