Lancashire race sees McLean retain UK title

Cyclist Christine McLean retained her British title last weekend while competing in the RTTC national 12-hour time trial championship.

Her winning distance of 236.81 miles gave a very comfortable lead over her rivals, enabling her to scoop the women’s title for a second year running.

This gruelling competition was held on open roads around the town of Garstang in Lancashire. The host club has been running 12-hour events for over 80 years so they were well prepared for the chal­lenges involved. They used a well-established route which the riders found technically demanding.

There were broken surfaces, 90 degree bends, humpbacked canal bridges and an interesting variety of agricultural vehicles, all adding to the usual hazards that had to be negotiated. All that was missing was the smooth, straight dual car­riage­ways that time triallists look for and appreciate.

The first rider was off just after 6am on a dry and bright Sunday morning. Conditions stayed good throughout although a strength­ening breeze became a troublesome factor for the 70 cyclists towards the end of the day, especially on the more exposed sections of the course.

McLean rode consistently throughout the day, pacing herself rigidly around her target of 20mph. During the 12 hours she burned almost 10,000 calories, all of which had to be replenished in the form of energy drinks, gels and the occasional banana handed up by helpers at the roadside. Her final mileage was the equivalent of travelling from Aberdeen to the Lake District – difficult enough to do in a car.

More winning success was achieved the previous weekend by Shetland Wheeler Carlos Riise, who placed first at Forres in a 10-mile time trial in a time of 21 minutes 17 seconds.

On Sunday Riise was awarded the beautifully crafted Iain Long­botham Memorial Trophy for crossing the line first (53:15) in a 25-mile time trial near Inver­gordon.

Both events were on nice flat, well surfaced, out and back courses which Riise prefers, allowing him to put his steady power to good effect.

Former Shetland Wheelers rider Mari Todd took the women’s prize in both Scottish events, with an impressively fast 57:50 at Inver­gordon on the Sunday.

Riise also rode the RTTC 12-hour national championship although he wasn’t that impressed with the course. His distance of 265.46 miles placed him eighth overall and earned him his first British gold medal in his age category.


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