If you ask Italian riders which one race they’d want to win above all others, nine times out of 10; Milan-Sanremo; for Belgian guys it’s De Ronde, 19 times out of 20.
Me, back in the 80’s: the Scottish 25 mile time trial championship.
Sadly, I never realised my dream.
But that man Kyle Gordon is making his dreams come true; a ride in the Commonwealth Games and now, the ‘Blue Riband,’ joining Billy Bilsland, Sandy Gilchrist, Graeme Obree and Jason Macintyre’s names on the roll of honour as winners of the ’25’ Champs and breaking through the magical 50 minute barrier in the process.
Here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas the day after his winning performance.
Congratulations Kyle, great ride – was that 48:38 a personal best?
“Yes, by 1:44.
“On the way down to the race, my dad and I were chatting about my expectations for the championship and I said that I wanted to a personal best after the disappointment of the CTT Scottish ’25’ champs where my Di2 front changer decided to keep dropping the chain off the 57 ring into the 44.
“I managed to hook it up onto the big ring a few times with my fingers but I rode most of the race in 44 x 11 – and still came in with a 51:21.”
Aren’t you usually a ‘fixed man’?
“Last year I rode most of my time trials on fixed aboard my aluminium single speed frame.
“But the fork on my new track bike which I got for The Games isn’t drilled for a brake.
“Sandy Wallace is sourcing forks for me but we don’t have them yet.
“All my personal bests until yesterday were set on fixed and on the right day I still think it’s quickest.”
Tell us about the bike.
“It’s an Orbea Ordu TT frame, 44/57 rings with an 11 up cassette; Xentis front wheel and a Zipp disc rear. Tyres are Vittoria Corsa Speed.”
How did you pace your ride?
“I always try to settle in to a ’25’ but on that course at Forfar there’s a big downhill to start so you get up to speed quickly.
“I tend to ride on ‘feel’ – I glance at my watts but mainly it’s ‘feel.’
“But I definitely overcooked it on the way out to the turn; I got one time check from my dad, near the turn and I was 30 seconds up on Liam Beaty – but by the finish the margin was back to 12 seconds.
“My average watts were 335; I think I’m pretty ‘aero’ – I did testing with WattShop and my TT position is identical to my UCI legal track position, albeit the bike isn’t as aero with levers and cables and suchlike.”
What were the weather and traffic flow like?
“The weather was brilliant, sunny spells, warm – in fact, it was very warm on the turbo during my warm up.
“There was a head wind on the way out and a tail wind back, it was 15/16 degrees, good conditions.
“Some folk were saying that the traffic was crazy but I wasn’t that conscious of it being particularly heavy.”
How long were you off the bike after The Games competitions?
“Two-and-a-half to three weeks.
“I didn’t ride the ’10’ champs due to a chest infection and I suffered severe tiredness when I came home – I was sleeping for 12 hours, some nights.
“However, folks have told me that’s just part of the recovery process after all the training and race workload in Australia.
“My coach, Peter Ettles put my programme together coming into the ‘25’ – it was really only three weeks of preparation; we had two big weeks of endurance runs then one week of intervals.”
And you’re doing gym work, too?
“Yes, twice each week; Mondays and Thursdays thanks to the Highland Institute of Sport
“I’m fortunate to be getting virtual one to one coaching on technique and training.
“I only started last September but I’m noticing strength gains so it’s really worthwhile.”
What’s next on the agenda?
“I entered the Corrieri ‘10’ at Cambusbarron this weekend but got my entry back as it was a full field, so I’ll be riding a local ‘50’ – the Davie Bruce Memorial.
“I’ll also be riding the National ‘50’ at Laurencekirk at the start of July and hopefully the ‘100’ which is at Aberdeen at the end of August.
“I think that’s actually the only ‘100’ there is, this year?”
What about that Hour Record?
“That’s on the back burner, it’s something I’ve spoken to Peter Ettles about but it’s something that will need a lot of preparation and support.
“I’d have to pick the right time so as not to compromise my other ambitions.”
And will there be more track racing this coming winter?
“The Scottish Track Championship in November will be a goals and I’d like to ride the Scottish Sprint Grand Prix this year, I missed it last year.
“I’d also like to ride the UCI Class 1 events we rode in Portugal and Switzerland last season, again this season.
“And the British Track Championships will be a big goal – I’ll be stepping up the weight training for that.”
“What’s the work situation, are you back offshore?
“I took a sabbatical from work to prepare for and ride The Games and was undecided about going back; then the phone rang, it was the office to tell me that the contract I was working on has been shelved and we’re all laid off – so the decision was made for me.
“I’m now working on the plumbing with my dad and a friend who’s in the same line.
“I managed to ‘get by’ with training and racing when I was offshore but after six-and-a-half years it’s good to be based back at home.”