It’s 27 years since Graeme Obree became the first Scotsman to win the RTTC [now CTT] 50 mile Time Trial Championship, putting nine minutes into silver medallist, Stuart Dangerfield with a 1:39:01 ride to break Ian Cammish’s decade old competition record by 50 seconds.
And that was just 18 hours after the Ayrshire man had broken Matt Illingworth’s 10 mile competition record with an 18:27 ride.
Neither of these performances was on a ‘drag strip’ and both were on fixed wheel, 119” as I recall, with the ‘10’ record ride achieved despite a near gale blowing.
But I digress, the point of the story is that another Scotsman has just taken the ‘50’ title; perhaps the most sacred TT championship to win after the ‘Blue Riband’ 25 mile title – also won by a Scot, John Archibald, in case we need to remind you.
This time a man from the Highlands; Kyle Gordon was fourth in the CTT 10 Mile Championship and fifth in the CTT 25 Mile Championship but made no mistakes – well, except for crashing that is – in the 50 Mile Championship held on a far from ‘float’ course in the north east of England near Cramlington.
VeloVeritas caught up with him the day after his epic ride.
Congratulations, Kyle – a personal best by 31 seconds with 1:36:13 to win?
“Yes, I was delighted with that time, my previous best was a 1:36:44 to finish second to John Archibald in a ‘50’ at Keswick.”
A technical course, I believe?
“Yes, with 27 roundabouts and a mixed bag of dual carriageway and ‘A’ class roads.
“I went over it the night before in the car and that, ‘oh my God. I’ll never remember all of this,’ so I put the course details into my Garmin.
“But as it turned out the course was very well sign posted and marshalled so I had no difficulties.”
What were conditions like?
“I was concerned the night before because it was torrential rain but the morning dawned bright and dry with just a light Easterly breeze – good conditions.
“It was a tailwind out on the main leg with a cross/head wind on the return.”
And the crash?
“As I said, there were 27 roundabouts and I took care at every one, coming off the tri-bars to negotiate them but one caught me out, at around 27 miles.
“A car entered ahead of me as I was banked over into the roundabout, I had to change my line, hit a kerb and went over the ‘bars landing on the verge on my head and hip.
“I was up quickly and a marshal was on the scene very quickly to see if I was OK and push me back into action.
“I broke my helmet strap and for the rest of the ride had to keep pushing it back on my head.
“After a couple of miles I realised I was hurting but decided to keep going; today I was stiff when I woke up but loosened off once I was up and about – I have a bit of ‘whiplash’ though, I think?
“After I was on the deck it was a massive surprise to discover that I’d won the thing!”
What about nutrition?
“I had my usual breakfast of porridge fruit and coffee and on the bike I had a bladder with the ‘Secret Training’ drink, ‘Big Energy’ but I didn’t drink all of it during the ride.”
Still on the Giant Trinity?
“Yes, with ‘Watt Shop’ tri-bar skis, Revolver tri-spoke front wheel and Revolver disc rear.
“I run 25 mm tubeless clinchers, Vittoria Corsa Speeed 2.0 at 90 psi, they have less rolling resistance than tubulars and are more comfortable.
“I was a 58 ring with 11 to 25 cassette, the course was rolling, which suits me better than pan flat, drag-strip type courses.”
The same position as in those fast 10 mile TT’s we spoke to you about – it looks pretty extreme for a ‘50’?
“I’ve changed it recently after experimenting with different set ups of skinsuit and helmet.
“My position is actually super-comfy, akin to that on my track bike; I have long arms so that stretched out position really suits me – and my vision is good, much better than being scrunched up in a ball.
“But the best choice of skinsuit, helmet and position is a totally personal thing, I tried seven different skinsuits in testing before I came up with the combination which, with the POC helmet gave me the best aero gains.
“It’s the HUUB 409 skinsuit, named in honour of John Archibald’s world sea level best of 4:09 for the four kilometre pursuit.”
How did you judge your pace, did you get time checks?
“I was down there on my own with no support, I did get a shout that I was ‘up’ at one stage from Harry Walker of Revolver Wheels but apart from that I just rode to what I knew I could sustain.
“My average watts were 320; 370 on the drags, 320 to 330 on the flat and 300 on the downhills.”
Did you change your training much from when we spoke to you recently about those super-fast ‘10’s you were knocking out?
“The endurance aspect is something I’ve built up over months of extended work.”
Did watching Ganna in the Worlds and Giro inspire you?
“I’ve not seen any of him on the TV – I’ve been too busy with preparation, traveling and racing!”
What’s next for Kyle Gordon?
“That was my last road event of the season, I’m not doing the CTT circuit or closed circuit events; the traveling is a bit much.
“I’ll take a few days off to recover from the effort of the ‘50’ – and the crash – then begin my focus on the track.
“The Glasgow track should re-open at the end of October and there’s a UCI Class 1 track meeting in Poland in three weeks time but with the Covid situation I’m not sure what will be happening with that.
“The British Track Championships are in January and I’m going to adopt the same approach as I did at the start of lock down – training as if everything is going to go ahead as normal.
“I enjoy the whole process – build up, training, taper, competition and all the hype.”
That much is clear to the observer, Kyle Gordon. Always a pleasure to speak to Kyle, especially when he wins a British title.