As the storm clouds grew over the Wallace Monument the anticipation increased ahead of “Up the Kirk 2013” which had the honour of incorporating the Scottish Hill Climb Championships. The volunteers of the host club, Stirling Bike Club, got the course set up as a few nervous riders did some last minute reccies and stressed about gear ratios and tyre pressures.
Words by race organiser, Eddie Addis
With the youth race starting proceedings the first rider off at 9.01am was Perth United’s Jake Swan, as the youngest rider in the race, having just turned eight years old, did himself and his club proud to set the initial time to beat.
The times continued to get faster and faster, and more impressive as minutes ticked by with the quickest times more than rivalling and putting to shame many of the times set by the seniors later in the day.
The fastest overall time for both male and female riders were unsurprisingly set by the Youth A riders with Mark McGuire, Perth United setting the fastest overall time with a blistering 3’02”.
The fastest female on the day was Keira Johnston from Glasgow Riderz, setting an equally impressive benchmark of 4’08”.
Thankfully the threatening grey skies kept hold of their wet payload until the youth race had finished, the youngsters demonstrating why they are the future of our sport and impressing those who had made the effort to come along and show support.
As the seniors started to warm up and the tension grew the heavens opened and what can only be described as a torrent of rain lashed the already greasy, leaf-covered course, making conditions anything but easy.
All those calculations over gear ratios and tyre pressures went straight out the window and last minute fumbling with track pumps was a common sight around the start area as tyre pressure were dropped to compensate for the steady flow of water that was now running down the hill.
The rain-soaked riders enthusiasm for the race didn’t seem to be dampened by the conditions and at 10.31 Trefor Baker or Glenmarnock Wheelers set the time by which all that followed would be judged on the longer course used for the adults.
With two of the favourites to take the title of Mens Scottish Hill Climb Champion 2013, last year’s King of the Kirk, Steven Lawley and David Griffiths, being away on international duty in France the start sheet looked to indicate the title was there for the taking.
The early benchmark time was set by Ross Cunningham from Glasgow Green Cycle Club who hit five minutes dead, this time then stood for almost an hour until local rider from Squadra Porcini, Prasad Prasad, who is normally seen setting the hill alight wearing trainers without a bike, smashed through the five minute barrier with a time of 4’53”. However, as Prasad was riding on a day licence he wasn’t eligible for the champs but still set a time to raise the eyebrows of the big hitters that were set to follow.
As the raid-soaked riders huddled round the results tent trying to maintain body heat with coffee and cake, for the impressive selection of home baking that was on offer, watching as the times were relayed down from the top of the hill, rider after rider tried but failed to top the time of Prasad, until Arthur Doyle of Dooleys Cycles put to good use his huge power and years of experience to propel his bike to the top of the Kirk in an amazing time of 4’45”.
With almost 20 riders still to go after Arthur, would anyone have the legs to deny him being crowned King of the Kirk?
The closest of all the challengers was Euan Pope of Glasgow Road club who was the only one of the remaining riders, and one of only three on the day, to go under the five minute barrier.
King Arthur was crowned and took the title of Scottish Men’s Hill Climb Champion 2013. Euan Pope, Glasgow RC, scooped a well-deserved Silver and the Bronze went to Glasgow Green’s Ross Cunningham.
The women’s race was contested by a smaller field but that didn’t make for any less drama, the second rider off and setting a blistering time was local rider Kerry McPhee riding for local shop based team, Rock and Road Cycles.
Being a triathlete might have been an advantage to Kerry as the rain continued to fall and swimming might have proved to be a better was to complete the course. She didn’t need her wetsuit and finished in an impressive time of 5’41”.
Despite valiant efforts to beat her time the closest challenger was Granite City’s Julie Erskine who came within two seconds of Kerry but and had to settle for silver on this occasion.
The bronze medal was lifted by Lynsey Curran who just missed on going under six minutes.
Last year’s Ladies’ Champion Jen Taylor of Equipe Velo Ecosse was last to go and the only rider capable of denying Kerry of her first Scottish ladies Hill Climb Champion title.
