On one of those grey Scottish mornings where it looks like the sun might just break through – but it never does – Dooley’s Iain Grant successfully defended his Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship title on the rolling A90 dual carriageway east of Laurencekirk on Sunday morning with a sparkling 50:46 course record.
Second was ’10’ champion, Ben Peacock (Paisley Velo Race Team) in 51:12; with a tie for bronze – Peter Murdoch (Paisley Velo) and Sean Childs (Royal Navy) both on 52:37.
Beaten by Peacock in the ’10,’ Championship, Grant was in a class of his own in this race; nudging down towards the magical 30 mph barrier – which on a warmer morning may have been achievable.
It was cool and grey when VeloVeritas arrived at the Strathcathro flyover turn to set up shop.
On this grey morning on a grey, featureless dual carriageway the turn offered the best photo opportunities.
The turn marshall advised us that we should; ‘try and bide oot of the way of the riders.’
That sage advice duly digested we commenced snapping.
Traffic flow was light and the air cool with a drift off the west.
Cairns avoided the trap which many of the field feel into – taking the left hander on to the flyover in too high a gear and ‘bogging down’ over the top.
The next name to catch our eye was a well kent one if you raced in the 70’s and 80’s – son of road and track star, Davie; Andrew Whitehall off No.77.
Dooley’s mentor, Bob Taylor was looking cool on his Giant but team mate Gavin Shirley was breathing down his neck for four minutes.
But in the post race dissection Skene would tell us he found it OK in both directions with his final ’56’ – his best in seven seasons endorsing that.
By now it was cold and the wind had risen with the traffic count varying by the minute.
At the busy periods it looked very scary from our vantage point to be slipping on and off the dual carriageway into the cars, buses and artics – but as Martin said; ‘it’s probably less scary than it looks, when you’re on the bike.’
That drag to the turn saw many riders struggling, with shoulders rocking, catching the wind and rather defeating the point of riding a five grand bike.
If you check out the top guys – Wiggins, Martin, Zabriskie, Phinney then you’ll see they’re rock-solid on the bike keeping their frontal area as compact as possible.
We didn’t know it at the time but Peter Murdoch (Paisley Velo) was headed for bronze off N.129 having put a minute into Neil Walker (Walkers Cycling Club) with his physical style he was obviously getting the job done.
The wind was variable by now as our ’10’ champion, No. 140 Ben Peacock blasted past.
Purely on visuals he looked fastest; strong, focussed and very determined – but on a course like this one we think a rear disc wheel wouldn’t have been a bad idea for him.
Chris Smart was the next ‘flyer’ we expected – but was a ‘no show.’
Last man and defending champion Grant hove into sight way ahead of schedule and looked every inch the champion, tidy, compact and dropping the gear to maintain cadence over the turn – 54 seconds up on Childs.
Barring disaster, the race was for silver.
We managed to catch the last four riders on their way in to the finish.
Grant was flying, whilst Childs’ tight style had given way to rocking shoulders, McLean had been caught by Doyle – never good for the moral – whilst Doyle looked good; but good enough only for eventual fifth.