Saturday, 30 May 2009

Weekly 10TT series - week 4 Results

Last Thursday 10 riders and almost as many spectators turned up and enjoyed the best weather so far this year. Side winds from the South West made the return leg a little tougher, nevertheless many riders recorded personal best times and the clubs course record was broken for the second consecutive week. Steve Waldron rode his first TT of the series and put in a cracking ride after coming back from a bad crash earlier in the year, Graham continues to improve and still hasn't invested in tribars and Craig knocked almost 4 minutes off his previous best ride for the course - well done everyone

Ross said "Many hanks to Grant and Sadiq for there help, it was also nice to see all the spectators. Yes, my time was a PB my last best time was 26.45 so a good bit faster. I think it's down to getting dragged around on the Tuesday runs!"

Result - Week 4
1st Matt Ball - 24.10
2nd Graham Gillooly - 26.26 (PB)
3rd Ross Dewar - 26.28 (PB)
4th Craig Sinclair - 26.31 (PB)
5th Der Kaiser- 26.57 (PB?)
6th Deano - 27.55 (PB)
7th John McComisky - 28.05
8th Joolz - 28.38 (PB?)
9th Steve Fraser - 30.09 (PB?)
10th Steve Waldron - 30.33 (PB?)

New League position will be posted later...

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Another friendly local bike shop

Robin Philp
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

The BIke and Ski Clinic in Brightons is a hidden gem, owned by club member Robin Philp. Robin started the business 15 years ago after he left the oil industry having worked with BP for 26 years,18 years of that on various production platforms in the North Sea.
Robin Says "I have always been a keen cyclist and skier so when I left BP I decided to pursue my dream and start a business.
I love working with bikes as well as riding them and after all these years my enthusiasm has never been stronger.
I get a lot of pleasure in building wheels and reckon that the wheels I build are second to none as is my ability to repair any type of bike.
I have also built a good reputation in repairing and servicing skis and snowboards and this side of my business has done exceptionally well and am proud of the quality of the work I put out.
Pricing bike accessories has always been a problem and I have worked very hard to keep my pricing as keen as possible but I can offer Clarion members a 10% discount on accessories.
I am at the moment assembling a TT bike so pop in and take a look."

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Club captain wanted

Grant has had to stand down as the club captain, (many thanks for all your work Grant, you made a lot of people happy with the inaugural RadTour).
So the club is now looking for a replacement. The club captain is, mainly, in charge of coordinating the weekly club runs but the role can be adapted for someone to make it their own. The club captain will attend committee meetings and manage the club affairs with the rest of the committee. And if last night's meeting is anything to go buy you'll have to go on a strict diet to cope with the delicious cake committee members are 'forced' to eat at the meetings
If you would like to put forward your name for the job please email

Tour de France Sweepstake

Last year we had a lot of fun with our TDF sweepstake. There's going to be another sweepstake this year but Graham, who organised the '08 edition, has got enough on his plate coordinating the TT series. Soooo who wants to run this year's event?
First member to email me at gets the job!

Where is it? Number 10

Where is it? NUmber 10
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

A very easy quiz this week but I thought it was worth showing off this location. Who can resist getting out on a bike after seeing this perfect cycling road. Buy yourself a waggon wheel if you know where this photo was taken...

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Urgent request: marshals wanted

Pedal Power/Endura Racing got in contact this morning. They are putting on the Super 6 round from West Calder on Sunday 7th of June but are having great difficulty in getting enough helpers to safely marshal the course.

Ollie from Pedal Power is asking if anyone is willing to marshal the course? A packed lunch and a great race is promised in return. Please get in contact if you have the time otherwise the event could be in doubt.

Marshals would be required from 9:30am for a briefing in West Calder community centre before being deployed to the course. The race will begin at 10:45 and should be complete by half two.

Please post here if you are interested...or email me on

Monday, 25 May 2009

Beecraigs MTB ride 13th June

Beecraigs off road regular regular Dave Hamill has organised an off-road ride on Saturday June 13th. Dave says "A couple of people in the club have expressed an interest in a mountain bike ride. If anyone is interested I'd happily lead a wee ride around Beecraigs There's plenty enough there to keep you interested for a couple of hours"

Date: Saturday 13th June
Time: 6pm
Meeting place: Car park next to the play area

Club rides

The Tuesday chain gang carries on getting good numbers, double figures last week. The weekend rides are ever popular with the original Saturday ride from the Korean War Memorial picking up the most riders.

Malcolm sent in this report about the Saturday ride:
7 of us there today, Dick, new guy Ewan (who's managed to get his hands on a Boardman), MTBer and sprint king, Dave, Steve, Mike, Craig and myself.
We took a series of back roads to Winchburgh via the lama farmer during which Mike took out a sprint using my favourite tactic of taking a long breakaway whilst everyone else is picking the cornflakes out of their teeth. Joining the 10 TT course we went down to Kirkliston and where I managed to find a gap under Mike's armpit to come through and pip him at the sign. Andy punctured just under the bridge so we turned back for him after which Mike lead out the 20 or so yards through the 30 sign.
Cutting short (cos my lunch is ready) we went through Dalmeny house, back to Winchburgh where I headed home, catching up with a colleague on the way. An excellent morning's cycling!
Dave said "It's amazing that I've lived round this way for years and I keep being shown new bits of road."

Spider men

Grant Thomson and Graham Gillooly entered their first road race on Sunday, the TLI promoted Spider Nugent's Road Race, a particularly tough event! Read Grant's report to find out how they got on...

Me and Young Mr G set off with the Grandads in the 50+ group with the 40+ 3 mins behind and the seniors a further 4 mins after them. After a downhill start we hit the first big climb - a  2 mile drag up above the M74 which I reckon would be similar in gradient to the Crow Road from the Golf Club to the car park halfway up.
I lasted a few hundred yards and it was Goodnight From Me as the old yins (plus Graham) went away from me. The climb was made harder by being into a block headwind, I had a look behind and saw the second group rapidly closing. I jumped onto a group of 5 or 6 but only lasted half a mile, before another wee rise saw me say goodbye to them as well. The last bunch came past right behind and I didn't even try to join on - just plugged away on my tod. Up ahead it looked like Graham was hanging on well to the group we started with.

