Riders set to Xcite after answering Clarion call to support third event

Young riders  turn out in force for the Clarion event.
Young riders turn out in force for the Clarion event.

West Lothian Clarion Cycling Club are organising a third open cyclo-cross race for women and youth riders in Linlithgow - and it’s set to be a record-breaker.

The Clarion’s “Last Gasp” race is already one of the biggest women’s cyclo-cross events held in Scotland, but demand is such that the places for the women’s race on Saturday, January 29, are all snapped up.

The club is now seeking permission from British Cycling to expand the field even further.

The clamour for places is partly due to the club offering coaching in cyclo-cross skills beforehand - this year not just from the club’s own qualified coaches, but also from special guest Isla Rowntree.

Isla is a former professional cyclist who was British Cyclo-cross champion a number of times in the elite category and won the veteran’s category last year. The club are encouraging local residents to go along to watch the races, from 12.45pm, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Riders will face a challenging course at Xcite’s Linlithgow Leisure Centre designed by race organiser Alan Massey, a Clarion coach.

He said: “The number of entries shows the real enthusiasm that exists for cycling generally, and cyclo-cross in particular.

“It’s especially encouraging to see an increase in entries from women. The fact that we can offer training beforehand definitely helps in this regard, and we’re really grateful to Xcite for their support in staging this and other events. Having Isla Rowntree come along is a real vote of confidence in what we’re doing in the club.”

Diane Clayton Chisholm, another Clarion coach who will be involved in helping riders hone their skills, said: “Giving women riders coaching in a supportive environment and then a chance to put it into practice is really positive and helps build the confidence of riders who have been reluctant to enter open races.

“If the proposed circuit at Kettilstoun goes ahead, as well as the huge impact for our own club, we’d love to run more of this type of session, broadening access to the sport and encouraging people to be more active.”

The club was formed in 2008 and is one of over 30 local sections in the national Clarion.