ERC 2021 Midweek TT Series - Week 6 - Longer than Tolstoy?

8 July 2021

Apologies for the lateness of the report, I had a drive down to Cumbria yesterday evening and funnily enough I actually had some work to do today. Per Michael Perkins' comment last night, that the reports are getting longer and longer - I fully intend come the last few weeks of the series being akin to a Tolstoy novella. If I can match his wordcount, you may have to wait a few days. I suspect it depends on whether I am able to weave in, alongside the standard drama of a weekly time trial series, a Napoleonic area love story with the backdrop of Russian Monarchical political intrigue. Admittedly this may be a difficult plot to craft under the circumstances.

I was also picked up on a Harry Hill reference I made a few weeks ago. It is encouraging that at 29 I am already making severely outdated cultural references. But for anyone unawares - this should, hopefully, clear things up....

23 riders signed up to embark on the third 15M TT of the year. I'm so used to seeing well over 30 riders this year that the dip took me a bit by surprise. But to be honest 23 is still great when looking back at years gone by. It did get me thinking though, was the dip because of the horrible weather of days preceding and the potential for rain last night? Or was it that England were playing Denmark? I'm hoping for the former. I'm English and I have no interest in England winning. I've lived in Scotland for 4 years now, I wonder what the threshold is before I could say 'I'm Scottish' - maybe never. Maybe I'll always be English. I know I won't be Robert Burns, Rob Roy, Sean Connery level Scottish but one day could I reach David Millar level Scottish? Claiming to be Scottish because I've drunk Irn-Bru in the past and I've had salt & sauce on my chips at least once.

I thought there was a nice bit of symmetry between Stage 11 of the Tour yesterday and the ERC TT. The finest athletes in the world had to ascend Mont Ventoux twice. Whereas in Tranent, the finest amateurs had to ascend that annoying drag from Haddington to Gladsmuir, twice. Surely an on-par effort. I'm also reasonably confident Wout van Aert would do quite well at the Tranent TT.

I think it's now customary for me to mention some Wedding chat. It looks like we have a date, venue, maybe even photographer, caterer and bands lined up. Tip top admin from us. By an extraordinary stroke of luck the venue is near roads I know well, it would almost be rude not to go on a bike ride beforehand. Though I did fail to ask where the best place to set up an indoor trainer would be. I'm sure I'll find somewhere.

Some of the early talk last night was whether barometric conditions were favourable. We were unsure if muggy warm weather is faster, ie is the air thinner or thicker. After a moment or two it almost became the set piece of a joke. Instead of a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar you had - an accountant and engineer are discussing air pressure. If anyone can confirm if muggy warm air is 'fast' or not that'd be most appreciated. What was confirmed last night, outside the air pressure discussion was that Sandy had changed his position, again. Apparently it's 7watts faster, well, it is "if I can hold it" he says.

Even with a slightly reduced field we still had 4 ladies and 3 under 18s compete. I did miss the Team Xander bus this week but I'm look forward to seeing it when the Graham's are back from their holidays. Kasey, Alasdair and Theo were some of our early starters. Kasey Park on her second outing on the 15M TT course PBd by 1 second to finish in 50:29. Alasdair, having competed in 5 of the 6 weeks, can definitely be called a season regular, finished in 42:39. Theo Cunningham went almost 2 minutes faster than last week and finished in 43:10.

Yolanda Solans was the fastest female on the night finishing 15th overall in a time of 42:20. Beating her best time by over 1min 20s, which is a great effort. 2nd on the night was Sarah Emslie finishing 18th overall and completing the course in 43:09. Apologies if a splurge of wedding chat put you off your preparations Sarah. 3rd was Kelly Rhodes, her knee is now fully healed thankfully, she finished in a time of 46:55.

Of the road bikers last night first timer - Patrick Cutmore was 1st, 6th overall, in a time of 37:56. 2nd was Stuart Lockey, fresh from a couple weeks of marshalling duties. Stuart finished in 39:32 & was 10th overall. 3rd road biker was Simon Russell proudly proclaiming his PB on Facebook yesterday. Simon did indeed PB by 41 seconds finished in 39:40

Pierpaolo Sidoti of Ronde CC was 11th overall, with a 2minute PB, finishing in 39:34. I think many will be embracing their inner tifosi alongside Pierpaolo on Sunday.

Breaking down the rest of the top 10, we had Gerry McGuire in 9th, who also PBd last night. Gerry completed the course in 38:40. Warren Crombie who embraced his inner Neil Buchanan and whipped up his own race number was 8th, 38:23. 7th was our in house influencer, Jonny 'Like & Subscribe' Noblett. Jonny live streamed his race effort last night - the link is below. If you've finished Mare of Eastown, Line of Duty, don't like tennis or football then give Jonny's footage a watch.

The top 5 was made up of, in 5th Michael Perkins, 37:32, I hope the word count is sufficiently high this week Michael. 4th was Steve Canney, 35:47 - Steve went 1 min 15s faster than last week obviously proving that the air pressure was better. 3rd and another PB, going 50seconds faster than last week was Mark Anderson of MRCC. 2nd with this first outing of the year was Paul Davis, 34:23. Our winner last night, with a near minute winning margin, was Sandy Waller 33:39.

Once all the riders finished it began to cloud over and start to look very very grim. It is Tranent afterall. It seemed I had a very wet bike ride home ahead of me. Or so I thought. Hannah, seeing how bad the rain was in Eskbank called me to say she was collecting me, result! I've definitely struck gold haven't I.

Many thanks to our volunteers last night - Alan Burke & Chris Borthwick for timekeeping. Chris Banks for signs & marshalling and yours truly for general start area adminning.

I am away next week! So, I need volunteers to timekeep, marshal etc. I will need preferably one of those volunteers to have a printer so I can email over the startsheets and sign on sheets. Best of luck to you all racing next week. I will of course write a report and use as much artistic license as is necessary

Full Results here - Week 6 Results

Go well