Dan Fleeman makes a trip to Scotland to ride the Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race.

Thursday 23:00

The Giro is just a memory.

Reality, work, bills and the Transit; tomorrow, Dan Fleeman is coming up for the Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race, part of the Scottish Super Six series – best grab some sleep.

Friday 07:00

Where am I?

There’s no wi-fi in the house, need to go to McDonald’s for the free connection but I’ll be strong – no sausage, egg and cheese bagels.

Maybe just one?

Send the pictures to Martin, make the ‘workie’ phone calls, send the emails and bolt to the airport.

Dan is standing by the carousel – perfect timing.

Batter the Micra up to the Trossachs; Dan needs a leg loosener so he’s going to ride the big circuit of the Sam.

We set up training camp at Thornhill; Dan’s riding his training bike – which was last cleaned when it left the factory.

Dan Fleeman
Dan gets his bike setup.

Where’s the baby wipes?

Off up the ‘mini Braes’ as Janette calls the climb out of Thornhill.

I stop at the top to grab a pic of Dan; the sun is warm on my skin, there’s no traffic, a cuckoo sings with song thrushess and bees on backing vocal, the views are wonderful – not such a bad place, is Scotland.

A sports B&B – perfect.

Loch Venachar is beautiful; Lendrick Lodge offers massage – that could be handy on Sunday?

Brig o’ Turk Tea Room.

Brig o’ Turk tea room looks cool, the first time I’ve seen it – I usually go round in the opposite direction.

It’s a glorious day to be in the Trossachs, even the mile posts are cool.
The start of the Dukes Pass.
Dan gets to know the Dukes.

Half way up the Dukes I draw along side Dan; ‘this is the Duke’s Pass.

Oh yeah? when does the climb start?‘ – he’s a cheeky monkey.

Dan Fleeman
Dan navigates the bends on the descent into Aberfoyle one-handed.

Why is he descending The Duke’s one handed?

He’s on the phone – silly me!

The bobby in Aberfoyle wasn’t impressed, shaking his head in disgust.

Haste ye back.

‘Haste ye back’ says the sign at the foot of the Braes – along through Ruskie to Thornhill and job done.

Saturday 08:45

I have to work; Dan goes for a spin with Evan Oliphant on the Edinburgh Road Club bash down the coast, from the Commie Pool.

My plasterer, Kenny, has a new T-shirt – “Please drink responsibly, don’t spill any.

The Giro stage is a good one, more upsets – and it would be wrong to write off Liquigas, just yet.

Barbecue with Pete Jacques at night, can’t be bad.

Sunday 07:00

Porridge with raisins, nuts and bananas; scrambled egg on toast and two double strength ‘instant filter’ coffees – that boy may be skinny, but he can eat.

Meet Martin at the Little Chef, mad dash to Stirling; there’s a test on the Kippen Flats – takes me back to my youth and time I went over the handlebars coming out of the Raploch.

Anyway, show Dan ‘The Top of the World’ and then get to the start.

Say ‘hello’ to the guys, Evan, Jamesy, Paul Coats, Paul Rennie and Alex Coutts who’s just back from five stage races in the Far East – and a deportation from Iran.

Evan Oliphant is flying at the moment, and goes into this race as one of the favourites.
How many of us can say we’ve been summarily ejected from a foreign country? Couttsy can.

We’ll need to explore that one !

Get Dan organised, clean the bike, rub his legs, organise the bottles – and it’s start time.

Dan Fleeman
Martin gives Dan’s pins a light dusting…
Dan Fleeman
…whilst Ed puts the polish on his bike.
Graeme in his Leaders jersey.

Graeme McGarrity looks cool in his Super Six leader’s jersey – but what’s that number he’s covering up?

Jamesy and Martin chill before the off.

And they’re off, we follow them down the Stirling road, then left at the Kippen roundabout.

We try to pass the race so as we can get pics on the ‘mini Braes.’

Drop back behind the convoy, NOW!‘ the commissaire instructs us – funny how Martin and I have just come back from a week working from a press car at the Giro d’Italia without any hassle, but within ten miles of the start of the Sam Robinson, we’re in big trouble.

It just goes to show that Johny Foreigner has got it wrong again.

Who needs race reports and photos, anyway?

U-turn, at the bottom of the Braes and back up towards the Lake of Menteith, and along the Tour de Trossachs route to the top of the Dukes.

Beautiful Loch Drunkie.

Good job I got my Loch Drunkie picture on Friday.

The break near the top of the Dukes Pass.

Evan is in the lead group with four others, three Glasgow Wheelers…

Dan Fleeman
Dan climbing the Dukes.

…but Dan is trapped in the bunch.

Back down The Duke’s and out past the Rob Roy Motel – six get the mallet, there.

Off the bike, but sitting up – always a good sign.

And there’s a crash at Port of Menteith – he’s OK, though.

Blast across to Arnprior, left to the Kippen roundabout, up the ‘Top of the World’ and park up.

The lead two near the top of the Top of the World.

Evan with one; group of 12, but no Dan; Paul Rennie then the bunch, there’s a split with Dan in the back half,: he pedals past Martin looking unchuffed.

