ERC 2021 Midweek TT Series - Week 11 - As wet as a fish's wet bits
12 August 2021
I find myself in a position whereby I’m not sure where to begin. As each time I attempt to write something, I just end up laughing at the utter ridiculousness of last night. Therefore, in true TT report nature, I shall take a diversion and talk about something else.
There was some Olympic chat last week so there's no harm in finishing that off. Old Man Kenny came good didn’t he – winning the keirin by hoodwinking the rest of the field. He’s obviously lulled everyone into a false sense of security all week by seeming off the pace. That was right up until Postman Pat and his Black and White e-bike pulled off the track with 3 laps to go & 15 seconds later the gold medal was Kenny’s, as all the other riders looked at each other with a ‘oh no, you chase him first’ look on their face.
Alongside that unexpected result there was the almost certainty of Laura Kenny & Katie Archibald winning the women’s Madison. They won it with such ease. Being able to command a race which is undeniably bonkers is very impressive, but you come to expect it of Archibald & Kenny. Like the Shaq & Kobe, Venus & Serena and Broad & Anderson of track cycling. I also mention Katie Archibald because she is sending me a signed world champs jersey to hand out as a prize for the TT series this year! I posted about this elsewhere but I want to make sure due thanks are given to Katie & her partner Rab for arranging this. It also gives me the opportunity, again, to ask you to let me know of your interest in a post series gathering – not only to give out prizes, and for me to say thank you to all of you, but also with the upheaval of the last 18 months I think it's nice to be able to arrange a social gathering. As that’s something we’ve all missed out on. Link here - After Series Party
Not sure there is much to mention on the #compulsoryweddingchat front. We have all the big stuff booked. We’re almost at the stage where we can forget about it for a few months. Well, that is until we got a quote for flowers – some florists have a £2,000 MINIMUM spend. That’s incredibly high on the Giant Trinity Cost Matrix. It's almost laughable that someone can and would rather spend 2 grand on flowers than bike things. I don’t recall flowers being that expensive at the Tesco Petrol Station up the road.
Okay, let’s swing back to last night. So if you weren’t aware, last night was the first running of a Yak hill climb TT as part of the series. You may have also noticed last night that from about 6-8pm, (conveniently the times everyone was riding to, from & participating in the race), the heavens well and truly opened. It was like the weather was being directed by Christopher Nolan and he’d instructed the props manager to turn the rain machine up to 11.
I ended up riding to Haddington last night, the metoffice well and truly sold me down and deep into the river. About half way there, I was so wet that I wasn’t sure it was possible to get any wetter. I did pull over for a wee at one point and took the opportunity to pour the water out of my shoes. Yes, ‘pour’ the water out. ‘Why didn’t you drive?’ - You may ask. Good question. Well, Hannah had the car last night. She was collecting friends and purchasing boujee food from Waitrose for a girl’s night in. To say there was a little bit of resentment would be fair. However, they did leave me pizza and pour me wine when I got back. Wine was most needed, not only for post-race morale but also because the girl’s night in involved watching a movie called ‘The Kissing Booth 3.’ Upon reading the title I’m sure your mind is flooding with questions – ‘why did you do that to yourself?’, ‘they made 3 of them!’, ‘how much wine did you have?’ I suppose the easiest way to describe the film is that, watching it feels like you always needed another glass of wine.
Arriving in Haddington last night I really regretted not wearing velotoze. With all the water in my shoes my feet got to experience what being in a washing machine would be like, as the water sloshed around inside my shoe each time I pedalled. I think I also was regretting my pre-race prep the night before of a few strong Belgian beers at Brauhaus. The regret wasn’t that I had had a few beers, I think at that point the regret was that I didn’t have more!
There were 26 riders last night, a full complement – nobody on the night didn’t turn up. David Henderson had entered but had forgot he entered and he was going to volunteer instead. David was one of those on the Yak descent puddle watch. The fact that nobody looked outside and thought ‘naaaaah’ & stayed at home instead really says something – we’re all out of our minds maybe? We’re very dedicated? Probably somewhere in between.
