Twenty-six riders lined up for the Ayr Burners ‘Ronde van Ayrlaanderan’ last Saturday.
This 27 miles ride was a homage to Spring Classics such as the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubias, spread out over seven of Ayrshire’s toughest short sharp climbs - or bergs as they are known in Belgium.
The format was a social ride at a brisk pace with eight timed Strava segment segments thrown in for the riders to fight it out on.
Starting out from Monkton, the group included Burners members with guests from Fullarton Wheelers, and the Ayrodynamic club. Chris Johnson even brought along the official commisaire for the day, his Scottish Belgian toddler Robin in a baby seat.
After 7 kilometres, the first climb was in sight, in the form of the Corraithberg, the gradual climb out of Loans, followed quickly by the wall of Rumblingburnbergc lambing sharply into Symington.
The group stayed together well and reached the next challenge, the 0.7 mile long climb named Oude de Stafflarrmont, the warm up for the toughest challenge of the day up the gravity defying Barnweil, or Barnweilberg as it was christened on the day.
Next up was was Barmuirberg, a tough climb which features multiple steep ramps taking the peloton out towards Rabolton. From there it was the penultimate climb of the day, Scootsberg, with views down to the sea at the top.At the top, pictures were taken, gels gulped, and Michael’s puncture mended, before the gentle descent down to our final hilly test of the day.
Wardneuk Muur is a tough last climb proving a real challenge for tired legs. The group sprinted up full force however, sensing this as a good opportunity to gain some precious seconds in the Strava battle.
Everyone wanted to do well in the final, hectic bunch sprint along Monktonbeekebeside HMS Gannet which took us back home into Monkton Cross.
With the Strava times collated, Burner Scotty ‘van der’ Knox was crowned champ with fellow Burner Rod Henderson runner up and Fullarton Wheeler Sean Barron in third.
A special mention goes to Jo Baxter as first woman with Frances Stevens in second and 13-year-old Harry McGarvie the sole youth on the day managing to keep up with the main contenders.
As is cycling custom, no good ride can be finished off without the obligatory coffee stop, this time at the welcoming Polly’s tea room, where some opted for ‘normal’ coffees’, and others chose the more ‘exciting’ blend, some as the home made Cinnamon crunch latte. Next up for the Ayr Burners calendar is the popular cyclocross skills session at Rozelle Park on 18 April from 10am to 11.45am. Cyclocross or mountain bikes are perfect. Under 13s should be accompanied by an adult. Full details at ayrburners.org