Dan Fleeman
Dan climbing the Top of the World.
This one’s a little worse – we hear yelps as he gets assistance.

We follow them – there’s a crash at Fintry and as Martin puts it; ‘the fire has gone out‘ in the bunch.

A quick wheel change means this rider was back in the bunch in a couple of minutes.

An ERC punctures – not a bad wheel change.

The finish circuit, we go the wrong way to catch them on the climb.

No feeding…‘ shouts the girl from the car,: ‘…not allowed!

Why?

Evan and Rob are well clear this time, as Evan chucks us his empty bottle.

Evan is clear – again – with Rob Wilkins, they’re the winners.

Davie Lines leads the chase group.

Davie Lines leads group two – not sure why – from Alex Coutts and Rob Hassan.

Then Scott McRae, Ross Creber, and three others.

Dan is in what’s left of the bunch, which explodes on the last climb.

Dan Fleeman
Dan was resigned a while ago to this being a training ride.

Follow them to the finish – Evan wins, Wilkins second, Davie Lines third.

We grab a few words with Evan;

“I was in that first break, after a couple of miles with Paul Rennie and three Glasgow Wheelers. We rode the Dukes pretty steady to keep it together.

“I wasn’t convinced it was the winning move though.

“And so it proved, we were caught just at the foot of the Top of the World.

“I took a look at the guys who had come up, could see they’d been chasing hard and went again, Wilkins came with me and I rode away from him with about four K to go because I wasn’t sure how much of a gap we had.”

Apart from a couple of miles at the start, the Endura man was away the whole day.

It just remained for Ms. Hazlett to appoint VeloVeritas as official race photographers and it was all over.

Dan?

Dan Fleeman
Dan is philosophical at the finish.
Paul Coats chats to us before the presentation.

Maybe Paul Coats summed it up best; ‘I felt sorry for that laddie, he was riding round with a target on his back all day.

And Dan did mention doing 20 minute spells, but he’s not a man to moan.

Dave maybe summed it up best; ‘Dan’s swimming in the wrong pool.’

Result

1 Evan Oliphant Endura Racing 02:40:24″
2 Robin Wilkins Stirling Bike club 38″
3 David Lines Endura Racing 03:34″
4 Robert Hassan Glasgow Wheelers same time
5 Alex Coutts Giant Asia Racing Team same time
6 David Smith Glasgow Wheelers 03:44″
7 Ross Creber Endura Racing same time
8 Scott Macrae Team Leslie Bike Shop same time
9 Craig Adams Falkirk Bicycle Club 03:50″
10 Dougie Young Glasgow Wheelers 05:01″
11 Ross Crook Edinburgh RC 05:21″
12 Lewis Oliphant Velo Ecosse same time
13 Neil Cameron Falkirk Bicycle Club same time
14 Matthew Hamilton Team Leslie Bike Shop same time
15 Scott McCrossan Pedal Power RT same time
16 Roman Bardzik (Jnr) Unattached same time
17 Stuart McGregor Dooleys RT 05:25″
18 Jack Barrett Stirling Bike club 05:26″
19 Chris Smart GB Fire Service 05:29″
20 Keith Robertson Granite City RT same time
21 Paul Coats Squadra Via Mazzini Race Tool 05:37″
22 Kristoff Aksnes Glasgow Wheelers 05:42″
23 Jason Roberts Glasgow Wheelers 06:00″
24 Euan Pope Glasgow Couriers 06:28″
25 Owen Jeffries Velo Ecosse same time
26 Liam Cowie Granite City RT same time
27 Charlie Billington Edinburgh RC same time
28 James McCallum Endura Racing 06:32″
29 Graham McGarrity Dooleys RT 06:37″
30 Ali Watt Granite City RT 06:43″
31 Niall Aitken Pedal Power RT 06:47″
32 Derek Walker EK Road Club same time
33 Dan Fleeman Team Raleigh 06:54″
34 Kevin Barclay Team Leslie Bike Shop 06:57″
35 Eddie Cowie Stirling Bike club same time
36 Jamie Drever Glasgow Wheelers same time
37 John Clarke Glasgow Wheelers same time
38 Andrew Brierley Team Leslie Bike Shop 07:01″
39 Paul Rennie Dooleys RT same time
40 Veli-Matti Raikkonen Granite City RT 07:05″
41 Grant Stevenson Glasgow Wheelers 07:34″
42 Mark Skilling Ayr Roads CC 07:53″
43 Andrew Leith Dooleys RT 08:13″
44 Stephen Russell EK Road Club 08:14″
45 Franco Porco Falkirk Bicycle Club 08:33″
46 Finlay Young Velo Ecosse 08:36″
47 Keith Smith Glasgow Wheelers 09:46″
48 Henry Bird Edinburgh RC 10:47″
49 Richard Chapman the bicycleworks.com 11:28″
50 Gordon Murdoch EK Road Club same time
51 Peter Murdoch EK Road Club same time
52 Mark Baugh Stirling Bike club 16:35″
53 Tom Macdonald Lomond Roads CC 18:04″
54 Hans Forhaug Glasgow United CC 18:07″
55 Kenneth Armstrong Ayr Roads CC 18:17″
56 Jim Daly Johnstone Wheelers 22:42″