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The VeloVeritas Years – 2018: John Archibald’s National ’10’ Championships


A National Champs in Scotland? We weren’t going to miss that! Together with the strong possibility that one of our ‘own’, Ribble‘s John Archibald could take the win in the RTTC ’10’ Championships on roads we know so well meant that we were up and out early to be able to catch the early starts as well as the ‘bigs’.

This day exemplifies what VeloVeritas is all about – standing at the roadside with cameras and stopwatches, discussing form and equipment, weather and traffic volumes, capturing the effort and bringing the day to our readers, and is our pick for 2018.

* * *

This article first ran on 2nd September, 2018

For those of you who believe that all that you need to talk about in a time test is the result: first, John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling) 18:18, second, Marcin Bialoblocki (NOPINZ) 18:21.

Wow!’ indeed. 

John Archibald
John Archibald. Photo©Martin Williamson
John Archibald
Marcin Bialoblocki. Photo©Martin Williamson

Archibald’s team mate Simon Wilson lifted bronze with 18:50 and backed by Dan Bigham’s 19:11 it was an individual/team double for Archibald.

John Archibald
Simon Wilson. Photo©Martin Williamson

VeloVeritas editor and photographer, Martin had Archibald three seconds down on the big Pole at the turn but the Scot overturned the deficit on the tough return leg and became one of a very few to have beaten Bialoblocki this year.

It was an unforgiving morning, grey and ‘sticky’ with the general consensus being that it was a headwind out but you didn’t get ‘blown home’ and had to fight all the way to the line.

An RTTC championship in Scotland? VeloVeritas couldn’t miss that – on the way down I was thinking about opening lines; ‘Bialoblocki gives himself as a birthday present a clean sweep of all CCT titles from 10 to 100 miles.’

But Mr. Archibald was having none of it and pulled off the testing surprise of the year.

Martin and I split up, he headed for the turn to take pictures of the riders whilst I ambled round the start area taking pics of nice bikes and chatting to folks – no better way to spend a Sunday morning.

John Archibald
Photo©Ed Hood

First man on the ramp was Steven Horne (Airdrie Cycle Club); it did occur to me that if you were comp. record holder and your record was beaten by a single second by someone who enjoyed a ramp start, you’d be within your rights to cry ‘foul’ – a ramp start must be worth a second or two?

John Archibald
Steven Horne. Photo©Ed Hood
John Archibald
Jim Cusick and Linsey Curran. Photo©Ed Hood

On the way from the start line back to the race HQ I came upon Jim Cusick (Dooleys RT) warming up; he and team mate Linsey Curran were of the opinion that the ladies and juniors had enjoyed much better conditions for their championship the day before; Linsey recorded 22:31 for 14th place in the championship.

John Archibald
Jockie Johnstone. Photo©Ed Hood

Perennial Jockie Johnstone (Icarus Racing) needs to work on his mental game; ‘what am ah daen here, but?’ he asked me as he headed for the start. 

John Archibald
Marcin Bialoblocki watches as Dave Baronowski sorts the rear wheel. Photo©Ed Hood

Meanwhile, the main attraction had arrived and Marcin and mentor Dave Baronowski were assembling the Lockheed F-117 Stealth – or should I say, ‘Pinarello Bolide.’

Bialoblocki looks the part; tall and leaner than I’d imagined, a picture of fitness and power.

John Archibald
Marcin is a powerhouse. Photo©Martin Williamson
John Archibald
Marcin’s front hub setup. Photo©Ed Hood

There’s a lot of time and thought gone into his machine; no front quick release, for example, chamfered Allen key bolts hold the wheel in place – and the fork end is a mini aerfoil.

John Archibald
The Bialoblocki Big Ring. Photo©Ed Hood

The drive train is state of the art with solid carbon 58 big chainring, SRAM electronic gears and Ceramic Speed (one of his sponsors) oversize gear jockey rollers.

I’m rather glad I no longer race, I’d have to have all that kit and would happily plunge myself into debt to get it.

John Archibald
Harry Tanfield. Photo©Ed Hood

Another race fave arrived, Commonwealth and GB TT Championships silver medallist, Harry Tanfield (Cleveland Wheelers) and his lovely Canyon TT rig.

As most readers will know, Harry joins World Tour team Katusha for season 2019, we interviewed him about the move recently.

