One of the university’s biggest sporting events of the year returned to campus on April 3, as Stirling Bike Club’s annual Crit on the Campus took over the university grounds.
With riders from across Scotland braving the somewhat changeable Stirling conditions to tackle the university course, competition was fierce throughout the main categories, with novice club riders rubbing shoulders with the likes of Commonwealth Games silver medallist Charlene Joiner in the pursuit of glory.
One of the riders to take part was Stirling University’s very own Joe Wilson. Racing in the Crit for the first time, the occasion did not disappoint.
“Being able to race around the campus was awesome. I’ve always wanted to race on it, and being in fourth year I didn’t really have a choice not to this year!
“Stirling Bike Club put on a really good show. They had a tonne of music blasting out around the Queen’s Court roundabout and had a good hub set up, so it was great.”
The Crit marked Wilson’s first competitive race on the road, having previously competed for the university at the BUCS Track Cycling Championships. Whilst quick to acknowledge the differences between the two disciplines, the Stirling student also expressed his enjoyment of the event, He said:
“Surprisingly I felt nor pressure at all. I thought I’d be a real fish out of water, but all the racers were having a laugh on the start line and it was really chilled out. There were a couple of guys from my team there so they were giving me a lot of advice and encouragement.
“On the track there’s no real variables like wind, rain etc. In the event I’m targeting (Individual Pursuit) it’s just me on the track, so it’s really just putting out X watts to achieve Y time. On the road there’s just so much going on. I’m still learning everything at the moment, but it feels like there’s a much friendlier atmosphere at a road race than a track. I had a great time.”
Whilst fairly new to cycling, Wilson has vast experience at national competition, having competed at senior level for Scotland in rowing. He has his eyes on the future however, and hopes that the Crit is a springboard to further his fledgling cycling career.
“Basically I wanted a change. I’d been competing in rowing since 2007 and I achieved my goal of rowing for Scotland. I’d always done cycling as part of my cross-training for rowing, so I thought ‘what would happen if I actually gave this a go?’. I’ve been working with a sports psychologist at the uni and my coach works with Scottish Cycling, so they’re really in the know about my development pathway.”
by Craig Wright