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John Archibald – 12 seconds off a podium spot at the British 25 Mile TT Championships

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It’s not a lot of time is 12 seconds; around 250 metres at the speeds they go at these days; but that’s what separated Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Champion, John Archibald from the podium of the CTT National 25 mile championship in Wales on Sunday.

Man of the moment, Dan Bigham (Brother NRG Wattshop) won his seventh British title of the year in 45:40 from Tim Cartwright (Newbury CC) 45:59 with champion for the last two years, Ryan Perry (Raleigh GAC) relegated to third with 46:11 to Archibald’s sterling 46:23.

John Archibald
John Archibald in action at the Scottish 25 Mile TT Champs. Photo©Martin Williamson

That had to be the first question VeloVeritas asked;

Could you have found 12 seconds, John?

“I’ve kept asking myself that but I don’t think I had them on the day – but definitely if I had better equipment and preparation it may have been possible.”

You’re not on a waxed chain, over-sized CeramicSpeed derailleur rollers or ceramic bearings to your bottom bracket and hubs then?

“Nope, none of those and I don’t use the ‘calf guards’ that save you a few watts, either – it’s all stuff I have to dip into.”

It’s a long way from Glasgow to Wales, did you get down in plenty of time to recover from the drive?

“I travelled down on Friday night so I had all of Saturday to chill and rest.”

Did you ‘try the course out?’

“I drove over it but didn’t ride it; I’m glad I did because there’s a big downhill at the start – you had around four kilometres drop; my top speed was 76 kph down it on race day.

“You had three minutes of 60 kph plus, I was on 57 x 11 – and spinning out.

“On the morning it was a headwind out; the traffic was perhaps a little heavier than in the Scottish 25 Mile Championship; I don’t know if that gives you a ‘lift,’ if it does I certainly wasn’t conscious of it.

“The big difference I noticed was in the road surface, it was pancake smooth and very fast, you felt like all the power was going down, none wasted on rough patches, lumps or bumps.”

And 46:23 is a personal best?

“Yes by 1:35 so I have to be happy with that.”

John Archibald
John chats at the Scottish 10 Mile TT Champs. Photo©Martin Williamson

How was the weather?

“At the start it was a nice morning but there was a big rain squall of about 20 minutes when I was warming up – but that passed and it was dry for me.

“It was a headwind out but I didn’t find it too strong.”

Are we allowed to ask about the watts?

“In my last couple of time trials I’ve been riding at 370 to 375 watts but have spent quite a bit of time on my time trial bike in recent weeks and have found around 10 watts.

“At halfway I was on 380 watts and finished on 381 – but you think maybe I could have pushed a bit harder on the way back?”

It’s hard to find ‘atmosphere’ at time trial championships these days, how was it in Wales?

“There were strict rules for spectators with no parking in lay-bys, my mum came down to see me and it was difficult for her to spectate properly with the regulations.

“It did feel like there was something missing, when I rode the British Cycling Time Trial Championships on the Isle of Man there was a real sense of occasion with the closed roads, starting ramp and spectators.

“The Team Bottrill guys were happy to stay for the presentation but a lot of riders just left after their ride.”

How’s your recent preparation been?

“I’ve been away from time trials; I think it’s tough to do 10 rides in 25 mile time trials in a season so I’ve been road racing.

“I’ve been riding Scottish road races and been down to Premier Calendar races like the Tour of the Reservoir and Stockton GP, I was 22nd and in 30th-odd place in them respectively but they’re at a totally different level to Scottish races.

“In a Scottish road race you can make a mistake or two and get away with it but not down there, you get punished for any slip up.”

What’s next?

“I have the Scottish team time trial championships, the Scottish Road Race Championship then the CTT ‘10’ Championship and there’s a big track meeting at Glasgow at the end of September.”

On the subject of the track – do you know the Scottish Cycling qualifying criteria for the Commonwealth Games yet?

“For the pursuit it’s a 4:24 or faster and for the time trial it’s top three in a UCI race so the most likely route for me is the pursuit.

“I have an opportunity to do a 4:24 at that Glasgow meet and then again in the Scottish Championships which are in Glasgow – and then there’s the British Championships in January.

“The track qualifying is black and white; get the time and you go – and there’s a chance that if I qualify for the individual pursuit then I can ride the time trial too.

“The efforts in the pursuit and time trial are similar.”

Tour of the Meldons 2017
John thundered over the Meldons near Peebles in the Scottish Borders back in April. Photo©Martin Williamson

Final question, back to the ‘25’ champs – anything you would do differently?

“I’d like to say, ‘no’ but I set out at 380 watts and wasn’t really pushing the envelope but the main thing I think is to look at my position – and my equipment…”

VeloVeritas wishes John ‘all the best’ for the CTT ‘10’ and will be watching carefully his efforts to qualify for the Gold Coast Games.

And the way he’s riding, we think it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a company to fix him up with those watt saving, dare I say it? “Marginal Gains”- which Bigham certainly has on his Scott Plasma.

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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