According to the warped Fullarton Wheelers' calendar it is officially summer. And summer means trips to Scotland’s only road cycling park in the Galloway Forest called ‘the Ayrshire Alps'. Consisting of sixteen closely packed (and steep) climbs including the infamous Nic O Balloch, this is an amazing cycling asset right on our doorsteps. Eight Fullarton riders, including mountain goats Sean Barron and Chris Staples, alongside show ponies Mikey Allen, Nat Hunter, Guy Walker and George Gass, headed out for an early season reconnaissance mission. The first Alpine ascent was the five mile climb to the summit of Glenalla, reaching 284 meters at an average of 4%. Next up was the legendary Nic O Balloch, a fearsome two mile ascent reaching a maximum gradient of 20% (or 1 in 5) at points. It is then a descent down to the Davie Bell Memorial, the famous 'Highway Man Cyclist', and yet another brute of a climb: Tairlaw. On its own it would be a long ascent but after two previous Ayrshire Alps it is tough going. Thank goodness there is a five mile flying descent down to the village of Straiton and the Buck Cafe which, on Saturday, was packed with cyclists up from Glasgow and elsewhere. Distance covered was approximately 60 miles, with 4300 feet of climbing in total, and a combined fat burning of 24,000 calories (not including coffee and cake).