Monday, December 6, 2021
HomeRaceRace ReviewsTour de Trossachs 2015 - Chris Smart takes the Classic Scottish Hilly...

Tour de Trossachs 2015 – Chris Smart takes the Classic Scottish Hilly Time Trial

-

On a cool but dry and benign morning around the beautiful lochs and hills above Aberfoyle and Callander it was Paisley Velo Race Team’s Scottish ‘Olympic’ Time Trial Champion Chris Smart who defended his title as ‘King of the Trossachs’ in the Tour de Trossachs despite being 21 seconds down to former Trossachs Tartar, Arthur Doyle (www.Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk) at the top of the Duke’s Pass.

Tour de Trossachs
Chris Smart en route to victory in the Tour de Trossachs. Photo©Martin Williamson
Tour de Trossachs
Second place for Arthur Doyle in the Tour de Trossachs. Photo©Ed Hood

It was a two horse race with third man, David Griffiths (Pro Vision Cycling Clothing) three minutes back on Doyle’s 1:08:20 and four back on Smart’s 1:07:23.

Tour de Trossachs
David Griffiths, third in the 2015 Tour de Trossachs. Photo©Martin Williamson

Doyle had the consolation of leading the winning team as well as being fastest on the hill prime; his team mates were Jim Cusick – who finished fifth on a 1:11 – and best lady, Lindsay Curran.

Tour de Trossachs
Lindsay Curran. Photo©Martin Williamson

‘Just for a change’ VeloVeritas decided to go round the parcours in reverse, ‘hanging a right’ at Thornhill and climbing ‘against’ the race route.

The air was calm, cool and fresh when we arrived at the top of the “Wee Braes” with the clouds clinging to the hill tops and the leaves ‘clicking’ as they dropped through the branches in the stillness before the Sunday drivers appeared.

Tour de Trossachs
Falkirk BC members say good morning. Photo©Martin Williamson

The Falkirk ‘clubby run’ gave us something to snap as we waited for the girls to arrive but it’s a far cry from the days when massive runs from Fife, Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow would pedal out to see the race or stay at the Trossachs or Loch Ard hostels.

Tour de Trossachs
Campbell West. Photo©Martin Williamson
Tour de Trossachs
Scott Glasgow. Photo©Martin Williamson
Tour de Trossachs
David Baird. Photo©Martin Williamson
Tour de Trossachs
Wilson Renwick. Photo©Ed Hood

First ‘fast man’ over was Wilson Renwick (Hawick CC) off #25, looking the part but we didn’t see a time posted for him at the finish.

The man himself would tell us later; “double puncture with 6.5 miles to go, was just over 52 min to there and good legs so probably would have been an OK time.”

He certainly looked like he was on top of the job when we saw him.

Tour de Trossachs
Wilson Renwick. Photo©Martin Williamson
Tour de Trossachs
Christine Fischer. Photo©Ed Hood

Next up we dived down off the “Wee Braes” through Callander and holed up on the Inver Trossachs Road, we wanted pictures of Messrs. Mill (Sandy Wallace Cycles) and Cockburn (Glasgow Nightingale CC) who we thought might have an influence on the result despite being better known as ‘drag strip kings.’

Tour de Trossachs
Alan Mill. Photo©Martin Williamson
Tour de Trossachs
Graeme Cockburn. Photo©Martin Williamson

Job done, we headed for Loch Venachar to catch ‘The Bigs’ – it’s always easy to underestimate the speed of riders coming towards you and we had to park up ‘early’ to catch Jim Cusick, Arthur Doyle and Chris Smart before we could get the idyllic lochside backdrops we really wanted.

However, we did get pics of the fast guys passing the Lendrick Lodge Holistic Retreat – if you’re into Reiki, Shamanism or Fire Walking, that’s your place, folks.

Tour de Trossachs
Lendrick Lodge. Photo©Ed Hood

Smart looked quickest, rolled up in a ball and despite Doyle being in best ‘cruise missile mode’ the Paisley man looked ‘most likely to’ for us as he disappeared through the arch of trees toward Callander.

Tour de Trossachs
Chris Smart. Photo©Ed Hood
Tour de Trossachs
Chris Smart. Photo©Ed Hood
Arthur Doyle. Photo©Martin Williamson

We’d hoped to catch them much later – on The Dukes Pass in fact but the climb up over the Dukes and the drop into Aberfoyle saw roads where the only cyclists to be seen were the odd club rider out for a run on this cloudy but mild day.