The road drops down to Abington services after about 7 or 8 hard miles but the tailwind on this section meant I managed to activate a roadsign telling me to slow down for a corner - the first time this has happened -  be assured!

Turning off the A73 onto another B road which undulated then came the second climb albeit not as hard as the first. I dropped down to finish the first lap and saw Graham standing with a group of 4 - one of whom had punctured and I assumed they were waiting to re-start however they had had enough and opted to make the 5 mile ride back to the HQ while daft-arse here decided to do a futile second loop

It wasn't a wasted effort however as I felt good on the second loop and teamed up with a chap from St Christopher's CC who had been going well but unfortunately had punctured. We went round at a reasonable but not daft pace but by the time we finally got back to the HQ, the winner had already been presented with his prize and had gone home! 

Have to say, in a quite perverse way, I really enjoyed the experience however a couple of riders said to both me and Graham that we were mad to try this event as our first race as it is considered a tough course. C'est La Vie! I tend to think the opposite - I expected to be last so wasn't disappointed and was happy with my effort - I would have liked to stay in the bunch a bit longer but the hill so early on was my downfall.

I'd recommend the TLI events though, as there was a very good atmosphere and all the riders, both myself and Graham spoke to, were very encouraging and offered good words of advice, so it was a valuable learning experience for me and, I think, for Graham as well.

More photos here on the Falkirk BC Gallery
Race route here

Law Wheelers 10 report

Sadiq, Matt and Stevie rode the Law Wheelers 10 on Sunday morning. The weather was almost perfect for testing, cool with a slight headwind on the way to the turn, providing good assistance on the return leg. The Cambussbarron course has about 14m climbing so fast times were expected, Sadiq and Stevie clocked new personal bests while Matt set a new club 10 record.
Sadiq said "The course is more or less pan flat with roughish road surface in places, traffic was ok but there were a few coaches and large things kicking about but i didn't see any dodgy driving. I found it tough going, a flat course means pressure on the legs all the way. I was pretty wasted at the end, more so than club TTs

Sadiq Mir: 24.16 (34th)
Matt Ball: 22.46 (13th)
Steve McDowall 25.56 (46th)

Friday, 22 May 2009

A revolution in Boness

Clarion member John McComisky recently set up a bike shop in Boness. John Says "Revolutionary bikes was established, primarily, to offer a fair, friendly and personal service to cyclists in West Lothian and the surrounding area.
I believe that small businesses provide better value for money as overheads are low and you can pass the saving on to the customer and we practice what we preach, West Lothian Clarion members get a 20% discount on any spares, repairs and clothing.
Myself and Grant are both cyclists ourselves, so you can be assured that we know about bikes, love riding them and encourage others to do the same.
We are not in any way elitist, whether you are buying your first bike or are a seasoned cyclist, everyone is treated the same.
Our ethics dictate that we should help in any way to save our environment and cycling not only provides this but gives health benefits too.
We are a friendly bunch and if we can help with any cycling queries, however small, we will do our utmost to help. We stock high end road, track and commuter options from Dolan and Ambrosio, with the flip side being, we also resurrect old clangers and turn them into pristine steeds and get them out into the local community.
In the coming weeks we will be getting involved in community recycling and at points during the year will sponsor West Lothian Clarion events in the way of gift vouchers and prizes. Look out soon for limited edition T-shirts and cycle clothing with our brand name.
Best Wishes Comrades!!!

California Cycling

Bill spent three weeks in California in April and managed to get out for a few amazing rides with the local club VC Monterey. Why not do what Bill's done and take the club jersey with you on holiday, take a photo and send it in but it'll be hard to get any further away than West coast USA!

Hill climb specialist joins up

Matt Muir
Matt Muir, who I used to ride with at Lancaster CC and now lives in Edinburgh, joined up at the trial last Thursday. Matt says "I’m pretty much a cyclist born and bread. My dad is also a keen racing cyclist too and I can’t remember ever not having a bike! I’m interested in pretty much all areas of cycling, both on and off-road and have also had a few rides on the boards of Manchester velodrome. My main cycling passions are time trialling and hill climb races. I’ve been racing for about 15 years now, during which time I’ve competed at all distance of 10, 25, 50 and 100 miles with PBs of 22:52, 1:05:15, 2:20:29 and 5:07:15 respetively (I’m slightly slower than that now though) and have won the Lancaster cycling club (my club back down in England) hill climb championships 3 times. Matt Ball was a regular at LCC events when I first started racing, and it was through him that I got to know about WLC.
I currently have 6 bikes, a Prorace Viper carbon road bike, Hed V03 time trial bike, ribble alloy winter bike, Cannondale F900 MTB, Genesis Skyline fixed gear and an old GT Edge alloy road bike which I very rarely ride nowadays. Oh, I also have a unicycle but have never gotten round to learning how to ride it!
My main aim for this year is really just to get back into regular time trialling and riding because during the last 4 years while I’ve been at uni it has very much taken a back-seat."

Matt has an encyclopaedic cycling brain, winning our quiz last Winter, he takes after his dad, Bob, who was a top cyclist in the 70's. I remember riding with Matt before he was a teenager, once or twice giving him a push up the hills in Yorkshire and then accidentally pushing him off as we rode over a railway crossing, eek! Sorry Matt. The picture below is of Matt in his first bike race and his brother Gavin who sadly passed away a few year ago.
Matt & Gavin

10 TT WEEK 3 RESULTS: Thursday 21st May

10 TT Finish 21 May 09/1
Organiser Graham sent in this report "Best night of the three so far, bright with a bit of a bustling westerly chasing the heavy daytime showers over the horizon. Turnout was exellent again - 18 - and we must be pretty close to half of the club's membership having come along to take part, which is what WLC is all about. A few firsts tonight: a few first rides, our first sub 25 by Matt Ball (with Sadiq Mir being well within range of that same breakthrough) and, I think, our first fixie attempt at the course by new member Matt Muir. Add to that a wide range of PB's and other great efforts all round."

