On a day of relentless rain which couldn’t decide whether it was apocalyptic or biblical, former jockey and reigning Scottish Olympic Time Trial Champion, Wilson Renwick (RT 23) was the man who coped best with the drastic conditions in the Tour de Trossachs.

Tour de Trossachs
Wilson Renwick. Photo©Martin Williamson

Last man off and former Trossachs top dog, Chris Smart (GTR – Return To Life) finished second with 1:09:57 to Renwick’s 1:07:47.

Last place on the podium went to Scottish Hill Climb Champion, David Griffiths (Bioracer-Project GO) with 1:10:23.

Griffiths’ team mate Rob Friel took fourth spot and English 18 minute ‘10’ man Adam Wild (GS Metro) fifth place. 

Tour de Trossachs
Adam Wild. Photo©Martin Williamson

The usual VeloVeritas protocol of Martin and I driving the course was abandoned as our editor decided to walk back over The Dukes from the Callander side, snapping as he went.

Needless to say, this plot didn’t find favour with yours truly and I stuck to driving the course…

Tour de Trossachs
Robert Shennan. Photo©Ed Hood
Tour de Trossachs
Andrew Stewart. Photo©Ed Hood

First vantage point was the top of The Dukes but it took me a wee while to get grips with my new (pre-loved) flash for the camera and the first decent snaps I produced were of Messrs. Robert Shennan (Johnstone Wheelers) and Andrew Stewart (Dunfermline CC) who couldn’t have been ‘full gas’ with that smile he flashed us.

Tour de Trossachs
Lindsay Foster. Photo©Ed Hood

Lindsay Foster (Hitchin Nomads) was a long way from home and if he was looking for the famous ‘gallery’ of tifosi on the hairpin and one of those crisp autumn days the race usually enjoys – sorry, Lindsay…

Tour de Trossachs
David Dalziel. Photo©Ed Hood

David Dalziel (Glasgow Nightingale) was the first rider who we managed to snap who looked like he was ‘on it.’

Tour de Trossachs
Brian Morrell. Photo©Ed Hood
Tour de Trossachs
Katherine Wren. Photo©Ed Hood

Brian Morrell (Dumfries CC) and Katherine Wren (Stirling Bike Club) were well ‘happed-up’ against the freezing rain and at this point we decided to abandon the Dukes least Mountain Rescue have to bring us in.

The descent of the Dukes is always tricky with some bad cambers and gnarly surfaces – rivers of cold water and some freshly laid gravel didn’t help today.

Tour de Trossachs
Alan Mcintyre negotiates the Dukes Pass descent. Photo©Martin Williamson

On the way down we spotted a lonely, drookit figure trudging towards us – our editor, Martin.

Eventually, even a Nikon will cry ‘enough cold rain already!’ effectively ending his part of the mission, so if you were after number 108 then you have to put up with just my pictures, sorry folks.

Tour de Trossachs
Last image before my “Nikon said No” – Chris Godfree. Photo©Martin Williamson
Tour de Trossachs
Loch Drunkie. Photo©Ed Hood

And we did have to stop for annual shot of our favourite stretch of Trossachs water – Loch Drunkie.

Next up was a photo stop loch-side; we decide against Achray as there wasn’t really a safe place to stop, so Venachar it was.

Tour de Trossachs
David Griffiths. Photo©Martin Williamson

Off earlier than we’d have expected, hill climb master, David Griffiths soon whistled past; his Canyon has grown a nose fairing we noted.

Tour de Trossachs
Jason Roberts. Photo©Ed Hood

Team mate Jason Roberts was in hot pursuit; but in vain and Griffiths would end the day in third spot.

Tour de Trossachs
Callander. Photo©Ed Hood

The tricky Inver Trossachs Road was next with the cloud threatening to roll down off the hills and swallow up Callander.

Tour de Trossachs
Nico Anelli. Photo©Martin Williamson

Nico Anelli, another of those Bioracer boys was looking the part along there, as was Ewan Taylor (Velocity 44). 

Tour de Trossachs
Ewen Taylor. Photo©Ed Hood

The mini roundabout at Callander looked a tad tricky but it was well marshalled.

Tour de Trossachs
Bobby Mcghee. Photo©Ed Hood

The Wee Braes may be ‘wee’ but they’re every bit as tough as their big brother to the west.

Bobby Mcghee (Ayr Roads CC) was one of the first we snapped, just one of a very high veteran contingent in the race – two juveniles and three juniors does not bode well for the future however.

Tour de Trossachs
Ian Archibald. Photo©Martin Williamson

Ian Archibald (Johnstone Wheelers) was gloveless – that made my already frozen hands feel even worse…

Tour de Trossachs
Andrew Wilson. Photo©Ed Hood

Andrew Wilson (St. Christopher’s CC) was another with a smile for us; sorry I didn’t smile back, I was frozen, Andrew.

Tour de Trossachs
Photo©Ed Hood

And is just me or does the guy on the front of this tandem loom like Lance Armstrong, or what?

Maybe he was incognito for The Trossachs to feature in his blog?

Usually there’s a lovely view as backdrop for pictures up on the Wee Braes – not this year and we headed for those tough closing miles along the Lake of Menteith.

Apparently it was the Loch of Menteith until the 19th century, no one knows why the change.

As we passed through Port of Menteith the reek off fires in the wee bungalows was barely clearing the lums before it headed eastwards.

A headwind is the last thing you want on those drags in the last few miles.

Tour de Trossachs
Photo©Ed Hood

And what do you know; another tandem, this one actually in the race though – gallus!

Tour de Trossachs
Lewis Duff. Photo©Ed Hood

Lewis Duff (GTR – Return To Life) looked the part on that nice aero Boardman as the rain battered down through the trees.

By this time there were huge gaps in the field – hardly surprising, given the day.

Jim Cusick (Dooleys RT) did ride but I was hiding in the car as he rode past – sorry Jim.

Aberdeen fast man Jamie Davidson gave it a ‘by’ though.

Tour de Trossachs
Alastair Anderson. Photo©Ed Hood

According to our start sheet, number 92 was Alastair Anderson of Fusion Triathlon Club but he was clad in Dooley’s gear; ‘stiff wee climb this,’ he informed us as he rode by.

Tour de Trossachs
Adam Wild. Photo©Ed Hood

North East flyer, Adam Wild (GS Metro) was looking the part and we had him down before the race as a possible winner but the watches would say, ‘fifth place.’

Tour de Trossachs
Wilson Renwick. Photo©Ed Hood

Eventual winner Renwick nearly caught us out, so quickly did he arrive after Wild, the GS Metro man was off 105 with the RT 23 man five minutes behind and obviously ‘on one,’ storming the drag which had some down to waking pace.

Tour de Trossachs
Rob Friel. Photo©Ed Hood

Rob Friel (Bioracer–Project GO) was another name we had asterisked on the start sheet and whilst he was going well, he was well down on Renwick.

Tour de Trossachs
Lynsey Curran. Photo©Martin Williamson

Fastest lady on the day was Lynsey Curran (Dooleys RT) who looked composed as she battled the gradient and a rising wind.

Tour de Trossachs
Chris Smart. Photo©Ed Hood

Chris Smart’s arrival was later than it should have been and we reckoned that Renwick had it in the bag – albeit the GTR man was riding smooth and fast. 

The result board confirmed it; Renwick from Smart and Griffiths but plaudits to all who finished on this cruel day – and also to whoever made the clootie dumpling in the hall, a bright note on a grey day.

Let’s hope for some blue skies in 2019.