Musselburgh Roads Cycling Club held their first event of the season on Saturday, a Team Time Trial (TTT), with teams of three (3-Up) competing against the clock around three laps of an 8.1 mile circuit based on East Saulton in East Lothian.
Time trials – variously known as ‘The Race of Truth’ or, in France, ‘Contre la Montre’ (against the watch) – are races against the clock where a team or individual pits themselves, literally, against time. Each team or rider sets off at one, or three in this case, minute intervals to race, usually, for fixed distance, alone. The riders are racing without any reference to their competitors, so have to go as hard and fast as they can for the whole race and it isn’t usually until the end that they will now how well, or otherwise, they have done. In any event, certainly at the amateur level, it is probably only the top five or ten riders who are racing for places and prizes, with the others, effectively, racing against their previous time on any particular course.
It is also one of the few sports where the everyday club member can compete on the same day and on the same course as (future) World and Olympic Champions, as this reporter found out many years ago, posting a 26min 26sec ten mile time on the same day that a 17-year old rider posted a 22min 02sec ride. That rider was Chris Hoy, and, I’m sure, he would have gone on to bigger and better things…
Saturday saw 38 teams, although only 37 started, from as far afield as Aberdeen, Ayr and Kelso, turn up to sign on at East Saulton village hall for a one o’clock start. The variety of machinery on display would have had any cycling enthusiast salivating at the thought of owning one of the bikes, with some costing several thousand pounds – or the price of a small car!
The course started about half a mile North of the village before proceeding up the main street, turning East – into a largely downhill section with a strong tail wind – before turning North and following round into the three mile – mostly uphill and into a strong headwind – finishing section. With teams setting off at three minute intervals and, although the faster teams expecting to break the hour barrier, it was going to be a long and breezy day for the marshalling team.
And about three hours later – it was all over. The teams had battled through the winds and against the course, with some reduced to two riders – and one team to a solitary member – and seemed only too glad to get back to the hall for a cup of tea and a bun. It was then left to organiser and ‘Main Man’, Dave Urqhart to announce the results.
1st – Sandy Wallace Cycles – S.Goldsworthy, P. Ettles, A. Thomson – 56min 04sec (pictured)
2nd – Granite City RT – V-M. Raikkonen, C. Wallace, A. Watt – 58min 27sec
3rd – Dooley’s Cycles – R.McDonald, G. Shirly, R. Semple – 58min 28sec
1st – Vortex RT – S. Gleave, D. Prentice, E. Prasad – 1hr 18min 11 sec
1st – Ythan CC – Z. Loney, C. Ward, J. Robertson – 1hr 10min 01sec
So all-in-all, a well organised and run event for Musselburgh RCC, but then they have had 75 years of practice!
Report and Photo – John Preece