ERC 2021 Midweek TT Series - Week 10 - We have a Ganna

5 August 2021

Week 10, the penultimate 10M TT and numbers were again strong before we switch up next week to having to race up something called a ‘hill’. Most TT racers are unaware of these things called ‘hills’. I’m pretty sure if you asked Sandy what a ‘hill’ in a TT was, he’d say a flyover junction on a dual carriageway.

As we know these reports are 90% guff, 10% facts. Today’s will follow that well-worn path, however within that 90% guff section there’ll be a lot of Team GB ranting and, of course, some wedding chat.

Let’s start, quite topically, with the Olympics. I’m sure that you, like I, are having to flick between iPlayer and GCN to optimise coverage. The BBC have Boardman & Hoy, but seem to have a habit of cutting to the synchronised, sorry, ‘artistic’ swimming just as the action is hotting up. Whereas GCN, via Eurosport, have Carlton Kirby. Sigh. Kirby's strategy when it comes to track cycling commentary seems to be 1) mention “Cote-d’azur” as many times as possible and 2) if in doubt just shout “DENIS DMITRIEV”.

I’m going to cover a couple of Olympic events, mainly the Team Pursuiting. Firstly, the women. For this I was definitely supporting Team GB. The women seem to have tried to move with the times, you’d have noticed each rider was set up individually (different helmets etc), whereas the GB Men strategy seems to have been ‘our funky bike will win us this lads.’ The GB Women have within their ranks, Katie Archibald, who is quite possibly the most talented athlete Scotland ever have produced and possibly the greatest track pursuiter on the planet. She manages to take the role of both getting the team up to pace and then riding 5 lap turns. You don’t normally do both of these jobs! Yet she can. The GB Women came up against a German team who stormed to multiple world records and conducted a perfect pursuit each time. They were just beaten by a team who were perfect. Oh and at least 2 of the German riders have worked with Dan Bigham in the past, funny that.

Now the men. There was a bit of Denmark bashing last night. I think what the crash and the medical tape clickbait headline fiasco showed was that we, as Brits, are good at hiding behind excuses & that we’re not as good as we’d like to think we are. The GB Men were totally and utterly outclassed and have been for the last Olympic cycle. The GB Pursuit Men athletes certainly did their best, but they had to work under management that have totally failed them. Rather than utilise the talents of Dan Bigham & have athletes like John Archibald inside the tent, coaches have forced them outside. They have then imparted a strategy which seemed to have been to rely on a part track bike, part shopping trolley to try and power them to the gold.

Yeah, but we got a new national record you may say of 3:45.6. That’s still over 3 seconds off the pace setters of Italy and Denmark. Rather than being the nation at the forefront, we are now on par with Canada.

Oh, and it was absolutely right that Denmark got to the final. Frankly if it were a GB/Italy medal ride off, you might as well not have bothered, Italy would have won it after 3k and it would have been embarrassing. Instead, we were treated to an absolute masterclass of track racing. One nation, the Danes, have used science, foresight & Dan Bigham to go 11 seconds faster than they did in Rio. The other, Italy, have the acest of aces in the pack - Filippo Ganna. The Italians pulled the masterstroke of timing his final 3 lap turn to perfection and amazingly overturn a near 1 second deficit in 750m to power to a world record and gold medal.

This morning I’ve just seen the Dutch demolish the sprinting field and the demise of, well, what unfortunately seems to be ‘Old Man Kenny.’ It’s not all doom and gloom though, Matt Walls has just won Omnium gold, which is a fabulous result. He and Ethan Hayter in this weekend’s madison should be a great gold medal watch. Just don’t watch it on GCN – can you imagine Kirby commentating on a madison!

Olympic rant over.

#Compulsorywedding chat – not much to report, besides Hannah saying ‘Ahhh, Dan, your hairline really is receding isn’t it.’ This comment made me think it wise to build into the Wedding budget a cost for some Regaine Foam.

