On Sunday 3rd of September, Castle Douglas Development Forum hosted a free Cyclocross Family Festival at Lochside Park funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Summer of Cycling celebrations.
The day was well attended and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Carolyn Yates chairperson of Castle Douglas Development Forum said: “This is our first event based at what was the outdoor centre and is now becoming a community asset, the Crannog Campus. We want to make it an environmentally friendly place for inclusive family activities and this is just the start. Last November we hosted round 6 of the Scottish Cyclocross series. We noticed that most entries came from outside the town so the idea of today is to give local kids and families a taste of this welcoming and inclusive sport. It’s fun and also provides a gateway into cycle racing for those youngsters who want to take things further. Learning cyclocross skills also make sure you can really handle your bike” A surprise special guest was newly crowned senior male Scottish Mountain Bike Champion and local lad Lewis Martin. Everyone was delighted that Lewis took part in the family relay and final race, providing inspiration for participants and a thrilling display of cycling talent for spectators.”
John Whittacker, from the international events company Silent Running who managed the 2021 cycle race tour series in Castle Douglas, returned to the town to run the races over a course he designed with plenty of twists, turns and steep banks. The last race even included ‘hurdles’ made out of cardboard boxes!
With sunny weather on-side, the day started with the children’s race at 11am. For twenty minutes children aged 5 to 14 lapped the course as fast as they could and everyone crossed the finish line, with parents and friends encouraged to give those that required it a helping hand by running with their competitors.
12.30pm saw the start of the family relay race. An adult and a child of any age from the same family took it in terms to lap the course, tagging their teammates in to tackle the next lap. There was plenty of cheering and some nifty tagging skills in evidence. The day finished with a 30 minute race for anyone wanting to give free reign to their competitive spirit. This was the chance to see current and future champions in full speed action.
To make sure even the smallest cyclists were included, the Dumfries and Galloway Bikeability Scotland team created a cycling obstacle course alongside the cyclocross race track. As well as the races, local producers sold delicious food and lovely arts and crafts, whilst CD Scouts and Beavers ran a tombola and Neill Walker, CDDF trustee and owner of The Mad Hatter café, offered delicious home-made soup and refreshments. Entertainment for the day came from Performance Collective Stranraer’s Bippity, a band of hilarious, eccentric magical creatures needing help with casting spells.
The Mountain Rescue team provided first aid and there was an opportunity to find more about The Loch Ken Trusts and the council’s Active Travel plans for the town.
And for those wanting more cycling opportunities, next week there is The Beltie Triathlon Festival at Crossmichael Marina including Novice, Standard and Middle Distance individual and team races.
Castle Douglas Development Forum would like to thank all the volunteer marshals, local producers and John Whittaker and team at Silent Running Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council and all the competitors, families and spectators who made this a gloriously joyful day.