25 APR 2017 | BY JANE HOLMES
KOTM 1, 25 April 2017
The traditional fine weather (snow, 20mph northerly wind) greeted a small but hardy band of contestants for Round 1 of this year’s King of the Mountains competition, run as usual over three climbs on a circular route picked out by Robbie Mitchell.
Hill 1: Up the Cleugh, or ‘Business as usual’
Without last year’s champion Lester, who was rumoured to be otherwise engaged in the ascent of Mount Venus, it was business as usual for Mr Mitchell. Halfway up the Cleugh the afterburners were turned on and the company was frazzled to a crisp. It was a rude awakening to KOTM for newcomers Andy and Keith, and sadly all too much for old hands Jane and Dunc. However, young Bruce Logan, suffering from ‘New Bike Syndrome’ (a recently acquired Giant, nice addition to the club) made a very good fist of it, and dragged both Mike and Graeme towards the finish line, where needless to say they both jumped him. Lesson learnt.
Hill 2: Edin’s broch, or: ‘Keith’s Calvary’.
A tempting new road surface up past the Broch must have gone to Keith’s head, because he stuck himself on the front and dragged the whole lot of us up into a full northerly headwind. It was glorious – like van Avermaet at Flanders he didn’t look back once. Sitting second wheel your author had his eye out for Robbie’s orange jacket, but instead a bright yellow one flashed out from the stalking party. Bruce Logan on a mission! An impressive uphill sprint was enough to blast the group apart and win second place – Mr Mitchell got the afterburners lit, but only just in time. Poor Duncan was squeezed out the back by Keith’s heroics to come in last. Lesson learnt.
Hill 3: Up from Abbey sawmill, or: ‘The Farmer’s Long One’.
The night ended kindly on a rough 2 mile road heading home from Abbey, with a long tail wind section to finish, just above the Dene. Dunc, fresh-legged from his last place on Hill 2, decided to get off early doors. Given his performance on the previous hill, barely-suppressed sniggers were heard in the bunch – until Mr Mitchell, in an attempt to get someone else to chase Dunc down, announced the Farmer was 27 seconds ahead. Because no-one fell for it, Robbie fired up the after burners and closed the gap himself, just in time for the twist in the road and the tail wind that threatened an unlikely but highly commendable opportunist victory. Mike managed to sook Graeme’s wheel long enough up the last drag to catch the farmer cruelly on the line, but Dunc still took a well-deserved third place to round off the night. Full results posted under documents.