The women's competition is hotting up, with only 1 point separating the leaders and Denise is getting stronger each week, smashing her PB by 30 seconds last night.

New member Matt Muir said "Was great to be out on the road again tonight. Hadn't realised I was the first to record a time on fixed (Does this count as a club record then? just kidding!)."
Ross said "That was a good night tonight. Great that we got some better weather. Thanks to Foz and JMC for there much appreciated help. Also thanks to Matt for his words of encouragement out on the course."

Week 3 results
1 Matt Ball 24.18
2 Sadiq Mir 25.09
3 Mark Ewing 25.39
4 Steve McDowall 26.48
5 Ross Dewar 27.15
6 Mike Ewart 27.36
7 Bill Young 28.02
8 Grant Thomson 28.03
9 Mark Paul 28.09
10 Dave McTurk 28.25
11 Matt Muir 28.42
12 Dean Campbell 28.58
13 John McComisky 29.20
14 Andy Brown 29.38
15 Dick Duffy 29.42
16 Dave Hamill 30.26
17 Steve Fraser 30.44
18 Denise Schofield 30.56

Men's league positions after 3 events
Matt Ball 57
John McComisky 51
Ross Dewar 48
Bill Young 47
Graham Foster 45
Sadiq Mir 37.5
Graham Gilhooly 37
Mark Ewing 36.5
Dave Hamill 29
Mike Ewart 28
Mark Paul 26
Grant Thomson 26
Dave McTurk 23
Tobias Bauer 19
Andy Brown 18
Steve McDowall 17
Bob Simpson 17
Andy Hemingway 15
Andy Richards 12
Craig Sinclair 11
Steve Fraser 11
Matt Muir 10
Dean Campbell 9
Anth Robson 7
Dick Duffy 7

Women's league positions after 3 events
J Dominguez 40
D Schofield 39

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Night time ride update

The start for our night time ride has been decided by an online poll. The romantics won out so the event will start in Linlithgow (as opposed to Holy Island) and head east to see the sun rise.

We'll be Starting at the Black Bitch on Saturday 6th June. If you don't fancy the ride why not come and have a beer beforehand and cheer us off!

More details here

Clarion riders make it through the Etape

Malcolm, Jim, Angus, Craig, Mike, Paul and Mark made up a group of seven Clarion riders involved in the disrupted Caledonia Etape at the weekend. The well run event was sabotaged by a local, who spread carpet tacks across sections of the course. Rannoch and Tummel community council chairman, Alex Grosset, 62, appeared in Perth Sheriff Court on Wednesday but presented no plea to the court. Luckily, this reckless action inflicted only punctures on our riders and they avoided crashing. It remains to be seen how the behaviour of a minority will effect the future of this charitable event.

Malcom said "Words escape me as to describe how big an act of stupidity this was. Those responsible could easily have had blood on their hands and should be treated as if they have. After I'd punctured, I saw a guy carrying his bike on his shoulders cyclocross style. I asked him if he'd run out of tubes but he said someone had just run across the road spreading tacks and jumped back down to the river bank. He had a pretty good description of the guy.
I saw a couple of police motorbikes being taken away on a low loader, so something tells me that they'll get their man."

Mark said "I managed to get three punctures, it was just after the 43 mile point when things went pear shaped, after the feed station there were bikes everywhere with punctures. I was going good guns as well passing the 40 mile point at 1 hour 48 mins. Apart from the sabotage, it was a good day! My time was 3 hrs 43mins taking off the time for punctures. I will be booking up for next year and taking plenty of patches with me!"

Mike said "Hats off to the event organisers who did a fantastic job in sorting the mess out as best as they could, and to all the volunteers who kept spirits up when we were all coralled at the top of the hill. Bumped into Angus and some of his mates there too so passed the time chatting.
Can't believe the idiocy of who ever did this. If you want to protest then fair enough, but risking the life and limb of hundreds of cyclists..."

Angus said "My own wee story is basically feeling good at the 45 mark with a 20mph average under the belt. Then the disbelief at the number of riders at the side of the road with punctures. Approaching the climb, we eventually got the message about the dreaded tacks. Now it was just down to statistics! Front tyre flat right at the foot of the climb! After the eventual re-start at the top I got fired on the run-in as the fast line-out groups gathered pace and I was feeling good! Then my front tyre went flat again (managed to stay up-right-just-and get over to the right hand side). Faffed around for probably 20 minutes, eventually getting back on the bike and time-trialling solo into the wind for the last 15 miles. We should return next year en force just to show the bar stewards that they haven't won! "

JIm said "I must've been one of the few that didn't get a puncture, and that is just as well because I was at Tummel Bridge before I realised my pump was still in the boot of my car!
I was in the first group to be stopped at Kinloch Rannoch and forced to wait for the sweep. I looked back along the south Loch Rannoch road and there were thousands backed up. A lot chucked it at the break, which is a shame. I had been going great until then at an average of 19mph. Once we restarted we had a slow roll out of the village which took ages. Even taking off the 90 minute hold up, at least a further 15 min were lost in just getting back onto the Schiehallion road. Still on the bright side, the firemen treated us to tea and biscuits and I got to dress as a firefighter for a wee while!

Paul said "I finished in 5:30 not bad considering I have only been out 3 times in the 3 weeks leading up to the event and the biggest distance I had covered since I started cycling again is 34 miles! I didn't get a puncture and thoroughly enjoyed the day. I will train harder for next year!"

Craig Said "I was one of the lucky few who didn't get a puncture so my heart goes out to all the cyclists who suffered at the hands of some mindless morons hell bent on ruining what should have been a great day.
I got to the top of Schiehallion with no punctures and crossed the 50 mile marker in 2 hrs 53 mins. Then spent the next 45 mins hiding from the wind before we set off again. I crossed the finish line with an "actual" cycling time of 4 hours 02 mins for the 72 miles but that obviously doesn't include delays.
The event was really well oragnised with a good course that takes you through some fanatstic scenery so it would be a shame if it was cancelled due to the irresponsible actions of a minority. I would like to go back next year but am obviously concerned about this happening again. I assume that the organisers will be ready for it next year though.
As for the boost to the local economy, I spent at least £120.00 over that weekend so multiply that figure by the number of cyclist and that is a lot of dosh."

