On a dry morning with little wind and a temperature which varied from mild to chilly depending on how the clouds whirled into the Lomond Hills, 23 year-old Kyle Beattie (Cairngorm CC) took the Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2019 north with a 7 minutes 43 seconds ride; a margin of 12 seconds over Fife rider Robin Downie (Team Andrew Allan Architecture) who put a single second into bronze medalist, Tom Merry (Edinburgh University).
There is a ‘BUT’ however…
The fastest ascent of the East Lomond, aka ‘Falkland Hill’ on the morning was not achieved by Beattie but by Youth A rider, Murray Lawson (East Kilbride RC) who was some eight seconds faster than MTB-er Beattie, with a 7:35 ride which is also a record for this version of the climb – back in ‘my day’ the climb was longer, carrying on beyond the current car park finish.
However, because the youth event was not part of the championship he is NOT the champion.
Take it up with Scottish Cycling folks – we’re just the messengers…
But the social media outcry has already begun…
VeloVeritas took up station around three quarters of the way up the climb, it’s a much more exposed proposition now that it used to be with a lot of the old woods which sheltered the road now cleared.
Fortunately there was little breeze on the morning and the temperature wasn’t too bad for the lungs.
Veteran, Paul Maddocks (Kinross CC) was first starter but had succumbed to number two David Holgate (Hardie Bikes) by the time they reached us.
David Donaldson (unattached) gave us a ‘first’ – taking a large glug from his bottle just before he reached us; dehydration does creep up on you…
Best Youth B rider was Jamie Thomson (Johnstone Wheelers) getting his lines right and not traveling any extra distance.
Eventual third placed Youth A rider, Ben Johnston (Berwick Wheelers) was looking the part off number 13 but handicapped a little by having no one to chase, his minute man recording DNS.
Looking very much tidy and on top of the job was Peebles CC lady youth winner, Elena McGorum.
Her Peebles club mate, Corran Carrick-Anderson was also looking the part en route second Youth A and a 7:56 which would have placed him fourth in the men’s championship.
There was just Lawson to come – and we already know about that story.
The Juniors were next up with Gregor McCarthy taking those classic Nightingale colours to third junior award.
Hot on his heels was eventual second junior Mattiss Robertson (RT23) and right behind him, eventual best junior Jonte Willins (Peebles CC).
Peebles CC enjoyed more success with Elena’s sister, Anna McGorum taking the junior ladies award.
Senior ladies next with Natalie Stevens from the splendidly named, ‘Eat Plants not Pigs CC’ was hard core and opted for a ‘full tool’ Canyon low-pro; she’d already passed the two riders in front of her Miriam Rennet (Kinross CC) and Shona McClachlan (North Argyle CC) and would end the day as third lady.
Best lady was Becky Storey (Synergy Cycles) with the tall, slim build of a climber and on disc brakes, en route to improving her course record with 9:10.
Award for the hippest rig on the hill has to go to Edinburgh Road Club’s Sharon Bird on her cult US build Parlee with Lightweight wheels and electronic Ultegra – nice.
Oh yeah, and she was second lady too…
First gentleman off was former hill climber of note, ‘back in the day,’ Tommy Cummings (Fife Century CC) perhaps not as fly on the climbs as he once was but ‘still game,’ as the saying goes.
Having seen him action at the Lo’gelly Tuesday night crits we fancied Tom Merry (Edinburgh University) for a medal and we got that one right; bronze was his at the end of the day.
[Trim that steerer for us though, please Tom.]
Martyn McWhirter was first of the winning Edinburgh Road Club team counters
Winner Beattie dropped his head just as he passed me to provide me with my worst picture of the day – this is when I miss Martin’s motor drive…
Former top tester and Campsies winner, Stewart Duff (Team Kingdom Gas) was looking the part but Old Father Time is one tenacious adversary.
Giving the home fans something to enthuse about, Team Andrew Allan Architecture’s Robin Downie was looking the part and the watch confirmed he was moving well – silver would be his at the top.
Edinburgh Road Club’s second team counter was Callum Kennedy – we had to explain to our chum Davie that it wasn’t the same one and there would be no chance of a song at the finish (he’s at a bad age).
‘Oldie but Goodie’ Jim Cusick was through with the Dooleys’s crew, hoping to snaffle the team prize – but those ERC boys spoiled that idea.
We liked the paint job Adrian Hay’s (Dunfermline CC) Cervelo.
And Aaron Johnson’s Holburn Cycles team strip.
It just remained for Joseph Agnew to cement the Edinburgh Road Club team award and it was time to head for Freuchie Cricket Club to get the results.
But not before a bowl of soup at the Hay Loft, ‘obligado’ Davie.
It was nice to see 1969 champion, Barry (Ned) Carnegie at the venue and we couldn’t resist snapping him with the new champ.
Barry took his title on Falkland’s near neighbour climb, Purrinden; there’s a track links the tops of the two – across the Hanging Myre moor.
All that remained was for the champ to speak to Scottish Cycling and for us to head off up Freuchie Brae.
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It’s great to see hill climbs back in vogue but what was wrong with how they did it ‘back in the day’ with one event and awards given to all the best performers in their various categories – and whoever is fastest is the winner, be they lady, vet, junior or Youth A?