Brutal racing at early season classic

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Sunday dawned bright, very very cold and with a strong easterly wind.

The good news for the organisers of the classic early-season Scottish road race the Lake of Menteith APR, was that the roads were clear of snow thus allowing the race to go ahead despite the distinctly alpine appearance of the surrounding Campsie Fells and Trossachs hills .

The 50 hardy competitors included Mark Skillling, Robert Kelly, John Paul Baxter, Lynne Wardrop and Alex McAllister of Ayr Roads Cycling Club/Harry Fairbairn BMW. The racing was brutal from the start and the crosswinds were particularly punishing on the lighter slimmer riders and for those who started with a time handicap.

At the start of the second of the two 22-mile laps a group of 5 elite riders broke clear of the bunch and started to build up what was to be a race-winning lead. Kelly and McAllister were active in the second group on the road and managed to survive a succession of attacks on the exposed Aberfoyle road with no quarter asked. On the final leg to the finish line professional rider Gary Hand of Team Herbalife forged away from his breakaway companions to take his first win for his new team.

In the sprint for the minor placings a minute or so later, Alex McAllister placed 14th and awarded the prize for best rider over 50. Robert Kelly finished just behind in 20th. The other Ayr Roads CC riders all finished the race.

Meanwhile, Saturday saw the early cancellation of the Fenwick APR due to adverse weather conditions with several Ayr Roads members having been scheduled to ride. However, the decision to cancel was a sensible one in the interests of safety – particularly for those riders travelling from other areas of the country.

12 hardy souls departed Beresford Terrace at 09.30 on Sunday for the weekly club social run. The bitterly cold and strong east wind saw the riders head out towards Sorn taking in Coylton, Stair and Mauchline on route. The groupetto then headed north to Galston before heading back towards Ayr via Craigie and Monkton. The tailwind along the western stretches on the return was heartily enjoyed by all, proving a reward for the earlier hard work into the headwind.