Aerocoach CTT Scotland Series - Round 1 - Loch Ken
13 July 2021
Photo: © Martin Williamson, https://www.veloveritas.co.uk/
So, here we are, The Aerocoach CTT Scotland Super Series. A series which was meant to be 12 events in 2020 and ended up being 1 event. Thanks Covid. Now in 2021 we had 12 events, of which Loch Ken was meant to be the 5th, but ended up being the 1st. Currently we’re at 8 events with the possibility of the Meldons and National 25 being rearranged. Maybe we end up at 10 events - who knows. I’m losing track and I’m supposed to be the Captain of this particular ship!
Even with all the issues Covid has thrown at us that there has been a good number of races in Scotland - thank you to all of those organisers, administrators and lobbyists.
This year, alongside the head sponsor Aerocoach we've teamed up with Edinburgh based sports drinks company ‘Active Root’, Glasgow coffee company ‘Power Press Coffee’, online cycling software tool ‘MyWindsock’ and custom cycling shoe artist ‘Gallus Baffies’ to provide prizes and discounts to participants.
It seems a while since we’ve been able to race at Loch Ken. In 2019, the last time we could race the course, I found myself warming up next to multiple world champion and Olympic gold medallist, Katie Archibald. In 2021, I was trying to avoid squishing baby chicks. How times change. Katie obviously had far more important things to prep for, I dunno probably some little thing called the Tokyo Olympics.
With the 2019 Female Loch Ken champion away on Olympic prep, our Male winner Kyle Gordon also conveniently found himself occupied. I suppose he also had a half decent excuse. Kyle was competing in Saint Petersburg in the UCI Track Nations Cup. Kyle only went and won a silver medal in the IP for Scotland. I guess this was probably more prestigious than a potential victory at an amateur TT in Dumfries.
The field was packed nonetheless - 100 competitors had signed up to race. When pulling into Stewarty Rugby Club it was great to see so many people there. Cameron at Dumfries CC had worked tirelessly to get the race up and running.
Upon arrival, after checking there were no baby chicks pancaked to the fresh Pirellis on my Dad’s Skoda. I was able to get set up nearby the other Edinburgh RC riders Sandy Waller and Rory Downie. You’ll be surprised when I say this but Sandy had genuinely had to rebuild the front part of this bike a day or two earlier after some midweek tinkering.
Sandy was after a big-time improvement from 2019 where he, again, genuinely lowered his saddle by 20mm the night before the race and I only went and beat him. In 2021, this would not happen again – I unfortunately was resigned to that.
Rory too was after a high overall placing; he’s been continuously victorious at the ERC Midweek TTs and after competing in his first ever 25M TT in Cumbria a couple of weeks ago and going sub 50 (I really like Rory but a small part of me hated him after that). He was there to mix it with the usual big hitter of Chris Smart & Douglas Watson.
The course at Loch Ken is a rolling one, the first half from Castle Douglas to New Galloway is a smidge flatter and a rough-ish road surface but on the second half there were both more lumps and bumps to come – in both a gradient and road surface sense. The second half of the course included a section called ‘The Cheese Grater.’ Once you hit this section, it fills those in the Vet categories with dread because you’re in danger of not only your bottle popping out of the cage but also losing your false teeth. I saw someone had lost a helmet visor on course! This section appears towards the end of the course so by this point you know if your legs are strong, hard, powerful maybe like a Manchego (yes, I’m doing a cheese analogy) or soft and feeble like a Dairylea triangle.
Being part of the UK wide Merlin Classics Series too the Loch Ken TT attracted a wide field. Men, Women, Juniors, Paracyclists and road bikers competed.
First off we had the Paracyclists. David Murphy of Liverpool Mercury CC (C5) came home fasted in a time of 1:04:06 and Graeme Church, Team Milton Keynes (C1) finished in 1:26:34.
11 road bikers tackled the course on Sunday, with Xavier Disley of AeroCoach topping the standings in a time of 1:00:38. I imagined Xavier created many a spreadsheet and line graph to best optimise the effort across the 26.3 mile course. At least, I hope he went to that level of effort, because Xavier beat me by 22 seconds. I just need to project, in my head, that Xavier was up late at night plotting every minor detail. 2nd road biker was John Dunlop of Loudoun RC in 1:03:36 and 3rd was Alistair Ferguson, East Kilbride Road Club, 1:05:44.
Next off were the juniors, there were 7 under 18s taking part at the weekend. The fastest of which was Craig Paterson of East Kilbride Road Club, who completed the course in 1:01:06 – this also placed him 20th overall. Thomas Heighton – on a road bike and the lucky winner of our MyWindsock prize draw, was 2nd fastest junior with a time of 1:06:37. 3rd was Harry Barr, Newton Stewart Triathlon Club, 1:10:20.
11 women raced on Sunday, Becky Storrie of Brother UK (and who also races for the Movistar e-Team) topped the women’s standings. She also placed 21st overall with a time of 1:01:20. 2nd and 3rd were ladies from the Vanelli-Project GO Team – Alexandra Hayden finished in 1:07:55 and Hazel Smyth 1:08:56.
We had two Vet 70s taking part – Ian Elliot & George Skinner. Ian, racing for Hawick Cycling Club, came out 1st in the Vet 70 category in a time of 1:07:02.
The Vet 60s were topped by Mark Sanders of Mid Devon CC, showing the 800 mile round trip was worth it. Mark did a 1:01:23.
James Cusick of Dooleys RT was 1st in the Vet 50s category, 8th overall and going under the 1hr mark in a time of 58:58.
Some very familiar chart-topping names were 1st and 2nd in the Vet 40s, as well as being 2nd and 3rd overall. Douglas Watson & Chris Smart of GTR – Return to Life. Douglas finished in 55:30 and Chris 55:56.
The senior category was won by Tommy Murray of GS Metro, Tommy finished 4th overall just behind the lads from GTR in a time of 55:57. 2nd Senior Male and 5th overall was Rory Downie of Roarsz Performance in only his second 25M+ TT in a time of 57:30.
In terms of ERC riders - Sandy Waller was 7th overall, 58:09 and I was 18th overall 1:01:00.
The winner of the day, also topping the Espoir category, was Cameron Richardson of RT23. Cameron flew round the course in 52:41 with a near 3 minute winning margin.
Many thanks to you all for turning out, the volunteers at Dumfries CC, the Aerocoach CTT Series sponsors & supporters. The next round is the Scottish 50M TT Champs hosted by Dundee Thistle on 18th July. Round 3 is the following week, 25th July, the Scottish 10M TT Champs hosted by Glasgow Nightingale CC.
Full Results here - Loch Ken Results
Please find pictures and reports from Loch Ken below: