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Entertaining Ghana!

On Saturday night (19th September) the Savoy Park Hotel in Ayr hosted an evening reception for Ayr Roads Cycling Club and the Ghana’s 2014 Commonwealth Games Cycling Team.

coach to coach, Scott McLean of ARCC hands across the ceremonial plaque

coach to coach, Scott McLean of ARCC hands across the ceremonial plaque

The four team Ghana riders (Samuel, Antony, Razak and Aminu) had been staying in Ayr along as part of an acclimatization camp with the rest of the Commonwealth Team.  This was arranged through South Ayrshire Council with John MacMillan providing active support throughout their stay.

Team Ghana and Ayr Roads CC's Clydesiders

Team Ghana and Ayr Roads CC’s Clydesiders

Ayr Roads CC’s coach Scott McLean volunteered his services during their stay and worked with team Ghana officials to develop a training plan for the riders.  In the last few weeks they have been regular attendees at Ayr Roads CC training events, giving lots of local cyclists the chance to ride with a Commonwealth Games athletes.

Team Ghana’s leading rider Samuel Anim was awarded the prestigious SWAG (Sports Writers Association of Ghana) Cyclist of the Year Award in 2013 for being “most sensational and best fighter”.  During the reception Ayr Roads members got the chance to learn more about riding and racing in Ghana, including an 11 stage national road race.

Ayr Roads CC's 12yr old Harry with Team Ghana

Ayr Roads CC’s 12yr old Harry with Team Ghana

Ayr Roads CC Chairman Blair Wyllie presented Team Ghana with a special plaque commissioned for the occassion, and provided all the riders with Ayr Roads CC club kit to wear and remember their stay.

Coach Scott McLean in turn thanked the riders for their contribution to the club over the past weeks and stated what an inspiration it was to other club members to turn out and ride with them.

There was laughter and tall tales throughout the reception sponsored by Savoy Park Hotel

There was laughter and tall tales throughout the reception sponsored by Savoy Park Hotel

In return the Ghana team spoke warmly of the hospitality they had received in Ayrshire and of their hope for a continued and cooperative relationship with Ayr Roads Cycling Club.  They thanked both John MacMillan and Scott McLean for their big contribution to the stay, and noted that Samuel had complained that local rider Kenny Armstrong had “made my legs hurt!” during training rides across the Ayrshire Alps.

Also in attendance from Ayr Roads were three members volunteering as Clydesiders during the games; Alex McAllister, Christopher Johnson and Ed Clifton.


Ayr Roads CC will out in force to cheer on Team Ghana during the Commonwealth Games road race on Sunday 3rd August.  Flags and banners will be hung out on the corner of Blythswood Street and West George Street from the start of the race so come along and make some noise!

2014 Club League

A 2014 club league has been proposed – more info can be seen here.

The league will feature a total of 15 ‘events’ spread around the calendar, including two Strava Challenges.

Comments are welcome from club members – please join the discussion on the forum.

Club AGM – changes afoot!

Sigh of relief – Club Captain Mark Skilling is your new webmaster.  He takes over the controls pretty much now… or as soon as I log off.  Ciao!

Road School Week 1: A great success!

Ayr Roads Cycling Club / Harry Fairbairn BMW’s new ‘Road School’ initiative got off to a great start last Saturday when 15 junior and novice cyclists turned out despite the miserable weather.  ‘Road School’ is a six week programme aimed at equipping novice and junior riders with the skills and experience to develop as road cyclists.

Think it looks easy? Come along this Saturday to find out…

Week 1 was split between a session of introductory games and exercises that tested riders bike handling skills and a led ride out to Dalrymple and back.  The new recruits were quick to show off their balance and cornering, and proved themselves more than capable of dragging a partner round a tight slalom course with only one arm!

Ayr Roads are keen to welcome over 12s and novice riders along to the sessions which take place each Saturday starting from the Burn’s Centre Car Park at 0930.