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Committee Meeting

Please send items for the agenda to me at by Sunday 24th May ready for the meeting on Tuesday 26th.

Scottish 10 TT champs report

Sadiq, John and Matt rode the 10 mile time trail championships organised by Glasgow Wheelers at Newton Mearns last Saturday. The course is quite lumpy, using the A77 but because of the new M77 just alongside, it's virtually traffic free. The morning stayed rain free but the race speeds were effected by strong gusts and side winds.
Sadiq was our first rider off and put in a strong performance, recovering from the setback of going off course at the turn to record a new personal best time Sadiq said "My performance was a frustrating case of 'what if'. Coming out of the halfway turn, I succeded in taking the wrong exit and found myself on the M77 towards Glasgow. I reckon I could have lost anything between 30 seconds and a minute. Still, half a minute off my PB but obviously there is some frustration!
John riding his third '10' of the week blasted off in a massive gear from the start and put in a fine performance. John said "What a day! Two years ago I was 16.5 stone beer monster, so proud to be a part of all of this, If I never cycle again this is a highlight of my life."
Matt was the last Clarion rider to leave the starting gate, and managed to reduce the club record by a few seconds. Matt said "There was a good atmosphere in the HQ afterwards, lots of banter and laughs... nice spread too! The course was pretty tough but a bit faster than our own Kirkliston TT."

Winner: Arthur Doyle Dooleys 00:20:46
Matthew Ball 00:23:49 (club record)
Sadiq Mir 00:25:03
John McComisky 00:27:17

Many thanks to Glasgow Wheelers for organising a superb event and three cheers to 'directeur sportif' Grant who encouraged and supported the riders all morning.

More pictures from Glasgow wheelers here

The 'where is it?' quiz

I Popped out with Alex on the tag-a-long last Sunday and found this lovely country lane but where is it? The person with the first correct answer gets an extra hour in bed on Friday.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Denise is the latest Clarionista!

Denise Schofield
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Denise Schofield joined up last Thursday and promptly rode her first TT in a cracking time of 31.25. Denise says "I had a great time on Thursday and looking forward to next week!
I started mountain biking in 2004. I became interested in road cycling when a mountain bike holiday in the Pyrenees coincided with Stage 15 of the 2007 Tour de France. This inspired me to get a road bike to help build up fitness for mountain biking.
This year I hope to complete various mountain bike events (eg. solo 10 Under The Ben), and try a Sportive. Following my first ever TT last Thursday night, I am now curious to see how I fast I can go over 10 miles!
I have recently retired my trusty On One Inbred mountain bike for a Santa Cruz Super Light. My road bike is a Giant SCR 2.0.
I really appreciate being made to feel so welcome to the club."

Friday, 15 May 2009

McComisky and Thomson step up

John McComisky Finish
On Wednesday evening, this week, John and Grant rode the Ian McCulloch Memorial 10 TT promoted by the ERC on their Kirkliston course. The event was won by Evan Oliphant in a, staggering, course record time of 21.47
Grant Said "I really enjoyed this event, everyone was very friendly and enthusiastic and a lovely spread of cakes and tea and coffee was put on at the end. Met some nice people and had a PB on a lovely sunny, albeit windy, night with scran to finish - what more can you ask for?
Would like to thank Andy and Lucy for coming out to cheer on the team and Julie D was there to offer support as well Steve, her other half was riding and put in a stonking time of low 23's.
Allan Black passed as well, just before I started, in Kirkliston and then gave me nice words of encouragement when I passed him up near the Jet garage at Kirkliston. Cheers Al. Guys like these and Sparky who turn up at events to cheer on the riders make a difference. Chapeau!"
John Said "Thank you to all you guys who offer support, totally reiterate what Granus was saying about folk from our club turning up to offer support, it is spellbinding. I had a good solid run in readiness for the Scottish Championships, went out too slow though, to save more for way back in. The ERC did a smashing job"

Earlier in the year, winner, Evan Oliphant gave the club exclusive advice on how to ride the Bridgend - Kirkliston course, read it here
John McComisky West Lothian Clarion 27.36
Grant Thomson West Lothian Clarion 29.25

Club 10 Series: Race 2

Anth waiting
Organiser, Graham Foster sends in the event report: Another great night, with 17 taking part. Conditions were significantly better than last week, bright and a little warmer with a bustling easterly, which led to a few week-old PBs being beaten and some newbies setting their own initial benchmarks. Myself included - 30 minutes dead was a bit frustrating but it's all experience and I give myself credit for not boaking into a hedge at the end
Anyway - down to the times - I'll post up the league position when I have more time. First of all - Andy Brown and Craig Sinclair - your times were adjusted after a second look at the timesheet highlighted a wee error. You were actually both under 30 - good effort!
Big congratulations to Graham Gilhooly for knocking a minute off last week's time to claim top points this week. Tobias 'Technik' Bauer played Jan to his Lance on his new Planet X bling. But even further down the order, the buzz suggested that there were a lot of personal performances to be proud of tonight and perhaps a lot of targets for the season being set?