Jen put up a brave defence of her title but in the end just fell short of getting on the podium after a long hard season and finished in fourth place.
An impressive debut by Kerry McPhee, Rock and Road Cycles saw her take her first Gold medal in this discipline and be crowned Queen of the Kirk 2013, not sure we’d bet against her adding to the medal collection in future years.
The team prize was awarded to Equipe Velo Ecosse, with Andrew Nicell, Rob Wilkins and Richard McDonald, the three riders whos combined times gave them the victory.
The rain eased slightly as the medal ceremony was held in a damp but upbeat atmosphere, and the day’s events came to a close.
The appreciation of all riders and supporters was shown to those brilliant individuals who had given up their Saturday morning to stand in the pouring rain for hours and make sure the event was the spectacle that the effort put in by the riders deserved, and make sure it ran as smoothly and safely as it possibly could. Chapeau to all the helpers – without you we wouldn’t have events like this!
Results - Scottish Hill Climb Championships 2013, 'Up The Kirk'
1 Keira Johnston Glasgow Riderz 4:08.000
2 Erika Allen Team Thomsons Cycles 4:38.000
3 Philippa Samphier Stirling Bike Club 5:12.000
1 Mark McGuire Perth United Cycling Club 3:02.000
2 Harry Johnston Team Thomsons Cycles 3:08.000
3 Jordan Stronach Ythan CC 3:20.000
4 Rian Hill Classic Racing Team 3:20.000
5 Kieran Robbins East Sutherland Wheelers 3:28.000
6 Andy Brown Stirling Bike Club 3:29.000
7 Danny Hedley Discovery Junior Cycling Club 3:36.000
8 Matthew Peters Perth United Cycling Club 3:43.000
9 Lewis Mulholland Johnstone Wheelers CC 3:49.000
10 Robert Tree Deeside Thistle CC 3:52.000
11 Calum Johnston Glasgow Riderz 4:08.000
12 Ewan Mathieson Glasgow Riderz 4:08.000
13 Charlie Swan Perth United Cycling Club 4:15.000
14 Luke Whittle Discovery Junior Cycling Club 4:31.000
15 Alistair Merry Discovery Junior Cycling Club 4:37.000
1 Jenny Holl Stirling Bike Club 4:15.000
2 Katie Allen Team Thomsons Cycles 5:11.000
3 Rhona Callander Wallace Warriors 5:11.000
4 Erica Oxley West Lothian Clarion CC 8:12.000
1 Stephen Dent Nevis Cycles Racing Team 3:25.000
2 Sean Flynn Edinburgh RC 3:37.000
3 Alexander MacRae Glasgow Riderz 3:39.000
4 Logan Dow Stirling Bike Club 3:43.000
5 Robbie McLaren Dunfermline CC 3:45.000
6 Calum Shackley Glasgow Riderz 3:48.000
7 Jonathon Hilbourne Glasgow Riderz 3:58.000
8 Lewis Goodlad Ythan CC 4:13.000
9 Andrew Merry Discovery Junior Cycling Club 4:23.000
10 Lewis Stewart Glasgow Riderz 4:32.000
11 Matthew Running Glasgow Riderz 4:35.000
12 Innes Johnston Glasgow Riderz 4:42.000
1 Anna Shackley Glasgow Riderz 4:49.000
2 Abby Stewart Glasgow Riderz 5:18.000
3 Rhona Samphier Stirling Bike Club 5:52.000
4 Alison Bryce West Lothian Clarion CC 6:07.000
1 Jamie Johnston Team Thomsons Cycles 3:50.000
2 Alfred George Discovery Junior Cycling Club 3:54.000
3 Rory McGuire Perth United Cycling Club 4:03.000
4 Alexander Dent Nevis Cycles Racing Team 4:30.000
5 Sandy Holl Stirling Bike Club 4:36.000
