Gifford 2013

My output has been flagging like someone on a 60 mile club ride with 1 bottle and no food. So do I drop off completely or put in a few flailing digs? It’s going to be the latter- standards may be slipping but some’s better than none? You be the judges as I spew forth a stream of consciousness on my first race of 2013.

The Gifford road races were traditionally (for me) the first of the calendar, held on the first weekend in March often on the same time as the Dick Longdragon RR In Aberdeenshire and the Corrieri’s Classic 10m TT on the Stirling ‘Kippen flats’ course.

This year it is in April and this is lucky with regards the weather. March has been a pig and I pity the racers who have had their programme disrupted, enthusiasm dampened and early good form wasted by races called off due to snow. It’s no fault of the organisers- I have done Gifford three times before in early march and each time has been dry.

For me April is a better slot though as it gives people a chance to get going. No disrespect to other events but Gifford is a fairly big, well-organised race and it almost seemed wasted to have it so early in the calendar.

The A race has a strong field as usual but without the dominance of one team as we have seen in previous years. Last year could go down as a surprise with junior Tom Arnstein pulling off a result. This year I will be rooting for junior Kyle Petrie, the only Stirling rider in the main event, but he won’t thank me for mentioning his name as he has been laid out with illness recently so might not be at his best. Who else is tipped? Give me your shouts in the comments.

For me Gifford is a course with which I have unfinished business. Dropped horribly in my first year, full of expectation the second, I was gutted to be me with the same outcome, albeit one lap further on. The third year I almost made it to the finish with the lead bunch but lost contact on the climb and trailed in a minute or two down, thirty-somethingth.

I have come to realise it is a testing circuit – if you aren’t climbing on the rivet or descending at breakneck speed, you may be blowing your energy trying to push to the front or spending time in the wind when you shouldn’t. Grab the bottle or a gel and you lose a few places- it can be relentless.

I don’t feel I have any form yet but I have had a pretty good winter and have done some new things in training so should be stronger. I have a lighter faster bike and one more year of experience so who knows. Thanks in advance to Edinbugh RC who always put on a great event.