1 Graham Gilhooly 27.02
2 Tobias Bauer 27.19
3 John McComisky 27.22
4 Bob Simpson 27.39
5 Bill Young 27.45
6 Andy Hemingway 28.03
7 Mark Paul 28.08
8 Mike Ewart 28.26
9 Julie Dominguez 28.50
10 Dave McTurk 28.58
11 Craig Sinclair 29.45
12 Andy Brown 29.49
13 Graham Foster 30.00
14 Dave Hamill 30.38
15 Denise Schofield 31.25
16 Anthony Robson 31.31
17 Steven Fraser 31.42

Men's league
Matthew Ball 37
Graham Gilhooly 37
John McComisky 34
Bill Young 33
Ross Dewar 32
Graham Foster 27
Dave Hamill 23
Tobias Bauer 19
Mark Ewing 18.5
Sadiq Mir 18.5
Bob Simpson 17
Andy Hemingway 15
Mark Paul 14
Grant Thomson 13
Mike Ewart 13
Andy Richards 12
Dave McTurk 12
Craig Sinclair 11
Andy Brown 10
Anth Robson 7
Steve Fraser 6

Women's league
Julie Dominguez 40
Denise Schofield 19

Loads of opinion and comment on the thread for this week's race
More Pictures of the night on Flickr
Event details and instructions here
Sign up for marshalling duties here - select a week and add your name

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Introducing two local on-line bike shops

Clarionista, Julie Dominguez and her partner, Steve, run two online bike shops out of their base in Livingston. Julie's specialises in fixed wheel and track components and Stev's specialises in wheel building and road components. And they are offering club members a discount, carry on reading to find out the details
Steve has been wheel building for over 30 years and would like to offer a 10% discount on wheel builds and repairs to all West Lothian Clarion members.  Julie or Steve will be at most tuesday training nights and thursday TTs where you can hand over your wheels, or even discuss a new set. Julie says "Our website displays a selection of components, of course Steve can build anything not just the wheels mentioned!
West Lothian Clarion members are also welcome to a 10% discount on parts and accessories from the website. 
We will hand deliver your purchases at events or you are welcome to visit! (Please contact first)"

Julie Dominguez
Julie is a fixie rider during the winter months, and to brighten those dull mornings she has been brightening up her bike using fixie products from Soma Fabrications. Julie says "Based in sunny California, Soma Fabrications produce many high quality parts and accessories in an array of colours - if you want to stand out from the crowd, see me for a 10% discount on parts and accessories from the website. We will hand deliver your purchases at events or you are welcome to visit!" (Please contact first)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

End to end the hard way

A group of local lads are riding the length of Britain - the hard way. They're setting off from John o' Groats and heading south to Land's End, against the prevailing winds, so that they can end up on a beach, surfing, in Cornwall. 
The ride has been organised in memory of their friend, Craig Gowans, who, tragically, died when he was electrocuted by overhead power lines, when moving equipment while training with Falkirk football club.
The participants are raising money for The Sick Kids charity. If you would like to donate please go here
More on Craig here

Monday, 11 May 2009

The "where is it?" quiz

Graham sent in this week's perfect cycling road, but where is it?
Graham says "It's a nice wee climb, not very long but has some steep parts and lovely scenery, wish it went on for a few miles! It reminds me of the Giro d'Lombardia somehow.
First correct answer gets a Marathon bar.

Weekend Rides

West Lothian Dogs
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Saturday run
With many regulars riding Spotives at the weekend the club runs still managed a good level of participation. It might be tough getting up for the 8.00am start but the riders can get in a load of miles and be home for elevenses!

Matt, Bill, Stevie, Steve, Dave and Andy set off through Westfield, Avonbridge, Slamannan (of course) and past the wind farm then back towards Torphichen.

Bill, feeling the effects of his recent trip to the States said "We had a good ride at a reasonable 15 mph with some hill efforts and good group riding for the entire 30 miles. Great to see people still willing to turn up on a poor weather day and put the miles in. The rain started on our way home but only for the last mile, so managed to miss the heavy downpours. Back home for 10.30am!

Sunday Run
Allan, Mike and Melwin met up at the Cross in Linlithgow for 9.00am Allan said "We covered 43 miles at a gentlemanly and sociable 14.5mph along the two Bridges route (including the new Kincardine Bridge)"
Melwin is getting stronger each week, Allan said "Melwin did OK, slightly off the back at times but we weren't trying to burn anybody off so he was there at the end, still smiling and saying that he had enjoyed the ride"

Club run details here

Fred Whitton Report

Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Sadiq, Brian and Neil rode the Fred Whitton Sportive on Sunday, roundly regarded as the toughest event of its kind in the country, with Sadiq managing to beat his pb for the route.
Sadiq said "Another loooong sufferfest of epic proportions, today's Fred took us through cloud, sunshine, snow at the top of Wrynose and heavy heavy rain on the Wrynose descent.
Nothing rivals the sight of first seeing Hardnott in the distance, like a piece of string hanging from the sky with every wee shape strewn out along it an a personal story of pain and the hope that it ends soon. I Cramped after 40 miles with 70 to go, because of poor cleat positioning. I got off the bike at the hairpins on Hardnott and pushed again at the same spot as last year. I would say only about 1 rider in 20 was still riding. Got back on before the summit and slogged up Wrynose. Job done.
2 mins faster than last year at 7hrs 29. Had ambitions of going under 7 hours but no chance whatsover. Still happy enough having not trained specifically for the Fred as I had done last year. I Rode with Boness and Falkirk residents Brian, George, and Neil for a good portion of the ride, Neil coming home 20 or so minutes after me. Two in a row is enough, no more next year!

Bealach Beag Report

The Clarion colours were worn by 6 riders at the Bealach Beag last Saturday, while the local weather tried it's best to make it one of the harshest days of the season. Well done to Mark, Dave, Malcolm, Jim, Peter and Lesley, plus Malcolm's better half, Jackie and Peter's wife Sandra who rode the event too.

Dave said "My first event in 12 years, that means I can wait until I am 46 until I enter another, I should have recovered by then! Managed to get round in 3hrs 16 minutes in sleet, and very heavy rain on the run up the Bealach. We also had a healthy portion of hail bouncing off our noggins. I was at my limit on the Bealach, at one point I was going so slow I almost keeled over but thankfully I managed to keep my balance and get up the hill without incident."

Malcolm said "That was some day in the saddle. David might have said hail and sleet at the top of the Bealach but I'm claiming snow! Despite my bike giving out on me 4 times during the course I managed a best ever position of 133rd but the time of 3:08 was 6 minutes slower than last year.
My wife Jackie, completed in less than 5 hours; She had to switch into survival mode whilst being blown backwards on the climb. Highlights of her day were a herd of deer crossing, just in front of her, on the climb and an all too brief period when the sun was out and the wind was on her back. She came in at the same time as a man with one pedal but ahead of several others (plus a large number of DNFs including a certin David Blane (encased in ice, upside down, or on top of a pole: fine. West coast of Scotland in the springtime: not so hot.)"