Last night then, probably should talk about that a bit. We had 40 riders sign up with one DNS. That DNS being current series conqueror Rory Downie, therefore opening the door for Sandy to notch up 40 points. We also had Beth Morrow of Storey Racing join us yesterday, alongside Hazel MacLeod on a tandem in her final pre-Tokyo race. Clearly highlighting to me that the Tranent TT is perfect preparation for the Pro ranks & Paralympics.

There were a few youngsters out last night. Firstly, the determined 12-year-old Kasey Park, completed the course in 31:08. First timer Redd Hibberd, aged 15, finished in 27:53. Then the ever-improving Cameron Adam of Musselburgh CC snuck into the top 10 last night with a time of 22:38, which is a great result.

The fastest women last night was, surprisingly you may say, Beth Morrow formerly of this parish, now riding for Storey Racing. Beth recently finished 3rd in the Scottish National Road Race and 2nd in the Women’s Ilkley GP. Beth was 15th overall in a time of 23:08. 2nd fastest on the night was Sarah Scott in 24:31 and 3rd was Beth Harley-Jepson in 24:35. Hazel MacLeod and Rachael Butcher competed on a tandem and then of course went for a run afterwards (insert mind blown emoji here). They finished in 21:17 which I adjusted to 22:47 which put them joint 11th overall. Sarah Emslie placed 35th overall in her 2021 best time of 26:29.

Of the road bikers last night, the aforementioned Beth Harley-Jepson was the fastest, pipping Simon Russell to the post by 1 second. Simon finished in his season best time of 24:36. 3rd was Chris Banks in 24:44.

After #draftgate last week I received no reports of drafting last night. And I also cannot remember who forgot a pen.

Alan and Alan who were timekeeping, both accountants like myself announced they may have got the timings a smidge off, but I’ve received no complaints re incorrect times. I think it shows that if you want an accountant to get the math right, you need to make sure they have Microsoft Excel open. If in doubt – build a spreadsheet is my motto.

There were a few series PB’s last night too in. Adam Brennan of Ronde CC, 26:57, was his fastest 10M by 54 seconds. Pierpaolo Sidoti's 24:50 was his fastest by 23 seconds. All going between 2 and 4 seconds faster than before were - Chris Howie in 24:27. Gerry McGuire, 24:08. Michael Perkins, 23:27 and Ross Taylor, 22:51.

So to the top 10, as mentioned before Cameron Adam was in 10th. Lewis Hutchison remembering his shoes and making sure not to do a flying start was 9th in 22:23. 8th was David Henderson of EH Star in 22:18. 7th was Ken Russell, proving yet again taking the break from British independent film making is beneficial to his cycling. Ken finished in 22:11. 6th in 22:01, was Mark Anderson of Musselburgh CC, whom I heard had sawn part of his saddle off?! Somewhat drastic action but hey, if the gooch is sore, then needs must I suppose. Either that or buy a shorter saddle. One of the two would do.

The top 5 was made up of; in 5th moi, in 21:52. I got held up by the bus heading through Macmerry and as series organiser it would have been amiss of me to hurl abuse at the bus driver. I chose wisely not to do so and calmly had a breather drafting behind the bus instead. 4th was Ewan Brown, another one of these pesky triathletes who feel it’s appropriate to show the rest of us up by racing your bike then heading off on a run straight afterwards. Ewan finished in 21:31. A close fight for 2nd was won by Leahn Perry in 21:16, narrowly beating Oliver Teenan by 1 second. First was Sandy Waller going under 21 minutes for the 3rd time this year in 20:51.

Thank you again to our volunteers last night. Alan Burke and Alan Dean for timekeeping. Colin Sills for doing the signs and marshalling. Simon Titmuss and Kelly Rhodes for marshalling at the Macmerry Ronde-about. Also, to Xander Graham for helping at the sign on area.

Next week it’s about to go uphill. I’ll be posting information about it in advance of Wednesday. We will meet in Haddington (near the Jet Garage). A strava segment for the HC course is live. I’ll post this and all other info in due course. Also, I took delivery of some sample Active Root sachets for you all next week – so please say a big thank you to the team at Active Root and send some support their way –

Please pop your name & availability down for the End of Series Party (it'll help me book somewhere) - Party Google Doc

Full Results here – Week 10 Results

Go well