After winning three national time trial titles last season, Emily Meakin wants to target more undulating events and the RTTC Classic Series this term.
In just her third season of time trialling the 32-year-old from Staffordshire won the National 10, 50 and Circuit Championships during a packed spell of racing.
She also took silver medals from the National 25 and Closed Circuit Championships.
“It worked out really well in the end,” said Meakin.
“We thought the season was going to be a write-off so to be able to salvage something from it and get all the national races done was a real testament to all the work Cycling Time Trials have done.
“It was going to be my first proper season with a European contract with Drops Cycling Team so I wasn’t too sure what time trials I was going to do.
“But it all got turned on its head, and you ask yourself how you could salvage the season and what you could do.
“With Drops we just couldn’t get abroad so they called the season off and ended it pretty early on.”
Meakin was late to cycling after starting out in road racing in 2016 and would now like to improve her technical skills in time trialling this coming season.
“I would definitely like to defend some of my titles,” she added.
“What I would hopefully like to do is a lot more of the Classic Series as they’re not just as straight forward as a dual-carriageway straight strip.
“They are so technical so for me to improve is on the technical aspects of the time trial. A lot of people just concentrate on doing a certain amount of watts and a certain amount of power.
“This year I’ve learnt it’s not about that but looking at a course and seeing how you can ride in the most efficient manner. Where you can go extra hard and where you can save energy.”
Due to the delayed start to the time trial season Meakin was keen to get racing and despite not training for the 50-mile distance took on the VTTA National 50 at the end of July, posting a winning time of 1-48-25.
A week later she went even faster in the Velo Club Cumbria event again wining in 1-46-04.
“I hadn’t thought about targeting something like the 50 at all,” added Meakin. “As it happened when a lot of races were being re-introduced to the calendar we were itching to race as we hadn’t raced.
“It was then that we thought to look at the 50. When Hayley [Simmonds] won the 10, 25 and 50 in the same year you look and think it would be cool to do the same.”
Meakin went event quicker in the National 50 posting a time of 1-47-46 – winning by over four minutes.
The shortened time trial season meant that the national championships were grouped together in a short block of racing.
The Independent Pedaler – Nopinz rider said that the season was a mental challenge.
“At the beginning there was a lot of chat between myself, Joss [Lowden] and Hayley [Simmonds] that we were all going to do these races,” Meakin added.
“I definitely felt the pressure that it was a battle between us three, not being disrespectful to anybody else but it did feel like that.
“It was a huge test for all of us about how you cope with the pressure of having so many championships condensed into such a short amount of time.
“We are all really good mates as well. So you want the best for your friend but all really big rivals when you pin a number onto your back.”
After winning the National 10 and 50 titles Meakin was denied by road racing team-mate Joss Lowden (Drops Cycling Team) in the National 25, finishing 41 seconds down.
Katie Archibald (Dooleys RT) took the National Closed Circuit title beating Meakin by 25 seconds, but the silver medallist felt she should have paced her ride better.
“I was really annoyed with myself as I had gone out really hot and tried to hold what I wanted to hold,” added Meakin.
“I only needed 20 or 30 seconds but I massively messed it up. I just went out riding it a lot different to what I should have done, but you live and learn.”
Meakin returned to the top podium spot in the National Circuit Championships, but despite winning by almost a minute she felt her form was dropping off.
She added: “Because the season had fallen the way it had me and John [Archibald] wanted to do all of the championships - why would you not want to do them?
“You want to be at the top of the sport so we really wanted to do them all. We had planned to rest in between.
“If you’re racing for six weeks in a row and trying to rest, recover and get fresh for the weekend for six weeks, that’s a long time.
“You’re obviously going really well if you can do well in all of them but from a physiological point of view we were both getting annoyed with how our numbers were towards the end.
“We both wanted to get in some proper training and big weeks, but then you couldn’t because you didn’t want to dig too big a hole for the next race.”
* All reports and features are copyright of Cycling Time Trials/Snowdon Sports. Not to be used without permission. This feature by Ben Goddard.