The course takes in some beautiful scenery. Photo©Ed Hood

The 1930’s tea room in Brig ‘o Turk looked inviting but we had to push on; however I did finally discover who the ‘Turk’ was – it actually comes from the Gaelic for wild boar, ‘torc’ so now we know.

Our final photo op. was in the last mile with Doyle and Smart certainly looking fastest on visual impression – Smart’s arrival was announced by loud ‘barking’ noises.

We’re not sure if he was clearing his tubes or it was some sort of ex-marine war cry – but it certainly scared us…

The owner of a cottage next to the road came out to remonstrate with Martin about ‘taking pictures of our house,’ despite Martin assuring them he was taking pictures of the boys on the bikes they weren’t convinced.

I did sneak one – but Chris Smart messed it up by riding through the frame…

Chris Smart passes a B&B. Photo©Ed Hood

And on the subject of the winner, here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas after his fine effort;

“It was a big objective and after winning last year I wanted to defend my title – the course is great and so was the weather, today.

“I didn’t do any specific training for it but I feel it’s my strongest performance of the year.

“When we last spoke I said that I wasn’t that ‘into’ training on power but I’ve become addicted to it!

“My average for today was 384 watts with my time on the climb identical to last year.

“I keep the lid on it up the Dukes, I think if you go too deep up there and go into the red you don’t recover – there’s hardly a bit of flat road on the whole course and my strategy is to really start the effort from the bottom of The Dukes along the side of Loch Venachar.

“I rode the 11 and 12 sprockets where I could but was down the block on the climbs; I rode the Braes of Greenock hard and was able to ride the descent well too, they’ve resurfaced it and it’s fast. The leg in from Thornhill is tough with that last mile seeming to go on forever.”

Chris Smart receives the winner’s trophy from organiser Janette Hazlett. Photo©Martin Williamson

And we had to ask; ‘what’s next, Chris ?’

‘The Trossachs was the end of my season but I’ll carry my training through the winter, I don’t really take a break.

“My youngest kid has just started school so I’ll have more time to train when my shift patterns allow; so I’ll be hoping to improve, next season.’”

You’ve been warned…

Janette Hazlett’s team put on a well organised and safe race, the course is fabulous and the top two riders’ performances were from the top drawer – here’s the ‘but’;

On our start sheet there were 71 riders, we haven’t looked at the DNS this morning – 8 were ladies (11%), 24 seniors (33%) and 39 veterans (54%) with zero schoolboys or juniors.

It doesn’t bode well for the future of Scottish time trialling; this race used to boast a full field and an ‘overflow’ event.

The Tour de Trossachs deserves a full field – it’s a tremendous course and one of the few races with a genuine historical relevance. Photo©Martin Williamson

But maybe it’s just the ‘way of the world,’ with the Glasgow track fast, colourful and booming and the MTB scene attracting kids with the excitement of downhilling we guess it’s no wonder that the ‘young uns’ can’t see the buzz in having to drive out to some remote car park in the early morning then ride for an hour and more with no company over unforgiving roads?

However we can’t help but wonder what would happen if there was even one World Tour professional or big GB TT name on that start sheet with plenty of prior publicity?

But whatever happens and God willing, we’ll see you next year at the ‘race of the falling leaves.’

Tour de Trossachs
Top three men with first woman, Lindsay Curran. Photo©Martin Williamson
Ed Hood and Martin Williamson
Ed and Martin, our top team! They try to do the local Time Trials, the Grand Tours and the Classics together to get the great stories written, the quality photos taken, the driving done and the wifi wrestled with.

Related Articles

Scottish 50 Mile Time Trial Championship 2014 – Silas Golsdworthy Excels

Silas Golsdworthy put the disappointment of not being part of the Scottish Commonwealth Games team firmly behind him by taking victory in the country's 50 Mile Time Trial Championship today with a stunning 1:43:48, the second fastest 50 miles ever ridden in Scotland and only 45 seconds off Graeme Obree's 21 year old record.

