ERC 2021 Midweek TT Series - Week 5 - For the love of MVDP

1 July 2021

Week 5 and I think we hit the Tranent Holy Weather Trinity! Huzzah. The sun was shining, it was dry and the wind was both placid and reasonably favourable. A close to perfect night for the 15M TT, made even better for me because I wasn’t bullied by two teenage girls on the ride to Tranent this week.

It’s been an interesting time recently with getting engaged and all that & Hannah is beginning to realise the life that is ahead of her. She was already well aware that she’ll be marrying someone who not only prioritises shaving his legs over shaving his face, will wake her up at 3am whimpering like wounded puppy because he’s got cramp & also steadily balding. But these last couple of weeks have shown that her future husband is someone who has worse hip mobility than the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz and that her weekends may well be taken up by her acting as, in her words, 'a Time Trial Groupie'. Last weekend was Hannah’s first foray into the world of amateur time trialling. She kindly drove me to Cockermouth where Rory, Sandy and I were competing in the Velo Club Cumbria open 25MTT on the L2511 course. We 3 riders had a good day out as we all did big PBs. Hannah, well, she had to wake up early on a Sunday morning (never a good start) to drive me to a Primary School outside Cockermouth where she sat in the car on a gloriously sunny day and read Tender is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald. We’re both 29. I have a feeling that a balding & immobile husband whose hobby leads her to having to sit and read 20th century classic novels outside a rural Primary School is just the adventurous, rock & roll marriage Hannah is after.

Also, on the wedding front – the cost is beginning to dawn on me. In my head I’m now converting the cost of various aspects of the wedding into how many Giant Trinity TT bikes that buys.

Before heading off to the TT last night I was able to watch the Tour seeing that beautiful, powerful, multi-talented, prestigious (stop me at any point) man Mathieu van der Poel crush the TT to keep the yellow jersey. He’s someone who has ridden his TT bike fewer times in the last 3 years than Sandy has changed his stack height in the last 3 minutes. I think my PB last night, which of course I will talk about in great depth later, was powered by MVDP ‘love-watts’, sorry, I mean ‘admiration-watts.’

Unfortunately, I wasn’t presented with any gifts when I arrived last week. But at least when I arrived, I was glad to see Lewis Hutchison had shoes on. Not just any shoes & not somebody else’s shoes either. His own cycling shoes. In terms of small victories for Lewis, that’s where it ended as he later punctured and DNF’d.

Saying I wasn’t presented with any gifts is a half-truth as Chris Howie, suitably un-fresh from his mammoth York-Edinburgh charity ride brought chocolates along. Chris is also now in charge of the ERC Midweek TT Series Lost Property Department. We currently have stock of a saddle bag which was left last night and a bottle from the week before. Hopefully we’ll soon have stocks of various items akin to a spare PE kit box - like at school. One week therefore I do fully expect someone, (Lewis), to forget something integral and have to race in a school netball skirt and rugby shirt. If someone does want to claim anything from the lost property inventory, please get in touch.

We were also kindly supported by Adam & Jenny Brennan from Ronde Cycling. They took photos which you can find here - ERC TT Google Photos and were in good voice, shouting support to riders. Thank you both. Well, maybe I should say especially so to Jenny considering Adam had apparently labelled the evening a ‘date night.’ I guess with covid these are the date nights one now has to consider. The traditional meal out or cinema trip is on the back burner for now – which suits me. Hannah – I’ve got an idea for a ‘date night’ next week.

And so to the racing. First rider off was Hazel Smith. We’ve had people forget kit, ride off into Haddington and now we’ve had someone enter the race in the wrong month. If you were wondering why Hazel was rider ‘0’ – she had accidentally entered the race on the 29th July. She contacted me after the startsheet was posted querying why she was not initially listed. But since this organiser is such a kind young gentleman, I was able to slot her in without any impact on anyone else. This paragraph was written essentially to boost my ego. This is the power I yield writing these reports.

