Monday, June 24, 2024

CTT Classic TT Series, Round 4: Loch Ken


HomeRaceRace ResultsCTT Classic TT Series, Round 4: Loch Ken

Loch Ken – or should that be ‘Lago de Ken,’ given the pink race is in full effect and ‘goes home’ to Sicily tomorrow ? 

To my dismay I couldn’t manage down to the fourth round of the Merlin Classic Series this year due to family commitments.

It’s a lovely course without too much traffic and if you catch sight of the red kites wheeling around overhead it adds to the feeling that it’s a special venue for a bike race.

However, our intrepid editor, Martin did attend, rattling his Moto down to the beautiful south west.

A beautiful view of Loch Ken, flat-calm until the wind rose over the next hour or two. Photo©Martin Williamson

The fastest ride was by Sandy Taylor of GTR-Return to Life p/b Streamline with 57:20 from team mate, Chris Smart with 57:23, with CTT Scotland Olympic Time Trial Champion Marc Anderson completing a ‘full house’ for GTR with 58:26.

Loch Ken
Fastest overall, Sandy Taylor. Photo©Martin Williamson
Loch Ken
Second, Chris Smart. Photo©Martin Williamson
Loch Ken
Third, Marc Anderson. Photo©Martin Williamson

The GTR domination continued in the ‘road bike’ section, with CTT Scotland 10 mile TT Champion, Dougie Watson fastest in 1:00:20. 

Loch Ken
Fastest on a road bike, Douglas Watson. Photo©Martin Williamson

The ladies race went to Emily Meakin [AWOL O’Shea Worx] in an excellent 59:15 to take two minutes off the ladies course record.

Loch Ken
Fastest woman, Emily Meakin. Photo©Martin Williamson

The result sheet is a tad confusing for an old timer like me with Alastair McNicol as a senior male down as ‘winner’ with 59:12 but the three GTR vets were all faster.

Alastair McNicol. Photo©Martin Williamson

The result may have been different had pre-race favourite, double CTT 25 Mile Time Trial National Champion, John Archibald not noticed a crack in his handlebars before the start and recorded a DNS. 

As was the case with Marc Anderson, Sandy Taylor’s name is new to us at VeloVeritas so we contacted GTR ‘Capo,’ Stevie Blom for some info on his man; 

“He’s ex-military and now a train driver. He was racing for Torvelo last year. 

“We saw huge potential if he joined us at GTR and followed structured training.

“It seems his winter has paid off, nice bloke, new to the cycling time trial discipline. 

“He’s a fantastic team mate, when he’s available, given the restrictions of his job, he does all he can for others especially when we are promoting events.”

All the riders mentioned above deserve plaudits as do everyone who made the effort to ride – but having a look at the full finishing sheet makes bleak reading:

  • Para cyclists: one
  • Juvenile females: two – NO male juveniles or juniors
  • Seniors: seven
  • Vets: 28 [including six ladies]
  • Road bike riders: seven

That’s a total of 45 finishers for what is a really well-promoted and prestigious event.

I hate to sound like the bar room bore but I can remember when it was difficult to get into the Scottish ‘25’ champs if you didn’t have a reasonable qualifying time and when there was an ‘overflow’ event at the Tour de Trossachs because there were so many entries.

But it’s not just this race, time trials in general are suffering from low entries nation-wide, there was a piece in Cycling Weekly the other day on the subject.

CTT are sending a survey to all members to try and get to the bottom of it.

The dreaded Covid is being blamed with virus victims having more on their minds than improving their ‘10’ time.

There’s also the aspect that some folks want to come into contact with as few people as possible and minimise their risk of succumbing to the virus.

And then there’s Zwift, as Chris Smart told me; 

I think that’s definitely one of the reasons, it’s too easy to get the racing fix, do magic power that’ll never be replicated outside.”

Dave tells me that when he goes on Zwift there are literally thousands of others on the platform too. 

Another gentleman said the £12/£14 entry fees, not to mention the price of fuel is putting folks off – but paying five figures for a bike is no longer anything special in some quarters…

That said, if you’re a youngster you can still buy and race a decent road bike for around a £grand – but that will hardly buy you a disc wheel.

At the top end of the time testing tree it’s an arms race and lightness, aero and speed don’t come cheap.

As Harry Tweed pointed out to me, if you want a ‘Dan Bigham-esque’ front end – I can’t bring myself to write, c##kpit – it’s £1,500 plus. 

Or could it be the plethora of glam pro bike racing on TV means that youngsters want to be road riders just like Remco Evenepoel, Tom Pidcock, Juan Ayuso, Arnaud de Lie or any of the other youngsters lighting up big races whilst still in their teens or early 20’s?

The Anemoi aero extension system, prices starting at only £1,070. Photo©Wattshop

Then there are no colourful time test characters like Alf Engers, Derek Cottington or Dave Lloyd to idolise and seek to emulate.

And if there was, you wouldn’t find out about them in Cycling Weekly – but you have to admire that the mag is still around, I guess.

Both Cycle Sport and ProCycling magazines have succumbed in recent years, but that’s another story. 

It’s not just race entries, there are fewer actual races with Scottish Cycling championships thin on the ground.

One of the high points of the VeloVeritas season was always the SC ‘25’ champs – I’m not sure if that makes us enthusiasts or just ‘saddos.’

We contacted Scottish Cycling to ask about national titles for 2022, here’s what they had to say:

Scottish Cycling will be promoting the following Scottish National Time Trial Championships in 2022:

Olympic TT 03/07/2022HawickHawick CC 
100 Mile TT 07/08/2022 Gramp