We had 4 under 18s compete last night too. These kids will go far, rather that incessant tik-tokking they were out in the pouring rain racing bikes. Firstly, Kasey Park, ever present and ever determined, finished in 10:44. We then had the Hibberd’s – Charlie and Redd. Charlie, aged 12, finished in 10:25 and Redd, aged 15, finished 20th overall in a time of 08:47. We, of course, also had Xander Graham yesterday, Xander used his weight of about 15kg to his advantage and finished a brilliant 14th overall in 08:10. Only 30 seconds behind his Dad, Martin, who was in 10th place!
Fiona McDonnell, one of 6 Ronde CC riders to race last night but our only adult Female participant. Fiona was therefore the fastest– as I’ve said before, a win is a win. She finished in 08:59.
Usually I now mention road bikers but that is hardly much use since all but one of us raced a road bike last night. So, the winner of the TT bike ‘category’ was Oliver Teenan. Oliver was mad enough to use his TT rig last night, it was either madness or he doesn’t know of the N+1 rule. Oliver finished 4th overall in a time of 07:03.
A few riders snuck under 8 minutes but were just outside the top 10. Chris Howie was 13th in 07:57, Chris emailed me to say how much fun he had last night. I saw some similar comments on strava and felt similarly myself – it was one of those days where you curse what you’re doing but you get home with a grin on your face and can’t wait to do it again. It better be dry next time though. We also had in joint 11th Jonny Noblett and Michael Perkins who finished in 07:44.
As mentioned before Martin Graham was 10th. I finished 9th, I had just about gotten warm when I crested the top of the Yak after shivering for the previous 25 minutes pre-race. I had intended on removing my leg warmers, but they were so wet that I’d have probably slipped a disc in my back in trying to take them off. I finished in 07:36. Rory, yes, Rory, was join 7th with Louis Moorehead of Ronde CC in 07:29. 6th was Chris McCarthy – Chris is Rory Cape Epic partner - the pouring rain of East Lothian is the perfect preparation for the sunshine of South Africa, Chris finished in 07:14.
Entering the top 5 we had Donald Smith of ERC crossing the line in 07:06. Oliver Teenan in 4th, 07:03. Sneaking under the 7-minute mark, powered on by Froome-like elbows was Grant Scott of Ronde CC in 3rd 06:58. It was Grant’s first race of the TT series this year so he’s set a high benchmark for next week’s 5M TT. Pipping Grant into 2nd was James Addie in 06:57, James has been recceing the course for the past 6 weeks so I’m pleased he pulled out a good time. 1st, back to winning ways, and helped on by the fact that watts to kg are not Rory’s friend and Sandy doesn’t know what a hill is, was Alan Dean. Alan won with a 21 second margin, in 06:36.
I don’t know about anyone else but cycling home the weather trolled me – all night it had been miserable and then post race, boom, sunshine and a glorious sunset over East Lothian. This had the potential to be very depressing. Except when I entered Dalkeith and saw a pigeon unable to fly over a wire fence and repeatedly clothes-line itself. I laughed, aptly, like a drain, all the way home.
Thank you to Active Root for providing free samples last night. I have another box to hand out to competitors next week – please send some love and kindness their way too www.activeroot.co.uk
A bundle of thank yous to our wonderful volunteers last night – all of whom shared in the riders soaking. Steve Canney for timekeeping at the start – Steve even bought his partner Cindy along, what a date night that must have been. Thank you Cindy. Rachael Butcher for expert pusher offering skills. Graham Jones & Ben Dixon for traffic marshalling at the start area. Sandy Waller for assisting with sign on & handing out Active Root samples. Chris Borthwick and Gearoid Reidy for timekeeping at the finish. Chris Banks for doing the signs & marshalling. Leahn Parry & David Henderson for being on Yak Descent Puddle Watch – as a rider, that was really helpful.
Next week we are back in Tranent but this time on the 5M TT course – usual meet point, start and finish. The difference is there’s no drag – it’s just head through Macmerry to the Macmerry/Gladsmuir roundabout, go around it and come back.
Bob Marshall kindly took some pictures last night too which you’ll find here – Bob Marshall YAK HC Photos