Actually, that wasn’t the only early drama we had. Jonathan Lund missed his start time of 19:07 and the generous & kindhearted timekeepers (Alan & Jonny) and start area marshal (Chris) let him start as the last man off.

We had 4 under 18s set off in the first wave of riders. Theo Cunningham, aged 14, finished in 45:12. Xander Graham, aged 12, 44:22. Peter Ferguson, aged 15, 42:17 and Cameron Adam, aged 15, after his unfortunate puncture last week did a great time of 38:13 placing him 14th overall.

Last night also saw a quartet of female riders. Fiona McDonnell of Ronde CC boosted by support from Adam & Jenny finished on her road bike in 46:36. Yolanda Solans, also on a road bike, came home in 43:42. Rachael Butcher who for a change didn’t have to swim in a Loch before or run up a mountain after her ride was 2nd fastest female in a time of 40:43. Hazel Smith of Lanark Race Team was the fastest female on the night and 12th overall as well finishing the course in a great time of 37:22. We’ve had a solid 3-4 female riders a week. Whilst it is nice to see consistency, it would be great to see that push over 5 and heading in the direction of double figures!

Of the road bikers Chris Banks was the fastest and 16th overall. Simon Russell was 2nd fastest road biker, 40:21 and third was Keith Froude in a time of 40:46.

We had Gerry McGuire swapping the Michele Ferrari tracksuit for a skinsuit, actually, I’m not sure Kappa make skinsuits. Nevermind. Gerry was 19th overall in a time of 39:38. Last night also saw the return of Steve Canney, which was nice because Steve is a great bloke, but I won’t lie, I was disappointed. Steve is usually accompanied by the finest moustache in the Lothians, but last night Steve greeted me with a freshly Gilletted face. Shame.

Usually in the top 10 would be Ian Dobbie but he was an unfortunate DNF last night due to a puncture. We were unawares as to what had exactly happened to Ian. Some said a puncture but when somebody mentioned they saw someone with bleached blonde hair, wearing a dark cloak and a surprising resemblance to Jason Isaacs (hello) pursuing Ian - I was a little concerned. Thankfully it was a false alarm, and it was indeed a puncture that ended Ian’s race.

In 10th place was David Henderson who finished in 36:45. 9th was Oliver Teenan who drives the 450miles from Bournemouth each week did a time of 35:40. Mark Anderson was 8th 35:37. An MVDP admiration-watts, (note – ‘admiration’) fuelled performance put myself 7th with another PB of 34:47. Leahn Perry (I’m not going to say it, you can fill in the gap yourselves) was 6th with 34:26.

5th was Joseph Perkins nearly going under 34mins with a 34:06. Our top 4 included a couple of new faces. It started with Sandy Waller in 4th with 33:24. 3rd was Ciaran McSherry who was taking a break from winning crit races - showing he can do more than just ride fast in circles and finished in 33:03. 2nd was 17 year old Callum Thornley. When I met him, I was very intimidated by his towering presence. It was either that or because I could see his nipples through his baselayer. Callum finished in 32:46. 1st, naturally, was Coach Rory Downie who was "tired" but still did the course in 32:29. This is the same Rory who had never done a 25mile TT before and went sub 50 at his first attempt at the weekend. That’s just not fair.

Many thanks to our volunteers last night. Alan Dean and Jonny Noblett for timekeeping. Chris Howie for gifting chocolates, taking charge of our lost property section and making sure sign on and numbers went smoothly. Talking of numbers, when I mentioned Hannah realising she’s in for a rock and roll marriage earlier – this morning she was presented with the sight of 40 race numbers drying in our back garden. I couldn’t catch in her eyes whether this is now filed under ‘totally normal & expected behaviour’ now. Thanks also to Michael Perkins, Colin Shearer and Karolis Dedura for brilliantly marshalling the Macmerry roundabout. Finally, to Stuart Lockey for doing the signs and marshalling the A199/A1 junction.

Full results here – Week 5 Results

Thanks again & see you all next week

Go well