Time on Hawick cyclist Michelle Ritson’s side as she goes for gold in national event

Time was on Hawick cyclist Michelle Ritson’s side as she finished first in her class in a national event hosted by her home-town club on Sunday.

Hawick Cycling Club member Michelle Ritson (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Hawick Cycling Club member Michelle Ritson (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Ritson also helped Hawick Cycling Club win the team prize at this year’s Scottish Cycling Olympic time trial championships, staged over a 33-mile course taking in Bonchester Bridge, Carter Bar, Jedburgh and Denholm.

Hosted by the club for the second time and organised by David Killean, the championships attracted a turnout of 15, including five of Killean’s clubmates, three more than in 2021.

Ritson, 35, was the third of them to finish and the first female rider, going one better than her silver medal place last year.

She clocked a time of one hour 34 minutes and 39 seconds, finishing ninth overall, with Nikki Elder being the fastest of her clubmates, taking sixth place with 1:28:32.

The others – David Rudkin, Calum Murray and Peter Smith – finished in 1:32:25, 1:37:40 and 1:38:01 respectively.

Kelso Wheelers’ James Bader was the speediest Borderer taking part, finishing fifth in 1:26:29, and his clubmate Callum Dickson was eighth with 1:33:13.

The only other Borderer competing was Gala Cycling Club’s Andrea Pogson, clocking 1:46:29 to finish 13th overall and as third-fastest female rider.

Matthew Downie, of Surrey-based Taap Cervelo, was the overall winner, finishing in 1:14:57, over five minutes ahead of the 1:20:22 recorded by runner-up Conor McKinnon, of Lancashire’s Dolan Ellesse Race Team, with Andy Brown, of Stirling’s Velocity 44, third in 1:20:47.

Ritson was delighted to improve on her 2021 performance, saying: “It was good.

“I wasn’t expecting it. You never know who’s going to be there on the day and you don’t know how you’re going to go.

“It’s just a case of seeing how you feel, and it worked out this time so happy days.

“It’s quite a hard course so I was chuffed to win.”

Living near Hawick, Ritson reckons her familiarity with the roads followed by the course helped her go for gold this time round.

“I went round it a few times,” she said.

“The roads are quite bust so it’s always handy to know where the potholes are.”

Sunday’s prizes were presented by Scottish Cycling president Kathy Gilchrist and she congratulated all of the riders for tackling such an up-and-down course, saying: “I drove the route and I couldn’t believe how the hills just kept on coming. Even on the descents, there was no time for recovery as they’re either sweeping backwards and forwards or short with treacherously sharp bends towards the bottom.”