It's the time of year when thoughts turn to cycling goals for next season. But before we leave 2017 let's look back on an eventful year for Fullarton Wheelers.
The club had countless individual successes with great performances at the track, road races, time trials, and representation and medals at everything from the Tour of Ayrshire to the World Transplant Games. Particular highlights were Sean Barron's consistently competitive placings in this season's road races, a win for Michael Allen in the Loch Ken 25 mile time trial (senior category), a win for Guy Walker in the inaugural Tour of Ayrshire (retro bike category), and probably best of all, a Scottish National Track Championship winning time by FWCC youth rider Zoe Watters (albeit held for just 11 minutes!). In addition to all this we had our first paracycling tandem team, a number of superb performances at youth events, and progression of individuals to race teams.
Of course, it is not all about racing. Club holidays in the sunshine and mountains of Majorca, and a journey to Spain to watch the Vuelta Espana cycle race, were great successes with over thirty members making the trips. Closer to home we had a number of fantastic away-days and away-weekends to some spectacular parts of Scotland. Everything from the Dukes Pass in the Trossachs to Britain's longest continuous climb, the Bealach na Ba' in Applecross. These too were really well organised and well attended, with upwards of thirty riders coming along to join the adventures.
In June, Fullarton Wheelers hosted the Millport 3000. This was a 24 hour charity ride around the island of Cumbrae with the aim of reaching a cumulative total of 3000 miles. Not only did the seventy riders who took part beat this target, they went on to achieve over 4000 miles. And no wonder, with riders like 11 year old Kyle Maitland and 13 year old Conal Davidson each cycling 100 miles, and the originator of the idea, Chris Blakely, achieving 170. This was Fullarton Wheelers at its best: club members enjoying being on their bikes, enjoying the company and camaraderie, and raising funds for the Ayrshire Hospice. The event even earned a mention in the Scottish Parliament.
This year investment was made in brand new state of the art turbo trainers for The Barn, the Club's indoor training facility. These were put to immediate use in this year's Winter League, organised by Stephen Cassidy and Jim Seenan. This goes alongside upgrades to the fleet of club bikes and the introduction of new club 'away kit'. Also notable is the extent of expert cycle coaching on offer this year from club stalwarts Gordon Stead and Brian Loye, but more recently from successful youth rider Martha Hillard.
The club also hosted a number of high profile open events, including the February 'Ice Breaker' and the Bill Moore Memorial 10 mile time trial. Fullarton's open events have a great reputation for their organisation and, even more importantly for cyclists, their catering. This is due in no small part to the army of willing volunteers like Alan Broadfoot, John Hannah, and many others, who work behind the scenes to support the club. In something of a coup, club Race Secretary Dave Walker and others helped FWCC win the rights to host the 2018 British CTT championships with a neighbouring cycling club. This will bring 400 of the country’s best riders to Ayrshire and is definitely something to look forward to.
While all of this has been going on the Club’s regular rides; the Sunday Club Run, Monday Night, Wednesday Crit, Thursday Time Trial Training and the Saturday Bun Run to Largs, have reached record levels of attendance. One particularly sunny Monday saw no fewer than forty six riders turn up for a tour of the Shire followed by coffee and cake at the Gailes Hotel. Monday nights have proven extremely popular with different groups matched to different member's abilities and aspirations, from beginners and novices to the speedy 'fast group'.
2017 has seen the club membership swell to a record numbers, with some great new characters joining FWCC. This short review can’t hope to cover everything that has happened this year, but it does show how much has been achieved by the club. Perhaps most significantly, a lot of members will feel they have improved their riding over the year, enjoyed some great company, and are keen to have another good year on the bike in 2018. Happy New Year from Fullarton Wheelers.
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