Christina Murray (Army Cycling) broke her own competition record on her way to victory in the National 24 Hour Championship, meanwhile Robbie Mitchell (Auchencrow Thistle CC) won his first national title in the men’s event.
Glasgow-based Murray, 44, added 12 miles on to her women’s competition record covering 490.41 miles in the 24 hours – just six miles further than challenger Steph Mottram (Cliff Pratt Racing).
As in the previous two editions Mersey Roads hosted the championship event on the D24H course over different sections in Cheshire and Shropshire.
Last year’s event was cancelled due to Covid-19 so the title was up for grabs for the first time since 2019.
Starting at around 2pm on Saturday riders immediately battled temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius which had only dropped to 23 degrees Celsius by 9pm.
During the early hours of Sunday morning the temperature had dropped to a low of 13 degrees Celsius which quickly increased as the sun rose to 22 degrees Celsius by 9am climbing up to 28 degrees Celsius by the finish at 2pm on Sunday.
Veteran rider Mitchell, aged 40, from Duns in Berwickshire, was taking part in his first 24-hour event and covered 520.4 miles in the 24 hours to take the men’s title.
The furthest Mitchell had previously raced during an open event was the Tyneside Vagabonds 100 last season winning in 3-51-14.
Over the much longer distance Mitchell recorded an average speed of over 21.6 miles per hour despite the soaring temperature
Lee Williams (North Hampshire RC) was also competing in his first ever 24-hour event after placing 26th in the National 100 Mile Championship two weeks ago.
On this occasion Williams took second recording an average speed of over 21 miles per hour and covering 504.28 miles.
Meanwhile, Timothy Welsh (Cambridge University CC) completed the podium positions with a distance of 496.02 miles.
Rimas Grigenas (Audax UK) was second veteran covering 489.15 miles and Andrew Rivett (Velo Club St Raphael) was third veteran age category rider covering 479.79 miles.
In the women’s event Murray was pushed all the way for victory by Mottram with both riders breaking the previous competition record.
Murray battled the extreme heat to secure her second National 24 Hour title recording an average speed of over 20.4 miles per hour.
Mottram finished fourth behind Murray in the 2019 National 24 Hour event but improved her result by 30 miles this year covering 482.21 miles for second.
Finishing third woman was Pip Jenkins (Southborough & Dist. Whs), who also finished third in 2019, covering 442.23 miles.
Meanwhile, Caroline Whittaker (Amersham Road Cycling Club) was fourth and second veteran woman covering 375.12 miles in the 24 hours.
“It was hot, really hot,” said Murray.
“It was nice to be cold and then the sun came up again at 7am this morning. There was an amazing battle which I didn’t know about for a long time, I was just doing my own thing.
“When you see the calibre of guys that dropped out it shows how really hard it was with the weather.
“Listening to your body was quite key and if you’re tuned in to what you think you can do and how you’re feeling that’s what works for me.
“It was an incredible ride by Steph (Mottram) and I’ve got full admiration for her.
“Last time I had a Wahoo issue so just did under 20 miles per hour for all of it so naturally there was a part of me that wanted to do evens (20mph).
“Evens in long distance racing is what people strive for. I did a bit better than that which was good. Personally, I put a massive amount of credit to my support crew some of them travelled down from Glasgow with me.
“We focus on the athlete but the support crew, I couldn’t do it without them.”
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