Vanelli-Project Go’s Louis Moore, the newly crowned student champion, won the Scottish Hill Climb Championship on a long and difficult Glen Quaich course, the first 5k of the narrow strip of tarmac which connects Kenmore to Amulree in the Southern Highlands.
Sharon Bird (Peebles CC) was fastest of the women and Colin McGourty took top place in the Youth and Non-Championship section. Best junior was Finn Mason (The Cycling Academy).
Facing the riders was a mixture of steep 1-in-5 bends through the wooded section in the early part of the course, levelling out a little in the last couple of K’s but with a strong side/quarter wind to contend with over the exposed moorland.
Parked up at the top of the Glen Quaich road near the finish line and with half an hour to go before the first rider was due to start, I was sure the race was going to be a pretty miserable affair; the wind was moving the car, the near-horizontal rain was battering the windows and the temperature guage read ‘3°C’.
I’d positioned the car’s rear to face down the hill so that I could open the boot and photograph the riders as they approached over the exposed upland moor, without spending the morning soaking myself and my camera kit but twenty minutes before the first rider appeared the rain stopped and the sun came out, inviting me to spend an enjoyable morning roadside amongst the darting pheasants and wandering sheep.
Soon enough the first rider appeared in the sunshine. Off #4, Mhairi Rodger had a pretty lonely ride with no-one off three minutes before or after her either, but she looked like she was enjoying herself nevertheless.
Smooth pedalling #8, Suzanne Matonti (Deeside Thistle CC) made it look easy whilst heading for ninth place.
Youngest rider in the recent Tour de Trossachs, lucky-for-some #13 Joel Gillan hustled past with a nice fluid style own his way to ninth place in the Youth Boys category.
Eventual third place Youth Boy, #14 Sam Barbour (SteppingStanes Youth CC) followed soon after, looking determined but being chased down by his minute-man #15 Ruan Vorster (West Lothian Clarion CC) who ended up second in that category.
Fastest Youth Boy, Colin McGourty (#19 and East Kilbride Road Club) was making short work of the little rises with the finish banner in sight.
The two Peebles CC riders, Milo McIntosh (#22) and Ben Allan (#24) looked to be going well in the sunshine, and finished 6th and 7th in the Youth Boys category.
Another rider from Peebles, cyclo-cross and MTB rider Emily Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing) gave hill climbing a good go but for reasons I don’t know her time didn’t count towards the official results.