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Stephen Williamson – Scottish 100 Mile TT Champion 2015

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VeloVeritas has all you need to know about the new Scottish 100 Mile Champion; Mr. Stephen Williamson (a3crg) …

Tell us about your Scottish heritage, please.

“I was born in Ayrshire and our family emigrated to South Africa in 1975, I did all my schooling and education out there but returned to the UK in 1999.”

Where are you from, how old and what do you do for a living?

“Currently living in Godalming, Surrey, England.

“I am 44 years-old and working as a Programme Manager for an Aerospace firm.”

Stephen Williamson
Stephen in action at the VTTA 50 a couple of weeks ago. Photo©Brian Jones/Kimroy Photography

Tell us about your cycling background.

“I joined my local club in Godalming back in 2007 and was introduced to time trialling in 2010 by one of my club mates, Roger Scott.

“I became hooked and started researching nutrition and training methods to improve my times.

“I have gradually improved and earlier this year without every riding a 100, I decided I would race in the Scottish Champs so this has been my number one target for this year.

“I planned to peak around this time and set a pretty fast time of 1:45 at the VTTA 50 mile champs a couple of weeks ago so felt I had a good chance of a podium position in Scotland.”

A3CRG tell us about your team.

“I am quite new to the team and joined earlier this year. The team was established in 2000 and run by Paddy Brennan and David Collard Berry, both dedicated to the sport and to our small team of around 40 members.

“We have also run 5 CTT National Championships and have picked a handful of national CTT awards in recent years.

“We run a very successful weekly 10 mile event in the Summer and our open events are attended by many of the top time trialists in the region and as a recent time trial competitor said ‘if Carlsberg made club time trials, even they would struggle to better those run by A3crg.’ (I hope they love this plug !).”

Stephen Williamson
The a3crg team time trial and Stephen is with Charlie Mitchell and John Glaysher. Photo©David Collard Berry

You had a long journey to the North East…

“Yeah, I considered flying but with all the kit had no choice but to drive up.

“But have made a good long weekend of it with a little sight seeing and catching up with family and friends along the way.”

We saw you at the ’25’ champs – remind us how that went.

“The event was run near my birthplace so it was a great excuse to enter.

“I didn’t really know what to expect, I found the course a bit lumpy than I’m used to and the weather wasn’t great but was happy to pick up the fifth position.

“I have been following Scottish Cycling for a while now so it was good to finally see the top guys in the flesh.”

Stephen Williamson
Stephen puts the power down at the 25 Championships. Photo©Ed Hood

Have you ridden many 100’s before? What’s your best time?

“This was my third.

“My first was run on a local course back in April and the second was the British Champs held in Wales where I posted a 3:50 (my PB), I had some issues during that race and was pretty fatigued from a cycling holiday in Italy which I returned from the day before, but I really wanted to see how I fared against Callum, I finished two minutes behind him, but my eye was already on the Scottish Champs.”

Tell us about the conditions on Sunday.

“There was a thunderstorm the night before which left a lot of standing water on the small country road sector, but nothing you could not steer around.

“I monitored the weather forecast for days, which changed frequently but the eventual Easterly wind was brutal especially heading towards Stonehaven and it got worse on the second lap when the wind started gusting.”

What did you think of the course – how does it compare to the courses you ride in England?

“Overall I enjoyed the course, there is a bit of everything.

“I know Jon Entwistle has the 50 mile course record with a 1:50 so with a fair wind it is a quick course.

“I guess I found the country roads the most interesting though, rolling and twisting until the dead stop turn.

“I was really worried I would overshoot the turn so ended up braking quite early but it was a relief to get a five mile tail wind out and headwind back, which was more manageable than the crosswinds on the A90.

“The two courses I’ve ridden in Scotland have been more rolling than I am used to, and the weather, well … a wee bit harsher for sure!”

You ‘came good’ late in the race – was that a deliberate strategy?

“My power over the first 50 miles was spot on, but felt a slight muscle cramp on my left quad on the start of the second lap so I eased a little for the next 20 miles keeping as aero as possible into the wind, the pain never returned so opened up again at the 70 mile mark but my strategy was to evenly pace it throughout.”

What did you eat and drink during the race?

“I was staying up the road in Glenesk Hotel, they prepared a bowl of porridge and fruit especially for me at 5:45 am.

“I had a gel and a banana shortly before the start and topped up with a gel every 30 minutes with three bottles of water passed to me during the race.

“I also had a biscuit tucked into my skin suit but that proved too difficult to eat in the wind.”

Stephen Williamson
Giving it ‘full gas’ for the last 30 miles. Photo©Kelvin White

Did you have a helper(s)?

“I had two helpers passing me bottles and keeping an eye on Callum and Jon, so I knew it was close when I last saw them at 70 miles, so I gave it full gas for the final 30 miles setting my best overall average power over this distance.”

Tell us about your bike and the gears you rode.

“It’s a Felt DA1, I use a 55 tooth Q-ring but changed gears regularly with the rolling hills and believe me I was even tempted to drop to the inner ring, especially on the return leg to Fordoun when my speed dropped to 16mph with the gusting headwind.”

You must be in line for the Scottish BAR have you a ’50’ north of the border?

“I hadn’t considered it until now…hmm, I will have to look into that!”

You mentioned ‘Scottish style’ celebration of the win – can you remember much about it?

“Well, there was a bottle or two of champagne followed by a few drams of whisky.

“Now, I hardly touch alcohol in race season so I was ‘a cheap date’ and was under the table in a few hours but the morning-after feeling is a great incentive to stay on the wagon!”

Ed Hood
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 47 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, a team manager, and a sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days for some of the world's top riders. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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