Ballymena Road Club - Chain Reaction Cycles – rider Eileen Burns capped her brilliant 2015 season with “an icing on the cake” record breaking performance in East Yorkshire last Saturday.
Eileen, who won this season’s Ulster 10, 25 and 50 miles Ladies time trial Ulster championships travelled to the Humberside “Team Swift” 10 miles time trial with the sole intention of breaking the existing Irish ladies 10 miles competition record.
She not only won the event (which was a selection of the fastest 30 females who entered) but completely eclipsed the old Irish record with a 29.46mph performance of 20 minutes 22 seconds
Eileen’s self-belief and confidence has to be admired because the existing record of 21 minutes 03 seconds was established by Caroline Ryan on the same V718 course in 2011.
Eileen’s time of 20:22 represents a huge leap forward for Irish women’s time trialing as it lowers the previous national record of Caroline Ryan by 41 seconds; a huge margin over the distance.
Less than one week before riding in Yorkshire Eileen had finished the five day Ras na mBan, where she was riding in a strong international field and where she was fourth in the TT, and best placed Irish woman. Often a stage race of this intensity can take the edge off a rider’s time trial speed but obviously the Ras did Eileen the world of good.
Eileen said: “This time last year, at the end of my 2014 season, I recorded a PB of 22:14 on Woodgreen. Knowing that I was a minute and 14 secs away from an Irish national record for this distance I set myself a training goal over the winter to attempt to break the record in 2015 season. So my turbo and I became well acquainted over that time. During the 2015 season I competed in all 10 mile TTs available to me, driving from Donegal town to Warrenpoint, taking annual leave off work at times to travel. But my efforts were met with less favourable weather conditions all season, and at times I was tired due to trying to balance full time work, training, racing and the usual daily life. I ran out of TTs at home to attempt the record but came close, within 7 seconds at Woodgreen in earlier August, but still “no cigar”.
From researching the record I discovered that all the national women’s TT records for 10, 25, 50 and 100 where set on English soil by Irish records.
So a few weeks ago, I looked up on the internet to check if there were any 10 mile events taking place on the V718, and there it was - the final 10 of the season was scheduled to take place on 19th September.
“I was 30th rider off, as I had been the fastest women applicant who had entered. I was incredibly nervous and excited at the same time. During Saturday’s ride I watched my time, I knew I was within reach of a record. I crossed the line with a time of 20 minutes and 22 seconds.
The record is awaiting verification from cycling Ireland so I can’t officially say I have the record until the paper work is done” concluded a jubilant Eileen.