Jason Macintyre (Edge RT) made it a ‘double-double’ on Sunday morning as he successfully defended his Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship 2007 with 51:58 on a sunny but airy Irvine by-pass, the win coming just two weeks after he retained his British 25 mile title.
There were two surprises on the morning; Macintyre’s winning margin on the morning was ‘only’ 1:07 over runner-up and former team mate, Mark Atkinson’s (Sandy Wallace) 53:05; and the destination of the bronze medal – which went to a flying Jim Cusick (Glasgow Couriers) with 54:04.
Having won the Scottish 10 Mile TT title by a minute-and-a-half, it was expected that the Fort William man would be a couple of minutes clear of the field in the “25”; however, a rear wheel change – which was complicated by Macintyre’s choice of allen key rather than lever-operated quick-release cams – meant that he had to surrender most of the two minutes advantage he had gained in catching Atkinson for that amount of time after around 40 minutes of riding.
But for Jason’s misfortune, he might well have broken the magical 50 minute barrier, a feat he achieved in winning the British championship.
Joint silver medallist at 25 miles in 2004 behind Mark Atkinson (above), Cusick’s ride was unexpected; riders pushing hard for medals in the 10 championship, like Arthur Doyle (Ivy CC) or Gary Robson (Edge RT) would have been most pundit’s choice, however a wild Friday night (the exact details of which we cannot divulge) meant it was a relaxed Cusick who faced the time keeper and after a slower than usual start he was nine seconds too quick for Doyle at the line.
The car computer read 15 degrees at 09:30 on Sunday morning as the ten fastest seeds, placed at two minute intervals at the rear of the field, rolled-away from the start at Eglington Country Park.
There was a breeze off the sea which rose as the morning progressed but it was sunny and dry, with the only clouds in view being those clinging to the beautiful mountains of Arran, in the distance.
The course comprises two laps of a largely dual carriageway circuit running north to south, parallel to the coast.
I pitched camp for the morning at the roundabout turn which marks the end of the short stretch of single carriageway at the southern end of the course.
The marshal was a nice chap but bore a pained expression; “..chances you could keep an eye on things, while I go for a pee?”
Always happy to help the Wallacehill CC, I took up position in the road; “if any of these boys go off course, I’ll just bolt back to Kirkcaldy!” I thought to myself.
However, our man reappeared from the bushes and I was able to get back to my journalistic duties.
I started the watch on Stevie Blom (Glasgow Couriers) and took my time on the other seeds from him.
Like many of the ‘pure’ testers, Stevie made heavy weather of the roundabout, those with a road background like Jason and Jonathan Copp (Deeside) whistled round in lower gears without missing a beat whilst the time trial specialists laboured big gears and struggled to get back up to speed.
Stevie Gray (Edge RT) – who would be in the winning team with Jason and Gary Robson — was next up, but 10 seconds down on Stevie.
The wind was by now making the pages in my note book flutter as 2006 bronze medallist Joe Wilson (Sandy Wallace) passed, square with Stevie.
Jonathan Copp was 15 seconds down, albeit looking fluent and aero.
Jonathan’s Deeside team mate, Ian Humphreys, on his second lap looked good on his gleaming black, Australian Institute of Sport, BT ‘super-bike’ — not the fastest, but next to Jason he looked the best!
Arthur Doyle wasn’t putting any time off as he banked that Cervelo through the roundabout — fastest, up 5 seconds on Stevie.
‘Oldie but goodie’ Davie Gibson (GS Modena) was next, wearing his usual pained expression, and more-or-less square with Stevie.
Jim Cusick had the look of a man on a good ride as he took the roundabout well with the same seconds as leader Arthur.
Mark Atkinson with his usual physical style was next; he took me by surprise a wee bit so I didn’t get an exact time but he was well clear of Jim and the new leader.
Jason was flying, around 40 seconds up on Mark and making it look easy, the way the best guys do.
