Talkingshop: Julia Shaw – Women’s National 25 Champion

Winner of the women’s race at the National 25 Time Trial Championship was Julia Shaw. VeloUK spoke to her.

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Julia was in a sombre mood when I spoke to her shortly after she had finished her race against the watch. Seeing a fellow competitor lying on the ground had hit Julia hard and the champion explained how Jane Kilmartin had been hit by a car’s wing mirror. “That puts a dampener on things” Julia explained. “I passed her just after it had happened and Carol Gandy (and others) were with her…”

Julia then explained that stopping had gone through her mind but seeing others there already, she knew she would not be able to offer any more assistance to Jane so Julia finished her ride. Julia says that after seeing Jane though, her motivation on the ride suddenly drained away and she was surprised with the win after having ‘cruised’ home with thoughts for what had happened to one of her rivals for the title.

Talking about the race, Julia said the conditions were a surprise. “It was tailwind out and I rode that a little too hard and paid for that coming back. It is a fastish course but not really fast. I did have trouble concentrating though as I don’t like riding on busy roads and it was busy out there so I didn’t have my best ride.”

“We were expecting a ‘53’ and ended up with a ‘54’ on a course which is quite rolling and so you have to pace it certainly better than I did!”

Having won the 10 champs on the course the year before, Julia admits that while she knew the first five miles, the section after that was more undulating. “When you get to the turn, there is quite a long drag up, a few miles, and a headwind as well so that was hard. There were also sections where it was exposed to a crosswind so you could get blown around a bit.”

Asked whether she was a big or small gear rider, Julia admitted she has played around with gearing over the last few years but is happier pedalling at 100rpm than 90rpm. Going back to the course for the championship, Julia admits that she does tend to avoid roads like the A19. “There is a dual carriageway near Farnham which we do quite a bit” Julia says.

“I have a done a 10 on it a few times coming into the national 10 champs but it is quite quiet compared to this so feels reasonably safe. Some of the guys who race a lot on busy roads like this won’t mind but it is what you are used to. The wind plays a factor as well and some of the women may have been blow around if they were riding too deep a section front wheel. That could have been scary!”

The Big Photo Album from the 25 Champs

Julia says she rode a Enve 6.7 front wheel even though she has a deeper one. “Cross winds have never been a problem with the disc on the back but I didn’t want to risk having too deep a section front wheel especially on a road like this. The Enve 6.7 though is nice, it’s deepish but doesn’t get blown around.”

With the ‘10’ champs done and dusted and now the ‘25’ champs, Julia says that it’s a packed month of racing at the end of the season that is now the priority. “The time trial champs (circuit time trial for the champion’s jersey) at the end of the year is now my main target”. Looking at the programme for June though, Julia has to make a decision on whether to ride the 50 TT champs or the Road Race championships. Same weekend, different days but only one of them is viable.

“I’m going to look at the road race course now as its only twenty minutes way” Julia says, “I’ll then make a decision to see whether it will suit me. I did do well one year when the course suited me but then I have had a few years where I have struggled on the steep climbs. That burst of power you need is something I struggle with and I have to work on which doesn’t help my time trialling. I simply don’t have time to practice everything what with my job as well.”

Julia also mentioned the 100 mile time trial championship and although she has ridden that before, with a very important end of season programme, Julia may give the 100 champs a miss to have a break.

“The 100 can fall at difficult times of the year if you want a break in the season so it will depend on how I am feeling. I think I benefited last year from not riding it especially if you’re doing the British Time Trial championships and then there’s a time trial in France, maybe Worlds and the GP de Nations. That’s four big races potentially although whether I get to do all of them I don’t know. It is nice to have break though and then peak up for these races at the end of the season.”

Thanks Julia!


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