Club Chairman Blair Wyllie was delighted by the new initiative:

“The club is going from strength to strength;  we were fifth best club at the Scottish championships, we hosted the biggest day race in Scotland at the Davie Bell Memorial, and our riders have been breaking club records all year.  With Road School we can welcome and encourage the next generation and ensure Ayrshire cycling continues to grow.”

Week 2 will see participants practice riding in a bunch, using a short 1 mile circuit to master chain gangs and echelons before putting the theory to practice on a group ride out to Dunure and back.

Participants should have a road worthy bicycle and clothes appropriate for the weather.  Ride leaders stress that the focus is on fun and participation rather than speed and performance.  For more information on the programme go here.

New ‘Road School’ for Juniors and Novices

A six week Saturday club to try road cycling. 

25th August to 6th October – 09:30 to 12:00 from Burns Museum Car Park, Alloway

  • Learn how to ride in a bunch, form a chain gang, through and off.
  • Try a time trial
  • Increase your speed and mileage
  • Learn basic cycle maintenance and roadside repairs
  • Graduate to the Ayr Roads Cycling Club Sunday Run

“I wish i’d been to Road School”, thought Kenny Armstrong – pipped to the line again by his shadow, Trevor Wilson

These sessions are run by Ayr Roads Cycling Club and led by a trained ride leader and cycle instructor.

Participants must:

  • be 12 and over;
  • have a road worthy bicycle;
  • and wear clothing appropriate for the weather.

It is recommended that riders carry a spare inner tube, pump and tyre levers.  A flap jack always provides a tasty treat too.

Under 18s should complete and bring a Parental Disclaimer  and emergency contact details

Session details including routes will be posted in advance at  These may be subject to change depending on weather conditions and road conditions.

All rides will start at 0930 and aim to return to the start point by 1200 (give or take 15mins).

Club representatives prioritise safety and safe riding skills.  However, road cycling is not without its risks and all participants take part understanding this.


Week 1: 25th August 2012

Level 1 cycling skills

1hr  Led Ride

Week 2: 1st September 2012

90min group ride practicing through and off, chain gang, and echelons

Road side repair

Week 3: 8th September 2012

Group ride with hill climb (Carrick Hill)

Route planning

Week 4: 15th September 2012

Mini Time Trial and Australian Pursuit Race

Break – Bank Holiday Weekend

 Week 5: 29th September 2012

Group ride with interval sessions:

Sprints and hill reps

 Week 6: 6th October 2012

2.5 hr group ride – prepare to join main club run

If you would like to take part in Road School, please email

Overdue Update

Woah!  What has been going on?  Where have the mighty ARCC been?  Who knows and who cares you might ask, shrugging your shoulder nonchalantly.

Well more fool you!

Some of the team were involved in a wee bike event last week named after a bandit or something or other.

Its over now so back to business.  Kenny, Mark and Mick set a new team record over 10 miles on the Eglinton course.  It was a good event masterminded by our fiendish nemesis the Fullarton Wheelers.  Neil Walker threatened to spoil our parade by riding a 21:03, but thank goodness Kenny Armstrong drew even with him to ensure all was not lost in the Ayrshire top dog contest.  (or should we fess up and admit that thank goodness it was an Ayr Roads man holding the watches…  shock, horror, of course not.)

This post will benefit from a picture.  So lets see what we can find.

A present for Higgi. Lexi on his ‘November/February’ machine


This blog now has a new editor, young Gavin Kerr of Trabboch.  We implore you to blame him for all rogue postings.

What else might be happening in the land of Ayr Roads CC?  Some wannabee’s attended the 4th Cat Lothian Flyer today.  Big Bernie was in a break, but it didn’t work out and some minor placings in the top 20 were all we had to show for a day of hard work in the pissing rain.  John-Paul Baxter once again shirked any sense of responsibility and failed to attack on his own and win.  Even though he could of done.  Take note other Scottish club teams: we might have very few points on our collective licences, but we could if we wanted.

