Kayleigh’s Wee Stars Cycle 2019

Kayleigh’s Wee Stars Cycle 2019

A large contingent of Ythanites of all ages took to the roads around Ballater and Royal Deeside to tackle the 20, 57 and 95 mile routes as part of this year’s Kayleigh’s Wee Stars charity cycle.

As per tradition, conditions were chilly first thing, but soon warmed up as the day went on. A light drizzle only served to cool down the hot and sweaty cyclists!

The keenly anticipated feed station at Lumphanan served up some meatier fare this year, thanks to Joel and his team from

Lots of families and children tackled the 20 mile route, either on the railway line or the road, and were treated to a delicious spread of cakes and fancy pieces at Huntly Hotel in Aboyne

Matthew Smith (11) and Euan Murphy (10) became the youngest finishers to complete the 57-mile route, and were rewarded with the ‘Spirit of Kayleigh’s Wee Stars cycle’ prize for their efforts.

A whopping £17,000 was raised on the day, which will go towards helping children with a terminal diagnosis around Scotland. Well done Team Kayleigh’s Wee Stars!

The date for next year’s cycle has already been announced – 3rd October 2020. Get it in your diaries!

SCX Round 2: Callendar Park Cyclo-Cross
Falkirk – Sunday 6th Oct 2019

Sunday 6th October saw a number of Ythanites descend on Callendar Park, Falkirk for round 2 of the Scottish Cyclocross Series. The results from each very muddy race were:

Eilidh Gronkowski – 12th in the U12s race
Gavin Gronkowski – 22nd in the U14s race
Robert Smart – 24th in the U14s race
Carol Middleton – 2nd place in her category
Ewan Gronkowski – 40th in the Senior men’s race
Mike Giles – 24th in the Vet 50s race

Lanzarote 70.3 Ironman

Matthew Reid was in action for the Lanzarote Ironman triathlon. With windy conditions leading to the swim leg being cancelled, the riders had to contend with longer bike and running sections instead. Despite the high temperatures and windy conditions, Matthew completed the Ironman 70.3 in a time of 5 hours. Fantastic achievement!

Photo courtesy of Winny Lidewy
Mike Giles in action at a very muddy Callendar Park.

Road season draws to a close as muddy season kicks off

Big Tree Campervans Tayside & Fife Regional Youth MTB Series 2019 – Sunday 22nd Sept

On Sunday 22nd September, Youth riders Matthew Smith, Euan Murphy and Andrew Ingram were in action at the Templeton Woods, Dundee for Round 1 of the 2019 Fife regional youth MTB series.

A huge field comprising the U12, U14 and U16 category riders lined up for the race, with all three Ythan riders holding their own under testing conditions.

Despite crashing on the first lap Matthew Smith managed to secure third place in the 30 minute U12 race.

SCX Round 1: Black Isle Showground, Muir of Ord – Sunday 22nd Sept

On the same day but further north another group of Ythanites were in action in round 1 of the Scottish cyclocross series.

Mike Giles and Ewan Gronkowski were in action in the Veteran and Senior men’s races whilst Gavin Gronkowski, Eilidh Gronkowski and Robert Smart were in action in the Youth races.

Eilidh finished in 7th place in the U10 race, while Robert took 17th place in the U14s.

Ewan did not finish the race, while Mike was 23rd in the Veteran men +50 category.

Regional Time Trial Championship, Lochter, Sunday 29th September

A large contingent of Ythan riders assembled at the sign-on at Barra Berries on Sunday 22nd Sept for the final time trial of the season, organised by Team Ecosse Northboats (TENS), Inverurie’s cycling club.

The 10 mile circuit started on the A920 near to the Lochter activity centre, with the riders set off in the direction of Drum of Wartle. They turned left along the B9001 past Daviot, before turning left again, and finishing along the unclassified road towards Lochter.

Fastest Ythan rider back was Ewan Gronkowski, who finished in a time of 23:10 and in 5th place overall, behind race winner Martin Reynolds of Aberdeen Wheelers cycle club (21:52).

Three generations of the Gronkowski family were in action with Ewan’s son Gavin competing in the Youth race and his father Eddie also competing in the men’s race.

Gavin finished with a time of 32:44, just behind fellow Ythan Youth rider Robert Smart (32:17). Fraser Gault claimed first place in the Youth race with a time of 23:38.

Jenny Noble and Wendy Gault finished in second and third places respectively in the women’s race, with times of 27:27 and 28:52, just behind race winner Lucy Ritchie of TENS cycle club (27:03).

The times of the other Ythan riders were:
Alan Smith 23:39 (3rd veteran and 8th place overall)
Stuart King 25:34
Steve Rae 25:45
Jim Jamieson 29:07
Morag Thompson 32:30
Eddie Gronkowski 32:52
David Abernethy 33:07

SVTTA 15m TT, Stirling, Sunday 29th September

Carol Middleton and Mike Giles were in action in Stirling in the Scottish Veteran Time Trial association 15m time trial.

Carol narrowly missed out on a podium position, with a time of 40:01 securing her fourth place. Patricia Baird of Ecosse Performance Cycling was the fastest lady with a time of 36:46.

Mike Giles finished in 15th place with a time of 35:21, behind race winner Douglas Watson of Team GTR, who broke the course record with his time of 30:15.


Setting out for something with low expectations occasionally results in an unexpectedly positive experience. Such as heading off for an Evening with Sir Bradley of Wiggins…

In brief, the background to this take is that someone close to me bought two tickets for an Evening with Bradley Wiggins in Edinburgh, but a social calendaring cock-up meant that I ended up going alone. Pausing in the Festival Theatre lobby only long enough to buy the worlds most expensive can of fizzy juice, I went to find my seat in the dress circle. Finding it, I told the old chap in the aisle seat that there wouldn’t be anyone sitting between us and we could therefore enjoy the luxury of having somewhere other than the floor to put jackets, jerseys, etc. Cue a few words of polite and innocuous conversation as we awaited the presence of Wiggo on stage (beside a collection of significant cycling jerseys and a yellow Pinarello).

Wiggo himself doesn’t come across as much of a cycling geek, which is a shame as I believe that’s what most of the audience were wanting. He must have got that out of his system with Team Sky as he was clearly a teenage cycling geek himself and the tales of his escape from the Kilburn sink estate to train in the velodrome were entertaining. So, bla bla Kilburn, bla TdF, bla track racing, bla hour record, bla The Jump, etc, etc; and suddenly it’s the interval.

One ice cream (vanilla, sensibly priced) later and I am once again in conversation with my neighbour in his aisle seat. As we start chatting about which clubs we are or have been members of, it isn’t a huge surprise to find that my new pal, Ramsay, used to race. It turns out that he used to race quite seriously too. In fact, he was National TT Champion in 1950. Rode for the Scotland team in the 1952 Tour of Britain. Finished 14th in GC in the 1954 Tour of Ireland. Set a tandem record in the Edinburgh – Glasgow – Edinburgh race (also 1952, I think) and was National Hill Climb champ in 1953. Most of those achievements were aboard what was clearly a very much loved custom built Gillott – a proper bike made with proper Reynolds 531 tubing, properly hand brazed with proper custom filed lugs! It was a reluctant sale on eBay last year and made over £1000 at auction; he was clearly sad to see it go and had been riding it until a few years ago when spousal tolerance of his continued riding had seemingly expired.

We could have talked for a lot longer (to be fair, there was really only one of us talking), but some chap called Bradley came back onto the stage and interrupted us. As interesting as His Wiggo-ness was, I honestly believe that most of the audience would have had a more memorable night listening to Ramsay talk about riding and racing in the ’50s.