On a morning which delivered everything from flat calm with balmy sunshine – complete with midges – to a stiff breeze with stinging rain it was Pro Vision Cycle Clothing’s John Archibald once again delivering the result over 17.8 ‘sporting’ miles around lovely Loch Leven in the Jason Macintyre Memorial Time Trial which was also round four of the CTC ‘Knights Composites Classic TT Series.’
Archibald’s 38.40 (27.621 mph) saw him more than a mile per hour quicker than second placed Jack Rebours’ (Caeserean CC) 40.31 (26.359 mph) and third placed Chris Smart’s 41.01 (26.038 mph).
Billed as the ‘Tour of Glencoe’ that was a slight misnomer albeit the race did skirt Glencoe village and pass through Invercoe it was more of a ‘Loch Leven Loop’ but whatever the name the backdrop was stunning – Scotland at it’s best.
The start was south of the Ballachullish bridge with the first couple of miles flat and fast past the war memorial – even here the young men were dragged off to fight – and the famous but now redundant slate quarry, it closed in 1955 but at it’s peak was producing 26 million slates per year.
The nature of the course changes at Invercoe where left and eastwards on to the Kinlochleven road, still wide and fast but beginning to wander left and right and drag.
Between Invercoe and the ‘aluminium town’ of Kinlochleven it’s a giant roller coaster with two long heartbreaker drags and two fast descents.
The weather was capricious on the first climb – jacket off, T-shirt then promptly back on as the breeze turned cold and the rain stung.
‘Warming the tar’ off number one was Alex Dent (Nevis Cycles Racing Team) with Emma Parkinson (Velo Club Vitesse) off number seven the first lady on the road.
The backdrop was stunning, across the loch to the other side of the Glen but the light wasn’t the best for photography, one minute bright sunshine then dark as the clouds rolled in.
Sonya Drummond (Dundee Thistle) wasn’t dark though – far from it with all those stripes.
Lynsey Curran (Dooleys DT) off 22 looked the best of the girls from our vantage point but it was Jackie Field (CC Ashwell) off 18 who was fastest in 47:05 to Lynsey’s 47:39.
It looked like Jackie was over geared to us but she must have flown on the faster stretches.
The appearance of Davie Gibson (Dooleys RT) was a surprise – but was here to honour the memory of his old team mate, Jason and still looking the part; he’d have loved this course in his Trossachs winning days.
We’d thought we were at the top of the first climb but it was actually a false flat – the top afforded amazing views back down the Glen and the image of Alan Linstead (Glasgow Couriers) provides the foreground for the Pap of Glencoe.
Nick Charlton (North Argyll CC) is obviously an ‘Urban Cyclist’ magazine reader with his street cum TT machine – it’s different!
No disrespect but perhaps Kinlochleven village isn’t so photogenic – we pushed on loch-side where the road turns back westwards; Scott Glasgow (Glasgow Nightingale) was looking the part.
The road tracks the loch side and the climbing isn’t nearly as severe as the outward leg but there as ‘snaps’ aplenty to upset the rhythm – it’s very like the loch side section of the Tour de Trossachs but without all the Sunday drivers.
The Pap of Glencoe still dominates the skyline and this time it’s Greg Quinn (Deeside Thistle) who provides the motion.
The latter part of the loch side charge doesn’t provide so many parking spots but when we did pull in it was evergreen Jim Cusick (Dooleys RT) who was first past.
The woods by the road don’t see much human attention and it’s a bittie ‘Lord of the Rings’ in there – I wouldn’t want to be in there on a dark winter’s night.
Scottish 10 mile TT champs runner-up, Jon Enwistle is maybe just a wee bit too ‘solid’ for a course like this but would take second vets prize – a pity he came past as that big dark cloud scurried by.
Winner of the vet’s prize was Peter Nicholls (Race Hub) – we’re not sure about that nose cone on his Giant, it looks more like it should be on an F16 to us but since this isn’t a UCI race…
Just by sheer chance we were there when Peter and his breakfast parted company at the finish – he must have felt better after that?
Not riding at his usual rate from a year or two ago was Sean Gray (Dooleys RT) but another ex-team mate of Jason’s here to honour his memory.
Chris Smart (GTR), Andy Wilson’s team mate told me that Andy need a picture of himself in the race – here we go Mr. Smart – (don’t want Chris round my door in the marine gear tonight!)
We contrived to miss far-from-home, second placed Jack Rebours (Caeserean CC) but we acquired a photo of him by Tony Wood from Round Two at Buxton.
He’s been performing well in the CTT series and his goal is to get selection for next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia for his native Jersey.
We did get third placed Chris Smart (GTR) though, getting it all out and topping 26 mph on this challenging course.
But John Archibald (Pro Vision Cycling Clothing) is the man on form and was well clear of Rebours to add to his long string of 2017 successes on the road and against the watch.
To give a measure of Smart and Archibald’s rides, in fourth spot was George Evans (Team Bottrill/HSS Hire) who has a an 18 minute ‘10’ and 48 minute ‘25’ to his credit.
A well promoted event on a lovely course with a winner who is perhaps Scotland’s most promising rider since the man this event pays tribute to – Jason Macintyre, rest in peace.