There is a 50 on soon, promoted by Gentleman Jim Cusick.  And the pressure is on for a new 50 record according to vice-president Arnie Thomson.  But who is going to break it to the old man that we currently don’t have any documented record?  Not us, thats for sure.

And how about these damned Garmin devices.  If one more clown wants to tell us that they actually rode a 19:21 on our regular mid week blast around the Loans circuit, despite our watches shouting a high 24 we’ll be damned.

Another picture needed.

Lynne and Toni have been riding very well.  New PBs and grand performances in road racing.  And while Jo continues to flirt with the idea of moving to the mainland, rumours that ARCC have engaged in attempts to poach Jennifer Nicol from the evil throes of the Fullarton might or might not be true.

You heard nothing here first.

We’ll be running a 4th cat event named the Straiton Struggle in just over a month.  Officially its sold out, but if you speak to our ticket touts we might have some availability.  Amex not accepted.  Sorry.

Pennyglen Hilly TT 2012

Big thanks to the Chairman for another fun night of suffering on the Pennyglen Circuit last Thursday.  30 foolish souls signed up to spoil their evening with a 15mile (or is it 17? – c’mon Google, we like consistency) charge along the coast and back.

First man off was our own veteran TT stalwart Grant Young.  But first man home was Stephen Couper of some foreign glasgow club.  39:46 said the clock.  Thats fast we thought.

A professional, well drilled bunch who would never miss a start slot…

Riders kept appearing from the comforts of our strip at Wellington’s playing fields.  Thanks to them for the use.  Robert Kelly is our next man off in 14th, with Neil Campbell chasing at a minute.  A battle royale?  Its hardly worth speaking of, for by now rider now 10 was already on the home straight.  Jamie Kennedy of the Kooriers clocks 35:36.  My goodness.  We must have recorded it wrong.  Nope.  All four watches say the same.

Neil comes home before Rab.

Craig Gilmour is the first Ayr Roads man to make a mess of things.  At least he looks contrite.  A last minute puncture and followed by a sprint to the start arn’t enough.  He’s missed his slot.  Nevermind, he still produces a respectable 40:17

Brian Nicol sets off without drama.  His experience at the Fullarton shows.  He’s well prepared, no fiasco, and sets off with no drama.  His reward is a 41:24, up on last year’s time.

Kenny Armstrong…  Where to start.  More to the point, where is he?  KENNY ARMSTRONG GET ON THE START LINE THIS INSTANT.  Ah there he is, slowly strolling down the slip road in his warm up.  He appears on the line still in his warm up gear with half a second to spare.  He’ll lose another 12 at least faffing to take his coat off before he gets down to business.

Then there is Toni.  The pusher-offerers ears were bleeding.  Should you not be concentrating on the task at hand Toni?  No no, she’s not taking it seriously.  Then neither are the watches.  Out of the gate in completely the wrong gear.  Tsk… hopefully a lesson learned.

Fortunately Lynne Wardrop is ready for action.  I don’t know what partner Mark Skilling has done to deserve this, but she is clearly out to catch him.  A fine ride tonight will earn her a 45:56, a good warm up for a wonderful ride at the Scottish Road Championships, and to rip the legs off group 1 on the Tuesday chain gang.  Watch out everyone, Lynne’s gone and got fast.

Mark Skilling on the line.  Good, all correct and present.  He’s away without a fuss.  Can he beat Mick Robb on his shiny Trek machine?

Then its Gentleman Jim.  “Thanks for coming out boys” he says.  Thank you for your presence we reply.  Clocks ticking, is this our winner?

Last off from the ARCC machine are Paul McGhee and Gavin Kerr.  Another battle royale?  Apparently not.  Vodka and Borsht are no substitute for a training regime Gav.  However, all is forgiven as your Dad’s pictures are ace.  See here now:


1st.  Jamie Kennedy Glasgow Cooriers 35:36

2nd Jim Cusick Glasgow Couriers 35:40

3rd Gordon Murdoch Glasgow Couriers 36:37

4th Kenny Armstrong Ayr Roads 37:04 (could have been a 36 kenny!)

