Monday, 25 May 2009

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

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