Members of Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn Cycling Club enjoyed one of their busiest weeks of the season so far.
The club prides itself in competing at all levels of cycling activities, from Scottish and UK events to international sportives and to open time trials, road races and cyclo cross. Last week saw no less than six separate events, at home and abroad.
On the racing scene, four members of the Roads club competed in the Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship, promoted by Dundee Thistle and staged over Forfar Roads. The men’s event was won by John Archibald, with a new Scottish National record of 47 minutes 57 seconds. John beat Graham O’Bree’s record of 48:43 set in 1994.
To put it in perspective Archibald averaged over 31 mph for the 25 mile distance. A truly stunning performance. Archibald now holds the 10 and 25 mile National Championship titles this year.
The fastest Ayrshire rider was Kenny Armstrong of Carrick Cycling Club in another great ride of 51:38.
Ayr Roads club did not disappoint, with Toni McIntosh taking 5th place in the ladies race in a new personal best time of 1:00:07. Toni was also the fastest Ayrshire lady competitor and also re-wrote the club’s history by recording a new ladies record for the distance. Still to be ratified it looks as though Toni broke the South West Scotland’s ladies record too. It is only a matter of time before she will go ‘under the hour’.
By far the best performance of the Roads foursome was that of Mark Warters. Mark riding his first ever open 25 Mile TT, recorded a fine time of 56:36. No one has ever recorded such a time for competing in their first 25 mile distance. Michael Curran and Alastair McGibbon also recorded fine times of 58:05 and 58:26 respectively.
Cyclo Sportives are now very much on the weekly calendar, with Roads members competing in three at the week end. By far the most arduous was the Gran Fondo Mont Ventoux Beaumes staged in Provence. This is an exceptionally hard event that takes in the iconic climb of Mont Ventoux, with an unrelenting climb to its summit at over 6,000 feet. Roads pair, Alex McAllister and Harry Brawley made the trip to France.
Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, Ayr Roads husband and wife team of Alan and Kathryn Thomson took on the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia NI. Both road the shorter event of sixty miles that took in the Strangford Loch route.
Nearer to home Andrew Conway rode solo in the Tour de Forth charitable sportive taking in the 60 mile route, that covered the many back roads and hills of West Lothian and the Forth coast.
Three other members favoured the pleasures of cycle touring. Alastair McGibbon, Ed Clifton and Scott Knox took in a tour of the West Highlands of Scotland, including some island hopping, before tackling the highest road in Scotland. The Bealach Na Ba, in Wester Ross is a favourite climb for all cyclists. Rising to over 2,000 feet this historic pass cuts through the mountains from Loch Kishorn to Applecross, before continuing to Loch Torridon.
On Sunday, the fourth League event took place and involved timing over three sections of the course, with the second segment taking in the Black Cock Inn Climb from Wallacetown over to Kirkoswald. Calum MacDonald took the win in a time of 14:55, with Graham McLeod second in 15:13. Nine riders took part.
The social side of cycling is an important part of Ayr Roads. Many members do not race, and just enjoy taking part in regular group rides and other social activities. Club members also organise occasional weekend trips and the ever-popular annual Majorca training holiday.