On as benign a morning as one can expect in Fife in early May, Pro Vision’s John Archibald delivered another stunning ride to win the Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championship in 19:29, just five seconds off his personal best.
Archibald put 43 seconds into Jon Entwistle (GTR) [20:12] and 55 seconds into Steven Lawley (Metaltek Kuota RT) [20:24].
Lawley had been dead level with defending champion, Chris Smart (GTR) [20:28] with less than two miles to ride but ex-hill climb champion Lawley had the stronger finish.
GB track rider, Neah Evans (Storey Racing) won the Ladies’ Championship in 22:18 from Cat McGillivray (RT 23) in 22:34 with Lynsey Curran (Dooleys) third in 22:53.
It was 07:30 am when we rolled through the start, just in time to see the boys in their hi-viz gear rattling the signs, cones and temporary lights up at the 30 mph signs at Freuchie – never a good sign.
But it wasn’t an all-day gig and an hour behind the programmed start time of 08:00 it was ‘wagons roll.’
With the Giro in full swing we can’t say ‘Freuchie course’ – let’s go for ‘percorso.’
The start is a little bit of a gift, half way up what we always called ‘Freuchie Brae’ but its Sunday name is actually ‘Station Brae’ – the old station is part of the farm now. That’s on the main Kirkcaldy to Dundee road.
Head north on what we called the ‘Windy Mile,’ pan flat but exposed, to the ‘Fish Tail’ where bear right and drag up through Ladybank Woods to Melville Lodges roundabout where left and west on the main Milnathort to Cupar road then left at Collessie road end, back south through the hamlets of Giffordtown, Charlottetown and Edenton and the woods there to turn right and west along the edge of the woods to ‘Shields Triangle’ – named after the farm there – then left and south to finish just short of Freuchie.
We holed up at the ‘Fish Tail’ to watch the ladies pass.
Conditions were nice, dry, sunny and the only disturbance to the still air when artics sent our start sheets and chocolate brownies flying.
It took me a minute or two to get to grips with this timekeeping lark – it’s been a while – so forgive me if I didn’t get proper checks on the first few starters.
Eventual fourth, Mireille Captieux (Dooleys Cycles RT) looked good on visual but according to our watch the first lady to be doing the biz was Aileen Clyde (Fullarton Wheelers) who was on a big gear but getting it round.
Jenny Holl (Team Jadan-Weldtite) was close to matching Ailen’s time and it was well down the sheet before Christine McLean (Shetland Wheelers) bested them by five seconds.
It’s hard for the smaller girls to get as aero as they’d like, getting the bars down low enough to get the back parallel to the road surface is the problem.
And some of the girls aren’t shy of the mega gears but have to learn to sit still – all that shoulder movement increases their aero signature and drains the watts away.
Cat McGillivray (RT 23) on visual and on the watch looked good, five seconds up on Christine – and whilst we know they save a couple of watts, we’re not sure about those long socks.
But we did like Lulu Bartlett (The Racers) hounds tooth skinsuit – very snazzy.
Lynsey Curran (Dooleys) was four seconds down on Cat, and Neah Evans (Storey Racing) was one second down.
But by the finish Evans had pulled back that errant second and added another 15 to take the title from Cat with Lynsey third and leading Mireille to the ladies’ team title.
Time to move – Melville Lodges and the juniors and youths, just seven of them.
On visual we made Alex McRae (Pro Vision) fastest on visual – on a good old fixed gear.
At the finish the prize did go to McRae with 22:11.
First of the men to look the part and have the right noises coming off his disc was number 10, Andy Underwood (COG Velo) [21:20] – albeit we didn’t have a watch on him.
Conditions had deteriorated at Melville from the balmy Fish Tail with the air cool and a breeze stirring the trees – the traffic flow was up too, not at drag strip levels but busy nonetheless.
Former top track man Jamie Henderson (Spokes RT) was first to catch our eye off number 31 on fixed and making it hurt out of the roundabout; he’d finish with an eventual 21:24.
Andrew Scott (Musselburgh) off 42 [21:44] had caught Iain Drummond (West Lothian Clarion) for a minute and was looking the part as was big Steve Nutley (RT 23) [22:21] still on his Quintanaroo.