John Archibald
Harry Tanfield will be riding for World Tour team Katusha next season. Photo©Martin Williamson
John Archibald
Marcin warms up. Photo©Ed Hood

Jockie Johnstone had finished his ride by now and was giving Marcin some tips on the parcours, we think?

John Archibald
John Archibald warms up. Photo©Ed Hood

Over at ‘Archibald Central’ John was warming up in his own wee world, we must ask him what he listens to…

Photo©Ed HoodJohn Archibald

Who’d have thought that when those Turbos with their elastic bands and fans came along in the 80’s that they’d become the universal warm-up tool?

John Archibald
Photo©Ed Hood

John’s warm-up complete, he headed for the start and his historic ride.

John Archibald
Matt Langworthy. Photo©Ed Hood

Matt Langworthy (Saint Piran) was joint silver medallist in the ‘25’ champs with recent VeloVeritas interviewee Chris Bartley – today the man on the immaculate BMC Time Machine would be seventh.

John Archibald
Matt Langworthy. Photo©Martin Williamson
John Archibald
Ryan Perry tunes the distractions out. Photo©Ed Hood

When I used to race, part of the joy was to get out training on the bike in the countryside but it’s different for ‘Generation Turbo’ – here Ryan Perry puts the finishing touches to his warm-up.

I guess that if you’re used to staring at the garage door, then a sandstone wall is a nice change?

John Archibald
Ryan Perry. Photo©Martin Williamson
John Archibald
Ryan’s muscles. Photo©Ed Hood

But the former ’25,’ ’50,’ and ‘100’ champion did give me a flex of his muscles though, as he headed for the start. 

John Archibald
Simon Wilson. Photo©Ed Hood

Eventual bronze medallist and winning team counter, Simon Wilson looked cool on his way to the start.

John Archibald
Simon copes well with a last second problem. Photo©Ed Hood

But less cool when he had to change a front wheel just seconds before he was due to climb up on to the start ramp.

John Archibald
Simon Wilson. Photo©Martin Williamson
John Archibald
Photo©Ed Hood

I got a row from eventual 17th placed (19:49) David Griffiths (Bioracer-Project GO) for taking his picture right after the race; ‘covered in snot’ as he put it but explained that our readers want authentic ‘warts and all’ images of their star testers. 

John Archibald
David Griffiths. Photo©Martin Williamson
John Archibald
Marcin Bialoblocki. Photo©Ed Hood

Happy birthday, Marcin,’ a lady shouted to Bialoblocki as he awaited the countdown; ‘thank you,’ he smiled before he launched for 18 minutes of hurt.

John Archibald
Marcin Bialoblocki. Photo©Ed Hood
John Archibald
Harry Tanfield and Dan Bigham. Photo©Ed Hood

Harry Tanfield missed his allotted start time; a broken chain on the way to the line to blame – but the laid back North Easterner didn’t seem too fazed by events.

John Archibald
Dan Bigham launches down the ramp. Photo©Ed Hood
John Archibald
Dan Bigham approaches the turn. Photo©Martin Williamson
John Archibald
Harry Tanfield’s perfect aero tuck. Photo©Martin Williamson

Defending champion, Dan Bigham should have been last man off but Tanfield had that honour, albeit with a hefty time penalty for his chain misadventures.

John Archibald
Dan Bigham finishes. Photo©Ed Hood

With everyone out over the tar I made my way to the finish slip road, at the top, near the roundabout to see how ‘The Bigs’ looked after their efforts.

On the way over the flyover I did a quick ‘car count’ – which I put at around a dozen vehicles/minute.

Dan Bigham informed me that he thought his ride, ‘sub-standard’ – only he expressed those sentiments in a rather more raw fashion.

John Archibald
Harry Tanfield shows the effort. Photo©Ed Hood

Most ‘puggled’ was Tanfield who could barely get that 58 ringed Canyon up the drag off the carriageway to the race HQ.

He reckoned he’d ridden an actual 18:50 which would have put him level with Wilson for bronze – but his broken chain saw to that.

John Archibald
Photo©Ed Hood

A great day for John Archibald, a disappointing birthday for Marcin Bialoblocki but a well organised and memorable National Championship; by the end of the day, only the start ramp looked sad…

Ed Hood and Martin Williamson
Ed and Martin, our top team! They try to do the local Time Trials, the Grand Tours and the Classics together to get the great stories written, the quality photos taken, the driving done and the wifi wrestled with.

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