RTTC National 12 hour Championship WCTTCA & LTTCA

By Joanna Cebrat

12 hour champion, Joanna Cebrat is ladies Champion with 236 miles and took bronze medal in the National!!!

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Having gained some experience last year at my first attempt at 12h TT in Norfolk I signed up for the Mersey Roads 12h TT which is on the doorstep. As it was the only 12h TT going on this season (covid reasons) it incorporated RTTC national, VTTA nationals and was also a home league – NLTTA etc…

I have not ridden as many miles this year as I normally do, the main reason was covid and the restrictions of the locked down world so I was a bit concerned how I would cope in saddle for 12 long hours. In late June it was confirmed that Marsey 12h is going ahead as National Champs with some restrictions such as no neutral support that I would normally use. Luckily Mark and Ken kindly organised a support team between them to cover half of the race time each. I was really pleased with the thought of having a full time like a pro support. I could pack as much spare kit as I might have needed!

I have had an eye on the National Clarion ladies’ record that stands at 256.78 miles, whilst extremely ambitious task but I thought it may be possible on a flat course in favourable weather conditions. Sadly, a day before the race the course was changed to a lot hillier one (approx. 1000m elev gain more over the target mileage). Also the weather forecast looked grim with rain and strong winds. I decided to give it a go despite the Clarion record was not a target anymore. Looking at the profile I thought it would be very good going just to match my PB from last year.

Ken picked me up at 4.30am and we drove to Farndon south of Chester. I set off at 6:46am… I soon realised that the course is actually very hilly. The route profile contained longer 4-7% drags with a fee 10% short sections that you had to take off the saddle. My HR started creeping up to the red zone, something Joe told me to avoid. The first circuit between Prees and Shrewsbury was a profile of a SPOCO type course.

I took a break @ 4h 11min because this is where Ken parked on my last lap of circuit 1, I was well below my little split schedule I prepared the night before. A little demoralised. Bottle refill, top up on gels and bars, loo stop and off we go again.

First 100 miles with 1,100m elev gain in 5h 58 – it included the 1st stop. I had done the circuit 1 three times and I am deeply demoralised with the pace and amount of climbing hoping that in Prees they will move us to circuit 2 which looked a bit flatter. And they did although circuit 2 turned out to have its own difficult bits – it is twisty, the road is narrow and the traffic is busy… slower racers were blocking the course with traffic behind them. I was moving far too slow! At 6h 30min ish / about 210km I took my 2nd break. I felt awful at this point and a thought of cycling another 5h30m felt impossible. Mark and Ken refilled my bottles and changed my rear light that died. It was raining so heavily that my garmin kept resetting to home screen and lost track of the elev gain – probably lost about 300m. I had to take the silicone case off to drain it better. Grim. I said thank you and goodbye to Ken who head back home.

After lunch the traffic calmed down and I knew the course better with all the tricky bends, so I keep moving a bit faster. It was still wet and my rear disc wheel with super slick tyre slipped dangerously – I unclipped on time and managed to recover somehow. I also spotted blood running down my leg.. turned out that my knee was rubbing on the frame bag… oops!

240km @7h 32 – about 24 min behind the schedule including my 2 stops which were too long as well. The rain eased off to reasonable conditions – still wet but not too bad.

They started moving us to Circuit 3 – the road to C3 was hilly but I was mentally back on track although my avg speed slightly dropped from where I wanted it to be.

Circuit 3 – I felt good again, wow! I had second wind but I knew I can’t get too excited as I will “overcook” and risk a bonk. I was also running low on supplies and I couldn’t see Mark’s red van anywhere. It made me a bit anxious. My head was messed up at this point and I thought the worse. Finally the red van appeared!

200 miles (320km) @ 10h ish (20 min behind the schedule. 3rd and final refill stop. 2h to go. I was still feeling good and I was lapping a lot of people. I even coughed up with my minute man Arthur Winstanley who left me well behind for several hours. Arthur is not giving up and we are having a bit of a “race”… he won in the end but the revenge is coming next year haha.

The atmosphere on circuit 3 was brilliant – all the supporters friends and families were cheering on everybody.

I stopped my Garmin on 386km – the official finish dist is 236.40 miles is a bit lower than that but it is all the magic of time keeping I don’t quite get. But it is a new PB and National Clarion Veteran women record. I also got a bit confused with how you should finish the race because I stupidly didn’t read the notes. Luckily a friendly marshal told me what to do and I avoided a DQ! Imagine a DQ after a day like this! Later in the day I picked up a post on Facebook saying that I finished 3rd /lady! I was broken physically but very happy indeed. The ladies winner Chris McKenzie is in training for LEJOG record attempt and she was unbeatable. I was only 3 miles behind the 2nd place – a well-known and a lot more experienced TT rider than myself Fiona Burnie. Ede Harrison, winner of Trans Continental 2018 finished 7th.

This result would not be possible if it wasn’t for the great help the Bury Clarion team

Mark Jones and Ken Woodward – the support team on the day (this is a long day to hang around!)

Joe Cadwallder who has been helping me with training for 18 months now and spend a lot of his time riding with me prior the race.

Peter Roscoe who is always so enthusiastic about racing and record attempts

Everybody who cycled with me long miles for a few years before I even started racing. I built the endurance on the tough club rides lead by Nigel Hood and Adrian Brookes.

I should also mention Paul Whatmough – the TT bike fit he did for me is perfect, 12h is a good test!

Thank you all, the national bronze medal is equally yours! We are a great club.