Colin Stevenson (Kelso Wheelers) [22:47] got held up at the roundabout which meant that Peter Ettles (RT 23) [21:39] was even closer than he would have been.
Peter always looks the part, on gears today rather than fixed.
Douglas Watson (Icarus Racing) [20:53] was looking the part too, spinning it out, but maybe the gear could be a little bit higher?
Down to Collesie, the bends after the crossroads and everyone was zipping through here, sheltered from the wind and with the sun back on our skin.
We liked Kyle Johnston’s (Pro Vision Scotland) [21:37] style and Fife mid-week time trial regular winner Andy Bruce (Leslie Bike Shop/Biker Boutique) [21:10] caught our eye too.
Number 70, Mark Skilling (Carrick CC) [21:46] impressed us – when we saw that CCC on the skinsuit legs, we thought; “Polsat? cannae be!”
And no. 85, Dooleys’ man Gavin Shirley was moving well, en route 21:19.
Prize for biggest gear of the day to number 91, David Burgher (Kelso) [22:02] – no problems counting his rpm.
Time to move and catch the ‘Bigs’ in Edenton Woods with maybe 1.5 miles to go.
Number 100, Alan Holmes (GTR) [22:02] and the watch is running, he’s up on his minute man, Danny Hedley (RT 23) [22:37].
Jim Cusick (Dooleys) off 101 on the way to 21:47 but he still finds the breath to say ‘hello’ to VeloVeritas.
Teammate to our Rutland winner chum, Dan Fleeman, Steve Lawley (Metaltek Kuota) [20:24] is 1:09 up on Jim and visibly flying.
He’s up too on David Griffiths (Pro Vision) [20:45] and Kyle Gordon (RT 23) [20:28] – who’s thrashing a big fixed gear – by 13 and nine seconds respectively.
We’d learn later that Gordon’s ride included a collision with a duck – please, no cheap remarks.
Peter Murdoch is DNS so there’s a gap, former Olympic and ’50’ TT champion Alan Thomson (RT 23) [21:04] is next and we have him at 28 seconds off the pace.
Kenny Armstrong (Carrick CC) [20:42] is next – looking good but is seven seconds down on the flying Lawley.
Jon Entwistle (GTR) [20:12] sits low and streamlined, he’s smooth through the woods with just the singing of the birds to praise his style – he goes top, 13 seconds up on Lawley.
It’s time for the hot favourite next, John Archibald (Pro Vision) [19:29] – he doesn’t disappoint, 34 seconds up on Entwistle but geared lower than most.
Smooth, full of riding, classy.
Just the defending champion to come, Chris Smart (GTR) [20:28] he’s level with Lawley but down on Entwistle and Archibald and maybe that gear is a bit too heavy for the gnarly finale?
Time to head to the finish – and there’s our man Archibald with the timekeepers;
“I’ve finished with a 19:29, that’s only four seconds off my best; the wind changed over the course of the morning and I think us late starters had the best of it.
“It was a tail wind out and coming back much of it was sheltered from the wind by the trees.
“On the way out with the wind I was revving out at somewhere around 110 revs on 53 x 11. I ride 53/39 rings with an 11-25 cassette, I try to keep a cadence of around 100 revs.
“I think today maybe I went out a little to fast, my watts were down at the finish.
“I didn’t especially try to peak for this race, my big goal is still the British Time Trial Championship on the Isle of Man. The race doesn’t go over the mountain; I’ve raced there before so I know the roads a little – I did a Premier Calendar race there – but I’ll need to have a look at the course before race day.
“Next up is the Tour of Glencoe next weekend, the Hugh Dornan road race and by then we’ll be getting close to the Nationals.”
John also led Pro Vision to the team title with David Griffiths and Richard Mcdonald – 1:1:48.
Back at Freuchie race HQ the cricketers were practising in the nets, the sun was out and the medals were laid out ready to be presented – idyllic … until our clutch packed in on the way home.
As luck would have it, the AA mechanic who came to our rescue is a cycling fan and a VeloVeritas reader and went ‘above and beyond’ to ensure we got home safely – thanks Mark!
See you at Glencoe?