A day or two after the dust from the ’25’ Champs had settled on the A71 and A78, VeloVeritas caught up with the gold and silver medallists to get their in depth comments on the race.
We had expected a four way battle between Iain Grant (Dooleys), team mate Arthur Doyle, Ben Peacock (Paisley Velo) and Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace).
We got some of it right; Iain did indeed win and Paisley Velo were in the frame – but not with Ben; Messrs Peter Murdoch and Chris Smart took silver and bronze respectively.
Peter Murdoch shared bronze with Sean Childs in last year’s ‘25’ title race but this year made silver his own.
We started by congratulating the man then asking him about his move to time trialling; many of us knowing him best a roadman.
“I always did a bit of time trialling; when I was a juvenile and junior I held Scottish records (our research shows Peter previously held the juvenile ‘10’ record with 21:59 and the junior ‘50’ record with 1:55:01, ed.)
“I raced for the GB junior squad before going to France and riding with Luc Leblanc’s team – but I got scunnered with it, came home and didn’t race for a while.
“But I’ve got back into it and whilst I enjoy road racing more, the Scottish calendar for first and elite category riders is disappearing.
“I have ability in time trials and I can ride a good programme of them within an hour’s drive of the house – road racing in Scotland requires you to do a lot of travelling and it’s more cost effective to ride time trials.”
Was Sunday your personal best time (52:25)?
“No, I have a low 52 to my name – but to tell the truth, I haven’t ridden many 25’s.
“I was third in the championship last year but in total I think I’ve only ridden about five or six of them in my life – although I did ride a lot of 10’s when I was younger.”
What did you think of the course?
“It suited me with lots of twists, turns and roundabouts – it was a good course for a road rider.
“The drags suited me to; that’s where having a good power to weight ratio comes in – so overall, pretty good.”
Did you recce the course before the race?
“Yes, I went down with Bud Johnston on Tuesday afternoon and rode over it.”
What do you think of the later start?
“In the past they used to start time trials earlier for safety reasons but I prefer the later start, it means you can get a good night’s sleep; have a decent breakfast and prepare properly for your race.
“I wasn’t off until 11:45 and that suited me just fine.”
How do you gauge you ride?
“I just ride flat out; I’m not an out and out tester – I know Iain Grant rides on power but my way of riding time trials is that if you’re not suffering then you’re not going.
“I ride a ‘50’ the same way as I ride a ’10.’”
Tell us about your preparation for the race, please?
“Before I started to build up for it I had five days off the bike – I needed a rest and knew that I’d benefit from it.
“I rode and won a ‘25’ and ‘10’ leading in to the race – and I rode a crit at Dunfermline which maybe I shouldn’t have, it left me a bit jaded.
“But on the morning I went in quietly confident knowing I was going well and then just gave it everything.”
What gears did you use?
“I was up and down the cassette, it was windy and then there were the drags; but I was able to use the 54 x 11 so I knew I was going well and felt comfortable, but if I had to then I changed down to maintain my cadence – mostly between the 11 and 14 I suppose.”
Are you an ‘equipment guy?’
“I realise the importance of equipment now, yes.
“The trouble is that it’s just so expensive nowadays but I got a nice four spoke carbon front and rear disc on ebay and they make a dramatic difference.
“My bike is a Felt – it’s maybe not the most expensive or latest but it does the job.
“Things like aero helmets can make the difference; if you want to win then you have to have the best equipment – if you look at how close the placings behind Iain were…”
“Coming up to the ‘25’ I rode four ‘10’s’ and one ‘25’ – you have to do a few time trials to get used to the effort – and I stopped doing long road ride.
“I have a spin bike at home, it’s not high tech or anything but I can adjust the tension on it so it’s very hard.
“I use a 20 minute intervals threshold power session which Jim Riach gave me back when I was a junior – I still do that two or three times each week.
“It teaches you to hurt yourself – then hurt yourself even more!
“I don’t have a coach; it’s all my own programmes I use.”
Will we see you in the ‘50’ and ‘100?’
“The ‘50’ yes – but I think the ‘100’ takes an exceptional amount of craziness!
“But you never know . . .”
And if you could win just one race?
“You have to be realistic – but it would have been the 2014 Scottish National ’25’…
“But seriously, a top ten in a Premier calendar road race would be good – and to win the National ‘50’ would be fantastic.”
And the gentleman who topped the National ‘25’ podium for the third time had this to say:
Your third title, Iain congratulations – does it still feel as good to win it?
“It feels probably the best of the three, it’s getting harder all the time with the standard of the other guys improving and pushing me to go faster.”
But you won by a big margin?
“I knew on Sunday that there were potentially half a dozen guys to worry about; even though I knew I had the power I needed from my ride at Stirling, the week before – that ride was compromised because I got held up and had to put my foot down at the turn.
“I knew the course suited me for the National so it was a case of cranking it up and maintaining the effort – but sitting on the start line I was thinking that it could either way, my way or to one of the other fast guys who was having a good morning.”
Does your training change much from the ‘10’ to the ’25?’
“No, whilst you have to give the other guys respect, I knew that I had the speed from the ‘10’ and I’d previously done the volume to sustain me for the ’25.’
“A big difference this year is that my big actually fits me; it’s very comfortable and aero – and that equals more speed.
“Good position, the right tyres and aspects like proper nutrition can all add up to two or three percent – and that’s ‘free’ speed.”
You looked to us to be geared a little lower than usual?
“I tend to ride around the middle of the block and keep the cadence higher; somewhere between 90 and 100 rpm – I find that doesn’t shred the muscles so much.”
Did you think the course was as fast as the other Irvine, ‘two laps of the 10’ course?
“I don’t think it mattered, it averaged out on the morning – I knew the course from a ‘dry run’ race on the course last year.
“It’s not an exciting course to ride or watch but the times speak volumes.
“There were 200 male applicants to ride the championship.”
What are your thoughts on the later start?
“It is busier with traffic but to be honest, the only time I noticed it was when it rained – in the downpour your mind begins to wander as the cars fly pass and you think; ‘this is horrendous!’”
How did you pace the ride?
“Whilst I train on power and heart rate, in a race situation that’s too complex so I race solely on power.
“The display on my power meter shows me speed, elapsed time and average power.”
“I have the Ali Speed memorial ‘50’ next weekend – that will be an emotional day – then the Scottish ‘50’ followed by the CTT ’25,’ the Scottish ‘100’ on a new course at Alness then the CTT ’10.’
“And I have a few free weekends where I’ll be able to go out and do longer runs and enjoy the bike.”
What do you think of Alex Dowsett’s 17:20 ’10?’
“It’s hard to comprehend; that’s 34.6 mph and it settles the debate of how close we really are to the professionals.
“And you have to remember that ride is in the middle of a 30 hour training week.”
How’s the coaching business going?
“It’s picking up nicely and I’m moving into the ‘wellness’ industry – folks go to gyms but they don’t really know what they should be doing there and need guidance.
“Then there’s the training camps avenue –I’m not really sure what 2015 will see me doing…”
What’s still on the IG ‘to do’ list?
“I did have an Ironman Triathlon on the ‘bucket list’ but I’ve found that I don’t enjoy the water.
“I’m desperate for a crack at the Scottish ‘100’ record – you really have to respect Mark Atkinson’s ride (3:49:45).
“But really, I just want to ride every race as well as I can – and please don’t let me forget to say a big thank you to all my team mates at Dooleys.
“The opposition is closing in but we still managed to win the team title, which makes the day all the more special.”