Shetland Wheelers cyclists Christine McLean and Carlos Riise both won silver medals in the Scottish 10-mile time trial championship in Fort William at the weekend.
Over 150 riders had entered the prestigious event and the fact that it also incorporated the Jason Macintyre Memorial time trial gave it an added poignancy.
Champion time trialist Jason was killed while cycling on the A82 near his home in Fort William in January 2008, his death marking the untimely end of a brilliant cycling career.
Fort William was a stunning setting with snow-covered Ben Nevis towering majestically over the proceedings on a beautiful, spring-like, calm day.
First off at midday were the women followed by the juniors and men with the last rider, reigning 10-mile champion Arthur Doyle, starting at 3pm. The route was the A380 from Fort William to Mallaig.
It was necessary to include a dead turn in the roadway which is never ideal especially for a championship as riders have the chance of being held up and the added risk to their safety when turning. However, the excellent warnings and marshalling by host club Nevis Cycles meant that a smooth operation was maintained throughout with no mishaps.
Despite its flattish appearance the course turned out a deceptive one with most riders expressing surprise at how hard they found it. Part of the problem was the poor quality of the roughened road surface but there was also a slight headwind and one or two undulations on the return leg to contend with.
McLean was unsure whether her preparation was adequate due to missing the previous weekend’s racing because of travel disruptions. She was the last woman off and despite a huge effort was unable to beat the pace of former Shetland Wheeler Mari Todd.
McLean won silver with her time of 23:38, 26 seconds down on Todd’s time of 23:12. There was then a gap of over a minute to the rest of the women’s field with the bronze awarded to triathlete Sian Tovey with her time of 24:40.
Riise took the silver in the men’s event with a finishing time of 21:10. He said he was “pleasantly surprised” at the result as he had not expected to do so well. However, his impressively fast time of 19:46 at a 10-mile TT in the Borders only three weeks earlier gave a good indication of his excellent early season form.
The winning time for the men’s event was 20:37, a new course record set by Doyle, while bronze medallist Alistair Robinson was a mere three seconds behind Riise with 21:13.
A prize presentation at the Corpach village hall followed the event with the medals presented by Jason Macintyre’s widow Caroline.