2017 saw national competition records fall at a variety of distances, but perhaps the most unexpected was the women’s 30-mile record which was broken by Rachael Elliott back in October.
From a near full field, forecasts of bad weather and heavy traffic contributed to 56 non-starters at the Leo Road Club event on the E2 course near Newmarket in Cambridgeshire on October 7.
But among these who chose to ride, 39-year-old Elliott from Berkshire produced a stunning ride which sliced almost three minutes from her own two-year-old record.
She clocked 1:00.34, bringing the hour mark tantalisingly close to being broken in the near future.
“I was holding over 30mph all the way round,” said Elliott, who was the joint winner of the National Closed Circuit Championships in October, as well as finishing second in this year’s National 25-Mile Championship.
“It wasn’t until there was about 100 metres to go that my average speed dropped to 29.9mph! I hadn’t been targeting the hour at all, but I think with similar conditions to when I last broke the record it would be very possible. I’ll definitely try and keep the 30mph average all the way to the finish line next year!”
“When I entered the event, the record was definitely a target,” she reflected. “But nearer to the event the record wasn’t on my mind because I thought it would be very slow, wet and windy.
“I did get rained on pretty heavily at Newmarket both times, but the wind wasn’t nearly as bad as forecast. Having said that, I’ve been faster in both directions in the past!
“I wasn’t sure about the record until the last ten miles. I knew I had 24 minutes to do that last ten miles, so only then did I feel that I was on for the record.”
Elliott said her 2017 season had been significantly boosted with greater aero knowledge gained from her team Drag2Zero, and she also benefitted from being team-mates with top level riders such as National 12-hour champion Alice Lethbridge and Kate Allan.
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