It’s drizzling in Kirkcaldy at 06.15, mild, damp, depressing.
The 07.50 train to Edinburgh and no one speaks, not a word. I’d sooner be in the old Transit, with Terry Wogan prattling-on about sausages. The carriage rocks past the Forth Bridge approach road at 08.10 and like Talking Heads would say, the tailback is “same as it ever was”.
There won’t be much chat down there either. At least there’s a little daylight now, a few weeks ago at this time, it was “as black as the Earl o’ Hell’s waistcoat”, as my dad used to say.
Haymarket, the game plan was to leave at 08.30. One of the boys has missed his train, whilst he’s on the mobile explaining this, he misses the next one too. It’s 08.50 now, and our man ambles sheepishly across to the car – I’m really glad I got that early train.
Drum Brae, 09.10, and we pick up our sixth man. He’s got the short straw and is in the rear-facing seats in the back of the estate car.
Calendar, 10.00. The last time we were here it was a glorious autumn day and Jason MacIntyre was flying to another course record in the Trossachs; I would only see him once more after that, at the hill climb – he won that too.
Lix Toll, 10.30, and our ‘tail-gunner’ feels sick. We stop, haul him out, and I climb in.
As we crossed Rannoch Moor it looked briefly like the rain might stop, there was a bit of sun shining through the gloom, despite the torrents in every little valley.
We made it with about ten miutes to spare, the rain had turned serious; the church was full, and we were shepherded into the hall at the back, which was ‘standing-room-only.’
The service was as good as these things can be, the minister had done his homework, and Bob Taylor struggled manfully through his speech; “our hero”. Aye Bob, I never though of it that way, but that’s right.
And the British champion’s skinsuit, on a Scottish rider’s back in Scottish races, it was marvellous, you’re right, Bob.
The minister read out a letter from Caroline which will accompany Jason on his final journey; that was hard and the tears were close.
Outside, the rain was dramatic; the coffin in the back of the hearse; the big crowd, familiar faces and strangers alike, still stunned and with the rain dripping from their black clothing.
Caroline, her pretty face twisted in grief but still taking time to make sure the twins’ seatbelts were fastened – and all under the watchful eye of the TV cameras. It just didn’t seem real.
As we drove homewards, back along Loch Linhe-side in that downpour it finally sunk in that we’d never see that tall figure; back flat, still and composed in the saddle, the cranks flying around and that chiselled, focussed face, skinny – but healthy and handsome, ever again.
I’m lucky. I took the time to tell him he was ‘special’ when I did, for some people, it’s too late.
We’ll all miss you, Jason.
* * *
We’ve done our best here at VeloVeritas to support Jason, and to get out there and witness as many of his rides as we could. Here’s our complete list of stories and interviews featuring Jason, we hope you enjoy reading about the man.
- 14/10/07 : Scottish Hill Climb Championship
- 07/10/07 : The Tour de Trossachs
- 24/09/07 : Scottish Olympic Time Trial Championship
- 17/06/07 : Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship
- 28/05/07 : Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championships
- 16/03/07 : We’re Off! The Scottish Season starts with some transfer news
- 14/10/06 : Scottish Hill Climb Championship
- 01/10/06 : The Tour de Trossachs
- 10/09/06 : Tour of the Campsies
- 04/09/06 : Interview – following Jason’s win in the British Circuit Time Trial Championship
- 03/09/06 : British Circuit Time Trial Championship
- 12/06/06 : Interview – discussing the postponement of the Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship
- 05/06/06 : Interview – following Jason’s win in the British 25 Mile Time Trial Championship
Jason MacIntyre R.I.P.