The Trossachs in spring, a nice cup of coffee in Aberfoyle, the weather forecast is good, the Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race is always a good race to watch and…
What’s that? Julie’s son’s christening, Sunday morning — no, no, I didn’t forget, darling, of course not…
And that’s why weren’t there; but we did talk to a few guys who were;
First question from VeloVeritas was the obvious one; “who won?”
“James McCallum (Endura Racing) took it from Ross Creber (Plowman) and Alistair Kay (York Cycleworks); James is very strong at the moment.”
Remind us of the parcours, please.
“Balfron to Kippen to Thornhill to Callendar over the Braes of Greenock to Aberfoyle over the Dukes Pass, then two laps of a finishing circuit at Balfron by way of the Top of The World climb.”
How did it go?
“There was a big group away early, around 20 riders and that was the race, all the big names made it, except Paul Coats.
“Gary Hand rode really well today, he did a lot of work for James before got tailed off, just before me, on the finishing circuit.
“It came down to a sprint and James won by a couple of lengths from Ross. I’m not sure of my exact finishing position, 11th or 12th I think.”
“James is obviously going well and so was Ross, he was in a three man break for about 20 miles with Michael Nicholson and Paul Rennie (both Dooleys) but still managed second place.
“Martin Ford was up from England and I think he was the guy that Endura were worried about – he did look strong.”
Are you happy with your race?
“I missed Girvan and I missed the Dave Campbell in Fife, last weekend, so I’m a bit ‘short’ when the distance goes over 70 miles.
“The trouble is that May is a bit quiet as far as road racing goes, I’m trying to keep away from time trials – if I ride a ‘10’ or a ’25.’ I always think; ‘I’d have been better doing three or four hours training today, rather than this.’
“With the benefit of hindsight, I should have sat in on the finishing circuits, I was getting involved, hoping that maybe I could sneak a little group away, but I didn’t happen and I got tailed off.”
Next in the witness box was;
Rab Wardell (Kinesis)
How’s the new team going, Rab?
“The bikes and team set up are good; you don’t have to think about anything, just turn up and race.
“The only negative has been that we’ve had illness problems; most of the guys have colds and are just getting back into it now.”
You rode The Rutland, last weekend, how was it?
“I was struggling a bit towards the end on those short, sharp hills; it’s different down there, so many guys are willing to race. But it’s a great race, well promoted and a lot of spectators out.”
How was today?
“I made the split, but I’m not at 100%, I’ve had the cold since Girvan, I keep thinking that I’ve got rid of it; then it comes back.
“I’m still gaining experience of road racing; maybe I’m doing too much; I was comfortable for most of the race, but I was feeling it in the last five miles; the group just whittled down all day and I finished somewhere around 12th in the sprint.”
“I think we should have ridden the Dukes Pass harder, to dislodge the passengers, by the time we hit the Top of the World, it was a strong head wind and no one was keen to ride hard into that.
“I should have ridden a bit more cagily, but it’s difficult, people see the Kinesis jersey; you’re heavily marked and expected to do a lot of work.”
“The Lincoln, next weekend, that’s a special race; then I have the Ras in May with the Tour of Beauce UCI race, in Canada, in June.”
Of course, we had to speak to the ‘man of the moment,’
James McCallum (Endura Racing)
Here’s what he said;
“It’s a great course, I love it, but maybe I’m just saying that because I won!
“The race was very well organised and it is an event that I’ve always wanted to win; winning here today and the Dave Campbell in Fife, last weekend — after three second places there — has been pretty special.
“There’s been a lot happening in my life outside of cycling, this last week; I had my birthday celebrations and we’ve moved to a new flat — so, I’m very happy with this form.
“The big group went away early today, on the Braes of Greenock; Gary Hand said to me that it looked like the move of the day and did most of the work to get us across.
“He did a great ride today; it was him who did most of the chasing down of the Creber/Nicholson break; Paul Rennie was with them, but he got shelled.
“I was keeping an eye on Martin Ford, I didn’t realise that he was there ‘til I saw him in the neutralised section.
“The sprint could have turned out badly, there was a gap between Ford and Arthur Doyle; I was worried that Ford would shut the door on me, but I got through and won by two lengths from Ross Creber — he’s riding well just now.”
Are you happy with how Endura rode the Sam Robinson Memorial Road Racetoday?
“Gary said to me at the start; ‘it’s your race’ and they did everything to help that happen — very happy. It’s a shame we’ve been without Gary for three weeks, but he’s back, now.”
“Lincoln, then a steady week or two, then it’s the build up for the criterium series — I have good form just now; I’ll need to look after it.”
That’s for sure; with thanks to Phil, Rab and James for their help and patience.