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Iain Macleod – 3:28:33; the fastest 100 mile time trial ever ridden on Scottish roads

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It was 2019 when we last spoke to Iain Macleod – he was with Aberdeen Wheelers then but is now with Kelpie Racing – he’d just won the SC 50 mile championships and the man is making the headlines again; a couple of weeks ago he took the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial title and before that recorded the fastest 100 mile time trial ever ridden on Scottish roads.

I can’t say ‘Scottish Record’ because the race wasn’t held under the auspices of Scottish Cycling, rather in a Cycling Time Trials event – surely it’s time for the two bodies to sit down and agree common ground on this issue? 

But irrespective of that, it was a great ride by Mr. Macleod; here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas a day or two after his crazy fast ride of 3:28:33. I can remember winning 100 mile time trials ‘back in the day’ with rides an HOUR slower than that…

Iain Macleod
Iain Macleod. Photo©Martin Williamson

3:28:33; it’s not often a Kyle Gordon gets blown away, congratulations sir.

“Thank you, Kyle returned 3:36:10 so that was nearly eight minutes off his time, I’m happy with that.” 

Will Scottish Cycling recognise your ride as the record?

“I don’t think so but it’s the same situation with John Archibald’s recent 18:12 ‘10’ ride and Chris Smart’s 1:40:36 ‘50’ ride; everyone accepts that those are the best times achieved in Scotland, irrespective of SC or CTT, they’re fastest.”  

Tell us about the course and conditions.

“It was the Forfar-Brechin dual carriageway ‘25’ course ridden four times, the morning started off nice but on the third circuit the rain was torrential and I was struggling to see at one stage.”

What was your pace strategy?

“I’d never ridden a ‘100’ before but I did turbo sessions of three or four hours so I had a rough idea of what power I could sustain.

“I decided to ride a road race on the Saturday just as a warm-up with the plan to sit in the bunch – but I got in the break and finished second.

“Then in the ‘100’ I found myself cramping up with 40 miles to go which must have cost me some time.

“I didn’t taper into the ‘100,’ I have my eye on the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial at Hawick on and that’s what I’ve been training towards, it’s a hilly Borders course and should suit me.”

What about hydration and nutrition?

“In the ‘50’ where Chris Smart did that 1:40 I cramped up so in the ‘100’ I was more conscious of the need to drink.

“I took advice and rode with a two litre bladder of isotonic drink, I took gels with me and reminded myself to take one at the end of each lap – I can be quite bad for forgetting to eat during a race.”

Still on the Cervélo; and how about gearing?

“Yes, I’m still on the Cervélo with a 60 x 11 top gear but over the last year I’ve been training myself to get my cadence up.”

How about that all-important, ‘aero stuff?’

“I’ve been refining it, just subtle changes, I ride the Aberdeen Wheelers mid-week 10 mile time trials as my testing ground.

“But I’m always studying the positions of the top professional time trial riders to see how they look.”

Iain Macleod
Iain Macleod warms up for recording time trial fastest times in Scotland by riding road races. Photo©supplied

Last time we spoke you were with Velocita Coaching?

“Last year, with all that was going on with Covid, I decided I wasn’t going to race, there were too many uncertainties; I just did my own thing, taking a break from structured training – professional coaching is a heck of an expense if you’re not actually racing.

“I started work for this season in December 2020 just doing what I enjoyed in training, trial and error, stepping up my power and endurance and before I knew it I was recording my best-ever power figures.”

Tell us more about that road race the day before the ‘100.’

“Normally, the day before a time trial I’ll do an hour effort with a couple of intervals in there to waken the legs up.

“I thought I would ride the road race as a ‘loosener,’ just sit in the bunch and cover any moves for my team mates.

“But the break went, no one chased it so I bridged across and on the last lap two of us got away and I ended up second.

“I’ve actually won a road race since then, the Ythan mid-week road race, I enjoy the tactical aspect and plan to ride more road races, albeit the calendar is a bit sparse.”

Tell us about Kelpie Racing.

“It was something that Jamie Davidson, Tom Gelati, Martin Reynolds and myself put together as an Aberdeen team with one of our goals the Scottish Cycling Team Time Trial Championships at Forfar on August 28th.”

Iain Macleod
The Kelpie Racing boys may take their racing seriously – but not themselves. Photo©supplied

I was going to ask what you’ve been up to since last we spoke but you’ve already explained that you took a break, last season.

“As I said, this year I’m self-coached and I think I got it wrong, peaking back in March!

“But it’s a learning curve I’m on and I think I’m going into the last part of the season with good form.”

What’s next on the agenda?

“The Olympic Time Trial Championship is a goal, as is the Team Time Trial Championship and I’m thinking about riding the CTT National 10 Mile Championship on September 12th but it’s away down at Bournemouth, that’s a long way. [Iain didn’t ride, in the end. ed.]

“I have a couple of time trials in Scotland too, including the Mackie Trophy 14 mile event at Aviemore in September.” [Iain finished second in that one, to Lee Rosie (University of Aberdeen). ed. ]

Your longer term goals on the bike?

“I’ve never raced the British time trial championships so next year I’d like to ride down in England more, at the higher level – but I’ll have to put a good winter behind me first.”

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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