Radar Run

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Guy_Walker
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Radar Run

Postby Guy_Walker » Sun 10 Jun, 2018 11:04 pm

FWCC's Radar Run is a 110 mile ride taking in the Mennock Pass up to Scotland's highest village, then higher still to National Air Traffic Control's Lowther Hill Radar Station. A golf ball shaped structure reached by Scotland's highest bit of tarmac, and the third highest road bike climb in the UK. No fewer than 12 riders thought themselves up to the challenge, including FWCC/Sprockets Cycles youth superstar Zoe Watters and father Stevie Watters, club chairman Derek Skinner, riders Colin Gillies, Bill Gerrie, Gordon Raleigh, and Del Young. On Sunday morning the climbing began. It was steady height gain on familiar roads to the village of Straiton, before further height gain up the Largs climb, one of the Ayrshire Alps, and up again from Dalmellington to Cumnock. A cafe stop in Sanquhar saw rider Martin Shields get served first (for a change), and was the prelude to the main event. Two miles out of village it was sharp left onto the Mennock Pass, a stunning climb regularly featured in cycling magazines. The climb is challenging to start with, and relentless in its length, ending seven miles later in Scotland's highest village, Wanlockhead. This was not the end for the FWCC contingent. Turning right off the main road it was an extremely challenging climb up to the Lowther Hill Radar Station, Scotland's answer to Mont Ventoux. Like the famous Tour de France mountain, Lowther Hill is also topped by a prominent antennae. The French climb has a tall spire; the Scottish climb has a big white golf ball. The climb is fierce, with similar height gain as the Mennock Pass, but over a third of the distance. Riders turn the numerous corners thinking they are near the top and become demoralised when they see how much is left, and how steep it is. Fortunately on Sunday the weather was fine and warm, which is something of a contrast given that the Lowther Hills are better known for their ski slopes. All riders made it to the top having covered over sixty miles to reach this point. It was now a change in mode, from hard charging up the famous climbs to a steady sustainable pace home. It was rolling hills through Crawford John, Muirkirk, Sorn, Mauchline and home. An epic ride of 110 miles featuring well over 7500ft of climbing.
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