Mark said "What a great day... My overall time was not the best after having some serious steering wobbles descending the Bealach. I think it took me longer to go down than the 51.39 to climb it! I Got to Applecross and I was frozen, but the sun came out for the run back to Shieldaig. This made the scenery beautiful on the very lumpy run back.
Hats off to all the locals that embrace this event by cheering weary riders at various points."

Jim said "This was my first ever sportive. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. The craic was great, although there wasn't much talking going up the Bealach. The locals were supportive and it seemed the entire population of Applecross was out to watch. What an amazing route, although if there was an award for being able to fit the most hills into a 20 mile stretch of road, then the one from Cuaig to Sheildaig wins hands down!
I finished in 3:30, and got up the Bealach in just under an hour, in probably the worst possible conditions. I agree that there was definitely snow mixed in there. I was just happy to manage the course, as I didn't feel well prepared at all. I would have settled for 4 hours so I'm well chuffed!"

Welcome to Graham Gillooly!

Graham Gillooly
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

21 year old Graham from Caldercruix is our latest recruit. Graham says "I joined the gym last summer with my mates to pump some iron and get a bit leaner but I always found myself on the bikes on cardio nights. So I bought my first road bike in September, a Specialized Allez Elite, and when my gym membership ran out I never went back. I've also now got a Specialized Tricross singlespeed which i used through the winter and use to commute.

After finding out about the club online, I wanted to join and followed the forums for awhile online. At first I was put off by the distance I am from the club run departures but when I started cycling further, I had my first run with the club and really enjoyed it! I've met a great bunch of people and a great cycling environment, not to mention the previously uncharted Bathgate Alpes - haha!

I like all types of cycling but i do enjoy the hills, going up just as much as down, so this year i'm looking to loose some weight and better my climbing abilities. I've not entered any events yet but i'd like to do some sportives later in the year and get my racing licence so i can enter some more competitive events."

Mr Wake is 40 on Friday!

Malcolm Wake is 40!
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Happy birthday Malcolm, have a great day, hope you get lots of shiny black bits...

Friday, 8 May 2009

Julie Dominguez joins up

Julie Dominguez
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Julie was another cyclist who joined up before the club 10 on Thursday, her 30.21 was sixth overall and moved her into first place for the women's trophy.
Julie said "Can I say you all made me feel very welcome last night! I started cycling when I was a student, to fit in with the boys! That was off-road, then when I moved to Edinburgh I took a taster session at the track and within a month the DH bike was gone, and a road and track bike took it's place! I have raced track for a few years, now having a go at TT, was getting virtigo on the boards! My TT bike is a Merida Warp 5, my road bike is a Look KX Light. Have a great weekend|

Welcome to new member Dave Hamill!

Dave Hamill
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Dave joined up with the club last night before his first TT and after coming out on a few club runs. Dave Says "I did a lot of cycling when I was a teenager and started mountain biking again in 2004. Last year I got a road bike to help my mountain biking fitness. Trouble is, I fell in love with road biking and have now been neglecting my mountain bike a bit.
My Road bike is a Giant SCR 1.5 that will be upgraded for something else soon I hope. My mountain bike is a Cotic Soda.
This year I want to do some more sportives, get my 10 mile TT time below 30 minutes and beat Matt in a sprint to a 30mph sign!"

Gale force 10

Graham Foster
First of all, hat's off (sometimes literally) to those that rode the first race in our season long 10 TT competition. It was chilly and there was a booming sidewind that was nudging 30mph at times. Despite the chill, the competition was hot at the front given the conditions. Only 3 seconds separated the first three places and there was a tie for second place. Better days surely lie ahead this summer but the points earned on the wilder nights might make the difference at the end of the season!

Foz has put in a great deal of work and effort to get this series up and running and I think it showed last night. The event wouldn't have happened with out him. Many thanks on behalf of everyone. And Bill, many thanks for pushing off, using a technique (due to the windy conditions) which meant you had everybody's arse in your face!

The gusting side wind meant it was tough trying to keep up a steady even pace and there wasn't the benefit of a tail wind anywhere on the ride, Sadiq said "The wind was horrible, gusting in from the side. For me, Mark takes the moral victory because he rode a standard road setup with no tribars and came second by only 3 seconds! What a success, it bodes well for the rest of the series"

Everyone put in a heroic performance, Graham rode his first 10 and did a 28! Julie will easily get under 30 mins in less inclement conditions (hopefully we'll get more more women out to give her a challenge) and David, Ross, Grant (who beat his pb by 2 minutes) and, I suspect, Andy will get under 30 mins by the end of the year.

Andy Said "My first cycling event ever and it was great, in a painful kind of way! I did't break any records but posted a respectable (I think) time, given my 5 months of cycling experience. One thing for sure, the course is more undulating than I thought. Special thanks for the words of encouragment shouted by those overtaking me... at least I think they were words of encouragment!"

There are some riders with close times - Ross and Dave are on equal footing, Big John could can mix it with Graham and the series as a whole looks more competitive than the Premiership. John Said "This is the reason I joined the club, great turn out in such inclement weather, big up respect for Andy in doing his first time trial, the spirit of the club is folk like Andy who put a lot of effort in."

In retrospect we were really lucky with the weather, considering the conditions just after the finish! It was a real thrill to see so much enthusiasm from everyone concerned, competitors, marshals and spectators.

Many thanks also to Kirsty and Alex for supplying the cup cakes!

