When Jo Patterson won the CTT 100 mile title earlier this year we began to do some homework.
Had another Scottish based woman [‘girl,’- ‘lady’ and ‘lass’ are apparently all frowned upon in certain circles] ever won the British 100 mile time trial title championship before?
The answer was, ‘yes,’ in 1998, Andrea Pogson riding for Midlothian Racing Team did that very thing.
Andrea very kindly consented to delve back into her memory banks and give us her recollections of a highly successful time trialling career.
You started on the bike to help stop smoking?
“Yes, that’s true, I was smoking 25 cigarettes each day and couldn’t run 50 yards without getting breathless.”
I believe that your first ventures on the bike were with Eastbourne CTC – how did you get into racing?
“I’d meet them at Hailsham, which is north of Eastbourne and go out on the runs; my goal was to be able to do 20 miles each night and get fit.
“A lot of the CTC members were in the Eastbourne Rovers Cycling Club and so thought I’d try racing.
“My first race a 10 mile time trial and I did a 27:16, which folks said was a good time – a woman came up to me and said; ‘it would be better if you didn’t freewheel down the hills,’ I asked if it was against the rules and she replied; ‘no, but you’d go faster!’”
Galashiels is a long way from Eastbourne…
“My father moved north to the Scottish Borders in 1988 and decided to come up too, joining the Gala CC.”
Season ’97 was a big year for you, with the Gala CC: the SCU ‘25’ Champs, the’50’ Champs and record, and the ’100’ record. Your recollections of that year?
“I remember I had an accident in the April that year and broke two fingers but I’d done a lot of miles, riding Audax events [Audax UK is the world’s largest long-distance cycling club, ed.] including Paris-Brest-Paris which is 1,200 kilometres.
“I did a sub hour ride on the Loch Lomond course and everything just followed on from that, I just went from strength to strength.
Season ‘98 and Midlothian RT, why move?
“There were promises of sponsorship and building a women’s team but they never really amounted to anything.”
Another great season in ‘98: the SCU ‘25’ Champs and record with a 55 minute ride, the ’50’ Champs and record, and the ’100’ record – tell us about that year.
“I didn’t have a coach and the success I enjoyed was just down to persistence, lots of miles on the bike, I’d get up at 05:00 am and do 40 miles before work, I was doing 200 to 300 miles each week and it really ate into my family life.”
And the RTTC ‘100’ Championship win, your memories of that day?
“It was over two laps of a ‘50’ course, which I’d ridden before so that was helpful.
“I did expect to win a medal, bronze was what my sights were set on; Katie Allen was the favourite, she’d won the 50 Championship but I felt good that day, relaxed, everything just felt right.
“I’m quite good at assessing my ride against others and at the last roundabout I could see I was up on Katie and when I saw the look on her face I knew I could win, she was suffering; I returned 4:12:52 and Katie did 4:13:44 which was seven minutes clear of Karen Steele who took bronze.”
Season ‘99 and Letchworth Schils?
“The first year with them went well, there was a bit of funding for the National ‘10’ but after that the support backed off.
“And they lost my bike!
“They wanted all of the riders in team’s bikes sprayed in team colours but mine went astray… I did get it back eventually.
“We had a good team though, with Caroline Cook, Maxine Johnson, Melanie Sears and Liz Milne, winning the 10, 25 and 50 mile team Championships.”
And second in the RTTC ‘10’ that year, to Yvonne McGregor, not your usual distance.
“That was unexpected. My coach, Neil Lawson did a power test with me at a ‘10’ on the Longniddry course in East Lothian and I thought nothing of it but he said it was very good.
“It was a terrible headwind to the turn that morning with a strong tailwind back, my old friends from Eastbourne had come to offer encouragement and in the end I was second to Yvonne by 27 seconds.”
Season 2000 saw you set the SCU ‘25’ record with 55:32 – rapid.
“That was on the Perth to Dundee dual carriageway course before it was banned, the conditions were good; I’d had a two week break from the bike so whilst that ride went really well it was unplanned.”
Three times close to winning the BBAR, any ‘what ifs’?
“It’s easy to say now but I think if I’d trained more scientifically then I would have had a better chance.
“There’s also the aspect that other girls were closer to the fast courses down south whilst getting to them entailed a lot of travelling for me.”
Why quit when you did, you were going so well?
“I have some regrets about that, every February and March I’d struggle with motivation, all that chasing about all over the country.
“I’d be thinking to myself; ‘can I keep it going?’
“I got into other things, running, horse riding, learned to ride a motorbike…”
But you ‘came back’ in 2014 with Gala CC.
“Yes, I think it was a ‘senior moment’ and I decided that I wanted another crack at the Scottish ‘100’ so decided I best ride a ‘50’ first – the National Championship down at Eglinton.
“I ride on average speed but that morning I realised I’d left my computer in the house so I rode on ‘feel,’ I tied for the title with Lynsey Curran of Dooleys Cycles with us both recording 2:2:45.
“The ‘100’ was up at Cromarty and at 90 miles I was feeling terrible and thought I was going to have to climb off but I knew I had time in hand and forced myself to the finish; I recorded 4:22:20 with Lynsey on 4:25:28.”
Did you ever consider the road or track?
“I tried the road it but hated it, I’m a time trial rider through and through, I just didn’t like being around all those other ‘twitchy’ riders.”
You coach now?
“Yes, Level 2 Mountain Bike Coach, Level 2 Cycle Coach, Level 2 Mountain Bike Leader – I enjoy encouraging others to get the best out of themselves.”
“I suppose stopping altogether, which made it very hard to come back – and I’d like to have won the BBAR but for the reasons I mentioned above that was always going to be difficult.”