‘It’s not a competition any more, it’s a personal time trial,’ the words of Tour de Trossachs organiser, Janette Hazlett after she had to void the result, following a serious crash. David Clark of the Stowmarket & District CC was involved in what appeared to us to be a head on collision with a car on the Loch Venachar road and had to be helicoptered to hospital.
Irrelevant though it is, best times were:
- Alistair Robinson (Leslie Bikes) 1:10:34
- Andy Whitehall (Velo Ecosse) 1:10:58
- Jim Cusick (Glasgow Couriers) 1:11:30
- Steven Lawley (thebicycleworks) 1:11:37
It was a sad end to a morning which began with such promise…
* * *
The sun splits the skies, the air is fresh and there’s still frost hanging on the ferns – glorious.
The girls are first on the Dukes in the Tour de Trossachs, wheezing a tad in somewhat unladylike fashion past the ‘bicycle gates.’
We have to take the predictable picture.
The ‘gallery’ on the Dukes is down to two individuals this year.
We remember when it was a couple of hundred.
Martin recounts the story of when, as a wee Velo Sportiv schoolboy, Musselburgh’s Davie Urquhart kindly handed him up a ‘Club’ Orange biscuit on this very bend – ‘for energy.’
Further up the climb, at the McDonald Memorial seat there’s real heat in the sun as Davie Gibson (Dooleys) stomps up through the ‘S’ bends. Davie won this event on numerous occasions, ‘back in the day.’
At the top, Jim Leslie reminisced about the time he brought his breakfast up on the Dukes – cheers, Jim.
We decide to try for some pics on the descent – it’s more difficult than catching the vets on the steep uphill bits, though.
The scenery is stunning, with big gaps in the field, there’s plenty of time to take it all in.
Down at Venachar we have to snap the ‘fairy tale’ Trossachs Hotel – predictable but braw. There’s a breeze rising for the later starters as we head down to the Trossachs Kirk.
Martin keeps the sports photography going as I get the sad ‘Tourist Board’ shots – well, it’s expected.
Out of the chill breeze, the sun is warm on the skin – and when the there’s a gap in the day tripper traffic, the stillness is lovely. Just the sound of the leaves dropping and the bird song.
Some riders are over geared and bogged down on the rolling tar, others are on top of it as they capitalise on the tail wind.
Off we go, but why are we being waved down on a bend?
Oh. A white Dolan is sticking out from underneath a car… is the answer.
The rider is laying in the road, but conscious and aware of his surroundings – not so good. Nothing we can do, our stopping would just add to the chaos. We make it #71, David Clark of the Stowmarket & District CC, let’s hope he’s alright.
Brig o’ Turk and the brae has John Paterson (Classic Racing Team) in the wee ring as we snap him through the windscreen.
It’s technical along here, sore if you’re toiling, but a good section to make time if you’re on top of the job.
The Inver Trossachs Road is dark through the trees with no good stopping places, so we head for the ‘Wee Braes.’
The top of the Wee Braes and there’s John Anderson of the theBicycleWorks.com. He gives us his tip for the day – number 81, his man Steven Lawley, who won the ‘Up The Kirk‘ hill climb last week.
Right on cue, the big chap wings past, looking strong.
It’s a headwind over here as another rider grimaces past in Velo Ecosse colours, Andy Whitehall, son of 1980’s flyer, Davie.
Jim Cussick hammers past, but previous Trossachs winner Alistair Robinson is only 30 seconds behind on the road – off a two minute gap.
There’s a lot of time to take in the views as we await the arrival of Robin Wilkins…
…until Arthur Doyle ambles up the road towards us some eight minutes later than he should have.
The police closed the road after the accident, Arthur was held up – and then punctured, for good measure. But he needs to finish to claim the hill