Commissaries Matter

Commissaries Matter

On a blustery Sunday morning in Ayrshire, the town of Muirkirk was wakened to find 80 lyra clad cyclists about to embark on the Warnloackhead Road Race. The 27th edition of this annual event was scheduled to start at 11am with 80 club and professional riders rolling out of the games hall.

Unfortunately, disaster struck for 1 unfortunate rider who during a warm up ride along the A70 in Muirkirk hit the deck, unwitnessed, the rider was found by the finish line judge on his way to set up, face down in the road with a smashed helmet, facial injuries and missing teeth. The first aider was despatched to the scene which delayed the race start and the rider was removed by ambulance before the race even got underway.

Rolling out as planned, 79 riders including teams from JLT condor, Pro-vision, Spokes and Dooleys made their way at 15mph thorough the neutralised zone to the edge of Muirkirk ready for the official start.

Accelerating away, the safely convoy made its way along the A70 East towards Glespin and a sharp right turn onto a single track farm road.  Back in the peloton, break away’s were already forming with a single rider off the front gradually extending his lead but soon to be joined by a further 5 riders to confirm a formal breakaway.

The breakaway were working well together with riders from Cumbria, East Kilbride RC and Pro-Vision extending the time gap to 2 1/2 minutes in the first 10 miles of the race.

Hitting the first climb, the leaders slowed to 25mph but maintained the time gap on the main group.

Radio calls were plentiful advising that there had been a crash involving 3 riders who required first aid and a further 2 riders already abandoned. Puncture after puncture followed keeping the service vehicles busy.

Hitting a sharp right turn, the leaders headed towards Sanquar, hitting 55mph on the downhill sections as the rain started. More punctures followed as debris washed onto the road and riders. Time checks confirmed the at the time gap was holding as the leading group took a left turn onto the A76 at Sanquar heading to the village of Mennock. Hitting the main road posed a few problems and despite 4 NEG (National Escort Group) motorbikes, cars made their way into the safety convoy on their slow Sunday bungle.  Soon to be chased down by the peloton, the cars held back the chasing group leaving the break away to extend their lead further. More radio calls as the safety convoy split because of the elderly interlopers, and NEG took up shepherding duties to safely escort the depleted peloton through the traffic.

Now half way through the race, a sharp left turn took the race up and over the Mennock pass with its initial sharp climb of 13% and undulating false flats brining the group back together on the climbs.

Dodging sheep and gold panners, the peloton climbed the towards Warlockhead and the fast technical decents towards Leadhills.

Crash! 2 ridders in a ditch having misread the road followed by a further 2 ridders hitting them and ceremoniously flying through the air landing in the adjacent field. More work for first aid and a long wait for an ambulance. Luckily only minor injuries this time. As the technical decent continued, 2 riders missed the route sign and took a left fork in the road depleting the peloton again until they were able to re-join. Hitting the village of Leadhills, the safety convoy pulled away to give the group space for the steep 25% downhill section, unfortunately, a misplaced van pulled out into a gap between a lead group of 15 riders and the main chase group causing the chief commissaries car to break suddenly. Crash, a drooped ridder hit the back of the commissaries car at 40mph without time to touch the breaks, snap, as his carbon fibre Cervelo di2 disintegrated into the boot of the BMW 3 series. Luckily the rider only suffered a graze to his knee but a big hole in his teams pocket for a new bike, and the BMW needs a new boot!

Downward towards Crawford John with more minor crashes and punctures until finally we hit the McTaggart climb back towards the A70.

What started as a race of 80 riders was now down to 16 after the events of the days event, all back together, the remaining peloton made its was back along the A70 toward Muirkirk and the finish line, only one thing left to do, sprint finish!

The remaining dropped riders limped back to the finish line battered and bruised to say the least, in all, 62 riders finished out of 79 official starters, back at the games hall, fed, warm and presentations completed, plans were already being made for next years edition!

The Warnlockhead road race although a club event had all the excitement and trauma of a stage in the Tour de France, not bad for the South West of Scotland, bring on the 2018 edition!

 

 
 
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