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Kate McNeill joins Team Drag2Zero
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Friday 24th July 2015


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Fast Riding triathlete Kate McNeill joins Team Drag2Zero

British Age Group triathlete Kate McNeill has been making steady progress and plenty of podiums in middle distance racing for several years now. In recent weeks she has won The Avenger (by almost 24 minutes), and the F3 Events Marlow Half. On the international front, after earning a Bronze medal (30-34) at the 2014 ETU Champs in Paguera, Mallorca, she went one better this year with Silver in Rimini, Italy. Logic would suggest that targeting Gold next year at Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl would be the next step - but those objectives may now be on hold thanks to an exciting new opportunity.

A recent convert to cycle time trialling, Kate may well have found her true talent - and that has been noticed by leading team Drag2Zero (www.drag2zero.co.uk) - who have just signed her up to joining the likes of Matt Bottrill, Julia Shaw and triathlete Vicky Gill.

I spoke to Kate, who runs PR company Compete PR (www.competepr.com), about what has been a rapid rise on the UK Time Trial scene to find out more about her plans.


We've followed your progress as an Age-Group triathlete in recent years Kate, but have you been including time trials in your training for long?

Time trials have only become an area of focus in my training and racing this year, after discovering them for the first time a couple of years ago when I was living in Banbury. I could count on one hand how many I had taken part in, and I was seriously clueless on a lot of things, typically starting out like the clappers and hoping my legs didn't burn out, which they invariably did! I treated them as a nice ‘supplement' to my triathlon training and nothing more.

Kate McNeill

Following a strong winter of cycling, I thought I'd give TTs more structure this year, and so joined the SEWTTS Women's TT League (www.sewtts.co.uk), and set about entering my first open events.

Kate McNeillI know you only did your first 50-mile TT a few months ago (only because I was a LONG way back in the same event...!), and then shortly after that you almost made the podium in the National Champs over the distance. Was that a surprise?

A huge surprise, and there was no one more shocked than me. This event demonstrated to me the importance that proper preparation can play, as I executed the most controlled taper I have ever done. I spent time talking with top female TT rider Rebecca Slack, who provided me with a bank of knowledge as to how to treat the period leading up to a race. The basis of this was to feel like a ‘coil ready to spring', and I've never gone into an event feeling so ready.

Have you been surprised at the speed of your progress since doing more time trials?

I didn't think I'd be able to achieve what I have, although I am by no means where I want to be, and still have a huge amount to learn. The ladies at the front of the field are absolutely inspirational, and I am absorbing everything I can – from the figures, to the ‘chit chat' on the time trial forums to what they wear, and how they hold themselves on race day. It's a learning game this year, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Kate McNeill Personal Best Performancs - as at 24th July 2015

Distance
Time
Miles/Hour
Km/Hour
10 Miles
00:22:08
27.11mph
43.62kph
25 Miles
00:56:28
26:56mph
42.74kph
50 Miles
01:58:36
25.30mph
40.70kph

How did the link up with the Drag2Zero team come about?

I worked with Simon and Natalie at Drag2Zero (www.drag2zero.co.uk) back in 2012/13 and we have stayed in contact since then. I have always hugely admired the work they do and Simon is one of the most influential names in the cycling industry. When Simon asked me if I'd be interested in joining the team I, obviously playing it incredibly cool, jumped at the chance. It's a huge honour and I hope that I am able to do my position on the team justice.

What does joining the team mean for you in practical terms - Equipment? Coaching? Wind tunnel? Other?

For me, joining Drag2Zero is all about the learning process. I want to absorb absolutely everything that I can do from the fastest time trial riders out there. It is my first time being part of a team and I am excited to attend events and have that comradeship, rather than always competing by myself. My fabulous new Smart Aero skinsuit and overshoes are certainly an added bonus mind you – I'm so excited to start racing in the team kit!

Kate McNeillIronically, perhaps the best known D2Z rider, Matt Bottrill, has announced plans to race in triathlons, so you are sort of going in the opposite direction! Do you think you'll still combine with multisport, or will you focus on the TTs?

It's a tricky one, as I love triathlon training but am conscious too that I am never going to make the gains in swimming and running as I do on the bike. At the moment, my plan is to train predominantly for cycling events, but to ‘recreationally' take part in triathlons – not that I'm sure I'll be able to reign myself in that much!

It must be exciting to have found, quite quickly, a sport in which you can - realistically, based on your progress to date - challenge for National Championship medals at an Elite level?

Yes, very much so, although I am conscious not to get too ahead of myself as I still have a long way to go, and I am only a few months into the sport. It's going to take a lot of work to get to where I want to be, but I'm ready for the challenge!

I believe you are racing the National 25-mile TT Champs in a weeks time. Beyond that, what will be your primary targets and TT goals?

The National 25-mile TT Champs are on 1st August. I've only done one '25' previously, so I'm not sure how I'll get on here – although I'm off to recce the course this weekend. Then it's the National 10-mile TT Champs in September. I also have two further triathlons this season, the London Triathlon Olympic Plus on 9th August and IRONMAN Lanzarote 70.3 on 19th September.

Kate McNeill


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