Cyclist Christine McLean finished fourth in her age category in the UCI World Masters Road Championships in Austria last week.
The scale of the whole event was huge with hundreds of top amateur cyclists from across the globe descending on the town of St Johann in Tirol.
The Shetland Wheeler’s main discipline is the time trial and the 20 kilometre out and back course ran along a valley floor squeezed between towering mountains, basically flat but featured one nasty seven degree hill just before the turn.
Conditions were dry, still and sunny with temperatures soaring into the 30s by midday. McLean was number 307 out of over 700 riders set off at 30-second intervals throughout the day and with the roads closed to traffic the area around the starting ramp was packed solid with riders and spectators.
The standard was very high and despite an excellent performance, her time of 29:13 placed her nine seconds outside the time of the bronze medal winner in her age catagory and just over 30 seconds from the top podium finisher Janny Kleinjan of the Netherlands.
Only 10 days before the event McLean had been crowned British 12-hour time trial champion and in retrospect she felt she was capable of more had she given herself adequate time to make the transition from the more endurance type training to what was needed for this far shorter kind of event.
The following day McLean took part in the World Masters Road Race, quite a daunting prospect as she had not taken part in a road race for almost two years.
The circular route took the riders up a succession of climbs and through some spectacular scenery before finally dropping down and finishing in the centre of the town of St Johann. Again the weather was hot and sunny with very little wind.
McLean started very gingerly, keeping well clear of the initial rush and panic following the starting gun, but soon got into a rhythm up the climbs and latched on to a group of riders who worked together throughout the race.
She said it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, especially as she led the group into the final kilometre on the finishing stretch. However, without the training and experience in road racing she was unable to contest the sprint for the line but still managed to finish a respectable 15th in her category.
At the awards ceremony in the evening a delighted McLean was awarded trophies for her finishing positions in both the time trial and the road race.