For the third year running Cairngorm CC incorporated the Scottish Cycling National Veteran Women’s RR Championships into The Sally Anne Low Memorial race as part of its packed weekend of cycling events.
The women’s only Road Race has ran since 2014 to help promote women’s cycling in Scotland, as well as keep the memory of Sally Anne Low, who was killed by a car driver in 2013 whilst out cycling, fresh in people’s memory. Her partner, Ian Kenneth, was on hand to help out throughout the popular event, and presented the medals and prizes awarded on the day.
The race got underway a few minutes behind schedule due to the late running of the Strathspey Railway, the course crosses the train tracks when it passes through Kingussie. Neutralised until the wildlife park the 25 riders had chance to spin out their legs as they waited for the flag to drop, then it was all action stations. The peloton stayed bunched together as it hit the streets of Kingussie, then as they tackled the twists and turns through the village, the attacks began in earnest on each sharp corner. As the race crested the Ruthven Barracks, two distinct groups had formed. 7 riders in the front group, featuring Heather Elder (Synergy Cycles), Eimear Nicholls (Team Kingdom Gas), Lauren Davis (Edinburg RC), Sally Devlin(Petalpower Biking), Emma Smith (Deeside Thistle CC), Eileen Dempsey (Glasgow Nightingale CC) and V40 competitor Julianna Rourke (Edinburgh RC) quickly distancing themselves from a chasing pack of 8 riders containing V50 riders, Gillian Corsie (Dunfermline CC). Patricia Baird (Inverclyde Velo) and Carol Lawson (Kintyre Wheelers CC) along with V40 competitors Teri Bayliss (Muckle CC) and Lorna Breetzke (Elgin CC). The rest of the field was strung out behind as these two groups played cat and mouse. The front group worked well together, gradually extending their lead as they raced the challenging undulating course through the narrow roads through Insh, and onto the left turn down to Loch Insh before tackling the fearsome kick of the Brae in Kincraig. By the start of lap two the leading group now had a commanding lead of two minutes, despite the efforts of the chasing pack.
2 riders; Lulu Bartlett (The Racers) and Laura Sarkis (Velocita Coching RT) made a determined effort to bridge the gap to the leading group. Though they managed to gain a few seconds from the chasing the pack they did little to dent the leading groups advantage.
As the lead pack approached the closing stages of the final lap, the tactics began to play out with riders watching for moves, slowing the pace slightly, enabling the chasing two to make small inroads. Despite a number of digs by Dundee Thistle CC rider Emma Smith, nothing stuck and the riders were pretty much all together as they crossed the narrow bridge onto the bottom of the Brae, then it was every woman for herself as the race to the top began. Smith having done so much previously burnt herself well and truly out, leaving Elder and Delvin to take the race to the line, Elder proving the strongest to take the win, Devlin taking second and Dempsey 3rd. Julianna Rourke in her first RR after a two year break from racing crossed the line in 6th to take her first National Championship title with a v40 win just under 3 mins clear of second placed rider Teri Bayliss, with Lorna Breetzke 3rd.
All eyes were now on the chasing group containing 3 potential V50 winners. As they started the final push up the 11% climb up the Brae, Corsie, Baird and Lawson all launched themselves into a 3 man sprint. As the finish line came into sight, the fight was down to Baird and Corsie, with Corsie taking the win by a tyre’s width to retain her title for one more year, whilst Lawson came home 3 secs down to take a hard earned 3rd.
Many thanks to organiser Mike Barras, all the commissaries, time keepers and Cairngorm CC who provided an excellent event along with an amazing set of friendly and supportive marshals and volunteers. A great end to a great weekend of racing.
Please note our apologies that photos for this event cannot be uploaded to the website at this time. You can see all the action from the weekend here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmGNWGNH or by clicking on the photo below.