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John Archibald – “a four minute (Pursuit) effort is something I think I could be good at”

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Season 2016 saw John Archibald record times of 50:07, 50:04 and 50:03 for 25 mile time trials – so a big goal for him was to dip below the magic 50 minutes.

On Sunday past on the rolling dual carriageway between Brechin and Forfar he didn’t just dip inside the 30 miles per hour standard, he left it way behind with a stunning 47 minutes and 57 seconds ride.

In the process he took 46 seconds off Graeme Obree’s 1994 record of 48:43; we just had to, ‘have a word.’

John Archibald
John Archibald. Photo©Martin Williamson

Congratulations, John a stunning ride. They say it’s always harder to defend a title than win it for the first time?

There’s definitely more pressure but I went into the race knowing that I’d have a better chance than last year.

“It was the same competition as last year but I had a good idea of where everyone’s form was.”

John Archibald
John has two miles to go in the 25 Champs. Photo©Martin Williamson

What was your opinion of the course?

It was interesting that despite the up and down ramps you could dial into a power and concentrate on staying there – it was cross/tail on the way out and cross/head on the way back and quite a bit slower.

“It was only in the last 10/15 kilometres that I realised that a sub 50 minute ride was ‘on.’”

Where Martin and I stopped last with a mile or two to go there was a nasty squall blew in – cold with stinging rain, all the top seeds had to endure that.

Yes but fortunately it just lasted a few minutes but the head wind was strong and there was a dump of cold rain on us – but it rolled away again and the last section was downhill so you could gather momentum again.”

John Archibald
John on his way to the win at Loch Leven. Photo@Ed Hood

Some of the traffic looked a bit scary?

Personally I had no issues, I was given plenty of space and with it being the flyover turn I had no hassles – but I did hear of early starters being held up by tractors and such like.”

How did you gauge your effort?

On power; just under 375 watts on the way out and just over 375 watts on the way back.

“It seems to be what I can manage and I was confident I could handle that for 40 K – the Nationals on the Isle of Man is 44 K, that bit longer and I hope to be able to generate another few watts by then.”

Was the record on your mind before the race?

No, I wasn’t even sure what it was.

“Last year I did 50:07, 50:04 and 50:03 for ’25’ mile time trials and my big objective this year was to get under 50 minutes – it was Jon Entwistle who said to me after the finish that he reckoned I’d taken the record.”

Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championships
The 10 Mile TT  Championships also went John’s way. Photo©Martin Williamson

And you took the team record too.

We always go into races with an eye on the team prize and David Griffiths and I both being faster than RT’s fastest man was a good start but Kyle Johnston’s 54:14 as our third man sealed it for us.

“We broke the team record last year so it was nice to get it again.”

Your cadence is higher than many of the fast men.

Yes, I’m not sure why, it’s just where I feel most comfortable – I averaged 103 rpm which is typical for me.

“David Griffiths is the same, he prefers a higher cadence – I find that if I gear higher and ride at say 90 rpm I generate more power but can’t sustain it.”

Tell us about your taper into the race.

I did a taper of sorts but intentionally – I was sick the week before and had five days off the bike.

“Perhaps the enforced rest helped?

“I had three or four days back on the bike before the race and on the morning it all went well for me.”

The ’50’ record must be on your radar – 1:43:04 by Graeme Obree in 1992?

That’s interesting – that’ two 51-and-a-halves, so logically, if I can dip under 48 minutes for a ’25’ then it should be possible.

“I’ve never ridden one before so don’t know how my system will cope – and there’s Jon Entwistle to contend with, he gets stronger as the distance increases!”

Tour of the Meldons 2017
John took the Tour of the Meldons TT trophy home last month. Photo©Martin Williamson

Have you ever considered heading down south to the drag strips?

I’ve thought about it but to my mind the times are a bit artificial with the traffic volumes – although once the road season quietens down it might be something I’ll think about.”

What’s on the agenda until the British?

I have a blank weekend then The Battle of the Braes road race here in Scotland with the CTT team time trial down south the next day – Pro Vision has two teams in that.

“Then on the Thursday it’s the British TT Championship with the road race champs the following weekend.

“I’m familiar with the roads; two laps of the TT circuit then on to a finishing circuit for the last 60 K.”

In your interview in Cycling Weekly recently you were saying that you have track ambitions?

Yes, I’ve been in touch with Scottish Cycling, got myself a track bike and want to do some training for the pursuit.

“The Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year are in the back of my mind.

“A four minute effort is something I think I could be good at – in a time trial you’re on edge of going into the red but in a pursuit that’s right where you are.”

VeloVeritas wishes John ‘all the best’ for the British TT Championship.

John Archibald
John climbing at the Meldons. Photo©Martin Williamson

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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