Thursday, 30 June 2016

Dunstable RC Open 10

So last Saturday I was on the super fast F11/10 course down on the A41 near Aston Clinton. It's an hour's drive but it seemed worth it to have a go at getting under 22 minutes, which was my main goal. I was hoping that something nearer 21:40 could be doable with favourable conditions. The course is fast as it is basically two long flat sections of the A41 with a long downhill in the middle that you don't have to go back up, so a dream of a course. As expected though, the weather conditions were not too favourable. It was trying to rain as I pulled into the school car park and the air temperature was well down at about 15 degrees. Worse than that, the wind was steadily picking up and with it being a north-easterly it would provide a head/crosswind for most of the long leg between the two turns. Bah...

Anyway, I still felt pretty good so after a warm up on the turbo and finding the start I was feeling confident that I should pb. The start is on the slip road that joins the A41 and it is a nice fast downwards ramp and as I headed along to the first turn I was bumping along at around 29-30 mph with a tail wind. very cool! The first turn was quite complicated and relatively slow but very well marshalled to send me back up the dual carriageway and straight into the wind. So again, it was just a process of hunkering down but after a mile or so along here I could feel myself red lining. Even the downhill didn't offer much respite. I had bn told that I would probably end up spinning out here but I was still mashing the cranks pretty hard even here. The end turn was a lot simpler although I had to slow up for traffic and then it was the final sprint, if tou can call it that to the finish, another mile or so away.

I tend not to look at my Garmin too much but as I was within 20 metres of the chequered board I couldn't resist a peek and saw 21:54! I was desperate to get under 22 and I knew I had a few seconds in hand as I always start the Garmin as the timekeeper counts down the last 5 seconds. I just squeaked it with 21:58. Really pleased to get under 22 but was hoping for a bit more. The thing with tting is, there's always next time.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Resetting goals

Another 25 on the fast P885/25 course this morning and another pb, taking 59 seconds off last week's time to record 55:49. A massive gift hill right at the start and very little wind although it drizzled most of the morning.  Over half the field decided not to start as a result and I thought about it, but obviously I am pretty glad that I didn't bale. Being a faster course it generated a faster field. I was 31/57 starters. Normally a 55:xx time would see a rider in the top ten on a G course but I am used to being mid pack.

My main goal for the season was to go under the hour and I have done that, and more importantly I know that I can keep doing it. I never thought that I would ride a 55 but here I am doing so and it feels great, but I now have to start resetting some goals. Short term, I've got a couple of 50s coming up so barring disasters, a pb should be on the cards. In theory, a sub 2 hour might be possible but I am not sure that I have the endurance legs for that and the course I will be racing on is quite lumpy. Mid-term, I have a 12 hour again in August which will be just to get around and see if I can add a few more miles onto my distance from last year.  Other than that, I am a bit stumped and I need to take a few days to plan out some other events to target this season.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Portsmouth North End 25m TT

For most of the week I was still feeling a bit run down but by Thursday I had started to perk up a bit, so Simon and I headed out for a few hours, spinning gently. Although our gentle spinning took us up Newlands, Whitedown and Pebblecombe hills. I dropped it down a notch, letting Simon take the KOM while I just winched myself up as steadily as possible. I got up early on Friday to do a Trainerroad VO2 max workout and I was glad to see my NP for the session was where I would expect it to be; another indicator that I had worked the bugs out of my system.

So this morning was the Portsmouth North End CC 25m TT, on the fast P881/25 course, basically batting up and down the A3 for two laps. I have had this event inked in my diary for a couple of months with this being my first proper hitout this season at a sub 1 hour 25m tt on a fast DC course. We had also got a team together with the intention of trying to beat the KPRC Men's 25m team record of 2:52:54, therefore three of us would need to average 57:xx to achieve this. Dale has been on top form all season, riding 55/56mins all season so it would be down to Simon, John and myself to back him up for the other two places. Simon went sub 60 two seasons ago and John was looking for a sub 60 too. I knew that without the illness I had suffered recently I should be in 58 minute shape, so it would be a close run thing, but I still felt that I could improve on my pb of 1:00:56 set two years ago.

My mantra for today was 'relax'. I have obviously been thinking about Frank a lot recently, and our many conversations and I remember discussing with him not that long ago, the phenomena of riders posting faster average speeds in say a 25tt when compared to a 10, or in a 50 when compared to a 25. Frank puts it down to being relaxed and not chasing the time, which I think was partly what went wrong for me at the last club 10, as well as being under the weather. I also got some final advice from John about this course which was to not lose too much time on the northbound section as this had some noticeable climbs, so his advice was to hit the hills a bit harder and recover over the top.

So, a decent warm up on the turbo and my legs felt pretty alight straightaway, I think I had the vagaries of the VO2 max session still in them, but as I headed north for the first time I settled into my cadence and was not afraid to back off if I started to stress a bit too much straightaway, but really aimed to keep my legs using the whole of the pedal rev. After the turn at 5 miles I started to hit some pretty good speeds as I dropped back down to the start area, catching a couple of riders en route, which is always nice. The bottom turn was a little confusing but well marshalled, but as soon as I hit the northbound carriageway my speed plummeted. The wind had picked up and I was fighting the front wheel, even bouncing over the rumble strips on one occasion.  I stayed relaxed and tried not to fight it, tucking myself as low as possible, trying to make sure the tail of my helmet was down my back and not sticking up like a sail, not worrying about the drop in speed but just aiming to get to the final turn and the 20 mile mark where I could start to really empty the tank. I had a bit of luck here. One of the fast guys caught and passed me but I was able to use him to push me on, with him dangling out 50 metres in front while I tried to keep him there, which I just about did, although he was on his first lap while I was nearing the end. I had a final check of my garmin at 23 miles and it showed 52 minutes elapsed time, so 4 minute miles would get me home under the hour, but I knew I was obviusly going much faster than that so I really started to push on as hard as I could, using the downhills as best as possible and thinking that a 57;xx might be on; a result beyond my wildest dreams.

The chequered board came up and I stopped the Garmin on 56:48!! Blimey. A 4:08 minute pb. Not too shabby, even if I say so myself, and I didn't feel completely wiped at the end. Staying relaxed had paid massive, massive dividends (and the months of Trainerroad sessions on the turbo in the shed of course.) The double bonus was Dale, Simon and I beating the 28 year old club record by over a minute.

I am a very happy chappy. I think I might have turned myself into a time triallist at last.