This Sunday marks the return of Cyclocross racing to Plean Country Park, held by Stirling Bike Club. The park was home to a series race for a number of years in the noughties, right up until 2011, when the race was last ridden. Issues around parking and SBC’s ability to support a CX race have been addressed in the intervening years and now it’s back!
Plean was my first foray into racing and cyclocross and what a baptism it was. The course was exceptionally muddy in several sections, not least the steep runup, which was slithered more than climbed. I had a great time, despite crashing on the final lap, forcing me to run around the majority of the course to get a finishing position.
The race organizer promises the 2015 edition to be a fast and flowing parcours, incorporating elements of the old course with some new additions. The stronger riders can expect to get off the bike for the hurdles, but should be able to complete the rest of the route without having to resort to running. This means the dreaded slither-up does not feature this year. Conditions in certain sections are muddy but not too claggy, but we will see how things develop between now and race-day.
This year’s event does not form part of the SCX series, but has a full brace of races taking in all age groups from u-12s right up to the Vet-50s.
David Lines has been on imperious form this season in the Senior Open races, with several series and non-series wins so far this season, alongside a strong showing at the recent round of the National Trophy at Durham. Some of the men looking to keep Lines off the top step of the podium at Plean include Sean Clark and Michael Nicholson, who have both had solid seasons with podium finishes throughout. Local boy Wayne Barr will also be looking to place high in this one. It will also be interesting to see how vet-40 superstar Gary McRae does in this senior race.
With McRae not racing the Vet-40, it falls to the likes of Crawford Carrick-Anderson, Steve Jackson and Franco Porco to light things up in this category. The women’s race has a small field, packed with talent, including local ladies Jayne Barr and Brenda Callendar, while Eileen Roe of Wiggle Honda will also be out for the win, as will her father Brendan Roe in the vet-50s race. The older Roe won’t have it his own way at Plean, with the like of Alistair Dow, Kenny Kentley and Colin Shearer all putting in strong showings recently and will be keen to get in the mix on Sunday.
All races, including the U-12/14/16, promise fantastic entertainment so if you are in the area, get along to spectate and shake a cowbell.
***Parking is limited for racers, spectators and park users alike, so please be considerate when coming by car and follow any instructions given.***