Keep up with all the debate and comment on the forum's TT thread

Results Week 1
1. Matthew Ball 25.36
2. Mark Ewing 25.39
2. Sadiq Mir 25.39
4. Graham Gilhooly 28.06
5. John McComisky 28.20
6. Julie Dominguez 30.21
7. Dave Hamill 31.21
8. Ross Dewar 31.22
9. Grant Thomson 32.30
10. Andy Richards 36.32

Men's League - Week 1 
1. Matthew Ball 20
2. Mark Ewing 18.5
2. Sadiq Mir 18.5
4. Graham Foster 18
5. Bill Young 17
6. Graham Gilhooly 17
7. John McComisky 16
8. Dave Hamill 15
9. Ross Dewar 14
10. Grant Thomson 13
11. Andy Richards 12

Womens League Week 1 
1. Julie Dominguez 20

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Angus CC events

Alex Pattison at Angus CC sent in an information about their forthcoming events which sound pretty amazing...
The events are run as Audax events, with a relaxed friendly atmosphere for riders wanting a nice day out, but scope for a fast pace for those that want a good burn-up.

Already some interest on the forum

Sunday 17 May, Forfar
Out to Fettercairn, through Drumtochty Glen and Auchenblae down to Laurencekirk and over Garvock Hill to St Cyrus returning to Forfar by Bridge of Dun

A well established ride, out to Fettercairn then the big climb of Cairn o'Mount, along Desside to Braemar then home over Glen Shee and down Glen Isla

6-7 June Kirriemuir Weekend
A MEARNS MEANDER 160k (100 miles)
A steady ride though the Mearns to Stonehaven and Banchory then back over Cairn o’Mount the easy way

A classic and challenging hilly route round the central highlands, featuring the Cairn o’Mount, Banchory, the Cabrach, Dufftown, the Lecht, Braemar and Cairnwell

An easy tour of Angus countryside, with two (count ‘em) cafĂ© stops at Carmyllie and Stracathro, and a downhill finish!

North up Glen Isla into highland Perthshire through Pitlochry and Aberfeldy, and back via Dunning and Coupar Angus

Sunday 16 August
A fairly testing ride, from Forfar all the way west via south Loch Tummel to Kinloch Rannoch then back via the Queen’s View, Pitlochry and Glen Isla

If you want any more information about these events at this stage please contact
Entry forms etc for all of these events from Audax UK

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Club 10 TT series starts on Thursday

Originally uploaded by jrfphotographs

Thursday sees the start of our season long 10 mile TT series. Riders have been preparing themselves all spring, gossip and rumour are whirling about the club - has Tobias really got a flash new bike? Will he unveil it to an expectant crowd? Has John's last minute crit training turned him into an assassin? Will Andy shave his legs? What type of cup cakes will be on offer at the finish? Get to the start to find out the answers to these questions and much more...

All the details can be found here
Please download and read the risk assessment
Get there with plenty of time to sign on entries close at 7pm.
Sign up for marshalling duties here
Timekeeper: Graham Foster, Pusher off: Bill Young

Club run reports

A lot of riders are getting out and about at the moment, some are organising mid week rides using the forum others are keeping the club rides well attended.

Last Tuesday's chain gang was a great success. Craig says "John, Andy, Mike, Neil, Ross and myself set off at 7.00 prompt and did a warm up lap before the serious stuff started. We quickly got into the chain and set a steady pace despite the windy conditions.
Andy ran into mechanical problems after the first lap and had to walk back to his car leaving the five of us to it. The pace quickened for the next four laps and at this point I reckon we were all at the 80%+ effort (I know I was). We all remained togther and worked well together in the chain - keeping things nice and compact.
For the final lap the pace was upped again and although we kept together it was well into anerobic exercise.
The distance covered was approx 25 miles and average speed was coming in at 20 mph which is pretty impressive considering the conditions. All in all, a real good workout"
Our chaingang details here

Numbers are creeping up again for the Saturday ride. Seven riders made it up to the Korean War Memorial, Graham sent in this report "I don't remember everyones name, so I'll start with myself, Mark, Malcolm, Neil, Ross, Dick and the other rider might have been Tom as I think there was a joke that it was a shame no-one was called Harry!
We dropped down Preston Road into Linlithgow, round the outskirts of West Lothian Golf Club, continued west and onto a backroad that ran parallel to Grangemouth Road, up into Polmont, Brightons, Reddingmuirhead, Shieldhill, Avonbridge, Westfield, Torphichen and back up to the KWM. There were a few sprints, of which I won 3! I think Malcolm got 2 and the award for the 'sneakiest' sprint goes to Mark, who won right at the start into Linlithgow and later came from behind like a rocket to win in Avonbridge.
Malcolm said "We're definitely going to have to keep an eye on Graham 'the baby faced assassin' Gillooly in future weeks. I'm going to keep claiming the sprint on the way out of Avonbridge until the council comes and turns that 30 sign the right way around"

Melwin met up with a five riders at the Cross in Linlithgow, including Jim, Neil and Neil's son and was mightily impressed with the groups climbing abilities. Melwin has been getting the miles in so it won't be long before he is leading the way!

Club run details here

Our 50th Member

Arthur Richardson
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

Welcome to Arthur Richardson who lives between West Calder and Carnwath. Arthur has been riding a road bike since September 2008 when he bought a Giant SCR 2. Arthur says "I Really enjoying the cycling and have lost 2 stones in weight since then. Normally a lone rider but would like to get involved in a club for the fellowship and finding out how to ride the bike properly. Among my cycling aims this year are to take part in a few 50-60 mile Cyclosportives. I have entered The Radar Ride in July and see that as a good target for a 1st year cyclist. I am doing about 300 miles per month just now with my rides normally between 20-30 miles. I am keen to have a go at Cyclocross and am looking at getting a cross bike late summer."

Road racing reports

John and myself have been trying out a few criteriums and road races recently. John has regularly been entering the Ingliston crit series organised by the ERC, and loving every minute. Last Thursday he persuaded me to have a go too. The next day John Said "I feel a million dollars this morning, though a bit sore. There is a good spirit between the riders lower down the pecking order, if only I could just fine a small amount of acceleration I could improve more. I love the start and when the fast guys rip by. I'm using it as a learning experience plus its worthwhile training for pushing your own limits."
It was a very exhilarating evening, great to ride on a closed circuit and able to use the whole width of the road for some fast cornering on the hairpin. John and I were cheered on by Clarionettes, Jill and Claire, they shouted every time we went by - lovely! The series of races is incredibly well organised by the ERC and even has free massage before and after the race!

