Wednesday, October 27, 2021
HomeInterviewsChris Smart - Scottish Olympic and 10 Mile TT Champion for 2016

Chris Smart – Scottish Olympic and 10 Mile TT Champion for 2016

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Yours truly didn’t make it to the Scottish Olympic or Ten Mile Time Trial Championships; unlike our editor, Martin who took excellent pictures at both races and framed reports.

I’ll interview both winners,’ said I, to make amends for life getting in the way of cycling.

So my thanks extend to Chris Smart (GTR) for winning both events and making life easy for me.

Chris Smart
Chris maintains his aero position as he powers up the slip road to the turn. Photo©Martin Williamson

Congratulations, Chris – that’s three Olympic titles on the trot, you’ve made the race your own.

“For the time being but a lot of the old fast guy names have slid out of sight…”

I was going to mention that – new names in the frame; Jon Entwhistle (second to Chris in the ‘10’ with 20:43) and Robert Martin (third with 20:46) for example.

“I had Jon down as a man for 50’s and 100’s and there he was, right up there in the ‘10’ and I hadn’t actually heard of Robert Martin.

“As I said, the names we knew have gone; Ian Grant wasn’t there, I’ve heard Silas Goldsworthy has gone back packing and Ben Peacock is going off to the States, I believe?

“A changing of the guard, I’m thinking?”

Chris Smart
Chris in action a couple of weeks ago at the Scottish Olympic TT Championships, the Tour of the Meldons. Photo©Martin Williamson

What was your best placing in the ‘10’ champs before Sunday?

Fourth, the ‘10’ has always been a nightmare distance for me until now but the conditions really suited me with the wind and the battle uphill to the turn on the Arbroath by-pass.”

20:35 to win, is that your best?

“I have a 20:07 to my name but as I said, I’m not a ten mile guy.”

What about that magical 20 minute mark?

“I thought you’d ask me that one!

“Obviously it’s something I’ve thought about but it has to be in Scotland; I wouldn’t go down south to go for it – that would be cheating.

“I’ve seen those courses and it’s not fair to compare with Scottish events.

“But I do hope to be going down for the British Cycling Time Trial Championships which passes through the village where I grew up, it’s within spitting distance of my parents’ house.

“You’re not going down with any thoughts of getting near Alex Dowsett but it would just be nice to ride it.”

The ‘10’ was close in the end, eight seconds – were you getting time checks?

“No, I was off pretty early and so was Peter Murdoch so there was no opportunity to get checks off the seeded guys, I just went as hard as I could to the turn then hung on.”

Chris Smart
With no time checks, Chris had little option but to just go ‘full gas’ and hang on. Photo©Martin WIlliamson

Did you change your training much between the Olympic TT and the ‘10’?

“No, all my training is geared for the ‘25’ and ‘50’ – I’m still self-coached and that’s not going to change.

“And I’m still addicted to training on power as I explained the last time we spoke – but I haven’t become any more ‘geeky’ about it over the last year!

“The power I generate in training is how I measure my progress.”

A new bike, I see?

“If you notice down south – and spreading up here – time trialling is becoming less about developing power and so much more focused on aerodynamics – expensive bikes and aero suits, long socks…

“I only bought the frame because I got a good deal on it from Planet X. It’s a Viner Kronus – only the ‘bars are new, everything else is off my previous machine.

Are you a man for the light tyres?

“No, I ride heavy-ish Vittoria Corsa CX tubs; I couldn’t afford to puncture anything lighter!”

And is it still the 11 and 12 at the back?

“Yeah, with a 55 chainring; I felt it would help with the tail wind sections.

“If you grind out to the turn into the wind in a big gear then it’s hard to up your cadence for the return leg so the bigger gear means you don’t have to ‘spin.’

“You see guys down south on 60 plus chainrings but what I look at is what the professionals ride – you never see them riding ratios like that.”

A new club for 2016?

“Yes, Paisley Velo came to an end.

“Stevie Blom and I decided to start a club without anything fancy – no sponsors and we race in plain white skinsuits.

“‘GTR’ stands for ‘Georgetown Racing’ where a lot of the Wednesday night local league races take place – it was John Clark who came up with the name.

“Like I said, we keep it simple, no ego maniacs; and no sponsors – but that might change in the future.”

Chris Smart
Chris’s new team aim to “keep things simple” – it seems to be working out well. Photo©Martin Williamson

Is the ‘25’ the next goal?

“Yes, that’s on Saturday June 4th I think, to avoid a clash with the Anderside Classic on the Sunday.

“It’s a big goal of mine; I want the clean sweep – ‘10,’ ‘25,’ ‘50’ and ‘100’ this year.

“Up until now I’ve had hard luck stories in the ‘50’ and want to change that.”

‘100 ?’ what about the other direction, high intensity – the pursuit?

“No, as I said to you the last time we spoke, it was great when the Glasgow track first opened but it’s not something I’ll get into now.

“My other big goal is to get a ride in the British Cycling Time Trial Champs down in my home village; it’s on closed roads and I’d love to ride it.

“I remember watching the championship that time it was up here at Stewarton a few years ago and thinking; ‘I wish I’d entered for this race!’

“This time I’m not going to make the same mistake; even though I know Dowsett will put a bit of time into me – but then it’s his job, isn’t it?”

With thanks to Chris for his time and wishing him ‘all the best’ for the forthcoming championships – and I promise I’ll get myself along to the ‘25’ champs.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and 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. 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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