This weekend I travelled up to Aberdeenshire in Scotland to take part in the Ballater Bike Station ‘Gairnshiel’ Stage Race.
The race was set in the beautiful Cairngorms National Park and started on Saturday morning with a 4.5km Prologue through the Pass of Ballater. I was happy with my performance and managed to finish in 17th place.
In the afternoon there was a road race, which was 3 laps of a course going from Ballater to Dinnet following the River Dee. Despite many attacks, a breakaway was never formed, and it came down to a bunch sprint at the top of a climb just outside of Ballater. I managed to finish in 7th place, so it was nice to pick up some more BC points.
Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worst on Sunday with rain forecast all day. Despite a great route, with a challenging climb heading towards Gairnsheil, we were greeted with a wind chill of -6 degrees and snow at the top. I managed to get myself into the early breakaway of 4 riders but sadly the cold and rain got to me and I faded away as the race went on. I just had to see the race through and ride to the finish. Despite the disappointment of this it was a great experience, and one I am sure I will not forget!
After heading home on Sunday afternoon, I then contested the third round of the EMRRL which was hosted by Welland Valley CC. The conditions were much better, with a warm 15 degrees and sunshine. 5 laps of the hard Naseby circuit made it a challenging race and a breakaway of 5 managed to get away with a further 6 establishing a chasing group on the last lap. I managed to finish just behind James Moore at the head of the bunch sprint taking 13th place.
Overall it was a very nice weekend. I would like to say a special thanks to my girlfriend Kathryn who took up almost all of the driving on the both trip there and back and I could not have done it with out her.
I am now looking forward to next weekends stage race.
Full race reports can be read on the Welland Valley CC website: here