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.
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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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jockie Johnstone had finished his ride by now and was giving Marcin some tips on the parcours, we think?
Over at ‘Archibald Central’ John was warming up in his own wee world, we must ask him what he listens to…
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’s warm-up complete, he headed for the start and his historic ride.
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.
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?
But the former ’25,’ ’50,’ and ‘100’ champion did give me a flex of his muscles though, as he headed for the start.
Eventual bronze medallist and winning team counter, Simon Wilson looked cool on his way to the start.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…