The Stirling University campus today hosted the Stirling Bike Club’s annual Crit on the Campus race, which saw many Stirling students don their lycra to eat up the tarmac on two wheels.
A ‘crit’ – or criterium – sees racers chase one another around a short course for 40 to 50 minutes, trying to not get lapped and maintain a constant output of energy throughout the entire race.
Fortunately, the sun was high in the sky on a beautiful April day, with 4th and 3rd category men’s races, followed by a women’s race, and rounding off with an elite race.
The event also saw several youth races taking place in the morning, and a thrilling two-horse race in the Special Olympics round before the men’s race in the afternoon.
Connor Launder, president of the University of Stirling Cycling Club (USCC) said the event was an excellent contributor to the Stirling cycling community, with the event attracting hundreds to both race and watch the criterium.
He said: “You just have to look at how many people are here. If you were here earlier you could see kids six and seven racing and riding bikes – anything that gets people riding bikes is a good thing”.
USCC saw many riders don their new cycling kit, with Matt Boulter taking part in the first 4th category men’s race, and Connor Launder racing in the second. In the 3rd/4th category race was Darcy Crowther.
Although not achieving podium success today, all three men put on a cracking performance. Connor Launder started mid-field, dropped back for a time, before regaining some performance in the latter half of the race.
President Connor Launder speaking to @brignewspaper before the race. #COTC17 #BleedGreen pic.twitter.com/AoVwxMpZ6n
— University of Stirling CC (@StirUniCycling) April 2, 2017
In the women’s race, Elena Melton and Sara Virtanen put on a stellar performance. Elena started with the lead group until, by her own admission, she had to peel back to the chasing group after starting too quickly out of the blocks.
Sara, meanwhile, took the race at her own pace, and appeared to enjoy every turn of the race, smiling throughout.
Although finishing a little further back than they would have liked, both Sara and Elena showed great form against a strong field, which included cross-country medal-winner Kirsty MacPhee, who arrived at the race just as the motorbike was pulling away to lead the rolling start.
Unfortunately, the elite race was abandoned due to a heavy crash which ambulances had to attend to between parts nine and ten on the race, just next to the Iris Murdoch Building.
Many riders during the race noted the straight was particularly tricky and included a slight speed ramp that can be taken at speed easily.
Elena Melton said she could smell burning rubber as riders’ tyres skidded on the exit.
Overall, the event was well competed, with riders from many clubs across Scotland and further afield taking part in a glorious afternoon of racing.
You can see more photos on the Brig Newspaper Flickr page.
“It is worth ascending unexiting heights if for nothing else than to see the big ones from nearer their own level.” - Nan Shepherd
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