We missed you last year Tour de Trossachs, so let’s begin with a large ‘thank you’ to Jason Roberts and his team for reviving this great race and organising it so well.
And nice to see the late Sandy Wallace’s name honoured on the start sheet.
It was a lovely autumn morning in Fife but by the time we reached Stirling the rain clouds had appeared and the wipers were on – but as we got closer to The Trossachs, the skies cleared and the Weather Gods smiled upon us.
The fishermen were on the Lake of Menteith early as we drove up that last long drag to where the race would finish in an hour or two.
We reminisced about the ‘old days’ when a big crowd would gather at the foot of the Dukes outside the Baillie Nicol Jarvie hotel in Aberfoyle – named a after a character in Sir Walter Scot’s novel, ‘Rob Roy’ – with their beers, to cheer riders on to the climb alas, the bar and the crowds are no more.
The Dukes was in fine fettle, the sun shining through the autumn leaves, their colours on the turn with great views south.
First man in our viewfinder was # 3 Norman Gillan [Vanelli – Project Go] who ‘warmed the tar’ for everyone else.
Whilst first man on a ‘low pro’ was # 5 Kenneth Young [Rock and Road Cycles] out of the saddle and battling the grade.
Basel Razouk [Torvelo Racing] # 16 was the first to catch our eye as moving well on that nice Quintana Roo ‘tri’ bike; he’d end the day in sixth place on 1:11:24.
We wandered down to the famous hairpin where the Tour de Trossachs ‘gallery’ used to stand, dozens of clubmen would ride out to watch the race back in the 70’s and 80’s; today we had but one lone rider out to watch # 18 Graham Miller [Chester RC] battle with gravity.
Ambling back up the climb we thought that Neil Cowie off # 32 having come all the way from Elgin deserved a picture.
Liam White [Torvelo Racing] # 35 looked comfortable and quiet on a climb where we heard many riders before we saw them, wheezing carries a long way on still, cool autumn air.