Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Merlin Cycles Classic TT Series – Round 3, Loch Ken

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HomeRaceRace ReviewsMerlin Cycles Classic TT Series - Round 3, Loch Ken

Perhaps I shouldn’t have had that last Strega on top of the Erdinger, Malbec and Grappa last night? But when you get an invite to Round Three of the Merlin Cycles Classic TT Series from the organiser and he takes the trouble to send you the start sheet and rider information sheet, hangovers must be ignored.

The Loch Ken TT under the auspices of the CTT, way down in the lovely southwest.

Is it really two years since we were here?

But of course, last year hardly existed for Scottish time trials, we managed one to see but one race – the Tour of the Campsies.  

Those twisting, turning Borders roads en route the race ain’t the answer if you’re feeling a little queasy.

We had the usual Satnav misadventures so yet again I was saying to Martin; ‘never been on this bit road before, ma boy.’

But we got there in the end to park up water side at lovely Loch Ken.

First to pass was number three, David Murphy, a Liverpool Mercury man – back in the 70’s there was a blood feud of Sicilian proportions between those boys and their fellow Liverpudlians, Kirkby CC.

Merlin Cycles Classic TT Series
David Murphy (Liverpool Mercury CC). Photo©Martin Williamson

Number four, Jemma McNeill was the first rider in the ‘road bike’ section with no aero aids allowed – but what about the riders on deep section rims?

Jemma McNeill (Newton Stewart Triathlon Club). Photo©Martin Williamson

And all those in the ‘road bike’ section with long aero ‘soccer socks?’

I’ll need to ask Dan Bigham how many watts those are worth – Martin and I may well have pinned our last numbers on but however many watts ‘soccer socks’ save, should we ever ‘come back’ there’ll be NO knee length socks for us.

Among the juniors we liked the look of #24, Craig Paterson, (East Kilbride RC) showing good form on the bike.

Craig Paterson (East Kilbride Road Club). Photo©Martin Williamson

He’s obviously been looking at the pros’ positions, unlike some competitors we saw; with so many images on the internet and in the glossy mags it’s hard to fathom how some riders get their position so wrong. 

Number 21, Sophie Heighton (Ferryhill Wheelers) had been caught by Craig and was taking no chances on getting seen with what seemed like a searchlight up front.

Sophie Heighton (Ferryhill Wheelers). Photo©Martin Williamson

Piece time – nice job Martin, ham, cheese and mayo sandwiches.

A bit of grub and cool loch side air and the old tummy felt so much better but the sweat shirt had to go on to keep cosy. 

Time to move on and avoid the old, ‘all the pictures looking the same syndrome’ as the vets took to the stage. 

For the last edition of the race back in 2019 we drove against the race and parked loch side without seeing the whole circuit; this time we went all the way round and it really is a picturesque course through mossy old forests with great views over the loch and light traffic – perfect for racing.

New Galloway was nice but that narrow old High Street was built in an age before Tesco artics came to be everywhere.

Left, through the trees and down to the loch side again to park up in a bittie that reminded us of the Tour de Trossachs – remember that great race, folks?

There was a big gap in the field after #46 Ian Anderson (Fullarton Wheelers) as we fended off the dreaded midges beside the loch.

Ian Anderson (Fullarton Wheelers). Photo©Martin Williamson

The road was quiet with just the birds and the chug of the odd outboard motor out on the loch to break the silence.

Loch Ken. Photo©Martin Williamson

Off #55, Becky Storrie (Brother UK) swept past and was the fastest of the six women in her age category (there were four DNS), with a splendid 1:01:20.

Becky Storrie (Brother UK – Team OnForm). Photo©Martin Williamson

Alexandra Hayden (Vanelli – Project GO), #52, was second woman. Her 1:07:55 putting her 6:35 down on Storrie.

Alexandra Hayden (Vanelli – Project GO). Photo©Martin Williamson
Joe Hands (JAM Cycling Race Team). Photo©Martin Williamson

Number 60, Joe Hands (JAM) was looking neat but #61, Craig Gibson (Dumfries) was up on him with the sound of their discs drowning the bird song.

Craig Gibson (Dumfries CC). Photo©Martin Williamson

Martin reckons that as well as a road bike section, there should be a ‘beards’ category, there was a lot of facial hair on display.