Sunday Service : Marshalling the Boomerang Time Trial

The Boomerang is a 22 mile, out-and-back, time trial organized by my club (Stirling Bike Club) and the Scottish Veterans Time Trial Association.  It’s been running for years and is very popular with local and not-so-local cyclists.  There is a form of age weighting or reverse handicapping, which I have no clue about, to determine the winner, as many older veterans compete against the younger whippets.  It also uses the 2-up format where two riders work together to complete the course: the clock stops when the second rider rolls over the line.

My marshalling position was at the top of the course on a roundabout where riders turned the 360 degrees to begin the journey home.  I had to make sure competitors made the full turn and also warn any oncoming traffic of their presence on the roundabout.

I completed a 2-up time trial last year and can remember feeling like my partner dragged me along and all I could do was hang on and keep out the wind.  In reality I spent plenty of time on the front trying to maintain our pace and felt like a burst ba’ at the end.

The main difficulty is trying to keep a steady pace, which is at once high but also compatible for two people of potentially differing abilities.  And it’s difficult to keep in touch on a busy road with the wind screaming in your ears!

The course for the Boomerang was relatively flat, except for a flyover carrying the road over a motorway and the drag up to the roundabout I was positioned on.  There was also a cross-tail wind on the way out, but the riders would be heading in to this on the return leg of the route.

From the roundabout I was able to watch each pair as they sped down the flyover and then grind their way up to the turn.  It was interesting to note how each pair was coping with the pace and conditons.  I reckoned everyone would have set off hard to make the most of the tail wind to push them along, and then try and limit the damage on the way back.  On more than one occasion it seemd that by the half-way point in the route several pairs had at least one rider who was completely ‘cooked’.  They were struggling to work together and some gaps were opening up between the two.  Other pairs, however, were moving in tandem as if using telepathy to communicate.

Using the start sheet (over 50 pairs entered) I was able to keep track of who was coming through and also see who had made up or lost time over the first half of the race.  And it definitely seemed that some of the pairs were flying round the course.

I am happy to report that there were no incidents involving riders at my marshalling point (or anywhere else on the course) despite the questionable driving of some tourists visiting Stirling Castle.  One rider did take a wrong turn, but was quickly put right, while another pair where shouted at by me (and the other marshalls) to go right round only for us to realise they weren’t racing,  Another rider also had a wee fright when one of the watching tifosi (a clubmate’s toddler daugher) rattled her homemade clanger too hard as he went round ‘ …what the hell was that?..’

The Boomerang was won by Messrs. Doyle & Gibson, of Dooley’s Cycles, while their team-mates Gordon & Grant won the scratch race (best outright time).

Full times can be found here

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