It was a typical Scottish four seasons in one day spring morning down on the reasonably flat dual carriageway, out and back, 10 mile time trial course of the Irvine by-pass. 120 riders had assembled to take part in the men’s Scottish National 10 Mile Time Trial Championships. With no riders from Shetland making the trip down the only Shetland representation this year was relative new comer to the sport, Joe Nicolson, who is based in Aberdeen.
For anyone who hasn’t taken part or seen a time trial event. The riders are usually seeded based on recent results and personal bests and given a corresponding race number. The field are set off at minute intervals, the strongest riders can be found going off numbered 5, 10, 15, 20 and so on, with the real cream of the crop going off over the last 5 spots with 2 minute intervals. Joe, going off at 78 out of 120, had no pressure or expectation on his shoulders.
Nicolson’s pre-race ritual of cycling up and down the road for 10 minutes to warm the legs and lungs seemed a little out of place amongst Scotland’s finest, so elected to bring his turbo trainer to at least look the part. After 25 minutes going through the gears it was time to head to the start line. Getting there 2 or 3 minutes before gives enough time to get the heart rate settled and the mind focused. Seconds after number 77 sets off, number 78 gets the call to move up to the line. The timekeeper gives the call “30 seconds”. Two strong backed gents hold the bike upright as you get on the saddle and get the shoes clipped in. “20 seconds”, “10 seconds”, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go”.
Crossing the line 21 minutes 00 seconds later, Nicolson had a wait to find out how this would place him on the leader board. An hour or so later the results were in. Good enough for 12th place. With the top three under 20 minutes, and eleven going under the elusive 21 minute barrier, it was a strong field with Peter Ettles (8th Place in 2013) finishing 15th and Stephen Cairns (11th in 2013) finishing 26th, (both riders were a consistent 11 sec slower than the previous year, perhaps reflecting the breezy damp conditions).
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