Feb 17 2012 by Lizzie Smith, Kilmarnock Standard
IRVINE’S Fullarton Wheelers and Ayr Roads CC put the miles in when they went racing on Wednesday – but never budged an inch!
The two teams battled it out on virtual reality trainers which were hooked up to screens showing videos of popular Spanish and Italian road race circuits.
The training equipment has been set up by the Fullarton club in a huge farm barn on the outskirts of town.
And what a thrilling spectacle it turned out to be with the racing as tight as it gets.
Two riders from each team tackled the hilly 8.5-mile course which is made all the more challenging with the gearing on the VR machines fixed to emulate the ups and downs of the routes.
The spectators were treated to a very exciting contest with Ed Clifton (Ayr) eventually showing the rest a clean pair of heels to finish over a minute up.
Brian Loye (Fullarton) and Mark Skilling (Ayr) were neck and neck all the way with only one second between them but the visiting rider managed to finish second, leaving Brian third and a valiant Jim Ryland (Fullarton) fourth.
After a short break for refreshments and reflection the second race set off. Again, two riders from each team started but this time on a flat 10 mile course. With the Italian scenery flying past there was only a few seconds between the four riders at half way. The spectators couldn’t hold back and had to encourage each of their team’s riders to squeeze out every last watt of power over the latter part of the race, then, Gordon Stead (Fullarton) pushed for the finish with over 1500 watts showing on his screen. He pipped Nigel Cottrell (Fullarton) to the post by a few seconds with Michael Robb (Ayr) a close third and Chris Johnson (Ayr) only a short way back in fourth.
Ayr Roads CC were congratulated for taking the victory on the night with the cumulative times giving them around a minute on their Irvine rivals. The virtual reality training system is used by Fullarton Wheelers members to improve fitness, lose weight, build confidence, improve technique and monitor progress all within a safe and comfortable environment. The club has various weekly indoor sessions, including a ladies night on Tuesday. To find out more contact the club at www.ful lartonwheelers.com
THIRTEEN cyclists met on Sunday for the Fullarton Wheelers club run which took in all three local authority corners of the county – North Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire.
Engulfed by a damp, grey mist more akin to the Fang Rock lighthouse than Irvine Cross, the bunch set off with intent towards Cunninghamhead. Holding a comfortable tempo, the group were soon in sleepy Kilmaurs where one rider turned off for home and the remaining 12 carried on towards Fenwick. Normally a quiet stretch of road, the peace of the Ayrshire countryside was shattered by the screeching and clunking noises coming from one member’s bottom bracket. Fortunately the rattling BB held together and the bunch were soon holding a high tempo on the road to Galston.
A rear wheel puncture and split tyre forced a roadside repair just outside the village of Moscow. With the help of a section of toothpaste tube, the tyre gash was quickly patched and the bunch were soon on their merry way to Galston, where another member turned for home.
Taking a right turn at the traffic lights in Galston, the remaining 11 riders climbed steadily out of the town on to the Tarbolton road. A slight mix-up on route direction saw a four-man group split from the main bunch at Craigie. However, all members happily re-grouped before crossing the A77 at Symington.
The next section of road into Dundonald saw a surge of speed as the bunch approached the village’s 30mph sign, the group thinning right down into a fast line when riders started to feel their legs burn with the heady increase in pace. By the time they reached Drybridge and then Irvine, riders were peeling off to head for home and warm baths.
Total distance cycled in misty, damp but calm weather conditions was 40 miles.
CATHKIN Braes, a favourite spot for Ayrshire mountain bikers, has become equally popular with road cyclists, according to a new book on hill climbs.
The 3.5-mile stretch of tar from Clydebridge to the peak of the Braes is one of 36 climbs featured in The Cyclist’s Guide to Hill Climbs on Scottish Lowland Roads.
Author John McKendrick now hopes the inclusion of Cathkin Braes will encourage more cyclists to head for South Lanarkshire.
The country park there has long been used by Walkers Cycling Club for off-road outings and the hilly tracks and trails will feature in the 2014 Commonwealth Games mountain bike events.
But John, who grew up in Ayrshire but has family in Eastfield, is more interested in the road aspects of the terrain between Carmunnock and Cambuslang.
His journey runs from the roundabout at the River Clyde near Carmyle to the entrance of Cathkin Braes Golf Club.
The route travels along Cambuslang Main Street, up Greenlees Road, through Kirkhill towards East Kilbride Road and then up towards the Braes.
During the trip, a cyclist will have climbed 650 feet at an average gradient of 3.6 per cent.
But John reckons the effort is worth it, with stunning views over Glasgow and beyond.
He said: “My grandparents lived in Eastfield (near Rutherglen) so I had cycled that route years ago and then tried it out again for the book.
“You get absolutely outstanding views of the city from the Braes. It’s probably the best view of Glasgow you can get while sticking to the roads.
