The Ballantyne Memorial Trophy Road Race – Race Preview

Races are starting to come thick and fast at this point of the season – my next one is on Sunday – the Ballantyne Memorial Trophy Road Race. This race is held in memory of Alan Ballantyne, a keen cyclist who died at the age of 18. Winners receive the Ballantyne Memorial Trophy and £25.

This race will undoubtedly be different to my last race – the Sloan Trophy – as it is for category 3 and 4 riders; it should be slightly easier without 2nd cats. Also the terrain is totally different – this is very hilly (600ft climbed per 10 miles); so hilly that there is a KOM prize. The race profile follows:

Sharks teeth parcours.

The race starts in Mitford, Northumberland, and runs for 55 miles. There are three major ascents. Bilsmoor, near Elsdon, is climbed twice and the Gibbet is climbed 15 miles from the end. All three ascents are hard but Bilsmoor the second time and the Gibbet are the toughest, with some steeper sections. The race will be a gradual wearing down of those that can’t climb or can’t position themselves properly before a climb (something I need to work on). Following efforts all the way to the Gibbet would seem a wise approach but races are unpredictable so you never know when and where it’ll blow apart.

The Gibbet on top of the Gibbet climb - it's called Winter's Gibbet after the last person to be executed here. How many riders will be executed on the climb...

First and foremost my plan will be to position myself better than my last races – no plan of winning; you can’t win if you aren’t in the bunch. I’ll take the race as it comes and use it as a learning process. My club the Gosforth RC has a number of riders participating so hopefully one of us can reach a top 10 place. Obviously with so much climbing this is ideal for me but I’m not going into the race with any arrogance – I’m starting over. Whoever wins will be the strongest rider on the day as this is clearly a selective course.

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