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The Gordon Arms Trophy 2007

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The appearance of daffodils by the roadside at the The Gordon Arms Trophy served to remind you that despite the wonderful blue sky, it is in fact only just the beginning of spring; the morning was tempered by a pretty chilly nor-easterly, taking the temperature down enough to justify at least arm-warmers for most of the field, with gloves, leg-warmers and even over-shoes the choice for many riders too.

The morning belonged to Graeme Obree (Fullerton Wheelers) who rocketed to a fantastic 2 minute winning margin over well-travelled Carlos Riise (Shetland Wheelers).

The Gordon Arms Trophy
A storming ride in another hilly time trial by Graeme showed he still has all his natural class and is set for a great 2007.

A Tough Start
A thorough warm-up was never more important in a race: from leaving the timekeeper at the Gordon Arms Hotel on the A708 near Mountbenger, the first quarter of the race route headed directly uphill on the B709 and the steady climb of The Wiss.

A good range of climbing styles were on display on the hill, with Carlos and Aiden McIroy (Auchencrow Thistle) looking to be amongst the quickest, their faster cadences helping to keep them warm too.

Also looking good at this early stage were Graeme – who always impresses with his ability to dig deep, David Caesar (The Bicycleworks.com), and Gordon Graham (Fullerton Wheelers). Claire Thomas (Edinburgh Road Club) was also making the climb look less arduous than it appeared to us watching from the layby.

The Gordon Arms Trophy
Aidan McIroy enjoyed his day today, finishing 3rd. Like many of the competitors, this was his first race of the year.

The Technical Bit
Swinging left at the top of the climb at Crosslee, the course took the riders downhill on the B7009 through Newburgh and Gilmanscleugh into the Ettrick Valley and along the twisty and undulating valley floor, where the wind was making things pretty hard work.

The riders who’s work-rate didn’t drop on the downhill, and those who had done their homework regarding the twists and turns of the course, were able to make the most of the gradient’s assistance.

The Gordon Arms Trophy
Dave Moran secured 5th place.

Once in the valley, Carlos and Graeme were able to switch into full TT mode to make gains on the riders peppered along the course in front of them, whilst Aiden rode strongly enough to keep Carlos – a minute at his back – behind him.

The Gordon Arms Trophy
Claire Thomas rode a great race to take the Lady’s Prize.

The Final Insult
When the riders arrived at Kirkhope, they turned left and headed up the difficult single-track climb back towards Yarrow. The steepness of this climb was a surprise to a few folk who hadn’t had time to recce the course, and for many it’s not a pleasant sight to look up and see other riders as tiny dots a mile away, still climbing towards the top.

Kevin Adams (Edinburgh Road Club) suffered the disappointment of a bent rear gear-hanger at this point whilst changing from his big to wee ring, and had to call it a day, hitching a lift back to the strip from Chief Comm Andy Laing.

The Gordon Arms Trophy
Carlos Riise climbed well today, avoided the sheep and cows on the road and drew his minute-men in on each of the hills to place 2nd.

Whilst Graeme made rapid progress from the bottom of the hill, halfway up Carlos drew inexorably towards Aidan, and crested the summit less than half a minute behind him. However, the younger man descended down towards Yarrow more quickly and stretched the gap back out to the best part of his minute’s start again.

The Gordon Arms Trophy
John Sturgeon was good enough for 6th place today.

Taily Home
The fast tailwind-assisted run-in along the A708 through Yarrow Feus didn’t see much change in the running order, with the riders like Dave Moran (Edinbu