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Words: James 'Jimmy Mac' McCallum | Photos: © Crankphoto.co.uk
It was a different setting but a very familiar atmosphere on Saturday 2nd February in Glasgow. Having competed in several of the track Revolution Series meetings, I’m a bit of a veteran when it comes to these events. However, this season the organisers decided to bring the whole circus way up north to the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome for the grand finale. For the first time at the Revolution Series we had bagpipe music and the Proclaimers at full blast over the PA. It put a huge smile on my face (even if a little stereotyping was taking place) and I almost wished I'd brought my kilt.
As current leaders of the series Ed Clancy and I had the pressure on us from the off due to our slender 25 point lead. Over the past three rounds Rapha Condor JLT had built a reputation for two events in particular: the flying lap – 250 meters flat out, fastest lap wins; and the madison kilo – four laps of the track, two riders doing two laps each at warp speed while performing the sometimes ill-fated hand sling.
Clancy was the last rider to take to the track in the flying lap; the privilege and the pressure of being the leading rider. I sat in the track centre as Ed wound up his massive 108-inch gear around the top of the banked track until he swooped down to the black line, his legs a blur. Just under 13 seconds later Ed’s hands were in the air and the crowd on their feet. What a start to the night.
Scratch race next. Ed and I decided to play it safe and ride for the win, our plan was: Ed for the sprints, Jimmy looks for the lap gain. It turned out the race came down to the sprints.The lap gain never happened so I was on lead out duties and chase mode if anything looked dangerous. Ed gobbled up the points to take the win, however Rudy Project (2nd overall) managed second place again. There was a pattern to the night emerging and this was going to go down to the wire.
As we got to the thick end of the madison kilo the leaders were, unsurprisingly, the two Germans from Rudy (57 seconds). Ed and I sat on the apron of the track watching each team go before us, the pressure cooker being turned to its highest setting. If we wanted to win this it required the ride of our lives. We started rolling until our arms were scraping on the barrier at the top of the track and we were up to speed, ready to pounce. With four laps to go Ed and I connected and I slung him into action. I rolled around the top of the banking watching my speed so I could drop in at the right time for my effort and heard the commentator announce we were seven tenths down. I suddenly gulped down air in anticipation.
I dropped in and Ed gave me the sling of a lifetime into the final lap. As the noise of the crowd rose, my body was screaming and my vision narrowing with the strain of the effort. I cross the line and there's a silence. Then, 'boom', the whole velodrome erupts, we had done it. Fifty-six seconds had sealed the overall championship for Rapha Condor JLT. I have only one word to explain this experience: overwhelming. The Scottish public have truly embraced track cycling and their reaction, along with the support, was phenomenal. If this is a taste of things to come for Glasgow 2014 [Commonwealth Games], then count me in. Thank you, Glasgow, you made a local boy's night and made him feel like a hero.
If you are in the UK you can watch highlights of the Revolution finale on ITV4 tonight at 8pm.
- 2 be clear that was @johnherety decision to not let @AaronBuggle start. Tour of Korea and Irish National Champs will be his next rendezvous
- Happy to report @AaronBuggle is as good looking as ever after 13 stitches in his chin. Sorry to report not letting him start tomorrow though
- @flammecast @AaronBuggle His Shrone is fine !!!
- Big thanks to all marshals,coms and medical staff on the @anpostras today. Great work despite the numerous demands on their services today.
- Just to let all his girl fans know @AaronBuggle is ok. He's in hospital and will need some surgery on a cut to his chin. Will update later.
- We've just added 13 new rides since the weekend to our Rapha #womens100 Find a Ride list. → http://t.co/ux8c1JCuQc
- The team also racing the Ras in Ireland this week. Currently Aaron Buggle is the team's top placed rider in 15th overall.
- Tour Series resumes tonight in Stoke on Trent. RCJ line up is House, Clancy, McCallum, English and Mellor.
- Arboretum → http://t.co/cJXOyDWnK0 #raphasurvey #sanfrancisco #sf #cycling
- There are still a few of these sweet Rapha + Raeburn jackets at the SF @raphacycleclub. http://t.co/C2d98yCRL0