Scottish Time Trial Championships in April? But like Dylan said; ‘The Times They are a Changin’… Sunday was horrible, wind, rain, cold – just what my bad throat and chest didn’t need.
Step forward our Editor, Martin who, despite having been riding in the storm all morning to help with filming John Anderson’s Tour o’ the Borders sportive, braved the ghosts from the biggest Iron Age in Scotland, which sits up on the 1400’ White Meldon to brandish the Nikon into the gale force storm.
Winner through the murk and driving rain was Sandy Wallace Cycles’ Alan Thomson, holding off teammate Silas Goldsworthy by eight seconds in the Tour of the Meldons – incorporating the Scottish Olympic Time Trial Championship.
‘Super-tester’ Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) suffered a rare defeat, a further 13 seconds behind Goldsworthy.
The race is a ‘classic’ – first held in the 1930’s it’s been run in more or less the present format for almost 40 years.
We rang Alan on Monday to get the low down on his win.
Congratulations on the title, Alan – but is April not a bit early for National Championships?
“Yes but it’s at the other end of the scale from The Tour de Trossachs which the championship is usually incorporated with.
“The Trossachs is in October and there’s a big gap in racing to keep momentum through to it.
“This is only my second race of the year; I rode a 10 at Stirling in March and then the weather broke – since then I’ve done the bulk of my training on the turbo and concentrated on staying healthy.”
But isn’t the Trossachs a great climax to the season?
“The Trossachs is a really special race and the weather hasn’t been bad for it in recent years.
“The weather at Eddleston was grim and the parking facilities weren’t great, not like the big car park at Aberfoyle.
“But that said; the organisation on Sunday was first rate.”
This isn’t your first national title?
“Last year I couldn’t pull one off; I took silver in the ‘50’ and bronze in the ’25.’
“But I did win the ’50’ in 2011, yes.
“I’ve really enjoyed this victory; it came as a complete surprise. I fell off after I had a mechanical on a training run in the winter and broke my elbow – I meant I had an enforced rest and was only on the turbo and rollers before I came in to racing.
“It was a very different winter for me.
“Arthur Doyle really knows how to hit form for an event and Silas is going really well, so like I said, it was a surprise to win.”
Was Sunday your first Meldons?
“No, I’ve ridden every year since 2008 or ‘9 so I’m really familiar with the course. I was close to winning last year but Jim Cusick was just too quick for me, so I’ve been after the win here for a long time.
“The other years I’ve ridden it the weather has been dry but Sunday was epic; the bike was a real handful if you were on deep section rims with that cross wind over Shiplaw.”
How do gauge your effort in a time trial, on power?
“Last year I bought a set of SRAM Quark cranks – I used a PowerTap hub before that, so yes, I ride on power.
“But yesterday I had to keep my head up because the weather was so bad – I was more interested in keeping it between the hedges than looking at my power output!
“I used to have a habit of going off to hard so riding on power does help. I know pretty much how my power is developing from my training, but sometimes you surprise yourself – the adrenalin kicking in makes a difference.
“If I’m still feeling good then I really give it everything in the last five minutes.”
Were you getting checks on Silas?
“No, I didn’t know how close it was, I just battered on – the conditions were so bad that I just concentrated on staying safe.
“I heard that [team boss] Sandy Wallace was on the course but I have no recollection at all of seeing him.”
What do you do for a living and how do you fit in training?
“I’m a chartered surveyor and it can be quite tricky fitting it all in – but it helps that I work conventional office hours.
“I do an hour before or after work – sometimes both.
“It’s mostly on the turbo – that reduces the variables, lets you focus on the specifics.”
Do you have a coach?
Yes, Peter Ettles.
“He gives me a lot of advice, we discuss alternatives ways of doing things, what to focus on.
“He’s very much into the modern methods and understands the numbers to the extent that he’s very good at predicting what will happen in the race.”
Martin says you’ve been riding the Glasgow Track League?
“I started riding there soon after I came back from my broken elbow and it was a bit of a shock to the system.
“I was dropped in at the deep end in the bunch races – but I’m getting there now.
“It’s like a completely different sport; but I’d like to get into timed efforts and the try the pursuit.”
If you're squeamish...
What’s the next goal?
“I’ll have to sit down with Peter and work on my strategy for the next part of the season.
“I’d really like to ride the British Cycling Time Trial Championship on the Commonwealth Games circuit in Glasgow.
“And of course there’ll be the Scottish titles – TTT, 10, 25 and 50 Championships.
“But I’d also like to do a bit down south and see how I match up to the likes of the Michael Hutchinson and Matt Botterill…”
Result - Meldons Hilly Time Trial 2013
2 Silas Goldsworthy Sandy Wallace Cycles S 00:57:35
3 Arthur Doyle www.Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk V 00:57:48
4 James Cusick Glasgow Couriers V 00:59:07
5 Alistair Robinson Team Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique S 00:59:11
6 Chris Smart Paisley Velo Race Team S 00:59:29
7 Edward Addis Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers S 00:59:55
8 Steven Lawley TheBicycleWorks.com S 01:00:31
9 Finlay Young Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers S 01:01:37
10 David Griffiths Glasgow Whls S 01:02:00
11 Ross Laidlaw Gala Cycling Club S 01:02:32
12 James McPake GJS Cruise Racing S 01:02:57
13 Graeme Hay Stirling Bike Club V 01:02:57
14 Kenneth Russell Edinburgh RC V 01:03:10
15 Jason Barnes Glasgow Nightingale CC S 01:04:45
16 David Caesar TheBicycleWorks.com S 01:05:05
17 Allan Mill Sandy Wallace Cycles S 01:05:41
18 Ian King Velocity 44 Stirling V 01:06:26
19 James MacDonald Paisley Velo Race Team S 01:06:41
20 Stephen Blom Paisley Velo Race Team S 01:06:47
21 Keith Morrison Edinburgh RC V 01:07:41
22 Paul Gareze Lomond Roads CC S 01:08:04
23 Ian Pearson Gala Cycling Club V 01:08:13
24 Jonny May Edinburgh RC V 01:08:15
25 Jennifer Taylor Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers F 01:08:24
26 Graham Jones Edinburgh RC V 01:08:30
27 Douglas Kirkham Musselburgh RCC V 01:08:50
28 David McCormack Paisley Velo Race Team S 01:10:03
29 Warren Crombie Edinburgh RC V 01:10:06
30 Anda-Jay Burgess Sandy Wallace Cycles F 01:10:31
31 Alexander Kinsley Edinburgh RC JM 01:10:35
32 Steve Dauncey Edinburgh RC S 01:10:35
33 Mark Leadbetter Stirling Bike Club V 01:12:33
34 Keir Greatorex Edinburgh RC JM 01:12:40
35 Andrew Bothwell Edinburgh RC V 01:12:51
36 Toni McIntosh Ayr Roads Cycling Club F 01:12:53
37 Francis Webb Edinburgh RC YM 01:13:31
38 Tom Kiely Edinburgh RC V 01:13:34
39 Scott Bell Edinburgh RC V 01:13:42
40 Grant Martin Perth United YM 01:14:15
41 Kim McGillivray Edinburgh RC V 01:14:16
42 Stuart Young S 01:14:22
43 Vicky Ware VC Moulin F 01:14:33
44 Chris Allen Edinburgh RC V 01:15:09
45 Scott Newman Inverclyde Velo S 01:15:38
46 Paul Lawson Weaver Valley CC V 01:16:11
47 Rosemary Byde Edinburgh RC F 01:16:15
48 Andrew Sinclair Edinburgh RC V 01:18:04
49 Colin Russell Edinburgh RC V 01:22:02