RUNNING champion Davie Cavers swapped his trainers for tyres as he was the pick of the Hawick cyclists at last weekend’s Ken Laidlaw Sportive.
The Teviotdale Harrier produced a marathon effort to complete the 104.8-mile course in five hours and 14 minutes, just four minutes behind David Moran, who was first home – and whose average speed for the gruelling event was an incredible 21.2mph.
Organiser Hamish Smith, from Hawick Cycling Club, said: “Davie’s always been a great runner and I think he took up cycling a while ago. This is certainly a great achievement to be in among the fastest riders, and the average speed of the winner, to me, just seemed out of sight.”
Some 500 entrants lined up on Mansfield Road shortly before 9am on Sunday as they prepared to set off on either the long, medium (55 miles) or short route (22.2 miles).
A special mention was made of the late Craig Turnbull, who had been pivotal in organising previous events, before his daughter Chloe set the riders off on their way.
Particularly tough parts of the route included head winds at Eskdalemuir, Note o’ the Gate and along Earlside after the arduous climb out of Bonchester, although the final seven miles in from Cogsmill and past Stobs back into town to Mansfield Park were a lot more enjoyable.
Food stops at Boston Hall and Newcastleton were tended to by volunteers from the Macmillan Nurses and Katie McKerracher Trust respectively.
While villagers along the way banged pans as participants passed creating scenes akin to the Tour de France.
And on their return, the tired and well-travelled cyclists received a medal and water bottle and enjoyed showers and food courtesy of Hawick RFC.
Hamish added: “The whole event was just another gigantic success, I can’t put it any other way.
“I think we had 12 punctures before Martin’s Bridge which was a bit strange and there were quite a few spills and scrapes, but it was just mainly road rash and nothing serious.
“Everyone was smiling as they came in. Most were completely and utterly knackered, but they all seemed to enjoy it. They were so impressed with the quality of the route and the friendliness of the Borders people.”
Donations from the cycling club were made to a number of groups in recognition of their support on the day, including Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue team, the Katie McErracher Trust, Macmillan Nurses, the local pony club and Hawick RFC.
“The help we had was phenomenal,” said Hamish. “There were 12 motorcycles, 10 cars, jeeps and trailers. Everyone pitched in and the support was tremendous, we can’t thank folk enough.”