Feature Interview: 10 Time Trial Championships

At the 10 mile time trial championships on August 31st I got to speak to some of the big names in the sport like Chris Fennell, Emily Meakin, Neah Evans and Adam Duggleby
Feature Interview: 10 Time Trial Championships

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Feature Interview: 10 Time Trial Championships

Emily Meakin – 25 mile champion/equal 3rd 10 champs
One the loveliest people you can meet is the champion in the blue ribbon event, the 25 mile time trial championship, Emily Meakin. In that event, Emily went under 50 minutes but explained after finishing third in the 10 champs “I never put any pressure on myself today.”

“I just wanted to go out, ride hard and enjoy it. It felt good winning the 25, and by a good margin as well and going sub 50 was amazing. I love having done that but I just wanted to enjoy today”.

The conditions for the two races were quite different and that could be felt in the legs says Emily. “My legs hurt a lot more today than the 25, a lot more but I think that was also because I am learning about myself and if I could, I would probably have played this slightly different. With a headwind on the way out, the aim was go out hard and almost empty the tank and hope to god you can get back”.

“So coming back with the tailwind, it hurt just as much, it really did but we did have super big gears so running out of gears wasn’t an issue for me and I like spinning a gear so the higher cadence suited me better on the way back”.

Emily, Emma and Jos also beat the team comp record (provisionally) and Emily was very pleased indeed with that. “That’s amazing. It is the first time we have had Independent Pedaler as a team so to come out and smash that record is unreal. We’re all so really happy”.

Whilst the riders were starting and I was taking pictures of bikes and riders, I noticed Emily was warming up for a long time. I asked how long and the reply was 40 minutes. After the race I asked Emily, why!

Joint third at the 10 champs, Neah and Emily

“It’s a 20 minute effort, a 10 mile time trial (the race) so you are going full gas so if you haven’t opened up all the cylinders beforehand, you’re screwed. So you have to do a big warmup. Jos and myself are coached by Sean Yates and we have the same warm up and he like’s us to suffer a bit in the warm up!”

“Any rider will know if you are doing efforts on the bike, the first one is always pretty rubbish and the second and third ones you come into it so he wanted us to experience those rubbish ones on the turbo so we fly through the TT!”

Emily then explained what Sean was like as a coach. “You have the old school hard as nails approach mixed with a bit of science! He’s absolutely mental and his messages before this race were so funny!”

Emily still has plenty to keep her busy this season. The TT Closed Circuit Champs, a TT in Belgium that’s part of a stage race and a TT in Scotland (last weekend) with a certain John Archibald. Good luck Doris! (they both won by the way in Scotland!)

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Neah Evans (equal third in the 10 champs & Commonwealth Games Medallist),
A rider with lofty ambitions to get to the Tokyo Olympics is Neah Evans, more at home on the track with some big results to her name. Chatting about the 10 champs, the Scottish rider explained it was quite nice. “I haven’t done a huge number of 10s so it’s hard to know exactly how it’s going to be, but I’m pretty happy with the result”.

“Normally I am more focused on the track so to cross over to the time trial was good and to get to share a podium with some very good riders was cool. The standard is really high and it’s to see good people are out supporting the event.”

With a headwind out and tailwind back, what was Neah’s strategy? “To go deeper going out – going off too hot is not an issue for me as I have been doing flying 500s on the track so I went off hot. It is one those things you know it’s going to be hard going out but you still want something left to do something special on the way back and it’s only faster if you can get up to speed so it’s a difficult balance”.

What now for Neah – “The track” was the reply. We’re off to Poland in a couple of weeks, a training camp, Euros, World Cups and more camps before the Worlds. The big target is Tokyo. It is one of those things that all our training is focused on (Olympics) so while the next target is the Euros, we are not going to do a full taper. We know it’s a hit out but it is not the target. It is a hard balance to get right, to build fitness to be as fast as we can be in a year rather than in six months”.
Good luck to Neah on the track…

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Chris Fennell (25 champion/2nd 10 championship)
It’s been a really good couple of weeks says Chris who added he was very pleased with his ride in the 10 championships. “I could not have done any more on the day I won the 25 and the same today when I was beaten by a better rider. I can’t be disappointed.”

Going back to the 25 champs, the Blue Ribbon event in time trialling, Chris says “to have my name alongside the greats of time trialing is really cool”.

Chatting about the conditions for the 10 championship, Chris admits that with the headwind on the way out there was a lot of pushing on the pedals to keep the speed up before the faster return leg.“I was running a 62 x 11 and felt on top of the gears the whole time. I have quite a low cadence and smash the gears and hope I go forwards fast enough!”

That he does as the results week in, week out show with some stunning times during the season. “The team has been working hard the last few years to build up the team and focus on all the areas like training, equipment, nutrition and sports psychology. I think all that has helped the team’s riders move up this year and hopefully we can keep improving the next few seasons”.

For Chris, that focus has also required a lot of work from him to reach the heady heights he is getting to in time trialling. “It has required a bigger focus but being at university finishing my masters, I have the balance I need and that makes it easier than if I had a full time job. I have the time to train as well as keep on top of my work for university”.

The next big one for Chris is the closed circuit time trial championships at Thruxton. “I’d love to win that. I have been second three times so it would be cool to win that but the competition is so good, you never know”. Good luck to Chris at his next championships.

Adam Duggleby (third in the 10 champs, paracycling World champion)
After a puncture a few miles in at the 25 championships, Adam had better luck at the 10 champs, finishing third. His reaction afterwards was “I’m pretty happy with that as I haven’t had a medal in the 10 champs before so it’s the best I’ve done so I am proper happy”.

“I knew Quarterman has been going really well and when I saw him down as a reserve, there was a good chance he was going to beat me and I’ve never beaten Chris Fennell so I didn’t expect to beat him.”

On his season, he says “I have had a few decent results this year, on and off. I had a bit of a shocker at the 50 but that was bad prep in the morning before it.” Adam then explained he has the Paracycling World Championships shortly (a few days from when this published) which helped his prep before the 10 champs.

“I have been training for the time trial Worlds (Paracycling) that are in Holland and pan flat so I’ve been training as hard as I can for that so I probably had the best form I’ve had all year. I expected to get a result in the 25 last week and felt really good, probably better than this week based on the warm up. This though was one of the best 10s I’ve ridden all year so I can’t complain”.

One thing you notice at a time trial which I don’t see at road races – yet – are the big dinner plates for chainrings. Adam says he was on a 60 tooth front chain ring. “I always say you should have more gears than you need rather than running out of them in a race. I might only average 80 rpm so I don’t want to be pedalling really fast so I need the 60 chain ring”.

He then added finally that on the tandem they use a 62 chain ring despite the races on the tandem being more technical than a race on a dual carriageway. Good luck to Adam at the Paracycling worlds.


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