Wednesday, October 27, 2021
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Catriona MacGillivray – Taking Each Race as it Comes

"I am not making any long term goals, just making the most of the time I get on the bike."


The weekend after she’d annexed the Scottish ‘25’ title at Forfar with a sparkling 55:02 ride, just 10 seconds off competition record, Catriona MacGillivray (RT23) sliced 1:06 off the oldest ladies record on the books, Andrea Pogson’s 1998 ‘50’ time of 1:58:33 with a cracking 1:57:27 on the Invergordon course.

It almost goes without saying that Catriona’s RT23 team mate, Kyle Gordon won the men’s race with a rapid 1:43:22 ride – but for once the flyer from Alness had to play second fiddle to a club mate…

Her ride confirms that ladies time trialling in Scotland is no longer ‘Cinderella;’ the times recorded these days by the best girls would have won the men’s titles well within my memory span.

VeloVeritas caught up with the ‘woman of the moment’ a day or two after her memorable performance.

Catriona MacGillivray
Catriona MacGillivray. Photo©Martin Williamson

Congratulations, Catriona. The basics first please; how old are you, where are you from, what do you do for a living and how did you get into cycling?

“I’m 33 years-old, from Oban and work with the family business just outside Oban.

“Ewen, my husband bought a road bike back in 2014 and I caught the bug from him.

“It was a hobby that we started together, we both entered our first time trial in 2015.”

What was your best ’50’ prior to your record breaking 1:57:27?

“My personal best was a 1.57.52 from the British CTT National Championship in 2017.

“My Scottish best was 2.04.15 in Fordoun from the Scottish champs in 2016.”

Was the record in your mind before the race?

“With 50 miles being my favourite distance, it was always something I had my eye on.

“However, it was my first 50 mile time trial since 2017 so I wasn’t sure how my form and fitness would be over that distance.

“I knew it was going to be tough time to beat.”

What sort of a morning was it?

“As far as conditions go for the North of Scotland it was pretty good.

“It was dry and cool, with a little wind at the start, although the wind did get up slightly as the race went on.”

When did you realise you were on a record ride?

“I knew what my average speed needed to be for the record to be broken and I was slightly above this at the last turn with around 15 miles to go.

“However, those last 15 miles were into a head wind so I knew I had to push hard to hold that average and not drop too much speed.”

Photo©Ed Hood

How did you pace judge – are we allowed to ask about your average watts?

“Since I started back racing, I have being riding on feel instead of riding to power.

“For this particular ride I was chasing an average speed.”

What gears did you ride?

“The bike has a 54 front chain ring and an 11-28 cassette (I actually had to go ask Ewen, so now I know!)”.

What was your best ’25’ time before the National?

“I rode at Westferry, the CTT regional champs two weekends before the Scottish National and recorded a personal best of 56.42.

“Previous to that my best was a 57.28 on the Forfar course in 2017.”

You did 55:02 at Forfar to win the National, just 10 seconds off comp, record – you must be thinking about that?

“I didn’t realise how close I was to that record until after the prize giving.

“I haven’t got any more 25 mile time trials planned for the rest of the season.”

The National ’50’ championship is on the same course that you broke the record on – that must be a goal?

“Yes that’s my next target for this season; 50 miles is my favourite distance.”

And the championship ‘100’ is up at Invergordon too

“I’m still undecided about the 100!”

How do fit in being a mum and training to time trial at the highest level?

“I am limited to around five hours training each week so I know every session has to count; I try to get as much out of each session as I can. 

“I am lucky to have the support from my husband and our family – without their help it wouldn’t be possible to get any training time. Another reason that each session has to count!”

Do you have a coach – what’s the ethos?

“Yes since getting back on the bike in November I have been coached by Dan Barnett.

“The training mantra is very much “quality over quantity.”

“Every day is different with a young baby and sleep deprivation is a real thing!

“Dan has been great at adapting my training to suit the challenges of family life.”

Photo©Ed Hood

Any ambitions to emulate Kyle, on the track?

“I did completed my accreditation about two-and-a-half years ago but haven’t managed to make it back since. 

“It is a 200 mile round trip to the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome so finding the time is nigh-on impossible.”

What’s still on the “to do list” for you?

“I’m just taking each race as it comes.

“Getting family time is a priority; Charlotte is growing up so quickly and I don’t want cycling to take over (which it so easily can).

“At the moment I am enjoying getting to some races and riding my bike.

“I am not making any long term goals, just making the most of the time I get on the bike.”

With thanks to Catriona for her time; VeloVeritas will be at the ‘50’ championships in July to see if she can make it the ‘double.’

And Kyle Gordon ‘wasn’t sure’ about riding the ‘100’ last year – and we know what happened there…

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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