Thursday, January 20, 2022

Ivor Reid

"Ivor was a huge character who made a big impression on everyone he met and will be sadly missed, not just by the cycling community but everyone whose hearts he touched."

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On Tuesday morning we awoke to the sad news that North of Scotland stalwart, Ivor Reid had died at just 57 years-of-age.

Tragic.

I wasn’t privileged to call Ivor a close personal friend but I knew the man for a long time; from the early 80’s and when we met there was always a warm hand shake and some good chat.

Ivor Reid
Ivor Reid. Photo©Harry Tweed

When I saw pictures of him racing as a ‘Master’ on the track I always had to smile; the gear was always the best and right up to the minute – be it aero helmets, ‘keirin’ gloves, wheels, shoes, his enthusiasm and love for all things track cycling shone from those images.

Here at VeloVeritas we thought it may be nice to hear what those close to him thought of the man, and we start with our Editor, Martin Williamson who raced alongside Ivor in countless track meetings and road races up and down the country:

“Ivor’s loss is so so sad, it will be deeply felt across the cycling community, anyone who met or knew Ivor will have felt his genuine care and empathy. Hugely dependable and knowledgeable, he did so much for the sport he loved in his coaching capacity with the Scotland team, and as a rider he was a real force – particularly when he reached Masters level.

“I will never forget Ivor’s Tuesday after-work ‘mad breenges’ down from Inverness in his Porsche, to get to Meadowbank velodrome for a weekly Track League 7pm start, his ability to build his bike up out the back of his car in a minute and rip our legs off in the first race – often a whole-field team pursuit – with no warm-up.

“On the frequent occasions that rain delayed or forced us to abandon the Track League, I was always impressed that Ivor displayed no frustration or disappointment, I never saw him deviate from his default setting of “always smiling, always having fun”, despite a three hour round trip for nothing.

“Not so long ago I bumped into Ivor and Elaine on the beach in Puerto Pollença, Mallorca and Ivor greeted me like a long-lost brother, delighted to see me and Gillian, big bear hugs and handshakes, and he was happy to spend hours catching up. He was a true people person; he genuinely loved to be around folk, particularly cyclists.

“We’ll miss Ivor so much, and send all our thoughts to Elaine, their family and friends.”

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Through the tears, Olympic medalist, World and Commonwealth Champion Craig Maclean sent us this message:

“From the very first race I did to the last, Ivor was omnipotent both physically and with me mentally too – I learned much from the great man.

“A wonderful friend and great craic, I’ll miss picking up the phone to his understanding ear and perspective.

“His legacy is the passion he had for racing and the impact he had on everyone he met, such was his warm, friendly nature.”

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One of those closest to Ivor was rapid short distance time trial star and fellow Masters track man, Peter Ettles:

“My first memories of Ivor are when we raced a road race together as schoolboys up at Inverness. It was on the piece of dual carriageway that leads on to the Kessock Bridge on the north side. But the bridge wasn’t actually built at the time. I think he won that day, a habit he got very used to.

“We raced quite a few times after that as youngsters but the inevitable happened and we drifted away from the sport a bit. Something to do with ladies and alcohol I believe.

Ivor didn’t stay away from the bike for too long though; he was working as an apprentice mechanic and had bought a flat in inverness, which was great but the only problem was he couldn’t afford to put the heating on in the winter so during the weekends there was only one solution to this – four and five hour runs on the bike to get the heat up.

“So Ivor was back on the bike, and that was the way it remained for many years; even managing to sneak in the Tour of the Kingdom into his honeymoon when he married Elaine. I think it’s fair to say that this was not going to be the last cycle race Elaine would be attending.

“Ivor raced with, helped, mentored, and coached many riders during what was a very long and very successful cycling career.

