Septemb-ERC-hallenge 15.5M TT Race Report

27 September 2020

SeptembERChallenge 15.5M TT Race Report

CTT Link

The previous report I wrote I waited until I lived my Cranford lifestyle - picking fruit and having a G&T in the garden. This time I decided to live my peak millennial artisanal lifestyle. After thawing out with a short spin on the patio, I then headed into town and proceeded to go to an artisanal gelato shop (Mary’s Milk Bar, where else?!), a posh tweed shop (Walker Slater to buy a Cashmere scarf for my Mum’s birthday – oh, happy birthday Mum if you’re reading this), a haggis scotch egg from IJ Mellis Cheesemonger and then an oat milk flat white. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, I feel it too - by 3pm I was basically a walking stereotype.

I have now returned home; the results have come through so I can get typing. Most of the time spent doing this is finding a suitable meme for the ‘theme’ of the report to be honest.

15.5M Time Trial? What a bloody strange distance ey, what smartarse thought that would be a good idea? Ey?! That would be me. Deal with it. It was a course which came out of trying to utilise our current Tranent 10M TT course but extend it a bit for longer summer evenings. Instead of a longer summer evening it debuted on a nipple chafingly cold September morning, obviously.

In the days preceding the event I received a message from local cycling celebrity Adam Wild asking if he could be added to the event because he forgot to enter in time. Now, in the world of Instagram influencers and people using their status to circumvent the rules, Adam’s request was on point, and as the publicity seeking folk that we are, I of course tried my best to get the current 100mile and 12 hour TT champion a slot. Unfortunately, Adam’s celeb status couldn’t swing the CTT to divert from the rulebook and add Adam, as well as others, to the startlist because it had already been published.

I got my preparation down to the tee today, clothes, food, equipment. Then I encountered two major tactical issues – how to pace my effort and how much embrocation cream to smother myself in. I went for a good slather, even treating my lower back to a bit of herbal winter warming. It was absolutely the right thing to do as I left the house in my skinsuit, baselayer, knee warmers, short sleeve jersey, long sleeve jersey, warm up leggings, winter hat and down jacket. Though, there is an issue with embrocation cream – well two issues actually, the first one is – never, and I mean never, put the embrocation cream on BEFORE you put on chamois cream. You don’t want those things mixing. Ever rubbed your eyes after chopping a chilli? Well, imagine the same feeling but on your nutsack. The second issue is showering. Washing off the cream induces squeals. Squeals a bit like if you had a visit from a dominatrix but had forgotten your safe word. The sensation is one which I will best describe as - imagine most of your body is enjoying a pleasant shower and your legs are having a blow torch applied to them.

Okay, so I’m layered up and creamed up. Now to the event. The first thing I will mention is the parking eviction situation. A local garage had some riders park on their property and threatened to tow away any vehicles. The East Lothian heavies had been sent round. The best description, as widely inaccurate as it maybe is that scene in Top Gear when they visit Alabama and get chased out of the State for decorating their cars with inappropriate slogans. The link is here –

- have a look, instead of the rootin’ tootin’ Alabama populace chasing three BBC car show presenters. Imagine local Tranenters chasing lycra clad racers furiously pedalling - until they realise, they’re still on their warmup rollers and aren’t moving anywhere. Actually, I think I know who may have won that battle.

Big kudos to Steve Canney for his Covid compliant holder upper device – ingenious levels of DIY the kind Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen would be very approving of, but maybe a bit more colour next time, darling.

This next story, which I may glamorise slightly, is the perfect piece of material. Gold dust for the process of trying to search deep within my own head for something moderately amusing. Rider 31, who I believe to be Allan Duncan, had a bit of a shocker. The kind of day where you wake up late for work, dribble toothpaste down your shirt, pour coffee over your trousers, realise your car has a flat tyre and that a bird has pooped in the hood of your duffle coat just as it is beginning to rain. Missing your start is something we’ve all done, me especially (hello Campsies 2019). But not only did Alan miss his start, he missed the roundabout turn, ended up going down a random country lane, then took another wrong turning and went towards Haddington. For all I know he could be now in Berwick-upon-Tweed. Maybe he didn’t like the idea of the distance not being a round number so wanted to do a bit extra and notch it to 16miles. If that was the plan, I have a feeling that backfired as Allan’s Garmin now show that he did 116miles.

One of the early starers who set a storming ride was Rory Downie. Rory is my former coach, he decided to ditch coaching me and head out to California for 6 months. Strange decision if I may say so. Rory smashed it with a 34:32 and ended up 4th. Predominately a S&C coach I can picture that all the Venice beach weight sessions with all the other hench Bro’s (that’s gym terminology I believe) helped in providing the power to fly round the course. Oh, and it was his first race in 3 years. I give up.

Beth Morrow was 10th rider off and ended up as the fastest female overall with a time of 42:22. We can ignore the bit where she was the only female rider. A win is a win.

The fastest road biker was, The Colonel, Harry Mustard in a time of 37:20. He clearly had a clue(do) at what he was doing. Nobody could ketchup with him. Victory was a case of Dijon vu. He relished the win. A sponsorship deal with Colmans is apparently on the cards. Okay, all the mustard gags are now all out of my system.

In terms of my race, ah wasn’t too shabby – if anyone knows the Dowsett/Archibald dispute then I could be described as lacking some grunt. Rory, take me back - get me on the squats. Squats mean watts! One thing I did do was beat Elijah Kwon – ha! Take that Elijah – shows doing the equivalent milage of circumnavigating the globe each week will catch up with you in the end. If anyone is concerned that I am gloating victory over a junior, just let me have my 2 minutes of sweet success please.

Two juniors were in the top 10 overall – 10th was Finn Mc-Missile-Henry with a time of 36:07 and Alife Atterton (fastest Junior) in a time of 35:37. This is especially good concerning Alfie was held up by a bus. I’d have just hopped on and off again at Macmerry but hey, personal preference n’all.

Overall, the winner was, maybe unsurprisingly, Scottish TT stalwart Douglas Watson of GTR in a time of 33:02. Douglas stormed round the course aided by being extremely cosy by the looks of things, since I was cold enough for my nipples to be seen in the next County I think next time I should take heed from Douglas and have cold day race gear. Warm muscles seem to work a bit better it seems. Second was Gary Latimer of Moriarty Bikes-Project Go in a time of 33:57 – the only other ride to go sub-34. Then in third was my minute man, Colin Halliday of Torvelo Racing, I obviously provided an exemplary draft for the first few hundred metres until Colin caught me. Yes, I am taking credit for someone else’s performance, alright?! He continued to power away ending up finishing in 34:14.

The ERC podium was topped by Rory Downie, 2nd and 7th overall was Sandy Waller finishing in 35:02 and then Alfie Atterton was just over half a minute further back.

Thank you to Alan Dean for organising the event as well as the many helpers who braved the cold - Catriona Stirling, Ken Whitson, Euan Munro, Beth Harley-Jepson, Lucie Hrnickova, Lewis Hutchison, Peter Ellen, Ciaran McSherry and Kris Wright.

So, there we have it, 3 time trials and out. For some god forsaken reason, I’ve entered the Stow HC next week, so I will be sure to write about my exploits there as well as at the Halloween Madness CX race on, yep you guessed it, 31st October.

Keep riding and keep safe