5th Neil Walker Walkers Cycling 37:28


1st. Catherine Logan Walkers Cyclking 45:10

2nd. Lynne Wardrop Ayr Roads 45:56

3rd Toni McIntosh 46:01

Other Ayr Roads CC/Harry Fairbairn BMW

Grant Young 42:44

Neil Campbell 39:03

Robert Kelly 40:51

Craig Gilmour 40:17

Michael Robb 38:15

Kenny Armstrong 37:04

Brian Nicol 41:24

Mark Skilling 38:01

Gav Kerr 34:05

Paul McGhee 43:55

Thats all folks.  Thanks again to Blair Wyllie and Mark Parlour.  To Andy McKinlay for commissaire duties.  And to Andrew Wilson of St Christopher’s for hogging the Lanterne Rouge for a successive year!  Cheers.

“How I won the Ronde Van Ayrlaanderen” – Gobert exclusive!

After a fierce three hour battle over the helling of the Ayrshire Ardennes, there could be only one winner.  Christophe Gobert might have been an unlikely candidate at the start of the day, but there was NO doubting who crossed the imaginary line in Monkton first*.  We look back at this legendary edition of the RVA to identify 5 areas where the race was won.

1. Know the parcours.

As early as December 2010 Gobert was out scouting for suitable training venues to mimic the mythical parcours of the RVA.  A brief stop over in the Flemish backcountry provided some good options to train for the Barnwielberg.

2. Explore your options.

The dreaded Barnweilberg

Gobert tells us he spent all of Friday night feverishly watching past editions of the RVV to work out all the options and cards to play.  Should a solo attack on the Barnweilendries fail, a la Hoste on the Gerardsbergen, there would always be a chance to test the legs on the Pisgahberg, ala Gilbert on the Bosberg.

3. Think like a champion

By pulling on his lucky reproduction Tommeke outfit, Gobert was already in the berg eating mindset.  How far he took this method acting is anyones guess.  But rumours of sugar lines on the Gobert household table are just that, rumours.

4. Watch your rivals

A telescope trained on Chateau Baxter in the run up to the RVA revealed quickly that Baxter spent more time on skype to his ladyfriend than he did looking out his Museeuw replica Mapei kit.  Of course this lack of attention to detail only spurred our winner on further.  Knowing full well that Baxter would be afraid of dirtying his white ARCC kit, Gobert was able to attack the muddy Tarboltonaarde Muur safe in the knowledge there would be no challenge.

Sven Nys never worried about dirtying his Tommeke outfit!

5. Find a nervous horse

Had it not have been for a startled horse on the run back into Monkton, the result could have been very different.  Alasdair McGibbon would have headed solo to the line with Ross Lyall in hot pursuit.  But thanks to his crafty initiative in placing a jumpy horse just 300m before the line, and quick thinking as the contenders lost initiative, Gobert had the race sealed in ample time.

Full results:

C Gobert. 3 hrs 3mins 24 secs

R. Lyall @ 1 spoke length

A McGibbon @ 27.2 seatpost length

JP Baxter @ 126mm rear spacing length

T McIntosh @ an unfurled roll of pink bar tape length

L Wardrope @ an uncoiled roll of orange gear cable length

A Steven @ the back with a broken bike

* no matter what Ross Lyall says, there was NO doubting.

LAKE 2012: A second helping for ARCC!

Gary Maher today followed in our own wee Paul Torrance’s shoes to win the Lake APR today.  His first win, in his first ever competitive outing for the mighty Ayr Roads CC.  Well done Gary.

Our field reporter, Lexi McAllister tells us:

On Sunday 18 March at Balfron Ayr Roads CC/Harry Fairbairn BMW won the famous Lake of Menteith Race for the second year in a row when Gary Maher sprinted home at the head of a six-strong escape group. Earlier in the day 80 riders had set off from Balfron in groups but by the time the race reached Aberfoyle after 25 miles it had all come together except for the first group of ‘elder statesmen’ who were gamely hanging on to what was left of their 2-minute start. Back at Balfron after 40 miles, Gary and 5 others attacked on the steep climb out of the town and established a lead of one minute over the bunch. With 9 miles left to race, they caught then dropped the best of the first group on the long uphill drag into Killearn. That just left a mad 40 mph downhill dash for the finishing line where Gary timed his sprint to perfection.

