It hasn’t been the best of summers for going fast on a bicycle, but the last day of August saw the Westferry ‘10’ course in a benign mood – Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) dipped under the magical 20 minute barrier with 19:45, not so far away now from Graeme Obree’s 19:29 competition record.
But the ladies’ record did fall, with Jessica Wilson-Young (Edinburgh RC) updating the Scottish ladies mark by four seconds to 21:42.
Here’s what Jessica had to say about her evening out beside the Clyde.
Congratulations, Jessica — rude questions first, how old are you and what do you do for a living?
“I’ll be 40 at the end of September; I work for the Centre for Sport and Exercise at University of Edinburgh.
“They have an outdoor activity centre at Loch Tay and I do the admin for that.”
How did you get into the bike?
“I used to work with Carol Westmorland who was British ladies 12 and 24 hour champion, she was a great inspiration to me and one lunch hour we nipped out and bought me a bike — that was the start.
“I was 24, so started in the sport late.”
Who inspires you as a rider?
“Julia Shaw, she disproves the theory that you can’t go faster after your 40th birthday.”
Who had the ‘10’ record previously?
“Katrina Hair with 21:46, it’s stood since 2006 but I’ve felt for a while that I had it within me to break it.
“But to break a Scottish record the weather has to be right; it was my last race of the season and the conditions were good — it was a nice way to close my season.”
And that goes with winning the 10, 25 and 50 titles, this year?
“Yes, I didn’t ride the 100; I don’t think I’d enjoy that distance.”
Do you have road ambitions?
“No, I don’t think I’d enjoy road racing; I enjoy time trialling and folk are really
friendly — I’m not sure about all that spitting and swearing that goes on in road races.”
“I’ve previously won a bronze in the Scottish ladies’ pursuit but I was a bit wary of riding the bankings.”
What’s your favourite event and course?
“Tens — it’s over quickly, I enjoy short distance time trialling most of all.
“I like Westferry; I prefer non-technical courses – although I do like the Meldons course.
“I do go best on non-technical courses; I tend to lose time on corners.”
I believe you were only beaten once, this year?
“That was in the British ‘10’ championships — I didn’t have a very good result, 24th.
“I’d had a family bereavement and it was a really windy day, which didn’t suit me — it was a struggle.
“I was unbeaten in Scotland, which was a surprise because I hadn’t even intended to race, I was going to take a year out to concentrate on running — I’d like to run a fast Edinburgh marathon.
“I started training for running but I built up the volume and intensity far too quickly and ended up with a stress fracture in my pelvis.
“I did nothing until February and then we went on a touring holiday to North Vietnam at the end of March.
“It was very mountainous and involved a lot of long, long climbs — when I came back I did a test on the turbo and found that I had good power.”
You use SRM cranks?
“I’ve been using a power metre for three years but really I prefer to ride on speed rather than power.”
The Commonwealth Games?
“I really wanted to ride the time trial at Delhi but I didn’t meet the qualification criteria — which was two top three placings in Rudy Project events.
“In the past I’d achieved that, but in 2010 I only managed one top three and didn’t gain selection.
“I rather lost motivation due to that, but I’m very keen to be at Glasgow in 2014.
“I’ll take 2012 out to go for a good marathon time but will definitely be back after that.
“I’d like to break the 25 and 50 records and whilst I’ll be even older at the 2014 Games I really want to have a shot at selection – you just have to look at the achievements of riders like Julia Shaw and Christine McLean; it shows that you can still improve even if you’re over 40.”
What one thing would you change about Scottish Cycling?
“I think SC does a good job of attracting girls in to bike racing, especially youngsters— but maybe there could be a bit more support for the older riders?”