Bronze gong for Stornoway cyclist in 100 miler

'I was so chuffed to finish and take home a bronze,' beamed Mackenzie after the race.
'I was so chuffed to finish and take home a bronze,' beamed Mackenzie after the race.

Being new to competitive racing Christina Mackenzie is an unknown in time trial circles.

Hence why the Stornoway athlete set off second at the weekend’s Scottish National Championship 100 mile time trials – where the higher ranked riders set off last.

But by the end of the leg-sapping 100-mile ride which took competitors around two laps Laurencekirk and Stonehaven everyone knew all about the flying islander as she pedalled home in third place to win a prestigious bronze medal.

“I was so chuffed to finish and take home a bronze,” beamed Mackenzie after the race.

Mackenzie is used to riding extreme distances having completed, and triumphed, in a number of Ironman events in the past, so riding non-stop for 100-miles was never going to faze her.

“Basically it was just going as fast as you can for 100 miles,” she explained, “and that’s around the distance I usually do in an ironman anyway, but after that you run a marathon, so you do the cycle at a steadier pace.

“It was nice to do it and be able to just go all out and not have to worry about running afterwards.”

She continued: “I just went to get the experience and see where I would be against the other girls, as I knew some of them were highly ranked, including the current Scottish champion.

“When I went there I was ranked second last due to experience and races in the past. Since I’m new into racing I’m automatically level four and I have to try and move up the rankings now.”

Crossing the line in 4:41:32 she blitzed her pre-race target of five hours as her transition into challenging on the road racing circuit continues impressively.

“Being able to pace yourself to maintain the same pace for the whole 100-miles is the key,” she reveals.

“I was able to maintain the same pace for both laps with 2:19 and 2:21 for second lap so was happy with that.

“Everything went according to plan and I had no mechanical issues at all which was a relief.

“I knew within the first lap I was in third place, so at that point I was trying to see if I could narrow the gap between me and second, and also ensure fourth wasn’t creeping up behind me.”

Christina is the NatWest Island Games team manager for cycling and triathlon, which means she is keeping one eye on the forthcoming games taking place next summer.

She freely admits it is the approaching games which is fuelling her towards so many new challenges on two wheels as she aims to pedal onto the podium for Team Western Isles.

“I’m new to the racing side of this, so I’m very pleased and it helps with the focus towards the NatWest Island Games in Gotland next year,” she said.

“The events will be shorter distances but there is a 25-mile time trial next month, the same distance as Gotland, so that’ll be a good indicator to where I am at and I can compare them to Island Games times which is where this is all focusing towards.”