Nineteen members of Ayr Burners Cycling took part in the inaugural Ayrshire Ardennes classic last Saturday.
The peloton including four youths, three women and some newcomers to group cycling who met at Monkton Cross in bright winter sun to take on 29 miles of East and South Ayrshire hills reminiscent of the legendary Koppenberg and Pattenberg - minus the cobbles.
After a quick briefing from Chris Johnson and fellow ride leaders, JP Baxter, Dave Clifford and Lindsay McGarvie, the Burners headed towards the first ‘berg’ on the list. This was the Corraithenberg, a short climb from Loans to Dundonald, which offered a good opportunity to warm up.
Next up was the ferocious Stafflar with its infamous false flat. We regrouped at the summit where the ride leaders took the decision to remove the climb up to Barnweil monument due to ice risk. This didn’t dampen any spirits, though as we headed towards Craigie and then off for Tarbolton.
13-year-old Harry McGarvie sprinted off and up towards Tarbolton thinking this was a Strava battle, only to be told after a big effort that we were still to hit the segment. That gave us all a chance to beat the wee man - for once. There was now just one hill left - the Wardneuk climb. JP reminded us of the cake and coffee stop which we’d enjoy at the end of our adventure. That spurred the group over the hill pronto.
Next stop - Polly’s Tea Room in Monkton, where the banter was bettered only by the coffee, cake and toasties that brought a brilliant ride to an end.
Our next Burners ride is Adventure Cross on 21 February. Setting off from McCandlish hall, Straiton at 9.30, we’ll tackle some of the back roads and climbs of the Ayrshire Alps. Cyclocross bikes will be the most efficient, but a good hybrid or mountain bike will be fine too. Tyre pressure should be as high as you are comfortable with to avoid pinch punctures on the loose surface.
This route is ideal for riders comfortable with riding more than 2hrs. Jelly babies in the back pocket are a MUST!
For more info visit ayrburners.org<http://ayrburners.org