Eileen smashes Irish 10 miles record

20 September 2015
Ballymena Road Club - Chain Reaction Cycles – rider Eileen Burns from Rossburn Manor in Kells 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. In the intervening four year period Garda CC’s Ryan has become Irish cycling’s most decorated female rider, having won a bronze medal at the World Track Championships in the points race in Melbourne in 2012, which was Ireland’s first medal at a track worlds in over 100 years.

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 gives an insight into her memorable weekend.

"My husband Jason and I travelled over on Friday morning on the P&O, Larne to Cairnryan ferry and then we had the long drive down.

We were able to cycle the course on Friday. It's a fairly flat course, and it's well sheltered, but there are still some elevations, but not too much. Although in flatter sections it can be dead and you still have to really work at it. Our Woodgreen course would be different due to the rolling climbs and at Woodgreen, when you start to get your speed built up at the beginning you hit that horrible drag at Graham's kitchens. On the V718 you can hold your top speed more steadily.”

"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. Caroline Ryan, a professional cyclist for Ireland, travelled to the well-known V718 course in Hull, Yorkshire in August 2011 and set the record for the 10 setting a time of 21:03.

So a few weeks ago, following another battle into a fierce head wind at Woodgreen I came home and 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.
So I entered it! My husband Jason is very supportive of me and didn't mind stalling any hope of a foreign holiday this year to book the ferry to travel over to Hull. I kept it a secret though to reduce pressure on myself. So on Saturday I took part in the Team Swift (30 fastest women 10 mile open TT) on the V718 course.

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. On the start line I had to ask a marshal for a seat to take a minute to settle my nerves as I had become nauseous.

This was what I had trained for, I wanted it so much. I travelled all this way I thought to myself. So I jumped on my bike, and when the time keeper counted me down to start I took off. I kept my head down and hammered it the best I could.

People ask me for advice in a 10 TT, but really that's all you can do is hammer it on the day. During Saturday’s ride I watched my time, I knew I was on course for a good time. On the V718 course you have to cycle along a dual carriageway, with the turn up a slip road and around two roundabouts and over a flyover bridge. In the last mile I knew I was within reach of a record. I became very emotional, but I had to keep focused and keep the foot down to ensure I did it. I crossed the line with a time of 20 minutes and 22 seconds. I had done it! I punched the air with a feeling of euphoria. I had done it! 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.