John Archibald – on breaking the Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial record

It’s hard to believe that since I started cycling in 1971 nearly four minutes have been hacked off the Scottish 10 mile time trial record; when I started it stood at 22 minutes and 14 seconds: 1971  P.Templeton  (Dundee Thistle R.C.)  22 mins 14 secs. It now stands at 18 minutes and 38 seconds thanks to that man John Archibald (Pro Vision) - a time he achieved this morning on the fast dual carriageway tarmac beside the River Clyde at Westferry.

Gordon Arms Hilly Time Trial 2014 Goes to Oliphant

Raleigh professional Evan Oliphant handled the age old dilemma of the pro racing against amateurs – if they don’t win they’re criticised, but if they do then it’s ‘expected’ – by taking the best option and winning the Gala CC’s Gordon Arms Hilly Time Trial over 20.5 cold and cloudy Borders miles in 50:06; some ways short of Mark Atkinson’s (Velo Ecosse) 1999 course record of 48:47 but enough to give him the result by 41 seconds over Carl Donaldson (GS Metro).

Kyle Gordon – Hurtling to Rapid ’10’ Times!

Kyle Gordon doesn’t seem to have been phased by the disappointment of the HUUB team’s Bolivian record attempts falling victim to the Covid crisis. The versatile man from Alness has recently been knocking out some super-fast 10 mile times as part of his build-up to the CTT ‘25’ and ‘50’ Championships later in the year.

Silas Goldsworthy – 4th and 7th in British Champs, One to Watch!

A man who’s been moving steadily up the standings this year, against the watch and on the track, is Sandy Wallace Cycles’ Silas Goldsworthy – we thought we should have a word.

Tour de Trossachs 2010 Preview

Although the start sheet for the Tour de Trossachs is still to be finalised, it's looking to be a very interesting race - the field has been extended to accommodate 140 because the race is proving to be popular with riders of all abilities, and sees National Champions and World Champions taking part, as well as newcomers interested in trying out this classic course. Arthur Doyle (Dooleys RT) will defend his title for the third time, but the big question is will he manage to beat both the hill climb and course record set by Jason McIntyre in 2007...

At Random

Commonwealth Games 2014 – Road Race, Elite Men. Geraint Thomas the Biggest Bear

We were there, walking the streets and parks of Glasgow - until the Monsoons came and discretion became the better part of valour at which times the words of Doctor Samuel Johnson have never rang more true; 'There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.' Especially if it has an HD tele.

The VeloVeritas Years – 2009: My Boys Mørkøv and Rasmussen Win the Copenhagen Six Day

You know when you're getting old when 'young guys' you were with on their first race come round to retiring. At the Copenhagen Six Day 2009 we saw Danes Alex Rasmussen and Michael Mørkøv take their home Six for the first time. I was lucky enough to be working for them as their 'runner'... Let's look back to 2009 and some great memories.

Zürich Six Day 2012 – Part I

Germany, somewhere near the Taunus mountains at 09:22 Sunday. We left the Zürich Six Day at 03:00 and there are still 400 kilometres to go to the ferry at Amsterdam. It began to snow like Hell about an hour into Germany; there were roadworks, we were diverted off the motorway and there were either no diversion signs or they were snowbound. Whichever it was, we ended up hideously lost and dropped a chunk of time.

A Superb Start for GreenEdge

If perfection is a 10/10, and the attainment of perfection is impossible, then GreenEdge have had a 9/10 first month of racing. They have won both the road and TT Australian jerseys for the year, and have won the overall on their first ProTour race. Simon Gerrans is top of the UCI World Rankings, and GreenEdge are 3rd (see the full lists).

Happy New Year 2019!

Nearly 2019, how did that happen? It seems just like last week were sitting in the Vivaldi bar in Gent having watched Dane Michael Valgreen win Het Nieuwsblad - or Gent-Gent as us auld yins would have it - but another year has indeed almost gone.

Copenhagen Six Day 2009 – Day 1

The crowd counts us down; the pistol cracks; I give Franco a hefty shove; 'Cara Mia' blasts from the PA and the 2009 Copenhagen 6 Dages Lob is well and truly under way. Two minutes ago I was wondering why I put myself through that nightmare journey from Portobello to Ballerup-the suburb of Copenhagen where the Super Arena and it's pine velodrome live-two buses, a plane, another bus, a long train journey then waiting in the freezing cold of a Copenhagen night for my lift to the track.