6 Oscar Onley Kelso Wheelers 4:42.000
7 Sorley Johnston Glasgow Riderz 5:08.000
8 Alexander Ball West Lothian Clarion CC 5:13.000
9 Andrew Oxley West Lothian Clarion CC 6:16.000
1 Callum Reid Stirling Bike Club 4:29.000
2 Murray Lawson Edinburgh RC 5:27.000
3 Rory Thiel Discovery Junior Cycling Club 6:44.000
1 Jake Swan Perth United Cycling Club 10:28.000
2 Brandon Somerville Royal Navy & Royal Marines CA 6:31
2 Silver Julie Erskine Granite City RT 5:43
3 Bronze Lynsey Curran Glasgow Couriers 6:01
4 Jennifer Taylor Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers 6:06
5 Toni McIntosh Ayr Roads Cycling Club 6:07
6 Brenda Callander Stirling Bike Club 6:35
7 Anne Chisholm Perth United Cycling Club 7:17
8 Peggy Series Edinburgh RC 7:27
9 Fabienne Meadows Stirling Bike Club 8:09
10 Pauline Taylor Glasgow Glenmarnock Wheelers 8:20
11 Vyvian Bryce West Lothian Clarion CC 9:40
2 Prasad Prasad Squadra Porcini 4:53
3 Silver Euan Pope Glasgow Road Club 4:57
4 Bronze Ross Cunningham Glasgow Green Cycle Club 5:00
5 Craig Hardie www.Hardie-Bikes.com 5:01
6= Team Robin Wilkins Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers 5:05
6= Johnny Graham Team Right Move Windows 5:05
6= Jack King Cormorant RT 5:05
6= Jack Taylor Dumfries CC 5:05
10 Alan Dean Edinburgh RC 5:08
11 John Glass West Lothian Clarion CC 5:09
12 Team Richard McDonald Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers 5:11
13 Gary Maher Ayr Roads Cycling Club 5:15
14 Stuart Stirland Edinburgh RC 5:18
15 Andrew McGhee Glasgow Couriers 5:20
16 Barry McGuire Perth United Cycling Club 5:20
17 James Cusick Glasgow Couriers 5:21
18 Anton Aro 5:21
19 Lewis Duff Glasgow Couriers 5:26
20 Joseph McMillan Team Right Move Windows 5:26
21 Scott Stewart Musselburgh RCC 5:26
22 Walter Hamilton 5:26
23 Team Andrew Nicell Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers 5:28
24 Josiah King Cormorant RT 5:29
25 John Dunlop Loudoun RC 5:30
26 Andrew Underwood Glasgow Whls 5:30
27 Tom Fernie Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers 5:33
28 Terence McMahon Glasgow Ivy CC 5:39
29 Gavin Shirley www.Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk 5:41
30 Craig Moffat Falkirk Bike Club 5:46
31 Scott Johnston Icarus Racing 5:47
32 Graeme Cook Stirling Bike Club 5:47
33 Mark Baugh Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers 5:49
34 Alan MacDonald 5:50
35 Douglas Barrett Kinross CC 5:52
36 Mark Munro Cairngorm CC 5:52
37 Tim Caine Berwick Wheelers CC 5:53
38 Nigel Holl Stirling Bike Club 5:54
39 Paul Gareze Lomond Roads CC 5:56
40 Euan Lindsay www.Hardie-Bikes.com 6:01
41 Ian Fraser Glasgow Nightingale CC 6:13
42 Robert Marshall www.Hardie-Bikes.com 6:25
43 John Watters 6:33
44 David MacDonald 6:38
45 David Stephen Stirling Bike Club 6:39
46 John Thow Glasgow Ivy CC 6:40
47 Steven Robertson East Kilbride Road Club 6:41
48 Ryan Bunyan Dunfermline CC 6:46
49 Trefor Baker Glasgow Glenmarnock Wheelers 7:21
50 Neil McLeod Stirling Bike Club 7:22
51 John Newton Pearson Cycling Club 7:25
52 William Stephen Glasgow Couriers 7:44
53 Andrew Cook 8:00
54 John Griffiths 8:08