On a day which was a total contrast to last Sunday’s Monifieth polar conditions; with warm sunshine and a gentle breeze, that man Kyle Gordon (RT23) showed us that perishing or pleasant, he’s the man to beat on the Scottish time trial scene. Averaging 28.796 mph around the rolling, scenic 26.3 mile Loch Ken Time Trial course in the fourth round of six in the CTT Sigma Sports Classic Series his 54.48 saw him 13 seconds clear of Adam Wild (GS Metro) in second spot with 55.01 and 1 min 17 clear of former Scottish Olympic TT Champion, Chris Smart (GTR – Return To Life).
We must mention however that actual second fastest on the road was veteran and recent winner of the CTT Scottish District ‘10’ Championship, Douglas Watson (GTR – Return to Life) who clocked 54.52, just four seconds shy of Gordon’s time but due to the CTT system doesn’t qualify for the men’s race, only the veteran’s.
Last Sunday Monifieth was colder but much closer to home; it took three hours to get down to Castle Douglas but with the sky blue and the Borders scenery, it wasn’t too much of a chore.
Breakfast was in a lay-by on the course; Martin’s chum, Chris Godfree stopped by for a chat on his warm-up, the Edinburgh Road Club veteran would stop the clock at 1:05:34 later in the morning.
I’ve never seen a red kite in my life until this morning – when I saw four of them in five minutes, circling the Bellymack Hill feeding centre near the race finish – beautiful creatures.
We decided to drive ‘against’ the race and do a full lap but the sunshine and lochside views north-bound proved too much for us and we stopped there for the duration but moved along the road to avoid the dreaded; ‘all the photies look the same,’ syndrome.
First rider to appear was number six, junior Fabien Large of Marcin Bialoblocki’s NOPINZ team – the big Pole has been quiet so far this year but we heard he clocked an 18 minute ‘10’ the other week in a club event.
Sophie Heighton (Stockton Wheelers) off number four was sole juvenile female rider in the field.
And we have to tell you that if Martin and I ever do ‘comeback’ for sure we’ll be looking to save watts – BUT there will be NO ‘leg fairings.’
We weren’t running watches but just on ‘visual’ number 28, Gregor Sharp (Hawick CC) was looking the part.
He would finish an eventual 13th of 57 finishers in the veterans’ event; the senior men’s race saw just 19 finishers.
Number 49 had us confused, Johnstone Wheelers on the start sheet but John Archibald-style ‘Ribble’ skinsuit?
Then it dawned; ‘Ian Archibald’ – Katie and John’s father and no mean runner in his day with two Scottish 1500 metre titles to his name in the 80’s; now we know where they got the good genes from: 12th in 1.04.08.
Perennial Jim Cussick (Dooleys RT) off 54 is never far away in a time trial and would take fourth on the day in 1.00.34.
Ben Lane 57 (GS Metro) was second veteran in 1.00.08 – looking the part and riding strongly.
Douglas Watson was riding visibly faster than the rest though, aero and strong, coming home some five minutes and more ahead of Ben Lane in 54.52.
Best of the ladies was British, Commonwealth, European and Olympic Champion Katie Archibald (Team HUUB).
We’ll have to wait for her column in Cycling Weekly to see if she enjoyed her day, ‘alone and unpaced.’
Number 83, big Jamie Little (Classic Racing Team) looked to be going well – but we’ll hear more of him later…
Joe Hands (GTR – Return To Life) #87 had caught Darren Carruthers (Glasgow Green Cycling Club) #86 for a minute and the two were battling it out lochside.
The next man to look ‘on it’ was Solihull CC man, David Fellows, he’d finish an eventual fourth with 57.19.
We’d expected Adam Wild (GS Metro) to do a ride and whilst we didn’t have watches on anyone, it was clear he was flying, the result board confirmed that with 55:01 and second spot.
But Gordon was up on him and moving very nicely, turning the gear at a higher cadence than most of his rivals – an average 102 rpm – just off hour record cadence – he’d tell us at the finish.
Chris Smart was last man and turning his usual enormous ratio – and whilst it looks sluggish the speed he was reeling in minute men at suggested anything-but.
Hop in the car and see if we can pass the last few starters before the line – we managed to snap Messrs. Smart, Shirley, Bonar, Griffiths, Glasgow and Gordon before pulling in on the last long drag to take a few more shots.
Far-travelled Alison Vessey (Didcot Phoenix CC) was looking forward to getting over the last obstacle between her and the finish line.
Gordon meanwhile was still revving the gear whilst Smart continued to torture himself on the ‘big one.’
Gavin Shirley (Dooleys RT) was hurting too, en route fifth and a 59.33 ride.
As we headed for the finish we were treated to the sad sight of a man walking barefoot whilst pushing his Canyon; both of us having been ‘that soldier’ at one time or another we did the right thing and stopped to give him a lift.
It was number 83, Jamie Little, he told us that last year he was DNS and this year with his rear tub puncturing, a DNF – next year will be fine, Jamie…
Past the finish Harry Tweed was on the case with Gavin Shirley, Kyle and RT23 club-mate Cameron Oliver; we joined the gathering and quizzed Kyle about his ride and his slippery Giant.
Harry Walker’s carbon wheels front and rear, tubeless rubber – as he explained in his recent interview with us, 1x transmission which today gave him a problem today with a derailed chain, despite having a moulded plastic chain guide (he’s looking into getting a metal one made), Shimano Di2 gearing with over-size Ceramic Speed jockey wheels, Speedplay pedals with low profile aero cleats (the ‘walkable’ ones) and custom-made short axles, ‘dimpled’ bottle cage to ‘fill in’ behind the single chainring (“a front changer costs you five watts“) and of course, that ‘praying mantis’ aggressive position.
And in pursuit of those last few precious watts; rubber, full-fingered, slightly-webbed gloves.
Kyle is ‘training through’ all of his races right now, with no rest days or taper coming into events – he rode the British Eagle road race at Humbie in East Lothian, on Saturday.
That fact makes his ride around Loch Ken all the more commendable.
Beautiful weather, a splendid course [them pot holes apart], excellent organisation and prize list – not much more you can ask for in a time trial…
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