On Sunday I rode the May Day Gallup in Larbert, organised by the Falkirk Bike Club. 64 year old Davie Miller from Glasgow Couriers crossed the line first. The TT expert jumped away into the wind on the last lap, I underestimated Davie's pedigree and thought he'd never stay away because the going was so tough. I planned to make a move on the final hill, 2 miles from the finish. It was getting a bit messy in the bunch so I jumped on the run in to the hill, got a gap and then Jamie Whitworth from the ERC joined me. He was super strong on the climb, all I could do was stay on his wheel and couldn't help him build up the lead because I couldn't get past him! I thought we'd catch Miller but he wasn't slowingr. The Finishing straight was a 40mph blast to the line, I lost Whitworth's wheel on a busy RAB and couldn't close the gap and finished 3rd. 
The event was a handicap, I was in the second group which was caught by the first cats after I'd got away I think. Our group worked well, through and off the whole way round with some riders working harder than others on the 10 mile circuit which we rode 5 times.
There was a good atmosphere at the HQ and Falkirk BC put on a great event. Well worth considering next year. The handicap system has the riders going off in groups of similar ability, which allows a wide level of riders to get a descent road race experience, without getting blown out the back straight away - I reckon the guys doing the Tuesday chaingang would be able to handle this event.

Photo by Ian Henderson at Falkirk Bike Club, more shots here

Port Light 200 Audax Report

Clarion riders Neil (Centre left), Peter and their pal, Stephen, who wrote this report took part in the Port Light 200km Audax over the last weekend.

This Audax takes in a number of Scottish islands so the riders have to time their rides to catch the ferries. Here is the report:

Left the house at about 4.00am to be there before 6.00am start. Conveniently, the rain stopped for the first leg -a 55KM leg to the 9:30 ferry at Oban. The coast road round to Oban is a great ride anytime: At about half six with the sun on the hills over the water, no particular rush to get anywhere it was most pleasant. Rode and chatted with various folks, before getting caught in a cold heavy shower on the drag up before Oban. We took over Tesco's cafe in the town - loads of blokes in lycra with stupid slidey shoes buying bacon rolls with fancy looking bikes piled up outside.

On the ferry, I found a window in the sun and I dried out and dozed off before Mull.

On Mull, Ronnie came along side and started going fast to latch onto Robert McCready's wheel up ahead. I wasn't really ready for this, but I thought, well lets just catch Robert. I got on, and looked round and Ronnie hadn't made it! I thought "Och well, I'll sit here until I get knackered, then go easy until I'm caught" I Hung on for a bit. We stopped to disrobe as the sun had come out but on the restart my bike seemed incapable of going at the same speed as the others and over the big climb I dropped back. From the top the view was breathtaking: white beaches, bright blue sky and sea with big waves over the rocks. 

There followed a lovely twisty descent then a nice tailwind along the coastline. High cliffs with waterfalls, clear blue sea and no cars. Brilliant! It was also easy cycling here, flat, tailwind and noone in sight either behind or in front. I got to the North coast and turned right along to the ferry, which I could see over the water. 'Great!' I thought, 'I've caught the early one'. I took my time here, but actually I only just made it. I got on and saw others arriving just as the ferry left the port...

Back on the mainland now, at Lochaline I was now about 1.5 hrs ahead of the others. The road from Lochaline to the Corran Ferry was magic. Just glens and moorland, hills and lochs. One big climb then an awesome descent to sea level. Long straight roads, no traffic, a 50mph descent. (I was too scared)

Another cold shower before the Corran ferry, but I didn't mind. I was by myself and just touring. I was even fortunate enough to have a 10 min wait on the Corran ferry as the sun came out again after the rain.
105 miles in the bag: Heading back to the finish, and really glad to turn off the main road towards Kinlochleven. It was actually quite warm now. Lovely, wee, twisty, lumpy road with tailwind and tons of vintage motorbikes from a rally in Kinlochleven made this bit memorable. I looked over the water before the "turn" at Kinlochleven and I saw a bus up in the sky. Hmmm, it'll be hillier that side then! And it was! With a headwind too, so I got the granny in. You can keep yer compacts, y'canny whack the granny!
Finished. Pretty slow, mostly on my own. But a memorable ride.
The 3 Ferries is not quite so accessable as the 5 Ferries, but it makes a cracking 200 Audax.

More breathtaking photos of the event here here

Monday, 4 May 2009

2009 National Clarion Events

Clarion trophy 2
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

The National Clarion have a full programme of events this year, last year I road the Clarion track champs in Manchester which was incredible. The Clarion trophies are worth winning, they go back yonks, so why not be part of history and enter some of these races. Our faster riders would have a cracking chance of capturing the 50 trophy (50's don't attract such a big field). I'll be at the track champs and probably the 50TT if someone wants to share a lift.

JUNE 20/21ST
Clarion stall & Cycling & Camping

50 mile TT Champs
Cheshire MDTTA – J4/16

10 mile TT Champs
Fenland/Peterborough – N1/10

25 mile TT (open, not champs)
Fenland/Peterborough – N1/25C

25 mile TT Champs
Nottingham Clarion – A25/2

Track Championships
Manchester Velodrome

AUG 30/31ST - SEPT 1ST
Mildenhall Rally – Suffolk
Cycling, camping, bar-be-ques

Nottingham Clarion 25m TT – A25/9

OCT’ 2/3/4
Clarion Autumn Meet

OCT’ 17TH?
Clarion Cyclo-Cross Champs
Heanor – Shipley Park

This week's where am I quiz!

Where am I? - 7
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

C'mon, dead easy one this. First correct answer gets a packet of old fashioned Opal Fruits...

Friday, 1 May 2009

Border Reivers nocturnal ride

Holy Island
Only a month to go before we embark on the Border raid...
80 miles to Berwick Upon Tweed
(possible extension to the Holy Isle: 95 miles)
Date: 6 June 2009
Entry: Free
Start: Meet at 8pm for 9pm start
Entries on the day: No
Start location: Black Bitch public house, Linlithgow
Route details will get posted soon...