It’s been a jam-packed season but all good things must come to an end and Saturday saw the final event in The Scottish Power Series. The Kingscavil hill climb is a fearsome ascent of a hill that seems to go on forever…and then goes a little bit further!

For the seniors and older youths the big hill is a monster and just climbs away from the bottom of the road, the smell of coffee strong in their nostrils from the little van doing a roaring trade in espressos and lattes. The gradient doesn’t seem too bad to begin with although it begins to ramp up a little before cresting the first false flat…and then comes the first serious bit. A steeper rise leaves the riders gasping for air before coming over the next crest where the stronger riders would look for a bigger gear.

No sooner had they found that gear before the road curved steeper again and it was a long, labourious climb to the next (but not final) crest. Over this and a chance to engage the big ring but a little savage kick just before the line had the spectators yelling for riders to keep going. Finally over the line and the chance to get your breath back. For the youth riders, lots of them hung around for their pals and then all rode down together, stopping and shouting encouragement to those still going up.

As always at Kingscavil, the big hill is considered too tough for the very youngest riders so they climb in the opposite direction from the bottom but this is still very hard even though it’s not too long and pretty much the same gradient all the way. Kids have no problems about letting it all show on their faces as they battle their way to the top, often out-pacing the parents that run alongside them, shouting for them to keep going…and some went surprisingly fast.

In the Youth E Girls, top spot went to the Carnegie Cyclone’s Anna Birrell in a time of 1:06.84 followed by Sarah Darling in 1:21.14 and the first of the West Lothian Clarion CC riders, Orla Burn in 1:23.63.

In the Youth E Boys it was just as close with Innes McDonald (Edinburgh RC) taking the win in 1:03.55 from Adam Murray (EKRC) in 1:06.99 and Gregor Burn (West Lothian Clarion CC) in 1:18.34.

Onto the Youth D Boys and Finn Mason gave the host club their first win in 50.9 from Rory Ogilvie in 51.78. Third spot went to Alexander Crombie (West Lothian Clarion), just behind by 0.03 seconds in 51.81…a superb battle.

The Youth D Girls was another win for the home club with Katie Galloway in 55.03. So close behind it was Christina McGorum (Pebbles CC) in 55.47 with Rudie Shearer of ERC in 57.94.

This took us onto the bigger hill and it was another McGorum who took the Youth C Girls title. Elena McGorum (Peebles CC) rode the hill in 3:20 to take the win from Eva Young (Pedal Power RT) in 3:22 with Imani Pereira-James (Glasgow Riderz) finishing off the podium in 3:34.

Proving he’s just as successful going up hills as he is at going down them the Youth C Boys title was taken by Coran Carrick-Anderson (Peebles CC) in a superb time, the only Youth C rider to break the 3-minute barrier in 2:55. Second went to Callum ‘Speedyreidy’ Reid (Rock and Road Cycles) in 3:07 with Murray Lawson (ERC) close behind in 3:09.

Times were getting faster and the Youth B Females title went to Anna Flynn in 2:58. In fact, it was a podium of ‘Annas’ with second spot going to Anna McGorum (Peebles CC) just one second behind in 2:59 with Anna Shackley (Glasgow Riderz) in 3:02. Special mention to Eva Barnett (ERC) and Georgia Ferry (Glasgow Riderz) who tied for fourth spot in 3:28…a deadheat but not the last one of the day.

Making it a worthwhile trip from Lochaber, and carrying on the fine tradition of TT-ing from that area, the win in the Youth B Boys went to Alexander Dent (Nevis Cycles RT) in 2:36. Taking second spot by a mere 2-seconds it was Jack Cruden (Glasgow Riderz) in 2:38 with Hamish MacLaren of the Johnstone Jets a further 2-seconds back in 2:40.

With only one Youth A Girl riding the win was taken by Lusia Steele (Johnstone Jets) in 3:39 but her time was not far off the best in the senior women’s event.

The Youth A Boys however, was a closely-fought event with the win ultimately going to Lewis Gray (Peebles CC) in 2:21, just one second faster than second spot and 2-seconds faster than third. Second position went to Alexander Macrae in 2:22 and third to Vincent Jozajtis (Stirling BC) in 2:23.

Onto the Senior Women and the win was taken by Shelley Cowe (Dunfermline CC) in 2:54. This is where the data transmission issues between the top of the hill and the bottom began to cause problems. Initially it was thought that second spot had gone to Shani Bloch-Davidov (West Lothian Clarion) in 3:06 with Ronde CC’s Charlotte Anderson in 3:16. However, it later became clear that Edinburgh RC’s Juli Rourke had recorded a time of 2:57 and Shani and Charlotte were bumped down a place. As one coach later said “there’s a lots to be said for paper and a stopwatch.”

In the Mens race David Griffiths (Pro Vision Cycle Clothing) was determined not to make the mistake that he’d made at Stirling and promptly flew up the hill in 2:08. As always, he questioned whether he could have gone any faster by choosing different gears at different points and someone later jokingly questioned whether the weight of his Garmin cost him some time. His competition came from the ever-excellent Lewis Oliphant (VC Edinburgh) who powered to the top, all of the muscles on his arms standing out as he tried to wring every ounce of power from the ride. In the end he also posted a time of 2:08.

With the data issues causing problems the split between the two riders couldn’t be made and it was decided to award two 1st positions. This meant that third spot went to Jarlath Flynn (ERC) who put his camera down for a day and came home in 2:15 with his teammate, the always-consistent Alan Dean, just 2-seconds behind in 2:17.

Mention this time goes to Jordan Doig (Pedal Power RT) who was pumped for this event but unshipped his chain just at the top of the steepest section. It cost him about 20-seconds and he finished in 2:30 so he would have been close. There’s always next year!

Also, it hadn’t been determined on the day who had taken the Junior prize so both Calum Kennedy and his teammate Stephen Walker (ERC) took turns turning on the top of the podium and getting their pictures taken. Top marks to both riders for their very sporting attitudes! As it was, the top spot, and The Press Room cover picture, went to Calum Kennedy.

So that wraps up the Scottish Power Series for 2015. Look for an announcement of all of the final placings shortly and hopefully we’ll have a special awards ceremony for all the winners.

Full results coming soon.

Full gallery here.