It has been a long time since we ran a Racerz Blog and this one is ACE!
Over to you Fraser…

We arrived at the race HQ at Strathallan School on Friday afternoon. Teams were arriving from all over the UK & Ireland, so it was pretty busy. Luckily the snow from the morning was already melting, but nonetheless, our plan to head out for a recon ride of Stages 1 and 2, wasn’t going to happen because of the weather. Instead, we drove the route in a mix of team cars and vans. We unpacked and settled into the boarding houses that we were staying in and went to the welcome meeting.

Saturday had two races, a 1.6km prologue and then a 63km Road race, around Forteviot. My time trial went alright but it could have been better, the shortness of the course meant that the riders’ times were split by only a couple of seconds. Not long after that the road race got underway.  The course was 9 hilly laps with 900 metres of climbing over the course. It was a fast start, and it was quickly clear, that this was going to be one of the fastest races I had ever been involved in. With 80 riders all pushing for position into corners and climbs, it was a hectic race, and with the wind starting to pick up as the day went on, positioning became even more important.  Attacks happened from the first lap and the race was very active, chasing down each break. Eventually a couple of riders got away on lap 6, and they would end up staying away and taking the win for the day. Unfortunately, on the 7th lap, with around 20km still remaining, I had some stomach issues which meant I was dropped from the group. I worked with a smaller second group but still lost time on the main contenders. This left me around 45th out of 80 riders by the end of the day, not what I had hoped for at the end of the day as it ruled out my chances of securing a high place GC finish by the end of the race.

On Sunday there was meant to be a team time trial with my teammates followed by a road race. My team had been practicing the TTT and were looking forward to it. We had done lots of practice for it as a team and felt we would be able to put in a good time.  However, due to the high wind speeds, the organisers chose to run the road race first, to ensure it would go ahead. It was once again a fast race from the start. The road race was 8 laps of a 7km loop round St Davids. The course was flatter than the day before, but the winds had picked up more, meaning the peloton was stretched out along the exposed straights with everyone fighting for shelter in the crosswinds. By lap 6, the bunch had been filtered down to around 35 riders and it was looking like I was going to be involved in the final sprint for the line. However, with 10km to go a crash occurred, and the race had to be neutralised. It was then, later, cancelled. The time gaps that were on the road were taken from the point of the neutralisation, so I gained some time on those who were dropped, though not as much as I’d hoped, had the race gone to completion

After this, the TTT had be cancelled for safety reasons, due to the high wind speeds

The last day was a shorter Kermesse race of 15 laps around a more technical course near the grounds of the Strathallan School. The technical course meant there were crashes throughout the race, and it had to be stopped twice due to this. However I managed to escape unscathed and got round to the end in the reduced bunch. By the end of the weekend, I had moved up to 38/80 overall and just missed out on the Scottish rider classification podium in 4th, although I was the 2nd placed rider from a Scottish team. Overall it was an amazing experience and I’m thankful to have been selected for one of the Scottish teams. It was my first ever race on open roads and the Stages were longer and hillier than normal circuit races. It was cool to have a full convoy including a neutral service car, although thankfully I never had to use it!

 Thank you again to Scottish Cycling for putting the event on and to my team managers James & Robert who got us to and from the races and helped us throughout the weekend. Lastly thank you to Glasgow Riderz for supporting me in this event and especially to Neil and all of the road and track coaches for supporting me with all my training.


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