We’ve seemingly had storms for months, but now is the metaphoric calm before the cycling storm re-ignites itself for the 2013 season.
The pre-season time has arrived. All to come very soon, damaged ego’s, lies & innuendo, ancient rivalries, psychological warfare, and that’s just in the training bunches, let battle commence and roll on to the first skirmish of 2013. But hold on, when is this first skirmish, where’s the calendar gone, there’s no Girvan/TourDoonHame, there’s no road race series, where will we see the initial battle between the big names of Scottish road racing.
So lets take a look at what’s on the calendar so far at the beginning of the year (ignoring TT’s in this one)……
On Saturday 9th March, we have our first road race, a closed circuit event on the circuit behind the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. I’ve raced on tight circuits before, I’ve heard folks saying they can’t race on this type of thing, “for kids”, but it’s racing, possibly a different type, more like a series of sprints and cornering skills, but very useful stuff. Perhaps it doesn’t have the elegance of racing in spectacular scenery & historic climbs, but this is pure racing, especially useful for less experienced riders who need to brush up on bunch skills, if you’re going to learn anywhere, you’re going to learn here, where being at the head of the field is crucial. Expect crashes, expect whoever wins these to do particularly well this year, could even be worth watching!
Sunday 10th March sees the incredibly hard-working & compact Loudoun Road Club hosting yet another event, the Drumclog APR (Australian Pursuit Race, handicapped groups are set off, slowest first, fastest last, so involves plenty of deceit & treachery with race form), this is open to 3rd & 4th Cat riders, which usually means it’ll be massively oversubscribed, as without the top riders, the biggest kicking will be from perpetual 3rd cats, returning 4th cats and emerging talents. Expect lies about training, complaints about groups, an unheard of rider appearing from nowhere and ‘The Bundy’ claiming they had a hand in creating this new rider (mainly with the intent to wind up other bunches, a necessary part of Scottish cycling banter).
We then have to wait until Sunday 24th March for the next road event, it’s the old traditional start to the season (going back a long way), the Glasgow Nightingale Lake APR. In previous years it’s not used the Lake road due to its condition, it usually throws up a good event, fast roads, leading to crosswind roads, leading to bad roads, it’s even has a section called ‘Flanders’, so a bit of everything. I mentioned in my initial post that this was the same date as the womens training event, but this looks to have changed now, so somebody saw some sense. But the entry doesn’t show the women’s Lake APR event is on yet, we’ll see what happens here.
On the 31st March, we have a women’s only APR in Aberdeen, but as far as March goes, that’s it, no other road events!!
I’m having to look into April for a chance to see the top roadmen in action, it looks like the classic Drummond Trophy on 21st April is our first chance. I’ll not call this disastrous for now, but it’s certainly disappointing. The loss of any road race series looks to have had a huge detrimental effect on the Scottish road race scene. Surely ‘Scottish Cycling’, with all their paid staff are supposed to be at the helm here, but it looks like supporting road racing has perhaps gone out the window, all it would have taken would have been a low-key road race series, basically putting together a points table, no need for jerseys or glitz, is there not somebody there capable of working excel?
Do I feel a little let down? It certainly doesn’t look particularly healthy. The expected calm before the storm isn’t a storm at all, it’s a lacklustre early season road race scene (not suggesting those events on are lacklustre, just the total amount of events), we can expect plenty of border raids by our top riders, otherwise there’s nothing for them to do in Scotland until late season, we had road races in February the last few years.
Looks like the bunches will be running until the end of March, the blazers will be getting a few more lies in & the winter racers won’t even get a chance to perform one respectable result before they crack and reappear next December.