In the car on the way down to Irvine on Sunday morning it never occurred to VeloVeritas editor Martin and I that we’d soon be witnessing anything other than Marcin Bialoblocki (NOPINZ) making it a clean sweep of RTTC titles from 10 to 100 miles.
Not for the first time, we got it wrong.
Commonwealth Games pursuit silver medallist, John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling) relegated the big Polish power house to second place by three seconds with a sparking 18:18 – Big Marcin looked a tad stunned when the news broke that we had a Scottish winner of a British title on Scottish roads.
We gave John a day to ‘decompress’ as is the trendy expression nowadays then gave him a call on Tuesday afternoon…
Congratulations John, great ride; the prospect of trying to beat Bialoblocki must have been a tad daunting given his record, this year?
“It was a sweet result, on home soil and I was pleased I won for the organisers – but it was a shock to me.
“I was thinking my battle was for the bronze with Marcin and Harry Tanfield being pretty unstoppable.
“Because I was thinking that way, I didn’t feel under pressure that I had to win.”
Before I forget, what’s on the JA turbo warm-up playlist?
“It varies, whatever’s on my Spotify, something up-tempo with a dance beat – to tell the truth it’s not so much to motivate me as to block out distractions.
“Before a big race it can be off-putting if someone starts talking to you.”
How did you gauge the ride, can we ask about watts?
“It’s what I’d call ‘informed judgement’ – I have a power target but I adjust that as necessary.
“People were saying that they were going to go out hard because it would be wind assisted back; when I got to the turn I hadn’t totally emptied myself and was able to keep it going on the return leg.
“I averaged 420 watts; last year in the ‘10’ champs at Cockermouth my average was 390 watts.”
And are you still on 58 x 11 up?
“Yes, no front changer, single ring – it’s an alloy thick/thin ring and works well, to start with I was a bit nervous about unshipping my chain but it works well.
“On the smallest and biggest sprockets where deflection is worst, it runs perfectly.”
Walker Brothers wheels?
“Yes, Dan Bigham has done testing on the rear disc and it’s an efficient wheel.
“I haven’t done any testing on the front but all I can say is that since I started using it I’ve knocked out one personal best after another.”
The consensus was that the tail wind assisted return leg didn’t happen?
“It was faster on the way back but you had to work for it; on the way out I could feel my front wheel getting blown about a bit and I couldn’t hold my line as I would have liked – I didn’t experience that on the way back though.”
Were you getting time checks on anyone?
“No, I’ve never used time checks, I think if I was to find out I was ‘x’ amount up or down on someone then that would affect my ride.
“I go into a race and give my physical best.”
Nice to do the ‘double,’ individual and team win…
“Simon Wilson (bronze medallist) gets faster every year but Dan Bigham was disappointed with his ride – we’d all have been disappointed not to win the team.“
Can you tell us about your training for the ‘10’ champs?
“I’m based down in Derby now with the KGF guys so I’ve been doing a lot of track work.
“When I came out of the European Champs I wasn’t quite on top form and I looked at my training, realising there were aspects I’d been neglecting, so over the last three weeks I’ve done some good sessions on the turbo and have been out on the time trial bike regularly.”
Do you have a coach?
“No, I’ve never had a coach until the Commonwealth Games when Mark McKay was advising me.
“I’ve been serious about sport since I was 11 years-old in a variety of different sports so I know what I need to do.
“The good thing about coaching I guess though is that they force you to do things outside your comfort zone…”
How has being involved with Dan [Bigham] influenced your approach?
“He’s had an impact upon my awareness and approach, pacing strategies for instance but I’ve still not done any aero testing.”
Is 18:18 a personal best – but it’s not Scottish record, is it?
“Yes, it’s my best by about 20 seconds but it’s not recognised as a Scottish record because it’s a CTT event, not an SC one with their commissaires and timekeepers.”
Is a ‘17’ possible on Scottish roads?
“I think so, on Westferry on the right day… Sunday’s weather wasn’t spectacular so on a good day at Bishopton, yes, it’s possible.”
What’s next on agenda?
“It’s all about the track now, with KGF we have World Cups in Paris, Canada, London and Berlin; the other two rounds are in New Zealand and Hong Kong so they’re out with our budget.
“We also hope to ride the UCI event in Switzerland.
“It’s good going straight into the track season, something different even though it means you have no time for a break.
“And I’ll be riding bunched events too.
“I’m living down there now, with the guys and it’s working out well.”
It certainly worked out well on Sunday – with congratulations again to John; VeloVeritas will be keep a weather eye on those World Cup results, with Paris first up next month.