The only thing with him is that he goes so damn fast it’s hard to get a good shot of him – and that British champion’s skinsuit is just so Persil-white, it’s a bit too much for the auto-focus.
Lap two and Gary Robson was going well off number 80, en route a team medal with Edge.
Stevie Blom had disappeared so Sean Gray was the man I put the watch on, there was little to choose between him, Joe Wilson and Jonathan Copp but Arthur Doyle was still looking good and fastest by my reckoning (he would finish 4th in 54:15).
It wasn’t happening for Billy McFarlane, and Davie G was well on the way to catching him and taking fifth in 54:33.
Jim Cusick still had the bit between his teeth and was 5 secs up on Arthur and heading for bronze in 54:04.
Mark had by now wrestled that Orbea close-on a minute up on Jim; silver would take him just 53:05.
I expected Jason to hurtle into view any second, however it was a minute before the white tornado appeared; there had obviously been a problem; there was still enough of a margin to ensure a comfortable win though, in 51:58.
I followed him for a few hundred metres on the way in, he certainly is impressive — presenting the bare minimum to the wind and pedalling a gear that most mortals can only engage on a decent.
I accelerated past Jason and had a quick look at Mark on his way to the line — that man can hurt himself.
Then it was time to go to the strip and get those quotes:
“I was surprised to get the bronze this morning, the time was what I expected more-or-less, but I didn’t think it would be good enough to get me a medal; especially since I was at a gig on Friday night and maybe had a beer or two too many!
“I have a tendency to go-off to quick so I consciously measured the pace this morning, I kept the lid on my effort in the early part of the race and it’s paid-off.
“It was a funny morning, there was never any stretch where it was a block headwind but there was never a stretch where you got the benefit of a tail wind either.
“Next on the agenda is the 50 champs at Invergordon, that’ll be my first ride at the distance this year; then I have a 100 at Aberdeen after that.”
For the second year in succession, Mark: Atkinson produced a ride good enough to win the event in the days before Jason went supernova:
“Jason caught me after around 40 minutes riding but I just continued to ride my own race, I was averaging 28/29 miles per hour, so I knew I was on a good ride, irrespective of what Jason was doing.
“I can’t be unhappy with my effort and now I’m looking forward to the 50 next week — closer to home at Invergordon.”
It’s amazing the difference a year (and another two British titles) can make to a man. Last year, when I spoke to Jason before the Scottish 25 he was worried that he wouldn’t like to be British 25 Champion but beaten in the Scottish race. I put that to him:
“After I won the British this year I thought, ‘well, that’s the job done’ and my mental approach is different now, no dis-respect to this event, but it’s at a different level to the British.
“I think I might have broken 50 minutes if I hadn’t punctured today, the wheel change was a bit of a hassle because I have allen-key activated quick releases to save weight, so you have to have the right tool to get the wheel out.
“I’m delighted to be Scottish 25 mile champion again but winning the British 25 again with a personal best on a tough course was special.
“Loosing the British 10 was a real disappointment though, I wanted to win so much; with the benefit of hindsight, I didn’t give the race enough respect, you think; ‘it’s only 10 miles’ — but it’s such a hard effort.
“I’ll definitely be back down south for another go at that distance next year.
“I’ll have a bit of a rest this week then get back into training, it’s hard when you have so many races to train and peak for; I’m looking forward to just enjoying riding my bike for a bit and maybe getting out in some nice weather.
“I’ll be doing some road racing too; the Ayrshire Classic on July 1 will be my first.
“The British circuit champs are on the second of September and that’s obviously a big target, I’ll be going down to Manchester in July to have a look at the course for that.”
Finally, a special mention has to be made of Carlos Riise (Shetland Wheelers) sixth with 54:39 and off number 10, so he could get the plane back to Shetland — how does he do it?
It’s the 50 next Sunday, Invergordon — see you there (I might even bring me bike!).