“Ivor’s real passion though was track cycling and when I came back to the bike we truly battered that A9 south, in the days before the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome was built; with trips to Meadowbank, Manchester, and Newport for training and racing – these trips were always eventful…

“I remember on one particular campaign on the run up to the World Masters in Manchester we were getting pretty fed up with going down to Meadowbank every weekend only to be rained off so the plan was hatched to do a few weekends going up and down to Manchester Velodrome.

“We would leave inverness on a Friday night after work in Ivor’s trusty Audi A4, or as I liked to refer to it ‘Apollo 4’, as anyone who has sat next to Ivor knows, the loon liked to drive a bit. In fact if he hadn’t taken up cycling I reckon he could have given Schumacher a run for his money in Formula One.

“My main job on the trip was to look out for the speed cops which can be quite tricky with your eyes shut, needless to say I think a few penalty points were gathered up on these trips.

“Once we got to Manchester we would check-in to one of the city’s classier hotels like the Diamond Lodge or Travelodge; always insisting on getting a ground floor room wherever possible as stairs would be impossible on our return from the track.

“We would book on to any sessions we could and scrounge our way on to others; both on Saturdays and Sundays just to get the training done.

“Sometimes we didn’t leave Manchester ’til after 10:00 pm on the Sunday, getting home by 3:30 or 4:00 am then up for work later on the Monday morning.

“Looking back now I really don’t know how much we benefitted from these trips as far as fitness goes because we spent most of the rest of the week shattered.

“I wouldn’t change any of it though; great times with a great friend. RIP Ivor Reid.”

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One of many riders to benefit from Ivan’s mentoring and coaching was multiple track champion at Elite National, European and World Masters level, Janet Birkmyre:

“I could talk forever about just how humble and generous he was, and how incredibly privileged I feel to have known him as a friend.

“When he offered to help me in a coaching capacity the qualities I already knew him for became even more obvious and he leaves me, like so many, feeling sad and bereft – we should have had so much more time with him.

“Personally, I spent hours, day after day, cycling round Mallorca with him and yet still feel there are so many conversations we did not finish and then there is his wonderful wife, Elaine, who was so much a part of the team…

“It is impossible to find the words to express the sadness I, like many others in the cycling community, feel after hearing the news that Ivor Reid passed away on Monday.

“Ivor was one of the most modest people I have met in cycling, he quietly and very professionally got on with his racing and won a World Masters title, along with a number of World Masters, National Masters and elite medals – he was a racer through and through and that much is common knowledge.

“What is perhaps less well known is the huge number of riders who he has helped along the way, from his time as Scotland’s Track Cycling Manager in the lead up to the most successful Commonwealth Games to date in Melbourne in 2006 to the individual riders he worked with, quietly helping them realise their ambition and never taking the lime light.

“He is the very epitome of an unsung hero and he will leave a gaping hole in the lives of many, none more so than his amazing wife, Elaine, who was very much a part of everything he did on and off the bike.”

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Commonwealth Games medallist and former British Criterium Champion, James McCallum had this to say:

“The loss of Ivor has left a huge hole in my life. A larger than life character who was one of the most selfless and dependable people I’ve ever had the pleasure to call a friend.

“Not only that but he was a fierce competitor as many who have rubbed shoulders with him will attest to. But it goes deeper than that; Ivor was at my side through many of my cycling career high but more importantly for the lows.

“He had an uncanny ability to really understand me as a person as well as an athlete and always knew exactly what I really needed to hear. Be that positive or negative, his honesty and genuine intent were never in doubt.

“He never ever asked anything in return and was 100% dedicated to helping anyone who looked in trouble or just needed an arm around their shoulder.

“He has left behind a legacy that only those who knew can appreciate.

“The foundation and life blood of many if not all of Scotland’s best track riders and fundamental to their success and legacy. Ivor was a Concrete Constant in cycling; passionate, reliable, loving, and generous.

“I’m honoured to call him a true friend, mentor and fellow cyclist.

“You’re missed more than you will ever know big man. Keep smiling.”

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