Chris Smart (GTR) put on another exemplary performance in the Tour of the Meldons hilly time trial in the Scottish Borders to retain his national title for the ‘Olympic Time Trial’ for the third time in a row, his 56:08 being 75 seconds faster than his time for the same course last year and 67 seconds faster than silver medallist Kyle Gordon (Sandy Wallace Cycles). Third was Jon Entwistle (Team JMC) a further 10 seconds back.
In the womens’ championship Lynsey Curran (Dooleys Cycles) too retained her title from last year with a 90 second improvement from her 2015 time, with Catriona Gunn (Sandy Wallace Cycles) just 14 seconds adrift in second place.
The course is a classic test, a 22 mile loop around Eddleston, Lamancha, Blyth Bridge and Hallyne, before taking in the long drag to the top of the Meldons, dropping back down to Eddleston over farm debris-strewn pot-holed single track roads which the carbon frames and disc wheels wouldn’t appreciate, and then a short, sharp climb out the village to the finish at the Barony Hotel.
Our vantage point was halfway up the first climb of Shiplaw after just a few minutes of racing, and even then both Smart and Curran were up on their nearest challengers, with Smart already 20 seconds ahead of Gordon and Entwistle and looking composed and rock-steady.
The slight side/tailwind allowed the sound of the tyres and various pitches of laboured breathing from the riders to reach us well before we were able to focus our lenses on sunglasses and faces, and the sun was out too – quite a change from just a few hours earlier when snow was falling and, for a time, lying on the roads.
Sarah Bradford (Team Jadan) pedalled very serenely by on the climb, showing a nice neat and smooth style and finishing sixth lady – whilst her 1:09:55 also secured the Junior Womens’ prize.