The 2013 Season has started for the Bicycleworks u23 team. New faces have arrived into the nine man team with new additions Kevin Barclay, Steven Lawley, Gus Gillies and Duncan Ewing. The rest of the team stays the same with Douglas Shaw, me, Andrew Cox, Callum Wilkinson and Craig Dale completing the line up.
Winter training went pretty smoothly for everyone, each of us having our own troubles with the ice and snow, but on the whole we arrived at the season opener last weekend with everyone in good shape.
With the luxury of having nine riders, the opening weekend’s Saturday racing was split; Bellahouston held the opening crit of the season with Doug Shaw, Callum Wilkinson, Gus Gillies and Kevin Barclay all attending.
Having not been at the crit myself I asked my team mate Douglas Shaw for a bit of a insight into what happened. By his own admission he committed a bit too much in the early stages of the race, but a group of four managed to get off the front with eventual winner Rapha’s James McCallum in it.
We also managed to put Callum Wilkinson into the move that would last to the finish. Doug himself got into the chasing group which kept the front break in touch and with three laps to go after some stalling with the group he was in, Doug attacked for the finish and managed to secure fifth place.
Callum himself ended in fourth spot in the sprint for the line giving him a very encouraging start to his 2013 season. Speaking to Doug at night he was frustrated to miss the move, but very motivated heading into the race on Sunday looking for another result.
Meanwhile the other half of the team were at East Soulton in East Lothian for the Musselburgh 3-Up. Two Bicycleworks teams were entered for this, the ‘A’ team being Craig Dale and two more experienced time trialists in David Caesar and Drew Sharkey. The ‘B’ team was made up of Andrew Cox, Duncan Ewing and me.
My own experience in the race was good, I felt it went very well for us, with Andrew not having spent much time on his TT bike and Duncan racing on his road bike, for most of the first lap we just found our feet and got into a decent rhythm that we could then work off for the following two laps.
We ended up fourth fastest in the end which was pleasing since none of us have much experience riding time trials as a team, and I could see us with some more practice becoming a lot better, perhaps we’ll do another TTT later in the year.
The ‘A’ team on the other hand were all ‘at the races’, Dave, Drew and Craig had the makings of a great team and with their collective TT experience they turned in a great performance to win. The whole team had taken confidence from this and speaking to a few of the team later that night I felt Sunday’s road race was one that could provide a very good result for us.
Sunday brought an early start in order to travel down to Castle Douglas. As I left Edinburgh the snow was falling and I maybe should have given more thought to what was maybe to come.
The objective of the day was two men in every move, so from the flag the guys got to work.
Personally I have not raced in a team before that has so much ambition and confidence in ourselves to do well. No-one seemed uptight at the start, everyone knew the job was really pretty simple.
Within six miles of the start we had a decisive break going which included Douglas Shaw and me; we had company too with Eddie Addis, Paul Rennie, Gareth Montgomerie and James McPake in the move. It would prove to be decisive even with a slight change in personnel near the end of the race. Doug has been showing all winter that he is getting stronger and after Saturday’s performance in the crit he was a man with confidence.
Three laps of the circuit intended to bring the total distance 120 km but as we headed into lap two, with the break having close to two minutes lead, it became apparent that there was a snow blizzard heading our way.
The snow became so heavy halfway round the lap that most of the guys in the break simply froze. Paul Rennie Eddie and Doug managed to hold it together whilst the rest of us went off the back, having lost all ability to feel our hands and legs.
With 20 km to go I was approached by a car that informed me and the other rider that I was with that the race was being stopped at the end of the lap; the conditions had become too dangerous. That decision was no doubt the right one.
So, the race was won by Paul Rennie of Dooleys, but our team placed Duncan Ewing and Doug Shaw in the move ending up third and fourth in the race for the line. Duncan hit out on his own when he realised that I had been dropped by the break and rode across the gap to join Doug close to the finish. Kevin Barclay also managed top 10, and with every rider really struggling with the cold conditions it was one to forget weather-wise at any rate, although a very good confidence-booster for the whole team.
Speaking to team boss John Anderson at night he said that Steven Lawley had finished second in the Drumclog Hilly TT earlier in the day too.
Heading into this weekend’s race at Aberdeen (the Dick Longdragon RR) we are a lot more confident as a team than this time last year and are hoping for a continuation of the good results – and also for a slight improvement in the weather, which would be nice.
Thanks for reading,