Report: Stirling Bike Club’s Up the Kirk Hill Climb

The sun shone but a hard wind ensured there was autumnal bite in the air as the crowds gathered for the spectacle that was the inaugural running of Stirling Bike Clubs ‘Up the Kirk’ Hill Climb.

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A strong start list saw in excess of 120 competitors climbing aboard their steeds and embarking on an epic challenge to see who could conquer of of Scotland’s toughest climbs! With several changes of gradient, long drags, steep ramps in excess of 27%, tight corners and a headwind finish this really would be one to challenge event the fittest of riders, even William Wallace may have had to ‘think again’ before putting pen to paper at the sign on.

First up were the youths, who were riding a slightly shortened course, but that did not translate into easier, with a steeper average gradient than that which was set to challenge their senior bretherin. Their times were to put it mildly flipping impressive with many that would put much of the senior race to shame. At the sharp end of the field it was a close run thing with Glasgow Riderz Rhys Donnelly laying down a blistering 3m42s, pipping Ben Forsyth of Edinburgh Road Club by just 1 second to set the fastest time of the day. 3rd fastest time, only another 4’s back with and equally as impressive 3m47s was Perth United’s up and coming Matthew Peters. Out of the strong youth start sheet it was Kiera Johnston of Glasgow Riderz who showed the other girls a clean pair of heels and galloped of into the sunset with the fastest time of female youth riders.

After the youths had shown them how it should be done, it was the turn or the senior riders to don their lycra war paint and tackle the infamous Logie Kirk. First to charge headlong into battle, with a number 1 firmly pinned to his skintight armour was Stirling Bike Clubs Archie Johnstone, who didn’t even have the pleasure of topping the leader board as he crossed the line due to the fact his minute man and clubmate, the Flying Doctor, Graeme Hay had caught and passed him on the course. As the war raged on no one was managing to break the 5 minute barrier with many coming close until eventually Alistair Robinson, Leslie Bikes, set and impressive benchmark of 4m53s that eventually earned him 6th overall.

The sun continued to shine, coffee was drank and cakes were eaten as cowbells and war cries echoed throughout the Ochil Hills as riders tried and failed to knock Alistair off the top step, the closest of his challengers being Craig Hardie, Hardie Bikes, who slipped just under the 5 minute mark with time of 4m59 to secure 7th overall.

Then the big guns came to town looking for a fight, Jamie Kennedy of Glasgow Couriers was first into battle blowing the other times clean out of Stirlingshire with an impressive 4m49s, although his rule of King of the Kirk was short lived as local hero Robin Wilkins of the Edinburgh based Equipe Velo Ecosse saddled up and knocked 2s off Jamie’s time to take control of the leaderboard.

A mere 5 minutes later a new challenger for the crown emerged, Glasgow Wheeler David Griffiths who took a further 10s off the time with a spritely 4m37s. In the closing stages it looked liked David may have secured the victory especially when one of the big favourites Ben Greenwood of Vanilla Bikes suffered a mechanical. The Glasgow man must have thought he was going to return home victorious with a new crown and tales of enemies put to the sword, that was until a new arrival in on the scene threw his tartan bunnet in the ring, in the form of The Bicycleworks rider Steven Lawley.

He rode into town with the infamous Bundy Boys and annihilated the competition with an unbelievable time of 4m32s, laid claim to the throne and coveted the title of ‘2012 King of the Kirk’. There was silence, well apart from court jester Andrew Wilson and his awful 80’s playlist.

There weren’t as many ladies willing to take on the challenge but this didn’t make the rivalry any less intense, Stirling’s Sarah Stephen, who has only been riding bikes for a few months, set the early benchmark, Vicky Ware of VC Moulin then took over the reigns as fastest lady. Her very strong time of 6m24s struck fear into the hearts of many and she held off the competition until West Lothian Clarions Jennifer Taylor stormed up the course to the delight of the crowds with an incredible time of 6m05s.

Pre-race favourite Lee Cragie, Moray Firth CC, put up a good fight and came within 1s of dethroning Jennifer, but she was not to be topped and claimed the overall ladies prize and became the ‘2012 Queen of the Kirk’. Stirling’s Brenda Callander put up a late challenge and rode an impressive race to claim the 3rd step of the podium threatening to return in 12 months’ time to claim the crown and return it to its rightful Stirlingshire home.

Inspired by the electric atmosphere the up and coming stars of tomorrow, in the form of top Scottish Juniors, Ayrton Pellet of Edinburgh Road Club, Team Leslie Bike Shop – Right Move Windows Callum Foster and Stirling Bike Clubs Kyle Petrie danced up the hill to take the top 3 Junior spots in that order.

