If the time trial is the ‘Race of truth’, the APR is the ‘Race of the Porky Pie’. People make up all sorts of things on their entry form: ‘I never raced last year’ ‘I am riding a bike I found in a skip’ ‘I am 69 years old ‘ etc (oh no, that last one is true). And then there’s all the bluffing in the groups to avoid doing any work: ‘I”ve just been circumcised’ ‘My dog died last night’ ‘I have sore hands’ (that last one is actually true as well: copyright 2010, J. Melville Esq. Glasgow United). Anyway, in the race of truth, Wilson Kane will not be far from the top this season because he is flying, and posted an admirable 7th in yesterday’s Hilly TT. Today, three times round the same circuit, a harsh truth was learned: if you are in a group with too many shirkers in an APR, you will not make up a measely minute and a half on a group of lesser mortals. Wilson, never mind mate, you’ll get to slay me next time.
Today, by contrast, it was my turn to be 7th. The third group turned out to be full of workers, with never fewer than 10-12 guys going through pretty much every time. John Gordon, Alex McAllister, a good turn out from VC Glasgow South, that Geordie lad called Andy that does the Douglas, really nice wee group. It was hard out to Dungavel each time, but short spells were the order of the day and a decent pace was set. The toughest part of the course was actually the crosswind past the fishery and here everyone was suffering, but on laps 1 and 2 a quick squatch over the shoulder revealed a chasing group that wasn’t really making much progress. By contrast, we were hoovering up riders like a Dyson on Pot Belge.
Approaching the piggery climb for the final time and realising our group would produce the winner. James Melville opened the bidding with a decent wee push up the hill. We chased on, and in the stretching some passengers went out the back. Round the corner at just the right point for a decisive effort, 3 VC Glasgow South lads went to the front, leaving a fourth somewhere behind but in the same group. It was genuinely impressive, fast enough down to Broon’s Brig to drop two or three more riders who made the mistake of allowing gaps to appear. Into the bridge I had it all planned out of course: get the right gear in, cut the corner, try to get away on the wrong side of the road. Even a passing Transit Van didn’t stop the plan and I came round the bend and up to the 200m flag at the front. Yah beauty! But of course … they were all just holding back for the sprint. Whoosh, all bar one went belting past, the race taken by the VCGS lad who they had been protecting in the knowledge he had a great kick on him (I was told after). I’m sorry I haven’t got his name to put on here, but: he was riding a steel bike (OK, nice Gios, but still…) and it was his first ever race. I think you’ll get to know his name soon enough.
Many thanks to everyone from the club who showed up to cheer us on – GeeBee and Ruaridh, Gregor and Guto, other people I couldn’t see for the slavers. Cheers!