With victories already this season in various time trial distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles (with a two mile hill climb win too), Iain Macleod (Kelpie Racing) has added the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial 2021 title to his growing palmarès, his 1:16:53 putting him over a minute clear of Lee Rosie (University of Aberdeen, 1:17:58), with Joe Reilly (Studio Velo) only six seconds back on 1:18:04.
Promoted by the Hawick Cycling Club and run as part of the Hawick Festival of Cycling, the course took in a testing 34 mile circuit in the Scottish Borders, from Hawick, up Carter Bar, down to Jedburgh and back to Hawick and the finish.
As mentioned elsewhere on our pages, it’s disappointing that event clashes seem to be more common than ever before and here we have a Scottish National Championship attracting a small number of riders; 26 recorded a time, including three women and one junior, with one DNF and seven DNS, but with the CTT-run time trial classic the Tour of the Campsies, Chris Hoy’s Glasgow to Edinburgh charity ride and the Tour O’ The Borders closed roads sportive all happening at the same time, perhaps it’s no wonder that what should be a spotlight event for the sport had such a reduced field.
Fastest of the women was Victoria Smith (Aerocoach) with 1:31:46, and the single Junior in the field, Daniel Kain (Spokes Race Team) recorded 1:33:28.
Deciding to split our resources, Ed set off to cover the Tour of the Campsies while we were on the Olympic TT course nice and early, positioning ourselves near the top of the undulating and gradual four mile climb to Carter Bar, on the border between Scotland and England and scene of one of the last pitched battles between the English and the Scots in 1575.
First to appear on the horizon was #3, James Bader (Kelso Wheelers), with Gavin Church (Studio Velo), off #5 but only 15 seconds behind.
A minute later, #9 Richard Sanderson (Kinross CC) looked good out the saddle, disc wheel ‘making all the right noises’ as Ed would say, heading for an eventual 7th place.
First Lady to pass, off #6, Michelle Short (Hawick CC) in her bright club Le Col skinsuit meant business, but was it the heat of the morning that required the aero socks be rolled down?
Paul Davis (Musselburgh Roads), #11 was next up, like most riders the length of the climb requiring a stretch and some time out the saddle.
We saw Alexander Taylor’s (Torvelo) POC helmet in the distance before we recognised him. Off #12, he’d close on Davis but not catch him.
Taylor however had caught Calum Cormak (Deeside Thistle), #7, for five minutes, when he passed us a few seconds later.
Being the main road from Hawick and Roxburghshire south-wards, it was perhaps unsurprising to see how much traffic hurtled up the road, the otherwise quiet stillness of the Sunday morning making the roar of the vehicles all the more jarring.
#14, Arran Gannicott of the Gala CC looked solid and in control, ending up 9th on the day.
Half a minute later, Gannicott’s minute-man at #15, Calum Gibb (University of Aberdeen) rocked by, remaining in the tuck.
There was a gap of over three minutes before eventual Junior winner Daniel Kain (Spokes Racing), off #17, bounded up the climb.
Two minutes later a pair of riders came into view; someone was catching someone…
Lewis Martin (Studio Velo), off #23 was gaining on Silas Goldsworthy (Ryan’s Bike Surgery) for three minutes, overtaking him in front of us.
Silas later told us he wasn’t sure if it was a maladjusted rear brake that was holding him back or more likely a total lack of form as a result of looking after his great friend, the late Sandy Wallace over the last few months, which no doubt has taken its toll.
Andrew Cox (Peebles CC) looked neat and tidy a couple of minutes later.
Another two minutes passed before Lee Rosie (University of Aberdeen), sixth in the National Road Championships in July and off #27 today, rolled up the hill towards us, smooth and visibly quicker than most of the riders so far.
Joseph Agnew (Edinburgh Road Club), #25, took the time to give us a little wave.
Snapping at Agnew’s heels was Ray Wilson (Ryan’s Bike Surgery), off #28 and having closed the three minute gap, eventually finishing 6th.
A minute later eventual winner #31 Iain Macleod (Kelpie Racing) appeared, concentrating hard and looking business-like. He was one of only a few riders we noticed to be climbing on the big ring but seemed to be getting it round just fine.
Caught for a minute by Macleod, the familiar form of Gavin Shirley (Studio Velo), #30, gave us a wave hello and kept the aero tuck going but the two minutes since Macleod had passed told us it wasn’t going be his day.
5th place finisher Andy Brown (Velocity44), #33, was next, another rider looking strong and in ‘the big scobie’, still with around 20 miles left to race so plenty of time to get those gels downed.
Before long another catch was on right in front of us; this time smooth and stylish Joe Reilly (Studio Velo), off #35 and heading for third place was sweeping past Gala CC rider Neil Shepherd, reeled in for six minutes.
Almost five minutes later, having a pretty lonely ride compared to some, was fastest woman on the day, Victoria Smith (Aerocoach), off #32.
Last rider to pass before the organiser’s car collecting in the signage yellow-lighted its way around the circuit, was #36, ex-mountain biker and Scottish Road Champion Ross Creber, now signed up with Ryan’s Bike Surgery and destined for 14th place.
Some great rides around a fantastic, sporting course on an almost perfect early Autumn morning, it’s just such a shame that races like this can’t attract full fields anymore.
Running competing events on the same day doesn’t sound like it would be too hard a problem to fix, but like so many things these days it would maybe require compromise and ‘political will’.
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