The first race of the season is always a speculative affair, riders get to lay out their cards in front of their peers and old rivalries get the shake down and pick up the pieces from the previous seasons confrontations. Just like the battles, friendships are rekindled and the whole party begins for another couple of months.
Irvine is arguably the best cross course in Scotland added to Walkers Cycling usual high standard of organisation, it provides a win win way to kick off the calendar. If I only rode one race this year it was going to be Irvine.
Me (thats not a smirk)
The Vets lined up on one of the biggest start lines seen in Scotland, 81 amassed, mostly vets with a few Women and a couple of Juniors. The start was furious and I found myself on a cheeky line up the inside and into a fairly fast group, by the top of the stairs I knew I was outta my depth and quickly shot backwards where I belonged and that is where I stayed for the next couple of laps until I punctured on the 3rd, very far from the pits. I rode and ran the rest of lap and lost a couple of minutes but picked up my trusty old Bontrager (now SS) and rejoined the race. With the pressure off I could really start to enjoy the course and the flow, in the end I finished 38th, pretty much smack in the middle of the race, not unhappy at all in light of the lost time. Next stop top 20. Elsewhere Simon was chasing the top 10 but the Vets field is so deep now he was always chasing, still 12th is a sterling start to the season. Iain Mellis plugged away for 50th, there's better to come, isn't there Iain?
Simon is trying
In the Womens race Maddie and Lyndsay threw down the hammer and Maddie had a good battle with Genevieve Whitson (Ronde) who eventually overcame her to take the win but a great start for Maddie, a win is imminent. Lyndsay recovering from a cold stretched out her legs for a 6th place being squeezed by the locals from Walkers Cycling.
Maddie is focussed
Lyndsay is cruising
The senior race was an altogether frenzied affair. VCM's sole rep in this race was carried on the shoulders of Andy Wardman (where were you all?) fortunately he delivered, straight into the holeshot, Craig Hardie (Hardie Bikes) had other plans though and obviously had a clear game plan of, put in a massive effort to gap the field then hold them, which he did with great style, nice work. Behind Hardie though all hell was being unleashed, positions were changing fast and in the end there were some awesome rides, Andy finished 5th ahead of Ben Greenwood (Rapha Condor Sharp) for a great start to his season.
Andy is unleashing
All photos By Steven and Ainsley Turbitt
The season is go.