As some of the best testers descended on the little Borders town of Eddleston yesterday for the Tour of the Meldons, the weather was unexpectedly pleasant. The sun was out and everyone was in relaxed mood for the 2015 running of the mountain time trial that this year would also incorporate the Scottish Cycling National Olympic Time Trial Championship. Where we would see our first national champions of the year. Medals, a cup and bragging rights to play for.
The women were up first and the first rider to pass us at the top of the Shiplaw hill was Lyndsey Carson (Team Thomson Cycles) who, by her own admission, was happy to get that relentless ascent over and done with. With the stiff breeze coming from the front, the climb was taking its toll and as the riders hove into view, coming through the avenue of trees towards the top, several were on the point of catching, or being caught, by their minute men.
As each of the women made their way towards the top it became obvious that the rider to watch was Louise Borthwick (Project 51) as she smoothly ate up the distance towards the top. That is, until the defending champion Lynsey Curran (www.Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk) came into view. Curran has an enviable reputation as a time trialist and this event seems to suit her style. She went on to finish the event in a time of 1:07:01 to put Borthwick into second spot at 1:10:14 and retain her title…making her the first Scottish National Champion of 2015. Third place went to Mireille Captieux of the host club Edinburgh RC in a time of 1:12:54.
In the men’s race we had eight sub-hour rides for the distance and, as usual, these rides came from just four teams with the 9th placed rider over a minute further back. We have a small core of top-class testers in Scotland and the talent is obvious. In 7th and 8th we had the Dooleys Cycles pairing of the ever-smiling James Cusick in 59:39 and Gavin Shirley in 59:47.
In 6th spot was ‘young’ Kyle Gordon (Sandy Wallace Cycles) with a time of 59:36 to edge Cusick by just 3 seconds. Over half a minute up was Benjamin Peacock riding for Billy Bilsland Cycles who finished in 5th with 58:54. And coming home in a salt-encrusted 4th was Arthur Doyle of Dooleys Cycles in 58:06.
Now we were down to the usual top trio with the Sandy Wallace Cycles duo of Alan Thomson and Silas Goldsworthy claiming 2nd and 3rd with times of 57:40 and 57:56 respectively. All eyes were on the last rider, and defending champion, Chris Smart of Paisley Velo RT and as he blasted up the climb back towards the finish at the top of the Barony Castle Hotel he was looking really good…as well he might because he crossed the line with 17 seconds in hand to take the title for the second year in a row.
The climb to the finish line caught some riders out as it’s a steep drag up to the hotel…then it turned right and left and decided to climb even further just for good measure, before the line finally came into view. For legs with a full race in them, this must have been torture but it’s not a mountain time trial if it doesn’t finish at the top of a climb and this topped the event off nicely.
It was back to the hall for another superb result…this time with tea and cakes. Pretty soon everything had been counted and collated and our first national champions were announced. The team prize went to the Sandy Wallace trio of Thomson, Goldsworthy and Gordon. Edinburgh Road Club have made a great job of taking on this event and it really is in a glorious part of the country.