After lungs had stopped burning and heads stopped spinning and the remains of the delicious spread of cakes were demolished by the hungry mob, slowly the crowd dispersed back to the far reaches of Stirlingshire and beyond, peace once again fell upon the Ochils where a battle of magnitude not seen in the area since 1314 had just been fought.

Until autumn next year the King and Queen of the Kirk will be safe in their thrones and free to ride their bikes safe in the knowledge their names will be etched in legend for ever more.

Senior Results:
1 Steven Lawley 4.32 Snr
2 David Griffiths Glasgow Whls 4.37 Snr
3 Jack Beezer Leighton Buzzard Road Cycling Club 4.43 Snr
4 Robin Wilkins Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers 4.47 Snr
5 Jamie Kennedy Glasgow Couriers 4.49 Vet
6 Alistair Robinson Team Leslie Bike Shop – Right Move Windows 4.53 Snr
7 Craig Hardie 4.59 Vet
8 Andrew Whitehall Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers 5.00 Snr
9 David King 5.01 Snr
10 David Anderson Deeside Thistle CC 5.08 Snr

1 Jennifer Taylor West Lothian Clarion CC 6.05
2 lee craigie Moray Firth Cycling Club 6.06
3 Brenda Callander Stirling Bike Club 6.23
4 Victoria Ware Velo Club Moulin 6.24
5 Toni McIntosh Ayr Roads 6.30

1 Ayrton Pellet Edinburgh Road Club 5.12
2 Calum Foster Team Leslie Bike Shop – Right Move Windows 5.18
3 Kyle Petrie Stirling Bike Club 5.19

Youth Results:

Youth A Boys
1 Rhys Donnelly Glasgow Riderz 3.42
2 Ben Forsyth Edinburgh RC 3.43
3 Matthew Peters Perth United Cycling Club 3.47
4 Lewis Grieve Spokes 3.58
5 Jamie Mason West Lothian Clarion CC 4.05
6 Andrew Brown Falkirk Bicycle Club 4.14
7 Alistair Merry Discovery Juniors 4.37
8 Hector Lancaster Perth United Cycling Club DNS

Youth A Girls
1 Keira Johnston Glasgow Riderz 5.02

Youth B Boys
1 Logan Dow Stirling Bike Club – Wallace Warriors 4.08
2 Danny Mulholland Johnstone Jets 4.21
3 Andrew Merry Discovery Juniors 4.21
4 Innes Johnston Glasgow Riderz 4.35
5 Alexander MacRae 4.40
6 Lewis Goodlad Ythan CC 4.42
7 Ruairidh Brown Glasgow Riderz 4.58
8 Lewis Stewart Glasgow Riderz 5.39
9 Calum Shackley Glasgow Riderz 6.04
10 Alistair Abbess Stirling Bike Club 7.22

Youth B Girls
1 Rhona Callander Stirling Bike Club 4.50
2 Philippa Samphier Stirling Bike Club 5.05
3 Jenny Holl Wallace Warriors 5.30

Youth C Boys
1 Sean Flynn Edinburgh RC 4.00
2 Matthew Running Glasgow Riderz 5.09
2 Cameron Mason West Lothian Clarion CC 5.09
3 Sandy Holl Wallace Warriors 5.27

Youth C Girls
1 Ellie Park Glasgow Riderz 4.46
2 Emma Forsyth Edinburgh RC 5.46
3 Abby Stewart Glasgow Riderz 6.02
4 Anna Shackley Glasgow Riderz 6.04
5 Eva Barnet Edinburgh RC 7.38

Youth D Boys
1 Rory McGuire Perth United Cycling Club 4.51
2 Alexander Ball West Lothian Clarion CC 5.33
3 Sorley Johnston Glasgow Riderz 5.38
4 Ewan Purves Wallace Warriors 6.16
5 Murray Lawson Edinburgh RC 6.39
6 Jack Smith Wallace Warriors 7.21
7 Scott Sherriff Wallace Warriors DNS

Youth D Girls
1 Anna Flynn Edinburgh RC 6.48
2 Rhona Samphier Stirling Bike Club 7.20
3 Catherine Abbess Stirling Bike Club 10.33

Youth E Boys
1 Robin Purves Stirling Bike Club 5.55
2 Paddy Barnes Glasgow Riderz 6.49
3 Cameron Kerr Wallace Warriors 6.52




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