So there you have it.  We’ll catch up with our man of the moment very soon for a full blow by blow account of what happened where when why how etc.

Pic taken from LeesLang flickr site, as previously displayed on Braveheart Fund Forum. For the full gallery click the link

Meanwhile, here is what second place rider Craig Adams had to say via Twitter:

2nd Place for me today #LakeAPR rode well from the scratch got away on the steep section after Balfron. Worked well with couple of guys to stay away caught first group. Tried a Gilbert style attack on the Killearn climb but got rode back! Half a wheel in it for the sprint :/ Not too shabby with a hard race in the legs from yesterday [Craig was in a looooooong seven lap break in the Dick Longdraggon Nat B race in Aberdeenshire on Sat]

And who won Craig?

Gary maher? From Ayr roads think he was in the 2nd group maybe.

He’s a good bean – you should follow him @Karboncraig

Those results then:

1 Gary Maher Ayr Roads Cycling Club 4th 01:48:04
2 Craig Adams GJS Racing Team 2nd st
3 Dominic Hines Velo Club Edinburgh 3rd st
4 Finlay Young Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers 2nd st
5 Craig Dale 3rd 3
6 Gavin Shuttleworth Velocity 44 Stirling 3rd st
7 Lewis Hodgart Glasgow Couriers 3rd 23
8 AIDAN QUINN Glasgow Ivy CC 4th 41
9 Georges Avraam Edinburgh RC 4th st
10 Alan Dent Nevis Cycles Racing Team 4th st
11 Graham Moore Velocity 44 Stirling 3rd 43
12 Greg uk 2nd st
13 Peter Murdoch Team Cycle Lane 1st 45
14 Andrew Wilson Falkirk Bicycle Club 3rd st
15 Malcolm Patterson Glasgow Nightingale CC 3rd st
16 STEVEN DUNN Falkirk Bicycle Club 3rd st
17 Gary Cross Falkirk Bicycle Club 3rd 47
18 Calum Foster Team Leslie Bike Shop – Right M 3rd st
19 Andrew Whitehall Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers 2nd st
20 Paul 2nd st
24 Alexander McAllister Ayr Roads Cycling Club 4th st

Aye, what did happen to Paul Torrance and your captain Skilling?  We’ll save that for the forums shall we ;)

Good work all!

More ‘podiums’ for Ayr Roads!

You mean you didn’t know that a top ten was a podium?  c’mon, where have you been?

Yes its true!  Ayrshire’s best and bestest road clubs were in action this weekend, and so were we!  Not content with sending a strong team to demolish the opposition at a single event, we sent three groups into the hidden wastelands of central Scotland to return us some riches.

What happened?

Lets start in Drumclog.  Our pals at the Loudoun have put on a super duper weekend of activity based around Drumclog, Dungavel and Strathaven.  Neil Campbell, Robert Kelly and Paul McGhee donned the blue and white skinsuits to tackle the opening day’s 12.5 mile hilly TT.  This being team Frank Spencer, what could go wrong?

Thanks to the Loudoun Flickr feed for this shot of Neil Campbell whizzing to a podium placing

Well not much.  Neil did rather well and finished 9th.  Here are some select results:

1 Neil Walker walkers cc S 31.33
2 John Paterson classic racing S 32.09
3 Andrew Ralston perth united cc V 32.30
4 Chris Stewart classic racing S 32.42
5 Stuart Macgregor dooleys rt V 32.43
6 Derek Mcmillan st christophers cc V 32.48
7 Wilson Kane east kilbride rc V 32.52
8 Paul Friel glasgow couriers V 32.53
9 Neil Campbell Ayr Roads CC / Harry Fairbairn BMW S 34.09
10 Robert Wilson glasgow couriers V 34.14

30 Paul Mcghee Ayr Roads CC / Harry Fairbairn BMW S 37.55
32 Robert Kelly Ayr Roads CC / Harry Fairbairn BMW V 38.02

What does it mean?  Well Neil did very well, taking hard-ass roadman Gordon Murdoch’s scalp.  But Paul and Robert?  Good effort, but next time hows about a strategic puncture or two boys, please!    So it was a 1-2 to A&DCA based clubs – good show Neil and John!