“It’s quite a difficult climb technically. There’s a very steep section in Kirkhill which drains a lot of your energy, but then you need to start climbing again so it’s very hard.
“It’s nice that it’s a city climb because there are very few really good ones in Scotland, and this is certainly the best in Glasgow.”
John hopes to produce similar books for other parts of Scotland having picked up the cycling bug as a youngster.
Now 42, he works as a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University as well as a referee for Scottish Football League games.
Priced £6.99, The Cyclist’s Guide to Hill Climbs on Scottish Lowland Roads is available at www.pocketmoun tains.com
TWO groups, one of nine and another of three, left Ayr on a cool and overcast Sunday morning to head out past the crematorium on a CTC Ayrshire monthly main ride
On a virtually windless day it was pleasant to ride in any direction without the nagging headwinds that has characterised cycling throughout January. At the T- junction the smaller group turned right at Martnaham, heading for Dalrymple, not yet feeling their legs were ready for a longer ride.
The larger group turned left and headed for Low Coylton then south on hilly terrain but with great views to join the Drongan-Patna road. The steep climb out of Patna got everyone thoroughly warmed up and led to a wonderful and long descent. Stones on the road combined with great speed led to the inevitable snake bite puncture, which delayed the group a while.
Another sharp climb brought more great views before a nice descent into Kirkmichael. Here the two groups met up for a thoroughly good and deserved lunch at the community café. After eating the smaller group was swelled to five as they retraced their steps to some hot chocolate.
The others, now seven in number, picked up the pace. Climbing to Straiton and then on to the Dailly road the good speed was held and the miles flew by with much chatting. Turning onto the road up to the railway crossing, the route to Maybole was taken with good roads keeping the pace brisk. The high road brought tiring legs but the descent into Ayr was a welcome end. Various riders peeled off to make their way home before the ride came to its satisfying 41 mile end.
Catch up with the next rides in CTC Ayrshire’s wide-ranging programme at www.cycleayrshire.co.uk.
AYR Roads Cycling Club/Harry Fairbairn BMW Sunday run saw 18 riders taking in the sights along the rolling roads of East Ayrshire in near perfect conditions for the time of year.
From Ayr the group headed to Dalleagles via Hollybush, Sinclairston and Skares then back to Ayr via Straiton on the return leg. The Ayr Roads Cycling Club Sunday club run departs Beresford Terrace every Sunday at 9.30am. All riders with all abilities are more than welcome.
WHAT do you do if you have a bad fall on ice then puncture on the same road two Mondays later?
Well for one of the RGCC regulars it was a case of hanging up the wheels and going ski-ing in the Serra Nevada instead.
The absentee on Monday left three stalwarts from the Retired Gentlemen’s Cycling Club to keep the flag flying.
The trio left Stewarton in time-honoured manner – on the Kilwinning Road and turning at Kennox for Springside, under the A71 bypass and past the remains of the old Laigh Milton Mill on to Gateside.
From there they went left after the railway crossing and climbed to pass through Caprington Estate, noting the helpful patching of many of the potholes on the mix of tarred and gravel paths around the castle. They crossed the River Irvine bridge near the old abattoir road and cycled on into Kilmarnock.
Slipping through Rugby Park to avoid town centre traffic lights, the pedalling pensioners continued to Bonnyton, then headed through the new housing estate off the Western Road. They proceeded north on the old Kilmarnock road back to Stewarton where coffee was brewing up at the Cottage.
The Stewarton bikers managed just over 18 miles at a reasonable pace on a dry and milder day than of late.
WALKERS Cycling Club had the usual collection of weekly rides from their Kilmaurs base.
The roadies were out on farm lanes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday and the mountain bikers were out on a 22-mile four lochs ride from the Stinchar car park, Straiton, on Sunday.
Seven tackled the trip which combines singletrack and fire roads in the Carrick Forest to link up lochs Bradan, Finlas, Doon and Riecawr.
The start is a charming but challenging narrow path up and over to Cornish Loch followed by a short section on tar then a bumpy, hilly shortcut on the Ballochbeatties route to the water’s edge at Loch Doon. From there the bikers followed the road south past the re-sited castle and onto the dusty, wide forest track leading back to the start on the Glentrool road.
The trekkers were also out on Sunday, taking the opencast route via Glaisnock House from Cumnock to New Cumnock and climbing up to Afton Reservoir for a sandwich break. Hard-packed snow made the path difficult as they climbed the shoulder of Black Hill, high above the water, and the bikes had to be left behind in order to complete the last mile and a half by foot. The return journey, mostly downhill, went via Burnside and Dalleagles onto the Dalgig road heading for Skares.
A total of 30 miles were covered on a trip that contrasted the steady, Sunday buzz of a mining community going about its business with the utter remoteness of the cold, empty hills not so far away in New Cumnock.