A few Sundays ago we saw Tom Dumoulin time trialling his way to Tour de France stage glory in the thin-aired horror that is Andorra; but there was a much more important race against the watch going on in darkest North East Scotland – the Scottish ‘50’ Mile TT Championship. Back at the ‘10’ Champs, winner Chris Smart (GTR) told us that there was a ‘changing of the guard’ taking place in Scottish time trials – and so it proved, with new name, Jon Entwistle (Team JMC) taking the 50 mile honours in 1:44:45 from Chris (1:46:15) and 2015 champion, Alan Thomson (Sandy Wallace Cycles, 1:48:07).
We thought we better ‘have a word’ with this new kid on the block – albeit he’s a veteran.
Congratulations, Jon – give us the basics please, how old, where are you from, what do you do?
“I’m 44 years-old, from Torphins in Aberdeenshire and I’m a cycling consultant.”
What’s a cycling consultant?
“Basically, anything and everything to do with cycling; coaching, advising folks on what components/bikes it’s best to buy, mechanic work, bike fit…”
Where are you from, originally?
“Manchester, I studied at Edinburgh University in 1990 and have been up here ever since.
“My wife insists I’ve been here so long that I qualify as Scottish and my parents think that I’m starting to sound Scottish!”
Remind us which course the race was on and how was the morning?
“It’s based on the A90; Fordoun, Stonehaven, Strahcathro – it was pretty windy off the south west which was what I expected and planned for, I knew I’d have to keep in the tightest possible aero tuck on the leg down from Stonehaven – that’s where I wanted to make the biggest impression.”
How did you gauge your effort?
“On power, that’s what I’m interested in rather than how my rivals are going – I don’t get time checks.
“I’m actually only starting to be aware of who my rivals are.
“I’m kind of new to it all, I asked someone why they kept putting me off late in the races and they had to explain that it was called ‘seeding !’”
Was your medal in this year’s ‘10’ champs your first Scottish medal?
“No, I was second in the ‘100’ Champs last year to Stephen Williamson (A3CRG) – he did 3:56:14, I was four minutes back with 4:00:20.”
What did you eat and drink in the ‘50’?
“Nothing – as well as being a cycling consultant I’m a nerdy scientist and I’ve done a lot of experiments about how far I can ride without food or drink.
“I find if I drink electrolytes they make me feel worse – I tend to work on the principle that I eat when hungry and drink when thirsty.
“Last year in the ‘100’ champs I fed after 50 miles and never really recovered from that.”
Tell us about your bike.
“I ride a Fuji Norcom, it’s their triathlon/TT model and cost me less than I paid for my last TT bike, a Ridley, which I bought second hand.
“I ride a tri spoke on the front, disc rear and on the advice of Callum Finlayson (2014 ‘100’ champion, ed.) I ride a Continental Supersonic front and Continental Podium rear – that’s a fast combination of tyres.
“I’m a bit of a big gear masher so ride 56×11-26 but that’s with a Rotor chainset and Osymetric chainring so it’s actually more like a 60 ring – my cadence is pretty low.”
Tell us about your training – are you a ‘turbo fiend?’
“I ride a bike every day, down to the shops, on my MTB whenever I can, ‘cross bike in the winter and MTB races in the winter too – things like the Strathpuffer 24 hour MTB race.
“I try not to touch the turbo, I’m not into sitting in the garage!”
And ‘enth Degree Cycling’?
“Enth Degree Cycling is my business, it’s a one man band which I’ve built through word of mouth, initially by doing a bit of coaching and I decided that training on power was the ‘coming thing’ so bought power meters that my clients could use.
“I have Rotor, Limits, Stages – it’s the way cycling is going.”
“It’s a Manchester based team set up by an old school friend of mine who’s an endurance mountain biker with all sorts of crazy records to his name.
“He says the qualification for membership is; ‘enthusiasm mandatory, talent optional.’
“He wants all sorts of athletes in the mix – tri, runners, time trial riders and he asked me to join.”
What else is in the plan for 2016?
“My big plan for this year originally was to go down south and ride long distance time trials, a ‘12’ and perhaps ultimately a ’24.’
“But I got caught up in the Haute Route, a seven day event in the Alps.
“Originally it was just the thought of riding in the Alps which appealed but as I’ve learned more about it, each day is timed and there’s a GC so it’s more like a stage race.
“That’s the focus of my training.”
Will we see you in the ‘100’ champs again?
“Yes, I’m looking forward to that, it’s a bit of a crazy course, I’m hearing – it’s at Invergordon but goes away up to Tain.
“I’m still adapting to 100 miles on a TT bike – as I said, I also planned to ride a ‘12’ this year but ran out of time.”
What’s still ‘to do’ for Jon Entwistle in cycling?
“Apart from riding a ‘12’ and a ‘24’ I want to ride the UCI Masters Time Trial Championship; you have to qualify to get in to it.
“Last year it was in Denmark, this year it’s Australia – so that’s out of the question – but next year it’s in France so I want to ride that.”
And what about our AWOL Scottish ‘25’ title race?
“I don’t know what’s happening about it, no one seems to.
“It was cancelled on the original date but I was surprised there was no contingency.
“If it’s re-scheduled it would be good for me, I didn’t enter originally because my sister-in-law was getting married that day and I was giving her away – Chris Smart reckoned I should have asked her to re-schedule the wedding!”