Ok, enough.  Over in the east we had a team taking on the Musselburgh 3up TT.  Kenny Armstrong, Mark Skilling and Alex McAllister.  What happened next?

Kenny leads Mark and Alex on route to some sort of awesome result, that we sadly cannot confirm at time of going to print. Photo pinched off Veli-Matti Raikkonen's facebook page - cheers muchly

So right now, no results have been posted.  But the top 5 was announced via twitter.  Again, we can’t find it now, but needless to say we were not on it.  Hows about some reactions:

Alex McAllister:

why is Kenny on the front in both pictures, Skilling on his wheel and McAllister snivelling at the back ?? The answer is blindingly obvious when you think about it….because that’s how we rode the whole feckn 24.3 miles. Never again

Gordon Stead (of our arch rivals, the dastardly yellow FWCC):

First lap I punctured , Jim and Stephen rode on , got a spare wheel and took a lap out , saw Jim and Stephen coming towards me , but only Jim got to the top of the hill Stephens chain had snapped . Jim and I finished the last lap .

If nothing else we do have a nice pic of the ARCC machine making Kelso wonder why they turned up.  Good work chaps.

So to Sunday…

There was a cafe run, and there was cake.  But there is always cake, so lets skip to somewhere else where there might or might not have been cake; the Drumclog APR.  We have three ARCC riders in the race.  Alex McAllister; Keith Hood, and Robert Kelly (all in group 3 of 5).  I know what you are thinking: “Really Bernard, is this sensible?”

What happened next:

Alex McAllister

Not too unhappy with 5th. Even Kenny could have read this race….keep the group working together until the third and final time up the brae to Dungavel then give it stick. VC Glasgow South came with a plan and 3 of them gave it very big stick….all I had to do was follow them like nasty brown stuff on a shovel….job done.

Clearly Lexy was able to raise his game thanks to Gary ‘Higgi’ Higgins’ encouragement:

Lexi lexi lexi, keep that wee grey chin up;) its no disgrace wheel sookin the southern softies after aw there jeest back from a holiday8-) age doesnt come itself ;DOLD PAL;)


1 Ronnie Burns (VC Glasgow South)
2 Andrew Louis (Pro Am RC)
3 Robert Young (Glasgow Green CC)
4 Steve MacLuskie (VC Glasgow South)
5 Alex McAllister (Ayr Roads)
6 James Melville (Glasgow United CC)
7 Graeme Small (East Kilbride RC)
8 Martin Wilson (VC Glasgow South)
9 Steven Turbitt (Glasgow United CC)
10 Stephen Begg (VC Glasgow South)

Robert was 13th, and Keith Hood 40th

And some choice words from Neil Walker:

Good APR today, our group just not enough committed guys on the last lap to close the gap, got away in last lap in a group of 4 and nearly made it though!

And who are these guys frightened of commitment?  Well, we don’t know for sure.  But perhaps Barry fae the kooriers can help us to draw our own conclusions:

It’s not right though when the Edinburgh guy is telling a 60 kilo guy that he is going through too strong into a head wind!!!! Not matter what we did we were never catching group 3

Read the full story at the British Cycling site

And we don’t want to leave Higgi without a photo of the man of the moment, Lexi McAllister.

Our 5th place hero lexi in casual 'Cliff Richard' pose. Order your high-res copy now from the vice-chairman. Congo-line photos cost extra.

We’ve been Ayr Roads CC, and you’ve been facebook stalked!  Until next time…


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