NCC Open Time Trial 2019 Route Preview
We have again decided to use the 2016 National TT route for this year’s race. These roads have a long association with road time trials and the traditional out-and-back format remains.
While Nico Roche’s fantastic 47m 14s (48.635 kmh) will be very hard to beat, riders who can dip under 50 minutes will have put in a mighty effort to do so.
The rolling road is well surfaced throughout and hard shoulder runs for a good portion of it. Except for an exposed section near the turn, it is well-sheltered by high hedges throughout.
Heading south-westerly into the prevailing wind, it is essentially downhill to Athy with the harder portion naturally on the return leg. Heading out, two stiff drags at Hacklow (7%) and Rathsillagh (9%) are thankfully short – 60 second efforts – before the benefit of the long descent follows in both cases. It is after the roundabout at Athy that riders then face the first longer drag at Ardscull. Coming at 23km this is a crucial point and pre-empts a series of uphill rolls back towards Ballyshannon. At 6km to go, riders pass Dowling’s pub and the start of the final 3km drag. Never more than 4 or 5%, it is a real power test. Mentally this is also very tough so far into the race.
Once over the top, riders can sweep downhill towards the outskirts of Kilcullen and the slightly downhill final km should see fast speeds at the finish line.
As time trial routes go, this demands good pacing throughout, especially with the various rolls and short drags. The start-finish area is sufficiently clear of the M9 motorway junction with good visibility in both directions as riders depart and return from this demanding test.
Pics courtesy Sean Rowe